GUSTAVSSON, Hakan ; SLONGO Ludovico. Gladiator Vs. CR.42 Falco (1940 – 1941). Oxford : 2012, Osprey. 80 pp.
I must admit that I am not a very big fan of the books published by Osprey, as the subjects are often too cut out, sometimes repetitive, and often too short (with the limit of 80 pages). As a result, Osprey’s production is often very uneven by its quality. Regarding this book, we are clearly in the best of Osprey.
First, the two co-authors are among the best experts on the subject. The Swedish Hakan Gustavsson is the author of a website referring to biplanes during the Second World War (pilots and planes). Ludovico Slongo is one of the leading specialists of the Regia Aeronautica in East Africa. They are also co-authors of a two-volume series on the Operation Compass in North Africa (Dessert Prelude: Operation Compass), which I highly recommend reading for its very high quality.
Then, after the first, relatively interesting, but fairly classic chapters devoted to the technical description of aircraft, as well as some elements on the training of pilots, the second half is devoted to air operations. The part strictly relating to East Africa is about eight pages, to which should be added two others specific to a biography of the Italian ace Mario Visintini and correct many errors or uncertainties. More generally, it is the remark that could be made to the whole of the part devoted to East Africa. It is really a reference synthesis on the Regia Aeroanautica with a multitude of additions, corrections and additions compared to the information already published especially by Christopher Shores. The only criticism that could be made is that it is only a question of clashes between Gladiator and Fiat CR.42. It is a pity, because of the quality of the content, we would have liked to read more.
Note that the developments relating to North Africa and Greece are of the same quality by offering very good moments of readings.
Personally, I strongly recommend this book for anyone who seeks to discover the subject, because finally we have a good synthesis in only eight pages, although specific to only aspects, which makes it possible to usefully complement the reading of Dust Clouds or Air War East Africa. However, summarizing the book in this aspect would be an insult to the authors, as it also constitutes a reference for any research or deepening on the subject, as it brings a real evolution regarding the apprehension of the role of Regia Aeronautica in the sector. A very good reading.