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Italian Navy & Air Force Elite Units & Special Forces 1940-45

ISBN: 978 1 84908 857 2
Review Date:

The exploits of Italian special units, as popularly known, were generally limited to the daring frogmen attacks on warships inside Gibraltar and Alexandria harbors. Although their list of achievements that significantly impacted the war was indeed short, some of their equipment and tactics were innovative, and the veterans of these units remained proud of their service long after the war. Piero Crociani's Italian Navy & Air Force Elite Units & Special Forces 1940-45, albeit brief due to the series' format, offered a good look at special units raised by both the Italian Air Force and the Italian Navy. The book offered some information on the planning, organization, leadership, equipment, and history of the airborne, frogmen, torpedo boat, anti-partisan, naval infantry, combat engineer, and other various elite units that served under the pre-1943 Fascist forces, post-1943 German-sponsored forces, and post-1943 Allied-sponsored forces. Those who enjoy artwork would find the color plates interesting, but what I enjoyed the most in terms of visuals was the trove of photographs sourced from private collections and the Italian Navy archive, both rare for this US-based reader. Those already well-versed with the history of special forces in WW2 perhaps would find the information offered in this title cursory, but personally I thought Italian Navy & Air Force Elite Units & Special Forces 1940-45 served as a good primer for me as an introduction to this topic.

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