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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave

Monday, 23 January 2012

Fiat CR.42

New addition to the Italian forces for the Mediterranean campaigns is a flight of Fiat CR.42 aircraft. Also useful for the Spanish Civil War as it looks similar to the earlier CR.32, the mainstay of the Nationalist air force.

The models are from the Flames of War range and are 1/144 scale, slightly smaller than the ground forces. I was delighted when these came out, as I struggled to find this aircraft in model form at a scale suitable for use with 15mm figures. While it is a bit fiddly and delicate, that is probably inevitable with biplanes using struts.

Unlike the models the earlier CR.32 was a very robust aircraft, well suited for flying in Spain off semi-prepared airfields. Being made of wood, it was also easier to repair than the more modern I-16 or Bf 109s. Some 225 aircraft were operational at the end of the conflict and some 50 of these were rebuilt using scrapped components. The Osprey Fiat CR.32 Aces of the Spanish Civil War tells the full story.

The CR.42 Falco (Falcon) entered service in May 1939. By the end of the war some 1800 were built and it also saw service in the Hungarian, Belgium and Swedish air forces. It fought in all the Mediterranean campaigns and although obsolete, it performed well due to its impressive manoeuvrability. More details of the plane in the Balkans can be found in Christopher Shores book Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete 1940-41.

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