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The Battle for Italy (September 1943 - May 1945)

The Battle for Italy (September 1943 - May 1945)

The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the invasion of Sicily and the campaign on the Italian mainland until the surrender of German forces in Italy in May 1945.

It is estimated that between September 1943 and April 1945 some 60,000 Allied and 50,000 German soldiers died in Italy.Total Allied casualties during the campaign totaled about 320,000 and the corresponding Axis figure (excluding those involved in the final surrender) was over 658,000. No campaign in Western Europe cost more than the Italian campaign in terms of lives lost and wounds suffered by infantry forces.

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Italian Macchi MC.202 Folgore Fighter - 97 Squadriglia, 9 Gruppo, 4 Stormo Italian Macchi MC.202 Folgore Fighter - 97 Squadriglia, 9 Gruppo, 4 Stormo (1:100 Scale)

The Macchi C.202 Folgore (Italian "thunderbolt") was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Macchi Aeronautica and operated mainly by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian) Air Force).

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Italian Fiat G.55 Centauro Fighter - 353 Squadriglia, 20 Gruppo, 51 Stormo Italian Fiat G.55 Centauro Fighter - 353 Squadriglia, 20 Gruppo, 51 Stormo (1:100 Scale)

The Fiat G-55 Centauro, arguably the best Italian production fighter of the Second World War, was designed around requirements issued by the Direzione Generale Costruzioni de Ministero in 1941, which intended to provide the Regia Aeronautica with a first line fighter equal to any being produced by the Allies.

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Italian Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete Fighter Bomber - 239 Squadriglia, 102 Gruppo, 5 Stormo Italian Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete Fighter Bomber - 239 Squadriglia, 102 Gruppo, 5 Stormo (1:100 Scale)

The Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete was an Italian fighter-bomber developed during World War II. The aircraft was a further development of the Re.2000, with some of the modifications that already had been introduced in the Re.2001.

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Italian Cant Z.506B Airone Floatplane - 171 Squadriglia, 91 Gruppo, 31 Stormo, 1937 Italian Cant Z.506B Airone Floatplane - 171 Squadriglia, 91 Gruppo, 31 Stormo, 1937 (1:200 Scale)

The CANT Z.506 Airone (Italian: Heron) was a triple-engine floatplane produced by CANT from 1935. It served as a transport and postal aircraft with the Italian airline "Ala Littoria".

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Italian Fiat CR.32 Biplane Fighter - 363 Squadriglia, 150 Gruppo, 53 Stormo Italian Fiat CR.32 Biplane Fighter - 363 Squadriglia, 150 Gruppo, 53 Stormo (1:72 Scale)

The Fiat CR.32 was an Italian biplane fighter used in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. This nimble little Fiat was compact, robust and highly manoeuvrable and gave impressive displays all over Europe in the hands of the Pattuglie Acrobatiche.

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Italian Piaggio P.108B Heavy Bomber - 274 Squadriglia Autonoma B.G.R Italian Piaggio P.108B Heavy Bomber - 274 Squadriglia Autonoma B.G.R. (1:200 Scale)

The Piaggio P.108 Bombardiere was an Italian four-engine heavy bomber that saw service with Italy during World War II. The prototype first flew in 1939 and it entered service in 1941.

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Italian Fiat BR.20 Cicogna Medium Bomber - 8 Squadriglia, 25 Gruppo, 7 Stormo BT Italian Fiat BR.20 Cicogna Medium Bomber - 8 Squadriglia, 25 Gruppo, 7 Stormo BT (1:144 Scale)

The Fiat BR.20 Cicogna (Italian: "stork") was a twin-engined bomber of the Italian Regia Aeronautica which saw service in the Spanish Civil War, Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Although the BR.20 was Italy's standard medium bomber in the mid-1930s and had proven effective in the Spanish Civil War, it was already obsolescent by the time Italy entered the war.

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Italian IMAM Ro.37 Reconnaissance Biplane - 121 Squadriglia, 1 Gruppo, 22 Stormo OA, 1943 Italian IMAM Ro.37 Reconnaissance Biplane - 121 Squadriglia, 1 Gruppo, 22 Stormo OA, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Meridionali Ro.37 Lince (Italian: "Lynx") was a two-seater Italian reconnaissance biplane, a product of the Industrie Meccaniche Aeronautiche Meridionali (IMAM) company.

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Italian Macchi C.205 Veltro Fighter - 1 Squadriglia, 1 Gruppo Italian Macchi C.205 Veltro Fighter - 1 Squadriglia, 1 Gruppo (1:100 Scale)

The MC.205 Veltro ("Greyhound") is considered the best Italian fighter of World War II. It was said that in the hands of a good pilot, it could defeat any allied plane. When the prototype of the Veltro was built, there were two other planes competing for the same contract: the Fiat G. 55 Centauro and the Reggiane Re 2005 Sagittario.

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Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero Medium Bomber - 252 Squadriglia, 104 Gruppo, 46 Stormo Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero Medium Bomber - 252 Squadriglia, 104 Gruppo, 46 Stormo (1:144 Scale)

The Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero (Italian for "Sparrowhawk") was a three-engined Italian medium bomber with a wood-and-metal structure.

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Italian Cant Z.1007 Bis Alcione Medium Bomber - 230 Squadriglia, 95 Gruppo, 35 Stormo Italian Cant Z.1007 Bis Alcione Medium Bomber - 230 Squadriglia, 95 Gruppo, 35 Stormo (1:144 Scale)

The Cant Z.1007 Alcione (Italian: "Kingfisher") was a three-engine medium bomber used by the Italian Regia Aeronautica, Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and Luftwaffe during World War II.

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Italian Fiat G.50bis Freccia Fighter - 162 Squadriglia, 161 Gruppo Autonomo CT Italian Fiat G.50bis Freccia Fighter - 162 Squadriglia, 161 Gruppo Autonomo CT (1:100 Scale)

The Fiat G.50 "Freccia" (Arrow), first flown in 1937, was the first Italian all metal, single seat, mono-wing airplane. Powered by the Fiat A.74 R.C.38 it proved to be fast and maneuverable, seeing success in the Spanish Civil War, though considered outclassed, underpowered, and under armed by World War II. 784 were built, with limited use by Croatia and Finland.

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Italian Savoia-Marchetti S.81 Pipistrello Medium Bomber - 214 Squadriglia, 24 Gruppo, 21 Stormo BP, Spain, 1938 Italian Savoia-Marchetti S.81 Pipistrello Medium Bomber - 214 Squadriglia, 24 Gruppo, 21 Stormo BP, Spain, 1938 (1:144 Scale)

The Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Italian: bat) was the first three-engine bomber/transport aircraft serving in the Italian Regia Aeronautica. When it appeared in 1935, represented a real step ahead in Italian military aviation: it was fast, well armed and had a long range.

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Italian Macchi MC.202 Folgore Fighter - 151 Squadriglia, 20 Gruppo, 51 Stormo CT Italian Macchi MC.202 Folgore Fighter - 151 Squadriglia, 20 Gruppo, 51 Stormo CT (1:100 Scale)

The Macchi C.202 Folgore (Italian "thunderbolt") was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Macchi Aeronautica and operated mainly by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian) Air Force).

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Italian Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario Fighter - 362 Squadriglia, 22 Gruppo Autonomo CT Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario Fighter - 362 Squadriglia, 22 Gruppo Autonomo CT (1:100 Scale)

The Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario (English: Archer, Sagittarius) was an Italian monoplane fighter/fighter-bomber produced for the Regia Aeronautica during the later years of World War II.

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Italian Macchi MC.200 Saetta Fighter - 369 Squadriglia, 22 Gruppo Italian Macchi MC.200 Saetta Fighter - 369 Squadriglia, 22 Gruppo (1:100 Scale)

The Macchi C.200 Saetta (Italian: both Arrow or Lightning), or MC.200, was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Aeronautica Macchi in Italy, and used in various forms throughout the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force).

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Italian Fiat G.55 Centauro Fighter - Capt. Giovanni Bonet, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, Venaria Reale, Italy, 1944 Italian Fiat G.55 Centauro Fighter - Capt. Giovanni Bonet, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, Venaria Reale, Italy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Fiat G-55 Centauro, arguably the best Italian production fighter of the Second World War, was designed around requirements issued by the Direzione Generale Costruzioni de Ministero in 1941, which intended to provide the Regia Aeronautica with a first line fighter equal to any being produced by the Allies.

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Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore Fighter - 396 Squadriglia, Rhodes, Greece, 1943 Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore Fighter - 396 Squadriglia, Rhodes, Greece, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Macchi C.202 Folgore (Italian "thunderbolt") was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Macchi Aeronautica and operated by the Regia Aeronautica (RA; Royal (Italian) Air Force).

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - USAAF Republic P-47D Fighter - Lt. Don Kearns Dallas Blonde, 319th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group "Checkertails" USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Lt. Don Kearns "Dallas Blonde", 319th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group "Checkertails", Foggia, Italy, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug" for its bulky shape, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was considered a monster of a machine. Despite its size, the Thunderbolt proved to be a fast and maneuverable warbird able to hold its own in combat.

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Herschel Green, White 11, 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group,  (Checkertail Clan), Celone, Italy, 1944 USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Herschel Green, "White 11", 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group ("Checkertail Clan"), Celone, Italy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug" for its bulky shape, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was considered a monster of a machine. Despite its size, the Thunderbolt proved to be a fast and maneuverable warbird able to hold its own in combat. In fact, when Allied pilots climbed aboard a P-47, they knew the were in control of a fighting machine with enormous power.

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USAAF Bell P-39Q Airacobra Fighter - Quanto Costa, 100th Fighter Squadron, Capodichino, Italy, 1944 USAAF Bell P-39Q Airacobra Fighter - "Quanto Costa", 100th Fighter Squadron, Capodichino, Italy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The P-39 was one of America's first-line pursuit planes in December 1941. It made its initial flight in April 1939 at Wright Field and by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, nearly 600 had been built. Its unique engine location behind the cockpit caused some pilot concern, but this proved to be no more of a hazard in a crash landing than with an engine located forward of the cockpit.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2 Fighter - S9+FM, II/Zerstorergeschwader 1, Wespe, Italy, 1943 German Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2 Fighter - S9+FM, II/II/Zerstorergeschwader 1, "Wespe", Italy, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was an aircraft of very mixed fortunes. It has often been criticized for its failure during the Battle of Britain, while its successes in other fields have been largely ignored.

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German Fieseler Fi 156C-2 Storch Reconnaissance Aircraft - Otto Skorzenys Gran Sasso Raid, Italy, September 1943 German Fieseler Fi 156C-2 Storch Reconnaissance Aircraft - Otto Skorzeny's Gran Sasso Raid, Italy, September 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (stork) was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II, and production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous to this day for its excellent STOL performance, and French-built later variants often appear at air shows.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Robert Williams, Duchess Arlene, 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, Tuskegee Airmen, Italy, 1944 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Robert Williams, "Duchess Arlene," 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, "Tuskegee Airmen", Italy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters.

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USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator Heavy Bomber - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 343rd Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, Ploesti Raid, August 1943 USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator Heavy Bomber - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 343rd Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, Ploesti Raid, August 1943 (1:144 Scale)

Life for the B-24 heavy bomber began in 1939, when the Army Air Corps initiated a request for a new bomber designed to exceed the performance of the B-17. Consolidated Aircraft responded quickly with its proposal, labeled Consolidated Model 32 and, on March 30th, 1939, was awarded the contract. One day short of nine months later, on December 29th, 1939, the first flight of the XB-24 bomber prototype took place.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Capt. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group "Tuskegee Airmen", Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Capt. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group "Tuskegee Airmen", Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945 (1:48 Scale)

No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Robert Williams, Duchess Arlene, 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group Tuskegee Airmen USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Robert Williams, "Duchess Arlene", 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group "Tuskegee Airmen", Italy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters.

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USAAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VC Fighter - Lt. Richard Dixie Alexander, Chappie, No. 4 Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group, Piagiolino, Italy, 1944 USAAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VC Fighter - Lt. Richard "Dixie" Alexander, "Chappie", No. 4 Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group, Piagiolino, Italy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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German Heinkel He-111P Medium Bomber - 1H+FK, 2./Kampfgeschwader 26, Ottana, Sardinia, 1943 German Heinkel He-111P Medium Bomber - 1H+FK, 2./Kampfgeschwader 26, Ottana, Sardinia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

When World War I ended, the German Air Force was disbanded under the Treaty of Versailles, which required the German government to abandon all military aviation by October 1st, 1919.

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USAAF Martin B-26B-25 Marauder Medium Bomber - Flak Bait, 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group, Grottaglie Airfield, Taranto, Italy, 1944 USAAF Martin B-26B-25 Marauder Medium Bomber - "Flak Bait", 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group, Grottaglie Airfield, Taranto, Italy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Martin B-26 Marauder was one of the most controversial American combat aircraft of the Second World War. It was primarily used in Europe, and was in fact numerically the most important USAAF medium bomber used in that theatre of action. However, on four occasions, investigation boards had met to decide if the development and production of the Marauder should continue.

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