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Fortress Malta (1940 - 1942)

Fortress Malta (1940 - 1942)

The Siege of Malta was a military campaign in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II. From 1940 to 1942, the fight for the control of the strategically important island of Malta pitted the air forces and navies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany against the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

Malta was pivotal to the North African Campaign. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the island the "unsinkable aircraft carrier". From Malta, British air and sea forces could attack Axis ships transporting vital supplies and reinforcements from Europe to the Axis forces in North Africa commanded by General Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) Erwin Rommel. Rommel warned that "Without Malta the Axis will end by losing control of North Africa".

Malta was one of the most intensively-bombed areas during the war. The German Luftwaffe and the Italian Regia Aeronautica (Royal Air Force) flew a total of 3,000 bombing raids over a period of two years. Axis plans were made for Operation Herkules, an amphibious invasion of the island supported by airborne forces, but was never carried out. In the end, Allied convoys were able to supply and reinforce Malta, though at great cost. This played a major role in the eventual Allied victory in North Africa

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RAF Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk Fighter - Flying Officer Neville Duke, No. 112 Squadron, 1942 RAF Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk Fighter - Flying Officer Neville Duke, No. 112 Squadron, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

The P-40 was the best known Curtiss-Wright designed airplane of the Second World War. It was also one of the most controversial fighters, vilified by many as being too slow, lacking in maneuverability, having too low a climbing rate, and being largely obsolescent by contemporary standards even before it went into production.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc Fighter - Squadron Leader Robert 'Butch' Barton, No. 249 Squadron, Malta, 1941 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc Fighter - Squadron Leader Robert "Butch" Barton, No. 249 Squadron, Malta, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Fighter - No. 885 Squadron, Mediterranean, 1942 RAF Hawker Hurricane Fighter - No. 885 Squadron, Mediterranean, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB Fighter - No. 249 Squadron, Takali, Malta, 1942 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB Fighter - No. 249 Squadron, Takali, Malta, 1942 (1:72 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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Italian Piaggio P.108 Heavy Bomber Italian Piaggio P.108 Heavy Bomber (1:144 Scale)

The Piaggio P.108 Bombardiere was an Italian four-engine heavy bomber and the only one of its type to see service with Italy during World War II. The prototype first flew in 1939 and it entered service in 1941. It was one of a handful of Italian combat aircraft that could match the best manufactured by the Allies.

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Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero Medium Bomber Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 II Sparviero Medium Bomber (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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RAF Gloster Gladiator Mk. I Fighter - L8011, YK-0, Pat Pattle, No. 80 Squadron, Egypt, Spring 1940 RAF Gloster Gladiator Mk. I Fighter - L8011, YK-0, Pat Pattle, No. 80 Squadron, Egypt, Spring 1940 (1:72 Scale)

One of the only biplane fighters to have any measurable success in the Second World War, the Gloster Gladiator was the product of a bygone era combining with modernity for one last fling. The Gladiator was obsolete by September 1939, but it still had what it took to make a significant impact on history. Air Ministry specification F.7/30 realized (correctly) that future fighters were going to be faster and better armed.

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RAF Bristol Beaufighter VI Torpedo Plane - No. 272 Squadron, Malta, 1942 RAF Bristol Beaufighter VI Torpedo Plane - No. 272 Squadron, Malta, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

Developed as a private venture by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Beaufighter was a two-seat all-metal fighter using components from the Beaufort torpedo-bomber. First flown on July 17th, 1939, the Beaufighter eventually equipped 52 RAF squadrons, giving outstanding service during World War II, in particular as a night-fighter and torpedo-bomber (where the aircraft were affectionally known as 'Torbeaus').

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VC Fighter - Squadron Leader John Linch, Jiminy Cricket, No. 249 Squadron, Malta, 1942 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VC Fighter - Squadron Leader John Linch, "Jiminy Cricket", No. 249 Squadron, Malta, 1942 (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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RAF Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV Light Bomber - No. 82 Squadron, Malta, 1942 RAF Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV Light Bomber - No. 82 Squadron, Malta, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

Bristol Aeroplane's Blenheim was a British high-speed light bomber used extensively in the early days of the Second World War. It was later adapted into a successful heavy fighter. A Canadian-made variant named the Bolingbroke was used as an anti-Submarine and training aircraft.

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German Heinkel He 111H-6 Torpedo Bomber - 6/Kampfgeschwader 26, 1H+GP, Italy, 1942 German Heinkel He 111H-6 Torpedo Bomber - 6/Kampfgeschwader 26, 1H+GP, Italy, 1942 (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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German Junkers Ju 88A-4 Medium-Bomber - I/Kampfgeschwader 77, Italy, 1942 German Junkers Ju 88A-4 Medium-Bomber - I/Kampfgeschwader 77, Italy, 1942 (1:72 Scale)

The Luftwaffe's Junkers Ju 88 was a twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Among the most versatile planes of the war, it was used as a bomber, close-support aircraft, nightfighter, torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.

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