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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 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 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 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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Italian Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana Macchi C.205 Veltro Fighter - Luigi Gorrini, 1 Squadriglia "Asso di Bastoni," 1 Gruppo Caccia, 1944 Italian Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana Macchi C.205 Veltro Fighter - Luigi Gorrini, 1 Squadriglia "Asso di Bastoni," 1 Gruppo Caccia, 1944 (1:72 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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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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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. Despite not living up to the Luftwaffe's expectations it did manage to serve Germany throughout the Second World War in the long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, ground attack and night fighter roles.

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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 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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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 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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USAAF P-38 Lightning Interceptor - Captain Warren Campbell, 94th Fighter Squadron, Foggia, Italy, 1944 USAAF Lockheed P-38J Lightning Interceptor - Captain Warren Campbell, 94th Fighter Squadron, Foggia, Italy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

It was fast, heavily armed and extremely versatile. And many believe the Lockheed P-38 Lightning  to be the finest American fighter of WWII. Its low-drag, aerodynamic shape and heavy weight enabled this twin-engine, twin-boomed aircraft to accelerate to high speeds faster than any previous warplane, making it a potent fighter and a superb fighter-bomber.

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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 [Signature Edition] USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Capt. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group "Tuskegee Airmen", Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945 [Signature Edition] (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 - "Wongo Wongo," 512th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force, North Africa, 1943 USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator Heavy Bomber - "Wongo Wongo," 512th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force, North Africa, 1943 (1:72 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.

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USAAF Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - Nine O Nine, 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group USAAF Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - "Nine O Nine", 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (1:48 Scale)

The B-17 will always be remembered as the most celebrated four-engine strategic aircraft of WW II, maybe of all time. From the summer of 1943 onwards, huge numbers of Boeing's great silver bird were found on airfields throughout the English countryside.

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