Spitfire V vs C.202 Folgore

Published on
May 27, 2014
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Donald Nijboer
978 1 78200 357 1
Other Publication Information
Paperback; May 2014; 80 pages; Three-views, cockpits, armament scrap views in full color.
Product / Stock #
Duel 60
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site

Written by Donald Nijboer and illustrated by Jim Laurier and Gareth Hector, Spitfire V vs C.202 Folgore: Malta 1942 from Osprey Publishing covers what is generally considered to be the best fighters for their respective air forces: the Spitfire Mk. V and the C.202 Folgore. This 60th book in the Duel series provides extensive accounts of the clash between these two classic World War II aircraft in the skies above Malta in 1942

Tracing the lineage of both aircraft back to the Schneider Trophy S 6B and MC 72, the book lays out the technical issues that went on to make the Spitfire Mk V and the C.202 such outstanding fighter aircraft. Moving forward to the war years, the author sets the stage for the massive dual that saw these two aircraft meet over Malta. To quote the author, “The history of these two fighters will forever be linked with the savage air battles that took place over the skies of Malta in 1942.”

The author explains, in a succinct paragraph, the factors that led these two aircraft to become linked in the history books. Again, quoting the author, “…what made a fighter victorious was a combination of technology, tactics, leadership, pilot training, industrial prowess, serviceability, and sound doctrine.” In a very real sense, this list of factors serves as the backbone for the remainder of the book.

The combatants are introduced to the reader on pages 12 and 21 with three-view drawings of both the Spitfire Mk. V and the C.202 in the “Design and Development” chapter. The aircraft selected for the artwork are those that were flown by two of the more famous aviators to take part in the air battles above Malta. The C.202 shown was flown by Capt. Furio Doglio Niclot of the 151 Sqaudrigilia, 20th Gruppo, 51 Stormo. Capt. Niclot was shot down on July 27, 1942 by Sgt George Beurling of No 249 Sqd. A Spitfire Mk. V flown by Beurling is illustrated on page 12.

The author sets the stage, as it were, with the chapters, “Strategic Situation,” followed by “The Combatants,” in which the process of pilot training for the opposing sides is outlined and explained. Two aspects of this content immediately struck me. The first was KIFA, or “Killed in Flying Accident.” Combat is horrific in and of itself, but most of us don’t even consider the dangers involved in pilot training. Secondly, the author points out the very much overlooked aspect of aircraft recognition. A quote from the Aircrew Service Manual, August 1942 states simply that, “People who regard Aircraft Recognition with a patronizing contempt, almost invariably die…GREATLY ASTONISHED.”

The author moves from training to tactics, and both the British and Italian tactics are described and contrasted. While the British had the Spitfire, an aircraft many considered to be the best pure interceptor of the war, they also used radar integrated with an efficient fighter control system. The combination of a superior aircraft and an effective control mechanism was significant. The author compares the British system to that of the Italians, who are described as having a bias toward individual fighter tactics based on aerobatic techniques.

Throughout this excellent publication, the illustrations will provide the modeler with excellent references. Cockpit diagrams (pages 52 & 53) for both the Spitfire and the C.202 each provide a detailed view of the cockpit instrument panel and side consoles. The armament locations for both the Spitfire and C.202 are shown in full-color top views of the aircraft on pages 29 and 33.

From the 1st page to the last, this book is an exciting and informative publication. The artwork is rich in detail and is mostly in full color. This book is highly recommended for those interested in the history of the air war over Malta. Modelers will find this publication an excellent reference as well. Osprey also publishes other books closely related to the subject covered in Spitfire Mk. V vs C.202, including Spitfire Mk V Aces 1941-1945, Italian Aces of World War 2, Malta Spitfire Aces, and 53 Stormo.

Thanks to Osprey for making the publication available to IPMS/USA for review.


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