Italy's most successful wartime bomber, the S.79 was also the most produced, with around 1370 built between 1936 and early 1944. The Sparviero (Sparrowhawk) saw combat with the Regia Aeronautica in France, Yugoslavia, Greece, North Africa, East Africa and in the Mediterranean. Initially developed by Savoia-Marchetti as a transport, the aircraft had evolved into a dedicated medium bomber by the time the S.79-I made its combat debut with the Aviazione Legionaria in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. A robust bomber, the S.79 provided the striking power for most of Italy's aerial campaigns. A proven torpedo-bomber, the Sparviero also made a solid contribution to Italy's maritime war in the Mediterranean. Although initially hampered by poor tactics, the S.79 bomber crews nonetheless scored sunk a number of Allied vessels. Indeed, the Sparvieri bombers patrolled ceaselessly over the Mediterranean, providing a constant threat to Allied sailors in the early stages of the war. In East Africa and the Red Sea the Sparvieri were the most modern bombers in-theater, proving a challenge to RAF and SAAF biplane fighters. This proposed volume aims to chronicle the history of the S.79's war in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Greece, the Balkans and East Africa. S.79 bombers, in action from the first day of the war in the Mediterranean until late 1942, played their part in numerous actions, operating as both strategic and tactical bombers. From 1943 until war's end, the S.79 served as auxiliary and liaison transport aircraft. A small number continued to see action as bombers through to 1945, however, serving with the pro-German ANR in northern Italy.
Read an extract of Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Combat debut in Spain /Chapter 2 – 1940: War against France /Chapter 3 - Sparvieri over Malta and the Mediterranean, 1940-42 /Chapter 4 – Greece and the Balkans, 1940-41 /Chapter 5 – Sparvieri over the Desert, 1940-43 /Chapter 6 – Over East Africa and Red Sea, 1940-41 /Chapter 7 - Sparvieri in Transport roles /Appendices: A) S.79 bomber units, B) Awards to Italian S.79 crewmen and notable pilots, C) Allied warships hit by S.79s, D) Allied merchant ships hit by S.79s, E) Colour Plates Commentary