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Mussolini's Navy: A Reference Guide to the Regia Marina, 1930-1945 Hardcover – October 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A much needed boost for the often maligned Italian navy. Also comprehensive, well laid out and lavishly, if not beautifully illustrated. - Naval-History --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Maurizio Brescia has published a number of books on Italian warships and provided illustrations for many more. He is on the editorial board of the monthly STORIA MILITARE and is a regular contributor to other magazines, including the Italian navy s official REVISTA MARITTIMA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591145449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591145448
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 10 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Vincent P. O'Hara on November 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Two disclosures: I have corresponded with the author and I purchased this book from the publisher, not Amazon.

Mussolini's Navy is focused on the ships of the Italian navy. There is a short historical introduction to the prewar navy, another short section on infrastructure, organization and a brief chronology. I liked the chapters on bases and dockyards and camouflage. The sections on flags and uniforms were interesting. The Who's Who which rounds out the work is useful and could have been a lot longer.

The author's major interest, which he expresses in his dedication, is the technical aspects of the ships and two thirds of the work consists of a type-by-type, class-by-class walk through the Regia Marina's fleet. The author provides details of design, technical aspects, and operational history. The text is complemented by an impressive collection of photographs--many of which I've never seen--and excellent line drawings. Overall, the book's visual aspects are outstanding and reflect the author's belief that images are themselves sometimes more important than text or data tables. "Even a less than prefect photography may often tell much more than a written page."

What is missing? There is little of weapons, fire control, or the navy's social aspects like training. There is nothing on doctrine or intelligence. However the strengths-- illustrations, ship information and camouflage--are very strong. I consider this a major work and well worth the cost.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B. Musler on November 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have long felt there is a dearth of serious books about the Italian Navy in English. Well, the situation has just improved. MUSSOLINI'S NAVY: A Reference Guide to the Regia Marina 1930-1945 has something for everyone -- historian, naval wargamer, modeler -- and can justify it's price based on the number and quality of photographs alone. The author, Maurizio Brescia is apparently an editor at Storia Militare, and a contributor to a journal of the Italian Navy besides. He has authored works on destroyers of the 30's (particularly the Navigatori class,) a book on Italian naval camouflage and an illustrated history of naval photography. He curates for maritime museums and archives and is an accomplish draftsman. And ALL of that knowledge and those skills were leveraged to advantage in this concise 240 page reference work. Table of contents:

1) The Regia Marina from 1861 to 1939
2) Dock Yards, Naval Bases, Ports, Shipyards and Coast Defenses
3) Fleet Organization and Operations
4) Ships in Service 1940-45
5) Surface and Underwater Assault Craft
6) Naval Aviation
7) Italian Naval Camouflage in the Second World War (this includes high quality color illustrations for you miniature painters and modelers, btw)
8) Flags
9) Uniforms, Ranks, Insignia, and Decorations
10) Who's Who in the Italian Navy in the Second World War

Wide ranging in scope, the text is informative but not exhaustive. (Minutia about weaponry or sensor data will still require cracking Whitley, for example.) I want to stress that the period photographs, line drawings and color panels are the most outstanding elements of this book. A few were familiar to me, but the vast majority of them were not...and let's face it...Italian warships are eye candy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dr Maurizio Brescia's list of credits is impressive by any standards. He is either author or co-author of a number of books on Italian Naval vessels and also a member of the editorial board of `Storia Militare,' a leading Italian military history magazine. In addition, he is also an accomplished draughtsman who has illustrated several other works - as well as this one. With such a high reputation in his specialist field, you just know the information contained within this book is something on which you can rely.

My own interest stems from researching shipwrecks which are of interest to scuba divers. Many years ago, for example, I was studying the remains of HMS Maori which, on 13 December 1941 in company with three other destroyers, sunk the two Italian light cruisers Alberico Da Barbiano and Alberto Di Giussano. I recall being very disappointed at being able to discover little or no information about those two Italian vessels - or anything else for that matter pertaining to the Italian Navy of WW2. Now that gap in my knowledge has been filled - and filled with style!

As far as the vessels are concerned - there are all here. From the biggest to the smallest, every single vessel - right down to miniature submarines, are all afforded their space. But this book is far more than just a collection of technical details. For example; Ch. 1 commences with "The Regia Marina from 1861 to 1939" and includes details of those early years, European Powers, WW1, operations in the Adriatic and the period 1919 to 1939. In other words, in order for the author to provide a comprehensive guide to the Italian Navy of WW2, he has included those significant events which found the Italian Navy exactly where it was when Mussolini threw in his lot with Hitler and entered WW2 in 1940.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andy Hill on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Mussolini's Navy (A Reference Guide to the Regia Marina 1930-1945) by Dr Maurizio Brescia, published by Seaforth 2012. ISBN 9781848321151

Of all the major naval powers of World War 2, it can be strongly argued that the Italian Navy (Regia Mariana) has had the least exposure in the English language. Maybe this lack of exposure is a remnant and testimony to the effectiveness of the Allied propaganda of the period, and the more recent invention of the internet, where all things Italian were seen as having 1 forward gear and 5 reverse gears, and where these myths & propaganda found a new home & audience.
For those not fortunate to have access the Italian USMM, Revista Marratima or Storia Militare, then the works of Bragadin, O'Hara, Sadkovich, Greene & Massignani have been welcomed in helping rectify this imbalance over the years.

This latest work by the renowned Italian author Dr Maurizio Brescia is a work of authority and clarity. As a reference guide you will not find exhaustive descriptions concerning specific actions or battles, but something akin to the works of M.J.Whitley , though much more detailed. The sheer range of the book is a masterful balance and for which the author deserves due credit.

The book is broken down into some 10 chapters, though by far the largest is the 131pages of the fourth chapter, called Ships in Service 1940-5. Though in fact where necessary he goes on and charts the life of these vessels post 1945. The book is lavishly filled with photographs from the usual suspects to those concerning gun emplacement being constructed above Genoa, smoke generators on train wagons, to that of the armoured train firing during a drill. I personally found Chapter 2 on Dockyards, Naval Bases, Ports, Shipyards and Coastal Defences most enthralling.
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