Italian Destroyers of World War II

...New Vanguard 292, from Osprey Publishing

Title: Italian Destroyers of World War II
Author: Mark Stille
Publisher: Osprey
ISBN: 978-1-4728-4055-4

A subject I started with no knowledge about, this is Osprey's New Vanguard 292, a 48-page soft-cover book in the usual style for the series. The Introduction which opens the book sets the scene, explaining that the Italian Regia Marina (RM) started WW2 with one of the largest destroyer fleets, with 59 vessels and just 5 more built during the war, plus a similar number that were captured and put into RM service.
The rest of the book gives us details of the armament fitted to the various classes, and discusses one of their real faults, a lack of good radar equipment. Built for combat within the confines of the Mediterranean they had some faults, but still managed to make an impact in various actions which are detailed in a section that tells the stories of their significant actions, including one group of 7 ships that were sent to the Red Sea, in the knowledge that they wouldn't be able to get back home. Then it moves on to give us the details of the 12 different classes of RM destroyers.
Everything is rounded off with an analysis of the performance of the RM destroyers during the war, and identifies a number of faults with them. Of the 59 which started the war, 51 were lost by the end. The book is illustrated with plenty of archive photos and the usual high quality artwork that we associated with Osprey books. In particular I liked the various colour profiles, and I suspect that a number of modellers will get inspiration from some of the really interesting camouflage schemes they include, quite different from a plain grey warship. The war in the Mediterranean is an interesting area of study, and the Italian Navy in the confines of that sea meant that it tied up a good number of Allied naval units to fight/contain them.
Thanks to Osprey Books for our review copy.

Robin