Kagero's Fiat G.55 Centauro


Eduardo Manuel Gil Martinez




$24.85 from www.casematepublishing.com


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 84 pages, softbound, A4 format
ISBN: 978-83-66673-25-0

Italy entered WWII totally unprepared for what was to come. They had a military force that was fine for fighting in their colonial territories, but one that was simply overwhelmed by the pace of modern warfare against European armies.

Basically, Italy was not able to produce material in the quantity and quality that was sufficient to perform the task. Their air force was mostly comprised of fighter aircraft that were a pleasure to fly, but were underpowered and underarmed compared to most of its contemporaries.

This was exacerbated by Italian industry's inability to produce what was needed in the sort of numbers that were needed. They also tended to produce multiply products to fill the same need when they should have concentrated on just one. An example of this was when the Re.2005, MC.205 and G.55 were all being produced at the same time in early 1943. Of the three, the most widely produced was the MC.205 as it was simply an upengined MC.202. But the best of the lot was the Fiat G.55.

The G.55 was powered by a license built DB.605 and along with the other two aforementioned aircraft, allowed Italy to have an aircraft that was a match for what the Allies were producing. Even though Italy signed an armistice with the Allies in September 1943, the Germans were able to take control of the upper portion of the nation. In this area were most of Italy's aircraft manufacturing plants, so the fascist replacement government, the RSI, was able to continue aircraft production of most types. This included the G.55.

While the G.55 was never available in the numbers needed and most were destroyed on the ground from Allied bombing, it proved to be effective when flown by experienced pilots. So good was the aircraft that when the war was over, Fiat's tooling was resurrected and production continued post war with other variations on the theme being produced.

In this book, the author covers the development and deployment of the G.55. This includes all of the prototypes of other variations on the airframe, those that made it to prototype stage as well as those which remained on paper. Post war production is also covered and this includes those sold to Argentine, Egypt, and Syria. The G.59, which was a Merlin powered variant is included, but not fully covered.

Add to the in-depth history of the type some great period photos, images of surviving types, a full set of plans, and some great full page color profiles, and you have a great book to add to your library. I would be remiss to not mention that the book is in English, but the author is not a fluent English speaker so you will find the syntax of many sentences to be odd. Nothing that really detracts from the book, but something of which you should be aware. Well worth picking up. 

April 2021

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