Italian Naval Camouflage of WW2...


...from Seaforth Publishing



Title: Italian Naval Camouflage of WW2

Author: Marco Ghiglino

Publisher: Seaforth Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-5267-3539-3

This is a new hardback reference and an ideal companion to previous titles on both British and German Naval Camouflage which are also in the Seaforth range.  Author Marco Ghiglino is an officer in the Italian Merchant Navy, and this, his first book, is quite clearly a labour borne of a long time fascination in this aspect of Italian naval history.  The opening chapters provide the background across 11 chapters.  The Introduction takes us through the Peacetime, or pre-war, colours and the early efforts of aerial recognition which started by simply spreading Lime on the bow deck, but this of course washed off at sea, and led on to the red and white stripes that became standard. Then on to the early period of the war and the experimental phase.  This in turn leads on to Standard Camouflage Schemes then Evolution and Exceptions.  Then short sections on The Dark Grey Factor, Submarines, MAS, Motor Torpedo boats and VAS, Other Warships, The Greek Theatre, Merchant Ships and what happened after The Armistice in 1943.

All this leads into the bulk of the book, the Ship Profiles.  This is quite simple an amazing reference for naval historians and a treasure trove for warship modellers/wargamers.  Here we are presented with some 700 or so colour profiles, showing both sides of individual vessels, some with changing patterns over time as they were changed.  All are based on evidence from archive photos, and there are a few where the profile is left with simple shading, to indicate there is no current evidence of the actual pattern they wore.  It is an element of research which remains open to finding yet more evidence to enable them to be completed at a later date.  It splits down into 11 sub-sections, by type of vessel.  The scales of all the profiles are given, and these change to enable their best fit on each page.  So for the largest vessels, such as Battleships and Cruisers, the profile fits across the full (landscape format) page.  The smaller vessels are done in two column pages, so the profiles are sized to fit into the two columns.  I should add that throughout the book there are a host of archive photos which all help to illustrate the story and provide the evidence that enabled the profiles to be compiled.

I really like this as a reference which is great to see in an English language book, adding so much more to available references on warship camouflage, this time for the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy).  Heartily recommended.

Thanks to Seaforth for my copy.