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Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units



Following its service in the Spanish Civil War, the Sparviero came into use with 111 and 8 Wing. By the end of 1939, there were 388 Sparvieros in Italian service, spread across 11 wings that were either partially or totally equipped with this aircraft. The type also participated in the Italian occupation of Albania during autumn 1939.[29] By the beginning of the Second World War, a total of 612 aircraft had been delivered, making the Sparviero the most numerous bomber in the whole of the Regia Aereonautica, assigned to a total of 14 wings (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 41 and 46).[29] Not all of these wings had Gruppi (groups) entirely equipped with the SM.79. Every squadron had around nine to 10 aircraft, but this included second line aircraft, so the force of each squadron consisted on average of around seven to eight bombers, and every wing had around 30 bombers. Among these units; 8, 9, 11, 12, 30, 32, 36, 41 and 46 Stormi (Wings) were based in Italy, and participated in the Battle of France. They were equipped with a total of around 350 SM.79s, including those used in training squadrons.[30]




Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units


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By 4 November 1936, there were only six SM.79s with enough crew to fly them operating in Spain. At the beginning of 1937, there were 15 SM.79s in total, and they went on to be used in Spain throughout the conflict, experiencing few losses throughout. Around 19 SM.79s of what was dispatched to the Spanish theatre were lost, while deliveries to 12 Wing and other units involved in combat numbered at least 99 aircraft. The first recorded interception of an SM.79 formation took place on 11 October 1937 when three aircraft were attacked by a formation of 12 Polikarpov I-16s. One of the SM.79s was damaged, but its defensive armament prevented the fighters from performing close-up attacks. All of the bombers successfully returned to base, although one had been hit by 27 bullets, many of which having struck fuel tanks. Several other interceptions occurred during the conflict without any SM.79s being lost as a result.[32][28]


By the beginning of World War II 612 aircraft had been delivered, making the Sparviero the most numerous bomber in the whole of the Regia Aereonautica, assigned to a total of 14 wings (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 41 and 46).[21] Not all of these wings had Gruppi (groups) entirely equipped with the SM.79. Every squadron had around nine to 10 aircraft, but this included second line aircraft, so the force of each squadron consisted on average of around seven to eight bombers, and every wing had around 30 bombers. Among these units; 8, 9, 11, 12, 30, 32, 36, 41 and 46 Stormi (Wings) were based in Italy, and participated in the Battle of France. They were equipped with a total of around 350 SM.79s, including those used in training squadrons.


Italy's most successful wartime bomber, the S.79 saw combat with the Regia Aeronautica in France, Yugoslavia, Greece, North Africa, East Africa and in the Mediterranean. Initially developed as a transport, the aircraft evolved into a dedicated medium bomber during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The manufacturer then produced the S.79-II torpedo-bomber which entered service in 1939 - which primarily saw service against the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean. Illustrated with 30 full colour profiles of the main units that saw action with either the Regia Aeronautica or the ANR, this title is the first of two volumes to cover the development history and wartime performance of the S.79. 041b061a72


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