Damned Hunchbacks

Italy’s Forgotten Torpedo Bomber Units of the Second World War (1940-1943)

Paolo Morisi

Italy's best and most well known torpedo bomber in the Second World War. The tri-motored aircraft was used in the bomber, torpedo and transport role throughout the conflict. Includes technical data on the tri-motor aircraft and on the torpedo warhead.
Date Published :
May 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
60 b/w photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804512371
Pages : 304
Dimensions : 9.6 X 6.7 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Drawing on rare, historical photography Damned Hunchbacks explores the heroic feats of Italy’s most successful wartime bomber, the Savoia Marchetti S.79 Sparrowhawk that fought the convoy war against the state-of-the-art British Royal Navy warships and merchant ships. Focusing on the technical specifications of the S.79 torpedo bomber, using original unit war diaries, and detailed armament and cockpit views, this book explores the emergence, the organizational growth and the combat record of Italy’s mighty torpedo-bombers units against Allied battleships, cruisers, destroyers and raiders during the Second World War. Torpedo bomber actions are described in the major sea battles in the Mediterranean, from the more famous attacks such as the strike on HMS Indomitable during Operation Husky, the dramatic events of Operational Pedestal and the battle for the control of Malta, Operation Harpoon, or the clash with the Royal Navy during the Axis invasion of Crete, to less covered sea battles such as the Battle of the Sirte.

Despite their advanced radar systems, effective weaponry and heavy armor protection, the Allied warships proved vulnerable to a skillfully and audaciously flown torpedo-bomber, thanks to bold pilots and their crews that pushed their trimotors to the limits of their endurance. Including rare personal recollections from the torpedo bomber aces and historical accounts from the Allied warship crews, this book describes the battle for control of the Mediterranean Sea and for the ultimate occupation of North Africa. The author not only details the technical specifications and weaponry of the S.79 but also recounts Italy’s attempts during the war to introduce technical innovation through more advanced warheads and faster torpedo bombers. In addition Italy’s torpedo bombers are compared against the records of other major powers such as the USA, Japan, Britain and Germany that fielded torpedo bomber units during the war.

About The Author

Paolo Morisi is a military historian who has written extensively on the Italian Army during World War One and Two. He has published several books and articles on such topics as the Folgore Parachute Division, the Alpini and Austro-Hungarian stormtroopers of the First World War, the Savoia Marchetti S.79 torpedo bomber and the Axis air forces of the Second World War.

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