Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana

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Wing emblem of the A.N.R. from 1943 to 1944.

The National Republican Air Force (Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, or ANR) was the air force of the Italian Social Republic during World War II, closely linked with the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in northern Italy.

Description[edit]

Wing and fuselage emblem of the A.N.R. from 1944 to 1945. The fuselage flag was retained and placed next to the cross.

This air force was tasked with defending the industrial areas of the region, intercepting Allied bombers en route to southern Germany and the allied and occupied territories of the Axis, and giving close support to German and Italian land forces. Later during the war various units served with German forces based at Spilve, near Riga (Reichskommissariat Ostland), on the northern Russian Front, amongst others in the central and south area (Crimea) on the front.

The ANR, after the 1943 armistice that divided Italy, received numbers of Italian aircraft, later augmented with their own local production, and further aircraft from Germany. This force was opposed to the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (Aviazione Cobelligerante Italiana, or ACI, or Aeronautica Cobelligerante del Sud), the Italian pro-Allied air force, though they never actually met in combat.

Combat operations began in December 1943, leading, in the following January, to the attack performed by the 1st Squadriglia "Asso di Bastoni", against a formation of US P-38 Lightnings, three of which were shot down. Starting from June 1944, ANR started to receive Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6s for its fighter force. From October 1944 to February 1945, when the 1st Fighter Group "Asso di Bastoni" returned from training in Germany, 2nd Fighter Group "Gigi Tre Osei" was the only ANR fighter unit active in the defence of the northern Italian territory. From mid-1944, the casualty ratio started to outbalance the victories of the Italian pilots. The last interception missions were carried on 19 April 1945.

Bomber units included the Gruppo Aerosiluranti "Buscaglia Faggioni", led by Carlo Faggioni and entitled to Carlo Emanuele Buscaglia who, at the time, was presumed dead but was instead held in an Allied Prisoner of War camp and later fought with the Aeronautica Cobelligerante. The unit, using old Savoia-Marchetti SM.79, performed several raids against the Allied bridgehead of Anzio. Its only two victories were the sinking of a British transport ship north of Benghazi (at the time the group was based in Greece), and an enemy cargo off Rimini on 5 February 1945.

A Fiat G.55 Centauro in ANR livery, exhibited at the Aeronautica Militare Vigna di Valle museum.

Units[edit]

  • 1° Gruppo Caccia Asso di Bastoni
    • 1ª Squadriglia "Asso di bastoni"
    • 2ª Squadriglia "Vespa incacchiata"
    • 3ª Squadriglia "Arciere"
  • 2° Gruppo Caccia "Gigi Tre Osei"
    • 1ª Squadriglia “Gigi Tre Osei”
    • 2ª Squadriglia “Diavoli Rossi”
    • 3ª Squadriglia “Gamba di Ferro”, later "Diavoli"
  • 3° Gruppo Caccia "Francesco Baracca" (never become operational)
  • Squadriglia complementare d’allarme “Montefusco-Bonet”.
  • Gruppo Aerosiluranti Buscaglia Faggioni
  • 1° Gruppo Aerotrasporti "Trabucchi". Fought under Luftwaffe command in the Eastern Front, and was disbanded in the Summer 1944
  • 2° Gruppo Aerotrasporti "Terraciano" (performed only training)
Fuselage and tail flag of the A.N.R. used from October 1943 to May 1945.

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • D'Amico, F. and G. Valentini. Regia Aeronautica Vol. 2: Pictorial History of the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Frce, 1943-1945. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1986. ISBN 0-89747-185-7.
  • Sgarlato, Nico. Italian Aircraft of World War II. Warren, Michigan: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1979. ISBN 0-89747-086-9.
  • Matricardi, Paolo. The Concise History of Aviation. New York: Crescent Books, 1985. ISBN 0-517-47137X