I’ve been looking into more info about this subject, but unfortunately I haven’t found as much info as I hoped.
I did find that as soon as the Italians signed the armistice, hundreds of Italian pilots and aircraft were delivered to Allied airfields, but how significant was the Italian Co-belligerent Air Force in the overall fight in the skies over German occupied Italy?
I’d like to know more about those same pilots who took to the skies against the Luftwaffe in northern Italy, flying both Italian planes as well as other Allied aircraft.
The Macchi 202 Folgore/205 Veltro are on my top 5 favourite fighters of the war
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The Italian Co-belligerent Air Force was mostly using Allied aircraft as the crews were retrained since Italian Aircraft became no longer useful for combat operations. These Italian crews conch operations mostly over Yugoslavia and Albania and not over the Italian Peninsula to avoid the possibility of Italians fighting Italians in air combat.
From what I know, there were 281 Italian aircraft, but I believe they were not useful for combat due to being obsolete compared to what planes the Allies had to offer against the Germans and against the Italian Fascist Air Force. Some of the former Italian Air Force’s planes such as the Reggiane Re. 2002 Ariete were used by the Allies to bomb German shipping in Corfu. I’m gonna go with the “not useful in combat” is in terms of dogfights and against hard targets.
As for the fighters I mentioned above, they were considered excellent aircraft but due to the complexity and cost of production, niether model was available in any significant number.
At the time of the Italian treaty, only about 100 Macchi 202s remained in serviceable condition.
Only 6 Macchi 205s (basically an upgraded Macchi 202 with a more powerful engine and armement) were delivered to Allied airstrips.
While these specific examples may be capable of matching German fighters of the time, there was barely enough delivered to form a squadron.
Also, without the needs to replace spare parts and engines, I can see how retraining Italian pilots for British or American planes would be the logistically better option.