The Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica), as an independent branch of the armed forces, was created back in 1923. In the period between the two world wars, they were considered the most progressive in Europe. However, insufficient attention to modern types of aircraft, as well as the industrial and technical weakness of Italy, led to the loss of a leading position in comparison with the air forces of other countries.
During the war, the pilots of Regia Aeronautica fought the enemy in different theaters of operations. In the Mediterranean, their opponents were French and British pilots. One of the brightest pages of the confrontation in the Mediterranean was the Battle of Malta. In North Africa, Italian pilots fought against the British Air Force. Also, units of Italian combat aircraft were sent to the Eastern Front, to fight the Soviet Union. This scattering of forces and assets, as well as insufficient replacement of losses, forced the Italian command to switch from active offensive operations to defense.