WWII Royal Italian Air Force By Regia Aeronautica Italian pilots enjoyed success in the invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935 and during the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1938, but suffered heavily while flying inferior aircraft against the Allies in World War II. Although the Regia Aeronautica carried out limited operations over England and the Soviet Union, most of its pilots fought in the Mediterranean region. After the armistice in 1943, some pilots fled north to form the Republican Air Force and continued to fight for Mussolini. The majority of the Regia Aeronautica, however, took up arms against the Axis, flying over 4,000 missions between September 1943 and May 1945. Regia Aeronautica Officer's Service Uniform This is a service uniform for a Regia Aeronautica captain who was a fighter pilot. The two hash marks on the upper right sleeve indicate he suffered two war wounds. His decorations reflect his earlier service in Abyssinia and in the Spanish Civil War. Regia Aeronautica Flying Uniform This was a typical summer flying outfit for a Regia Aeronautica pilot in North Africa in 1942, although some airmen wore khaki shorts in place of the flying trousers for a measure of relief from the heat. This lieutenant has obtained a pair of comfortable British flying boots. It was a common practice for pilots of both sides to replace issued material with captured flying gear. Click here to return to the Airmen in a World at War Overview.