World War I (1915-1918)

Italy enters the war unprepared. The Aviation Corps has just a few aircraft (116 airplanes and 7 airships) and about a hundred actual pilots. The aircraft produced abroad (mostly French) are soon joined by models produced by the national Italian industry (Ansaldo and Caproni). Although smaller than that of the allies and of the enemy, the effort is immense: 12 thousand aircraft produced and almost 56 thousand troops mobilized. In 1915-1918, the newborn aviation refines the various disciplines (bombing, fighting, observation/reconnaissance, photography, propaganda). The war generates the myths behind the Italian air power: the fearless aces (fighters) (Francesco Baracca) and the bold raids (flight over Vienna) are then instrumentalized by Fascism for their ideological and political purposes.

World war I in the air (1914-1918)*

Belligerent country Total aircraft produced
Austria-Hungary 5.000
France 52.000
Germany 48.000
Great Britain 55.000
Italy 12.000
Russia 5.000