Rodolfo Graziani, Marshal of Italy, Viceroy of Ethiopia and one of Mussolini's most valued generals remains to this day a divisive figure in his homeland. Revered by some Italians as a patriot and vilified by others as a murderer.
From the allied perspective, he was the Italian general whose troops surrendered en masse to the British during operation Compass, which almost knocked the Italians out of North Africa in 1941.
But what is the true story of Rodolfo Graziani?
Today I am joined by James Cetrullo.
For the first time, James has translated from Italian the biography Rodolfo Graziani: Story of an Italian General written by Alessandro Cova.
In 1940 the British Purchasing Commission approached North American Aviation (NAA) to build under license Curtis P-40 fighters. NAA suggested that rather than produce an old design they proposed a new design, this would become the P-51 Mustang.
When fitted with the Roll-Royce Merlin engine, the Mustang would be one of the most important fighters of the war. With its ability to carry tremendous amounts of fuel, the plane was able to fly deep into Europe providing fighter escort for the bomber groups. Over the skies of Germany, it proved more than a match for what the Luftwaffe could throw at them.
Joining me is Chris Bucholtz.
Chris is an aviation historian with a prolific body of work. He previously joined me in episode 110 to discuss the P-47 Thunderbolt. His new book published by Osprey is P-51B/C Mustang: Northwest Europe 1943-44.