BATTLE OF DERNA This propaganda poster shows three Italian monoplanes circling the battle of Derna during the Italo-Turkish war (1911–12).
IN THE AUTUMN OF 1911, Italy declared war with Turkey in a dispute over the territory now known as Libya, then part of the decaying Turkish Empire. The Italian army possessed a number of foreign aircraft – French Blériots, Farmans, and Nieuports, and German Taubes. An air flotilla, initially comprising just nine aeroplanes and 11 pilots, was sent off with the Italian force that embarked for the Libyan coast in North Africa. In the short but brutal war that followed, the aeroplanes performed creditably, carrying out reconnaissance missions, mapping areas of the desert, and dropping propaganda leaflets promising a gold coin and sack of wheat to all those who surrendered. On 1 November, Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti dropped four grenades over the side of his Blériot on to a Turkish military ...read more