Black Phoenix is the first in-depth English-language work to cover the operations, organization, and order of battle of the Marina Repubblicana -- the naval force of Benito Mussolini's fascist state that fought alongside Germany from September 1943 to May 1945. Not even in Italian has such a rich and detailed study of this subject ever been published. Black Phoenix tells of the navy created by Prince Junio Valerio Borghese from the kernel of the X MAS Flotilla special attack force. Borghese's navy used small and expendable units to wage asymmetrical warfare and in the process tied down a vastly superior foe. Black Phoenix is a book rich in lessons for today's troubled world and complicated naval environment where littoral warfare is a new center of focus and concern. Consisting of ten chapters and three appendices, the Black Phoenix opens with the history of the troubled German-Italian naval relations between 1940 and 1943 and the immediate effects of the 8 September 1943 armistice. It examines the hasty establishment of the Marina Repubblicana on a volunteer basis of hand-picked personnel and the force's operations off Anzio, the Provence, in the Ligurian Sea, and the Adriatic. A closing section assesses the Marina Repubblicana's impact in the greater conflict and its role in Germany's remarkable ability to prolong the Mediterranean campaign to the war's final days. Black Phoenix is based on primary sources in Italian, English, German, and French. It is profusely illustrated with fifty photographs, some never-published from the private collections of participants and colored period propaganda, along with artwork and maps created especially for this book.
Vincent P. O'Hara and Enrico Cernuschi, whose work is well-known for advancing an understanding of Italy's role in the Second World War, have previously collaborated on Dark Navy: the Regia Marina and the Armistice of 8 September 1943 and sixteen articles that have appeared in publications and annuals such as Naval War College Review, Warship, Seaforth Naval Review, and World War II. They have also written two chapters covering the Regia Marina's doctrine, development, logistic and organization during the First and Second World Wars which form a part of the naval bestsellers, On Seas Contested and To Crown the Waves published by the Naval Institute Press in 2010 and 2013 respectively. O'Hara is the author, co-author or editor of nine books. His recent major works include German Fleet at War (2004); The U.S. Navy against the Axis (2007); Struggle for the Middle Sea (2009) and In Passage Perilous (2012). Cernuschi has authored or co-authored eighteen books including the authoritative Le navi da guerra italiane, (2003). Recent works include Navi e Quattrini (2013), ULTRA. La fine di un mito (2014) and Battaglie sconosciute: Storia della Regia Marina durante la Grande Guerra (2014)