Nick’s Heron

An Italian triple-engine floatplane, a CANT Z. 506B Airone (Italian: Heron) rests on a Sicilian beach (possibly on Mondello beach south of Palermo) guarded by an SMLE-armed British soldier in November 1943.

LOC LC-DIG-fsa-8d34157

Originally built in the 1930s as a 12-seat passenger plane for the Italian airline Ala Littoria to zip tourists and businessmen around the Med, the Airone turned out to be a pretty decent search-and-rescue craft and torpedo bomber and as such saw service in WWII with the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) and Navy (Regia Marina) as well as the by the Luftwaffe in limited numbers.

Another photo from the same set, LC-DIG-fsa-8d34158.

The two above images were shot by Office of War Information photographer Nick Parrino, who crawled around the ETO and the Middle East throughout 1943 and 1944, leaving behind more than 500 amazing images that are available through the Library of Congress.

Postwar, the Airone would remain in service as a SAR aircraft into the 1960s. Of the more than 350 produced, only one is preserved.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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