Italy joined the war in June 1940 and only fought in the Battle for France for several weeks, after which it received some French aircraft. Later, Mussolini insisted on sending aircraft to Belgium to assist in the Battle of Britain. The Germans thought the planes would be far more useful in North Africa. They proved hopelessly inadequate in the skies over Britain and had to be withdrawn. In 1941, Italy sent a more effective air contingent to fight in the Soviet Union.