Fiat CR.32 in Regia Aeronautica service

Fiat CR.32 units in the Regia Aeronautica during the Second World War.

Gruppo Squadriglie Stormo Bases and missions Serials Notes
2o 150a, 151a, 152a 6o, Autonomo 01/06/40 – Grottaglie (Italy) – DF, TG, AE ? From June to November 1940 the unit patrolled the lower Ionian Sea and Italian costline. During this time the CR.32 were gradually exchanged for the G.50. On 20 September 1940 the unit became Autonomo. When the unit moved to Africa in December 1940 it was completely equipped with G.50s.
3o 153a, 154a, 155a 6o 01/06/40 – Monserrato (Sardinia) – DF, TG, AE, CE ? From January 1941 the CR.32 was gradually replaced by the CR.42. The older aircraft ceased operations around April.
8o 92a, 93a, 94a 2o 03/06/40 – Tobruk T2 (Cirenaica) – DF, CE, AE ? Operated both CR.42s and CR.42 in the beginning of the war. Operations with the CR.32 ceased on 2 July 1940 when more CR.42s arrived.
12o 159a, 160a 50o 10/06/40 – Soman (Tripolitania) – GA
30/06/40 – El Adem (Cirenaica) – GA
??/09/40 – Tobruk T2 (Cirenaica) – GA
01/12/40 – Benina (Cirenaica) – GA
??/12/40 – El Adem (Cirenaica) – GA
??/01/41 – Benghasi (Cirenaica) – GA
07/01/41 – Derna (Cirenaica) – GA
??/02/41 – Zuara (Tripolitania) – IT
MM4665, MM4666, MM4667 160 a Squadriglia of this unit used the CR.32 in the ground attack role while 159a Squadriglia used the Breda 65 A80. On 28 January 1941 the unit flew their last mission before being re-equipped with G.50s.
13o 77a, 78a, 82a 2o 10/06/40 – Castelbenito (Tripolitania) – TG ? Started the war using both the CR.32 and the CR.42. The CR.32s were passed on to 50o Stormo before the end of June 1940.
16o 167a, 168a, 169a 50o 10/06/40 – Soman (Tripolitania) – GA
30/06/40 – Tobruk T2 (Cirenaica) – GA
??/10/40 – Bir el Cuasc (Cirenaica) – GA
??/12/40 – Derna (Cirenaica) – GA
16/12/40 – Benina N1 (Cirenaica) – GA
??/12/40 – El Adem (Cirenaica) – GA
??/01/41 – Benghasi K1 (Cirenaica) – GA
? 167 a Squadriglia of this ground attack unit used the CR.32. Converted to MC.200s in January 1941 to become a fighter unit (CT).
17o 71a, 72a, 80a 1o 10/06/40 – Boccadifalco (Sicily) – DF ? This unit handed over their MC.200s to 6o Gruppo in May 1940 reverting to the CR.32s but in September 1940 they were back on the MC.200s.
20o 351a, 352a, 353a 51o 10/06/40 – Ciampino Sud (Italy) – NF, DF ? This G.50 unit used four CR.32s as interim night fighters in the defence of Rome. When the unit left for Belgium and the Battle of Britain in September they left the CR.32s behind.
21o 354a, 355a, 356a 51o, 52o, Autonomo 10/06/40 – Ciampino Sud (Italy) – NF, DF
13/06/40 – Guidonia (Italy) – NF
04/08/40 – Capodichino (Italy) – NF, DF
? On 13 June 1940 the CR.32 were detached to Guidonia as night fighters. 356a Squadriglia joined the unit on 4 August 1940. The Gruppo transferred from 51o to 52o on 11 September. 354a and 355a Squadriglias became Autonomos on 28 October and moved to the Greek-Albanian front. On 7 November three CR.32qtrs night fighters were assigned to 356a Squadriglias G.50s. By April 1941 the unit flew MC.200s.
24o 361a, 362a 51o, Autonomo 10/06/40 – Sarzana (Italy) – DF MM4177 The unit became Autonomo in October 1940. Re-equipped with G.50s when the unit moved to Albania during the same month.
160o 393a, 394a Autonomo 10/06/40 – Tirana (Albania) – DF, AE
28/10/40 – Drenova (Albania) – DF, AE
29/10/40 – Devoli (Albania) – DF, AE
? At the start of the war the unit had eight CR.32s and eight CR.42s. In February 1941 the unit was only equipped with CR.42s.

Autonoma Squadriglie
Squadriglia Bases and missions Serials Notes
163o 10/06/40 – Marizza (Aegean) – DF
??/04/41 – Gadurra (Aegean) – DF, GA, AE
MM3518, MM4227 This unit used both the CR.32 and the CR.42. After the conquest of Crete the CR.32 were relegated to training duties. The squadriglia joined 161o Gruppo on 11 June 1941.
410o 10/06/40 – Dire Daua (Ethiopia) – DF, AE
??/07/40 – Giggiga (Ethiopia) – DF, AE
??/03/41 – Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) – DF, AE
05/04/41 – Gimma (Ethiopia) – DF
05/06/41 – Gondar (Ethiopia) – DF
MM4149, MM4648 On 9 April 1941 the unit only had two CR.32s left. When they reached Gondar on 5 June they probably didn’t have any aircraft left.
411o 10/06/40 – Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) – DF, AE
20/06/40 – Javello (Ethiopia) – DF
18/07/40 – Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) – DF
30/07/40 – Dire Daua (Ethiopia) – DF
??/08/40 – Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) – DF
??/03/41 – Asmara (Ethiopia) – DF
??/03/41 – Dessie (Ethiopia) – DF
??/04/41 – Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) – DF
??/04/41 – Gimma (Ethiopia) – DF
??/06/41 – Gondar (Ethiopia) – DF
? When they reached Gondar in June they probably ran out of aircraft.
414a 10/06/40 - Gura (Eritrea) - DF, AE
28/06/40 - Assab (Ethiopia) - DF, AE

MM3558: 24/06/40 12:55- Overheated during attempted interception from Asmara and crash-landed. Sergente Ruggero Baisi WiA.

This unit operated mainly Fiat CR.42 but had also a small number of Fiat CR.32. The unit lost its last six CR.42s in a raid on Assab on 10 July 1940. The unit ceased to exist after this.

AE: Aerial escort duties
CE: Convoy escort duties
DF: Day fighting duties
GA: Ground attack duties
IT: In transit
NF: Night fighting duties
TG: Training duties

If anyone has more information about the use of the CR.32 in the Regia Aeronautica during the Second World War and especially the serial numbers on CR.32 in specific Squadriglias, please fell free to contact me!

Caccia assalto - Emilio Botzu and Gherardo Cosolo, 1972, kindly provided by Massimo Cappone
Courage Alone - Chris Dunning, 1998
I Cavalieri Erranti - Ludovico Slongo, Stefan Lazzaro, Eugenio Eusebi, Michele Palermo and Danilo Ventura, 2023, ISBN 978-88-87952-37-7
The Facile Fiat...Rosatelli's "Italian Fighter" - Air Enthusiast/Twenty-Two
Additional information kindly provided by Massimo Cappone and Ludovico Slongo.

Last modified 07 November 2011