Biplane fighter aces


Sergente Maggiore Vittorio Albanello

In July 1942, Sergente Maggiore Vittorio Albanello served in 387a Squadriglia, 158o Gruppo, 50o Stormo Assalto. This unit was still equipped with Fiat CR.42s using them in the ground-assault role.

At 11:25 on 3 July, 14 MC.202s from the 10o Gruppo; seven from the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Luigi Giannella, Maresciallo Luigi Bignami, Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi, Sergente Luciano Perdoni, Sergente Piero Buttazzi and Sergente Livio Barbera) and seven from the 90a Squadriglia (Capitano Ranieri Piccolomini, Sottotenente Virgilio Vanzan, Maresciallo Pietro Del Turco, Maresciallo Angelo Savini, Sergente Maggiore Bruno Bortoletti, Sergente Maggiore Amleto Monterumici and Sergente Maggiore Elio Trevisan), led by Maggiore Paolo Maddalena (CO), took off from Fuka to escort 15 CR.42s of the 158o Gruppo. Flying in pairs, the new formation which was now replacing the traditional vic, was at 14,000 feet when 19 P-40s flying at lower altitude bounced, four of these being claimed shot down after a 20-minute combat. The claims were made by Maresciallo Savini, Maresciallo Luigi Bignami (MM7803), Sergente Maggiore Veronesi (MM7901) and Sergente Livio Barbera (MM7905). Many others were fired at but Maddalena (MC.202 MM7797/84-0(?)) failed to return after having crash-landed in the Burg el Arab area and the pilot becoming MiA. The remaining pilots was back at base at 13:00.
In the meantime, the 158o Gruppo attacked vehicle concentrations in the El Qasimiya-El Ruweisat area. Here at 12:10 a lone twin-engined aircraft was encountered and claimed shot down by Sergente Maggiore Albanello, who identified it as a Beaufighter. Three of the biplanes failed to return when Tenente Mario Porta (236a Squadriglia) became MiA, Sergente Giacomo Laini (387a Squadriglia in CR.42 MM4307) was KiA and Sottotenente Giancarlo Cocchi (388a Squadriglia) became MiA. In the absence of RAF claims, they may have all fallen to ground fire, none of the pilots returning.
At 11:10, eight Kittyhawks of 3 RAAF Squadron bombed and strafed south of Mukheisin, Pilot Officer R. V. P. Feiffer (Kittyhawk I ET482/X) was hit by Flak at 11:50 and crash-landed north of Amiriya (the pilot was safe). A few minutes later eight more Kittyhawks from 2 SAAF Squadron (11:25-12:40) provided top cover for Bostons, but while the formation was turning to return from the raid, a lone fighter attacked (reportedly a Bf 109), Lieutenant M. McLeod (Kittyhawk I AK853/E) being slightly wounded and his aircraft badly damaged (Cat. II). During the day, this unit carried bombs on its Kittyhawks for the first time. Meanwhile, at 11:45 six fighter-bombers and six fighter Hurricanes of 274 Squadron took off from LG 92 to bomb gun positions. They were attacked by three MC.202s, Sergeant H. Garwood (Hurricane IIc BE669/C) claiming one shot down at 12:10 west of Bir Makhhad.

Albanello ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 03/07/42 12:10 1 Beaufighter (a) Destroyed CR.42   2km E El Ruweisat 387a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) This claim can’t be verified with any Allied losses.

A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945: Volume One – Christopher Shores and Giovanni Massimello with Russell Guest, 2012 Grub Street, London, ISBN 978-1908117076

Last modified 27 June 2017