Biplane fighter aces


Sottotenente Omero Alesi

Omero Alesi was born on 19 February 1911.

When Italy declared war on the Great Britain and France on 10 June 1940, he served in the 90a Squadriglia, 10o Gruppo, 4o Stormo C.T.

On 12 June, the 2o Stormo’s fighters in North Africa were joined by those of the 10o Gruppo (84a, 90a and 91a Squadriglie) of the Gorizia based 4o Stormo C.T.. The Gruppo was commanded by Tenente Colonnello Armando Piragino and started the war at Tobruk T2 with 27 CR.42s.
The 90a Squadriglia was composed of the following pilots: Capitano Renzo Maggini (CO), Tenente Franco Lucchini, Tenente Giovanni Guiducci, Sottotenente Neri De Benedetti, Sottotenente Alessandro Rusconi, Maresciallo Alesi, Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini, Sergente Amleto Monterumici, Sergente Silvio Crociati, Sergente Giovanni Battista Ceoletta, Sergente Alfredo Sclavo, Sergente Bruno Bortoletti, Sergente Paolo Guillet and Sergente Ernesto Keller. The last three pilots didn’t take part in the move to T2. The Squadriglia had nine Fiat CR.42s on strength.

On 11 September 1940, the 9o and 10o Gruppo were still employed in standing patrols over the troops. During the second patrol of the day, at 17:45 in the Sidi Omar – Bardia area, a Blenheim was discovered at 6000 metres.
The Italian formation was escorting three CR.32s and was led by Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli. It was composed of seven CR.42s from the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Luigi Monti, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Tenente Giuseppe Aurili, Sottotenente Paolo Berti, Sergente Roberto Steppi, Sergente Narciso Pillepich and Sergente Domenico Santonocito), five CR.42s from the 91a Squadriglia (Capitano Giuseppe D’Agostinis, Sottotenente Ruggero Caporali, Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli, Sergente Elio Miotto and Sergente Alessandro Bladelli) and six CR.42s from the 90a Squadriglia (Tenente Giovanni Guiducci, Tenente Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Neri De Benedetti, Maresciallo Alesi, Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini and Sergente Bruno Bortoletti).
Capitano Vanni, Tenente Aurili and Sergente Steppi attacked first, followed by other pilots of the formation. During the combat Vanni’s aircraft was hit by return fire and with the compressed air piping pierced, he was forced to turn back. His wingmen continued the pursuit and claimed the Blenheim shot down.
The bomber however was assigned as a shared to all the 10o Gruppo pilots presents (even if , for example, it is known that 90a Squadriglia pilots totally used only 140 rounds of ammunition so possibly only one of them was able to use his guns).
This claim can’t be verified with RAF sources but it is possible that it was a Blenheim from 113 Squadron since this unit’s ORB is lacking.

On 17 July 1942, he was promoted to Sottotenente.

In December 1942, Sottotenente Alesi was serving in the 73a Squadriglia, 9o Gruppo C.T.

On 1 December, four MC.202s of the 73a Squadriglia and four of the 96a Squadriglia, led respectively by Capitano Giulio Reiner and Capitano Emanuele Annoni, were scheduled to escort four (or eight) MC.200s of the 8o Gruppo, 2o Stormo, led by Capitano Orfeo Cecchet (CO of the 94a Squadriglia) and armed with 50 kg and 15 kg bombs, to strike enemy vehicles south-west of El Ahmar.
The fighter-bombers took off around 06:50 and joined their escort at 3000 meters above Ara dei Fileni before heading east to El Gtafia, with the escort 500 m above the fighter-bombers. The MC.200s dive-bombed and then strafed the targets, destroying or damaging more than thirty vehicles, while the Folgores stayed at 800 m to cover. They then returned home, with the MC.200s at 2000 m and the escort 1000 m above. It seemed all quiet, but Reiner saw Tenente Giuseppe Oblach and his wingman Sottotenente Alesi climbing, without giving any sign of alarm. When they passed Marsa el Brega, Reiner realized that Oblach and Alesi were missing, so he waved the wings to alert his pilots and turned back, but he could not see any aircraft. When he returned at the base, around 08:30, he found Alesi, who told him that Oblach had spotted twelve P-40Fs that were going to attack the Macchis, and, having no time to give the alarm, immediately jumped them. The Curtiss counterattacked the two MC.202s, but while Alesi escaped and returned home, Oblach was surrounded, shot down and killed. Regio Esercito infantry troops watched the combat, and witnessed that a Macchi shot down an enemy aircraft before being overwhelmed.
Oblach was posthumously decorated with the Medaglia d’Oro al valor militare.

Alesi ended the war with 1 shared biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  11/09/40 17:45- 1/19 Blenheim (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sidi Omar - Bardia area 90a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 shared destroyed.
(a) This claim can’t be verified with RAF sources.

Annuario Ufficiale Delle Forze Armate Del Regno D’Italia Anno 1943. Part III Regia Aeronautica – 1943 Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Roma
Desert Prelude: Early clashes June-November 1940 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2010 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-89450-52-4
Diario Storico 84a Squadriglia kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Diario Storico 90a Squadriglia kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Diario Storico 91a Squadriglia kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2009 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-427-5
Additional info kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.

Last modified 11 September 2010