Biplane fighter aces


Tenente Egisto Andalò

Egisto Andalò was born on 2 April 1917.

On 1 October 1939, he was commissioned (in Servizio Permanente Effettivo).

Andalò was promoted to Tenente on 6 February 1941.

In October 1941, Tenente Andalò served in the 154a Squadriglia of the 3o Gruppo C.T., which was equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

On the night of 13/14 October, Tenente Andalò intercepted an unidentified bomber, making a number of passes at this without apparent result.

During the night of 2 and 3 November 1941, Wellingtons from both 40 and 104 Squadrons took off from Luqa and raided Castel Benito airfield, Tripoli. They reported dropping nearly 28 tons of H.E. and incendiaries. Workshops and ammunition dumps were hit, and petrol tanks were destroyed and fires were started in hangars and buildings. Aircraft dispersed on the ground were bombed and machine-gunned, and at least 12 were seen to be on fire. One CR.42 was shot down and one Wellington and crew was missing.
The majority of the pilots reported sighting night-fighters over the target. They made four separate attacks without effect. Fire was returned in all cases and the rear gunner of X claimed one CR.42 shot down, which was seen to crash on the ground. R received a hit in the port tyre and one in the fuselage. Heavy and light AA was inaccurate and moderate.
A New Zealand pilot with 40 Squadron, Sergeant C. A. Armstrong, pressed home his attack in such a determined manner that he gained the award of a D.F.M., his citation stating: ”…he bombed the aerodrome at Castel Benito, setting aircraft on the ground on fire. He then descended to 200 feet and machine-gunned the airfield.”
X9763/U of the same squadron, piloted by Sergeant G. D. Colville, failed to return. Sergeants Gavin David Colville (RAF no. 929677), 20-year-old Ian Russell McCalman (RAAF no. 400418), 23-year-old Harold Michael Forth (RAF no. 748116), Ernest Donald Spry (RAF no. 957039), 20-year-old Thomas Wilson Robson (RAF no. 1100625) and 20-year-old John Thomas Ackroyd (RAF no. 1379183) were all KIA.
The 3o Gruppo carried out as many as 11 flights with the CR.42 CNs (caccia notturna/night-fighter) of its Squadriglie between 19:50 and 01:00.
Tenente Andalò of the 154a Squadriglia claimed to have shot down a bomber (most probably X9763/U) north of Tripoli and to have probably shot down a second. In its turn, the guns on board the bombers hit his plane and he was wounded in the leg by two bullets. The enemy aircraft crashed down into the sea in flames where it continued to burn for over an hour. Tenente Enzo Bianchi (155a Squadriglia) claimed a second bomber probably shot down. In addition, a second CR.42 was hit. Overall, the pilots declared to have machine-gunned 16 enemy planes. 791 rounds from 7.7 mm machine guns and 843 from 12.7 mm machine guns were fired. The CR.42s were equipped with R.B. 30 receivers, which were said to work well; there was some interference on the same wave length, perhaps brought on by enemy transmissions.
At least seven Axis aircraft were destroyed on the ground at Castel Benito; two BR.20s (98o Gruppo B.T.), one G.50bis, one S.79, one S.84, one S.81 and one Ju 87 (German). Additional numerous casualties were suffered, including Tenente De Nunzio of 239a Squadriglia BaT, who was killed.

During the night on 28 March 1942, four CR.42s from the 154a Squadriglia undertook a sortie to Tobruk. The pilots reported that they caused fires in the docks area. During the return flight Tenente Andalò intercepted a Wellington, which he claimed shot down.
This is possibly Wellington II Z8516/L of 148 Squadron, which took off 22:23 from LG.106 but crashed 59km west-north-west of Mersa Matruh.

During his career, Andalò was decorated with one Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare.

Andalò ended the war with 2 biplane victories.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 02/11/41 19:50-01:00 1 Wellington (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   N Tripoli 154a Squadriglia
  02/11/41 19:50-01:00 1 Wellington (a) Probably destroyed Fiat CR.42   Castel Benito area 154a Squadriglia
2 28/03/42 night 1 Wellington (b) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   Benghazi area 3o Gruppo

Biplane victories: 2 destroyed, 1 probably destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 destroyed, 1 probably destroyed.
(a) Wellington X9763/U from 40 Squadron shot down (probably by Tenente Andalò) with a second damaged. 3o Gruppo claimed one Wellington shot down and two more as probable.
(x) Possibly Wellington II Z8516/L of 148 Squadron, which was lost during the night.

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
A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945: Volume Two – Christopher Shores and Giovanni Massimello with Russell Guest, Frank Olynyk & Winfried Bock, 2012 Grub Street, London, ISBN-13: 9781909166127
La Battaglie Aeree In Africa Settentrionale: Novembre-Dicembre 1941 – Michele Palermo, IBN, ISBN 88-7565-102-7
Malta: The Hurricane Years 1940-41 - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-89747-207-1
Royal Air Force Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean, Volume 1: 1939-1942 - David Gunby and Pelham Temple, 2006 Midland Publishing, ISBN 1-85780-234-9
Additional information kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.

Last modified 08 September 2023