Biplane fighter aces


Tenente Armando Capogrossi

In July 1941, Tenente Armando Capogrossi served in the 368a Squadriglia, 151o Gruppo. This unit was at the time based in Cirenaica and equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

On 18 July, six Blenheims from 110 Squadron were led by Wing Commander Theodore Moseley Hunt DFC, to attack a power station at Tripoli. Wing Commander Hunt was seen to obtain direct hits on the target, but during the return flight, at around 14:30, the formation was attacked by an Italian fighter when 13km out to sea from the African coast. The interceptor opened fire from long range, and Hunt’s Blenheim Mk.IV (Z9582) at once crashed into the sea killing 26-years-old Hunt (RAF no. 37356), 20-years-old Flight Sergeant Frederick Samuel Thripp (RAF no. 611006) and 20-years-old Observer Sergeant Kenneth Charles Tucker (RAF no. 755162).
They had been intercepted by two CR.42s from 368a Squadriglia flown by Tenente Armando Capogrossi and Sergente Audibert, which flew a patrol between 15:30-17:30. Two Blenheims were spotted by the patrol and Tenente Capogrossi shot down one in flames north-east off Tripoli and damaged the second with the use of 200 rounds of 12.7mm and 360 rounds of 7.7mm 360.

Capogrossi ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 18/07/41 15:30-17:30 1 Blenheim (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   NE off Tripoli 368a Squadriglia
  18/07/41 15:30-17:30 1 Blenheim Damaged Fiat CR.42   NE off Tripoli 368a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed, 1 damaged.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed, 1 damaged.
(a) Blenheim Z9582 of 110 Squadron shot down and the crew KIA.

53o Stormo - Marco Mattioli, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-977-5
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
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 and Phillip Tucker

Last modified 14 August 2017