Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Tenente Mario Gaetano Carancini

14 December 1914 - 21 December 1940

Mario Gaetano Carancini was born in Recanati on 14 December 1914.

Carancini took part in the Course “Rex” of Accademia Aeronautica, receiving permanent commission in October 1938.

He served in the 393a Squadriglia of the 160o Gruppo during the Greek campaign. The unit was at this time equipped with Fiat CR.42s

On 28 October 1940 he shot down a Greek Henschel Hs126 east of Darda.

On 14 November the airfield at Koritza was near to the frontline and was attacked daily. During the day Tenente Carancini claimed a PZL P.24 over the area.

On 18 November, during two separate combats over the front of Koritza, the fighters of 393a Squadriglia claimed six Greek fighters without losses.
The first action happened during the morning after the scramble at 10:05 of two Falcos piloted by Tenente Carancini and Sergente Teofilo Biolcati. They met a reportedly three PZLs and claimed two (one apiece) landing back at 11:35.
The second action was in the early afternoon when three machines of the same Squadriglia, which had taken off at 13:16 reportedly met four PZLs claiming all of them, three of the EVA pilots were seen to jump with parachute and followed during their descent were seen to land inside their own territory. Tenente Torquato Testerini claimed one victory while Sergente Maggiore Arturo Bonato claimed two and Sergente Luca Minella claimed the last one.
Greek sources show that Hiposminagos Costantinos Yanikostas of 22 Mira was killed during the day, as was Episminias Gregorios Valcanas of 23 Mira, although this pilot was reported to have voluntarily crashed on an Italian bomber, while Hiposminagos Corneleus Kotrones of 22 Mira was wounded in one leg, but managed to force-land his shot-up aircraft at an emergency airfield. Additionally according with other sources Episminias Dimitrakopoulos was shot down and jumped with parachute while Anthyposminagos Giannikostas of 22 Mira made it back to its base although seriously wounded reporting two kills, thus possibly confirming at least three of the six Italian claims. Additionally, the Greeks claimed two CR.42s shot down, one each by Hiposminagos G. Laskaris of 23 Mira and Anthyposminagos Ioannis Katsaros of 21 Mira.

He received a Medaglia d’argento al valor militare after the victory on 18 November.

At 10.30 on 21 December 80 Squadron took off from Yanina for the front in Greece. They were led by Squadron Leader William Hickey and flew in three sections. The first comprised four aircraft and was led by Hickey, the second of three was led by Flight Lieutenant 'Pat' Pattle and the third trio was led by Flying Officer Sidney Linnard.
Near Argyrokastron three enemy trimotor bombers were seen. They were identified as S.79s, and then three more aircraft with twin tails were seen, recognised in this case as Fiat BR.20s. All six were in fact Cant Z.1007bis aircraft from the 47o Stormo B.T. from Grottaglie. The Italian bombers were attacked by the Gladiators and Pattle believed that he had hit one.
At this moment however 15 CR.42s of the 160o Gruppo appeared on the scene. Maggiore Oscar Molinari, the Gruppo commander, was leading these Italian aircraft on an offensive reconnaissance over Yanina, Paramythia and Zitsa. Seeing the bombers under attack by an estimated 20 Gladiators, the Italian attacked, joined by other aircraft from the 150o Gruppo so that 80 Squadron pilots assessed the number of their opponents at 54!
After 25 minutes the air battle broke up and eight of the British pilots returned to claim eight confirmed and three probables. Pilot Officer 'Bill' Vale claimed three, one of them in flames. Sergeant Charles Casbolt claimed one, which blew up and another, which spun down (later down-graded to a probable). Sergeant Donald Gregory claimed another two, again one in flames, but his own aircraft was badly shot up and he was wounded in the right eye. He however managed to return to Yanina. Pattle and Flight Sergeant S. A. Richens also claimed one CR.42 each, Pattle reporting that his victim fell in flames, whilst Flying Officers W. B. Price-Owen and F. W. Hosken both claimed probables. However Flying Officer A. D. Ripley in N5854 was seen to be shot down in flames and killed, while Squadron Leader Hickey was spotted bailing out of N5816; sadly his parachute caught fire, and he died from injuries soon after reaching the ground. Greek troops recovered the bodies of both pilots. Flying Officer Sidney Linnard's aircraft (N5834) was also badly hit and he was hit in the left calf by an explosive bullet and was taken to hospital after landing at Yanina.
In return the 160o Gruppo pilots claimed six Gladiators, two each by Maggiore Molinari and Tenente Edoardo Crainz (in CR.42 '394-7'), and one apiece by Tenente Eber Giudici and Capitano Paolo Arcangeletti. Probables were claimed by Tenente Torquato Testerini, Sergente Maggiore Francesco Penna and Sergente Maggiore Domenico Tufano. The 150o Gruppo pilots claimed two more Gladiators in collaboration, while 47o Stormo gunners claimed one more and a probable. As in the case of the British fighters, actual Italian losses totalled only two aircraft, Tenente Carancini and Tenente Mario Frascadore of the 160o Gruppo being lost, while Maggiore Molinari was wounded in the right foot and force-landed near Tepelene with a damaged engine.

At the time of his death, Carancini was credited with 3 biplane victories.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1940                
1 28/10/40   1 Hs126 Destroyed Fiat CR.42   E Darda 393a Squadriglia
2 14/11/40 10:05-11:35 1 PZL P.24 (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   Koritza area 393a Squadriglia
3 18/11/40   1 PZL P.24 (b) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   Greece 393a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 3 destroyed.
TOTAL: 3 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in two combats with PZL P.24s of 21, 22 and 23 Mire. 393a Squadriglia claimed six without losses. The Greek fighters lost at least three aircraft, possibly four, while claiming four CR.42s shot down.
(b) Claimed in combat with PZL P.24s of 21, 22 and 23 Mire. 160o Gruppo claimed six and one probable while losing no aircraft. The Greek fighters lost at least three aircraft when Hiposminagos Yianikostas of 22 Mira and Episminias Gregory Valcanas of 23 Mira were killed, while Hiposminagos Corneleus Kotrones of 22 Mira was wounded in one leg, but managed to force-land his shot-up aircraft. The Greek pilots claimed two CR.42s shot down.

Sources:
Air war for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete - Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-07-0
Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2009 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-427-5
Ministero della Difesa - Banca Dati sulle sepolture dei Caduti in Guerra




Last modified 12 June 2012