Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Sottotenente Rinaldo Damiani

Rinaldo Damiani was born on 14 August 1910.

Damiani served as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil war where he served as a Sergente Maggiore in 130a Squadriglia. In this unit, he flew Macchi M.14bis off Majorca Island in the summer of 1937.

In November 1940, Maresciallo Rinaldo Damiani served in the 97a Squadriglia of the 9o Gruppo C.T., which was equipped with CR.42s.

On 20 November, 208 Squadron despatched two Lysanders to reconnoitre an area bounded by Sollum, Sofali and Buq-Buq. They were L4724 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Burnard and L4728 piloted by Pilot Officer Waymark that took off from Qasaba at 14:20 and 14:15 landing back at 16:35 and 16:20 respectively (another Lysander, possibly L6874, an attached 6 Squadron aircraft piloted by Flying Officer T. H. Davison, was out in the same area). 33 Squadron provided nine Hurricanes (including Flying Officer Vernon Woodward (N2498), Flight Lieutenant Ernest Dean (P 3818), Flying Officer John Mackie (P3724), Squadron Leader Charles Ryley (P3970), Flight Sergeant Harry Goodchild (N2640), Flying Officer Frank Holman (P3724) and Pilot Officer Charles Dyson (N2640)) as escort. It is possible that the unaccounted pilots were one or two pilots from 274 Squadron since a quartet of Hurricanes from this Squadron, piloted by Flight Lieutenant R. V. Evers-Swindell, Pilot Officer Ernest Mason, Pilot Officer Thomas Patterson and Second Lieutenant Frederick Johannes Joubert, together with Pilot Officer Strange and Second Lieutenant Bester (who followed with the ground party) were detached on attachment to 33 Squadron on 14 November. On 21 November, Evers-Swindell, flew back from Fuka to have repairs on his fighter, reportedly damaged in a running fight with CR.42s. It seems almost sure that the “running fight” was the below described action, so it is possible that R. V. Evers-Swindell was present.
The escort took off from Fuka Satellite airfield at 14:15, with one section of three protecting each Lysander while a third section provided top cover. At the same time, a formation of six Gladiators from 112 Squadron would sweep the same general area.
East of Sidi Barrani, 18 CR.42s intercepted them and one Fiat half-rolled and dived away after being fired on by a Hurricane. It is possible that this aircraft later was credited as a destroyed to Flying Officer Mackie, who in a letter sent home to Canada on 4 December recalled:

“Just before I went on leave we had one of two bits of fun up here. On one occasion, you may have heard about it on the radio, fifteen of us got mixed up with sixty wop fighters. We lost none, and got at least eight of them. I got one of these, although not in a very convincing way from my point of view, as I didn’t see it go in. Another pilot saw the start and the finish of it. Anyhow, it sure was a mix-up. I have never seen so many machines milling around in such a small amount of sky.”
However, after this both sides started to guard each other without giving battle with the Italians uncertain to tangle with the faster Hurricanes and the British finding it difficult to close in on their more manoeuvrable opponents.
The Hurricanes of the two sections dealing with the direct escort of the Lysanders now started to brake off since they were being out-manoeuvred by their opponents and at this moment a huge formation of a reportedly 25-30 Italian fighters was seen higher. The top cover section of 33 Squadron climbed to engage but reportedly without avail because the Italian turned back towards Libya without engaging.
The Italian formation was composed by 18 aircraft from all three Squadriglie of the 9o Gruppo led by Maggiore Ernesto Botto (at the head of the 73a Squadriglia). Six of the CR.42s were from the 96a Squadriglia (Capitano Roberto Fassi leading Tenente Aldo Gon, Sottotenente Carlo Agnelli, Sottotenente Armando Moresi and Sergente Vittorio Pozzati together with 4o Stormo’s adjutant, Capitano Mario Pluda), five were from the 73a Squadriglia (Tenente Valerio De Campo, Tenente Pietro Bonfatti, Maresciallo Mario Ruffilli, Sergente Maggiore Antonio Valle and Sergente Santo Gino) and six were from the 97a Squadriglia (Capitano Antonio Larsimont Pergameni, Tenente Ezio Viglione Borghese, Sottotenente Jacopo Frigerio, Maresciallo Damiani, Sergente Francesco Putzu and Sergente Franco Sarasino). They had taken off from El Adem at 14:40 to cover Italian troops in the Bir Enba area (and probably indirectly escorting a reconnaissance plane) when Botto discovered a Bristol Blenheim escorted by several Hurricanes flying lower and attacked.
At this moment, with the 9o Gruppo’s attention focused elsewhere, the 112 Squadron’s Gladiators intervened and managed to surprise the Italian formation over Sidi Barrani. They claimed eight of the Fiats without losses. All of the six pilots made claims and Flight Lieutenant R. J. Abrahams claimed one and one shared with Pilot Officer Richard Acworth, who also claimed one additional. Flying Officer R. J. Bennett claimed one, Pilot Officer Alfred Costello claimed one, Pilot Officer Leonard Bartley claimed two and Sergeant 'Paddy' Donaldson finally claimed one. 112 Squadron didn’t record any losses in this combat even if Pilot Officer Acworth in his memories spoke of a couple of planes obliged to force-land and the unit’s aircraft retuned to Fuka between 16:20 and 17:25. For this one-sided action, they were noted in the press for the first time.
Richard Acworth remembered this combat in a short story written in the 1960’s but never published.
“The Lysanders were to be ‘covered’ against enemy air attacks by six Gladiators from my squadron… three flying at 12,000 feet, and three, led by myself, at 15,000 feet. ‘Top cover’ was to be provided by six Hurricanes, flying at 20,000 feet. The Hurricanes had strict orders to beat a hasty retreat if they met with enemy aircraft in large numbers, as it was thought at that time that they would be ‘easy meat’ for the move manoeuvrable C.R. 42’s, the single-seater Italian opposite number of the Gladiator.
We had been patrolling for about 10 minutes, when I reported forty CR 42s, in eight sections of five, flying from the direction of Libya, at approximately 25,000 feet, 5,000 feet higher that the Hurricane ‘top-cover’. To my dismay, the Hurricanes were soon speeding home, with a CR 42 sitting neatly on each tail. Our six Gladiators were left to finish the fight, for the Lysanders, their task completed, were heading for home, too.
There was not a friendly cloud in the sky, and the powerful desert sun made the enemy aircraft very difficult to see. Forthwith, they carried out the German tactics of remaining aloft, and sending down their more experienced men to finish us off one by one….but it was not to be!
With the first attacks, we broke formation, and it was every man for himself. I soon found myself very much alone, until unfriendly tracer bullets from behind, passed through the space between my right wings. I immediately steep-turned to the left, and caught sight of my attacker as he completed his dive and prepared to re-join his pals up higher, by means of a roll off the top of a loop.
Seizing my chance, I opened full throttle and followed him to the top of his loop, half rolled in formation with him, and was just about to open fire, when my aircraft stalled and flicked into a spin….not enough speed! I decided my best means of survival was to continue the spin, in the hope that he would think I had been badly hit. This was a fighter tactic from World War I, and it worked! Whilst I was spinning, I looked upwards and caught a glimpse of my adversary circling at his original height, waiting for me to crash into the desert. I came out of the spin at about 8,000 feet, no doubt much to his surprise, and didn’t have to wait long for him to dive down to finish me off.
So started a long tail-chasing session. At first, my mouth became rather dry, but after a second or two, my mind became crystal clear, and I was determined to turn the tables on him. Slowly I began to gain ground, and soon part of his tail was in my sights, but I realized it would not have been great enough. When his engine came into my sights, I pressed the firing button, and was immediately cheered to see pieces of fabric or metal ripping off his fuselage, just behind the cockpit.
The Italian pilot turned so quickly in his mad effort to escape, that he pulled his aircraft into a spin, following a ‘high-speed stall’. I followed him down, and fired at him as he tried to recover, and he promptly went into another one. On recovering from his second spin, he must have pulled an emergency boost control to give him extra speed, for he left my Gladiator ‘standing’.
However, my opponent was not easily scared, and turned about a mile away to come back at me like a bull at a gate. We both opened fire, and when it seemed that a head-on collision was inevitable, he pulled out to my left in a climbing turn. For a second, I was able to fire at his exposed fuselage, and then, with throttle fully open, I climbed into the sun, into an advantageous position. To my horror, my engine stalled near the top of the climb, and I had to carry out the usual drill of closing the throttle and opening it again, slowly. Full power came back, and looking down, I could see my opponent looking for me. This time, I had the advantage of height, and I was nicely lining him up in my sights when he saw me, and tried to turn in underneath me.
Slowly twisting, and with the right deflection, I raked him with bullets from nose to tail, at almost point-blank range. I pulled out of my dive, to regain height, and saw him commence another spin from which he did not recover. I felt immensely relieved, somewhat shaken, and eventually joined up with two stray Gladiators, and returned to Mersa Matruh. I was pleased to learn later that seven aircraft had been shot down in the engagement, and that all the Gladiator pilots had survived the fight, although two had made forced landings.
I shall never forget that day. It was my first one-against-one air battle, and the longest time I had engaged a single enemy aircraft...”
The 9o Gruppo actually lost only three shot down and four damaged but two pilots were killed. The three shot down pilots were Sottotenente Carlo Agnelli of the 96a Squadriglia, who was killed, Sergente Francesco Putzu of the 97a Squadriglia, who was killed, and Tenente Gon (who usually flew CR.42 MM5605/96-2), who recalled:
“This day [strangely enough he recorded it as on 1 November but this is for certain an error] I lost the dearest of all my wingmen [Carlo Agnelli]. We were up with all the Gruppo and the three Squadriglie were stepped at different heights. The lowest escorting a reconnaissance plane, mine (96a Squadriglia) at 3000 metres while the third stay higher. The highest group had already engaged the enemy when I saw one of our planes diving almost vertically followed by a Gloster. I made a violent overturning that my wingmen were unable to follow [again without radio equipment the Italian formation was broken at the beginning of the combat and whatever numerical advantage was impossible to put into full use] when I reach a distance suitable to open fire I had to wait because there was the risk of hitting my comrade [with the same burst aimed at the fighter that was following him] I had to concentrate only on the aim [the wingmen were far away] so I couldn’t look around and was attacked by two Glosters. With the first burst of fire they shot away my propeller, so without propulsion I could only manoeuvre to avoid further damage. All the height lost I force-landed and the English pilots that had already stopped firing while I was gliding down for my final approach flew past me waving their hands.
[Gon, tried to burn his plane without success and succeeded to reach an Italian outpost the day after]
Back at base, I discovered that information about the missing pilots (we were three) were lacking.
A sergeant
[Sergente Francesco Putzu] was seen to jump with parachute and another of our planes was seen to crash after a hard fight, all believed it was mine because the other missing pilot (my dear wingman) was too “green” to be able to fight against three enemies as the pilot of the crashed plane did.
The encounter with Botto was tragicomically. I went to his room and he was waiting for me near the door and as just as he saw me he threw himself right into my arms through the three steps that divided us. But I was too weak and was unable to sustain him so we fell embraced on the ground.”
According to the official records of the 4o Stormo, however, it seems that during the dive Gon’s guns went out of synchronisation and when opening fire he cut his propeller with the first shots.
Seven confirmed and probable victories were credited to the pilots of the Gruppo after that they had landed at 16:30. This overclaiming was the result of that the Stormo’s records had to be re-recorded in 1941 after they had been lost. This re-recording was done by Tenente Giulio Reiner, who was then adjutant of the Gruppo. Obviously Reiner’s reconstruction was not as accurate as a complete debriefing immediately after the battle could be.
Roberto Fassi was credited with a Blenheim, a probable Gladiator and two damaged Gladiators. Pozzati, who was wounded on the right foot, was credited with a Gladiator while Gon was credited with a Gladiator (a victory that he didn’t mention at all in his memories). Pluda claimed another Gladiator and Moresi one probable Gladiator. The 73a and 97a Squadriglie claimed one Gladiator and two Hurricanes shot down and four fighters damaged, all shared. Final assessment of the combat was four Gladiators, two Hurricanes and a Blenheim confirmed and two Gladiators probably destroyed (the actual number of confirmed claims varies between the reconstructed Diari of the involved Squadriglias to seven or eight destroyed).

The 9o Gruppo returned from the desert and was re-equipped with Macchi MC.200s. In July 1941 they re-equipped again with MC.202s and they were sent to Sicily, arriving in the end of September 1941, to take part in the operations against Malta

At 07:15 on 21 November 1941, five MC.200s of 54o Stormo and ten 9o Gruppo MC.202s strafed Hal Far, presumably attracted by the presence of 242 and 605 Squadron’s Hurricanes based there. Seven Hurricanes from 185 Squadron led by Squadron Leader Pike were scrambled to intercept. They attacked five Macchis initially (probably the MC.200s), five more then jumping the British fighters (probably some of the MC.202s). No firm claims were made by the Hurricane pilots, but it was believed that three of the Italian fighters had been damaged. Sergeant Bill Nurse’s Hurricane was badly hit in return.
The Italians reported fighting twelve Hurricanes and ‘Spitfires’, and claimed two ‘Spitfires’ shot down, one by Sottotenente Jacopo Frigerio, Sergente Raffaello Novelli and Sergente Angelo Golino, and one by Sottotenente Giovanni Barcaro and Sergente Massimo Salvatore (all of them from the 97a Squadriglia), while two more were claimed as probables. Four were claimed destroyed on the ground plus a Blenheim, damage to the latter being credited to Maresciallo Damiani. Two Macchis returned damaged.

In the afternoon on 21 November 1941, eighteen MC.202 from the 9o Gruppo were out to strafe Hal Far. On their way, they met four Hurricanes from 185 Squadron, which were engaged in a convoy patrol. The Italians reported meeting twelve Hurricanes and claimed five of these shot down into the sea, one each by Maggiore Antonio Larsimont, Sergente Raffaello Novelli, Maresciallo Damiani, Sottotenente Alvaro Querci and Sergente Maggiore Pasquale Rossi, plus two probables by Sottotenente Pietro Bonfatti and Tenente Jacopo Frigerio. They then carried on completing their strafe, returning without loss.
One Hurricane was in fact lost, 20-year-old Flight Sergeant Richard Cousens (RAF no. 970365) being killed in Hurricane Z2813 “GL-L”.

On 1 December, 21 German Ju 87s and 8 Italian (from the 239a Squadriglia), were in action 20 km north-east of Gobi at 11:30. They were being escorted by ten Bf 109s and Italian fighters. Seven MC.200s of the 153o Gruppo provided the close cover (take off 11:30 and landing 13:30). This group’s diary notes the attack south-east of Bir El Gobi. The top cover of twelve MC.202s from the 9o Gruppo – six from the 96a Squadriglia and six from the 97a Squadriglia – took off at 11:35 under the command of Capitano Antonio Larsimont Pergameni. One of the 96a Squadriglia aircraft returned early because of engine trouble.
The German operational report mentions the clash of Bf 109s with three Hurricane IIs being claimed shot down; Unteroffizier Hans Niederhöfer of 5./JG 27 claimed one at 12:30 south-west of Sidi Rezegh, Oberleutnant Gustav Rödel of 4./JG 27 claimed one 12:40 south-west of El Adem and Hauptmann Wolfgang Redlich of 1./JG 27 claimed one at 12:55 over Bir El Gobi, at 12.55. No German fighters were lost and it seems that none suffered any damage.
According to the diaries of the 9o Gruppo the formation was getting ready to return when it sighted about 20 enemy fighters, divided between Hurricanes and Tomahawks, which were escorting bombers south of Bir El Gobi at 4,000m at 11:40. The commander manoeuvred to gain altitude and launched into the attack.
All in all the pilots of the 97a Squadriglia thought that they had definitely shot down four aircraft, probably another five and machine gunned ten. Capitano Larsimont machine gunned some enemy aircraft (using 155 rounds of ammunition). It was thought that one of them was hit by a long burst on the tail and was claimed as probably shot down. Maresciallo Damiani fired a burst at the tail of an enemy monoplane which then lost height leaving a long trail of smoke and crashed into the ground and was burnt up. He returned after having used 105 rounds of ammunition claiming two Hurricanes destroyed. Sottotenente Jacopo Frigerio fired a long burst at a Hurricane, saw it start to catch fire and claimed it as a destroyed. Subsequently he machine gunned another two without managing to notice any visible results (totally he used 249 rounds). Sergente Alfredo Bombardini machine gunned two enemy aircraft hitting them with effective bursts but without noticing any visible results and returned claiming both as probably destroyed with the use of 303 rounds. Sottotenente Giovanni Barcaro machine gunned three enemy aircraft in successive episodes but wasn’t able to see any results. Subsequently he got on the tail of an enemy aircraft and hit it with long bursts until he saw it leaving a long trail of black smoke losing altitude in a spin. He then got on the tail of another Hurricane and machine gunned it with long bursts from close in. The enemy aircraft left a long trail of whitish smoke coming from the water radiator. He couldn't spend much time looking at the results of his bursts since he had to get clear of an enemy aircraft that was firing at him from behind. He noticed he had been hit on the water radiator and prepared to return to base, but was forced to make a crash landing with the undercarriage retracted because his plane’s engine had seized up. This happened 12 km from Ain El Gazala at 13:05. He returned to base by car at night claiming one Hurricane and another as probable with the use of 630 rounds of ammunition. Finally, Maresciallo Otello Perotti machine gunned some enemy aircraft, hitting them with long bursts; one of them was believed to have probably been shot down with the use of 188 rounds.
The pilots of the 96a Squadriglia also claimed to have shot down four fighters (and a fifth damaged). Capitano Ezio Viglione Borghese (1 Hurricane), Tenente Fernando Malvezzi (1 Tomahawk), Maresciallo Dante Labanti (1 Hurricane), Tenente Emanuele Annoni (1 Tomahawk) and Sergente Maggiore Bruno Spitzl (1 damaged Tomahawk). Tenente Annoni’s MC.202 was damaged during the combat. The battle lasted 10 minutes, during which 2250 rounds were fired altogether. The Macchis returned between 13:15 and 13:20.
The enemies were the escort of 23 Blenheims of the 14, 45, 84 and "Lorraine" Squadrons, which were heading west of El Adem. They were escorted by the Hurricanes of 1 SAAF Squadron (take off 11:45 - the second mission of the day) and 274 Squadron (take off 11:50). Subsequently the escort would carry out a free sweep above El Duda. 1 SAAF Squadron with twelve Hurricanes provided the close cover, while 274 Squadron with twelve Hurricanes provided top cover. When they were above the target they encountered a reportedly twenty fighters divided between Bf 109s and G.50s and a battle ensued with them.
274 Squadron declared three Bf 109s shot down, one probable and two damaged; Pilot Officer ‘Wally’ Conrad (one and one probable Bf 109 in Hurricane IIb Z5064), Sergeant James Dodds (1 Bf 109 in Z5117), Sergeant Harrington (1 and 1 damaged Bf 109 in Z5347) and Pilot Officer R. N. Weeks (1 damaged Bf 109 in Z4008)). However they suffered three shot down Hurricanes and a fourth force-landing. Pilot Officer Weeks was shot down but was picked up by ground force and returned, Sergeant G. W. F. Pearse (Z2817) was shot down 25m south-west of El Adem at 13:00 and WIA (he was picked up by armoured cars and returned on 3 December) and Sergeant Alman (Z2510) was shot down and became MIA. Lieutenant W. H. Hoffe (Z5310) made a force-landing after that his Hurricane had been hit in the glycol tank, causing the engine to blow up. Flight Lieutenant Owen Tracey (BD821), one of the 274 Squadron flight commanders, landed and picked him up, flying him back to base.
1 SAAF Squadron pilots identified six G.50s, presumably the seven MC.200s of the 153o Gruppo, during the escort but didn’t attack them because they were engaged in escorting the bombers; they noticed that not even the G.50s attacked, probably for the same reason. 1 SAAF Squadron returned at 13:10.
Considering 274 Squadron’s difficult situation, it seems surprising that the close cover for the bombers didn’t intervene, as had happened on several other occasions. The escort had probably been given very precise orders; these were, in fact, pilots who didn't hold back when called upon to take on the enemy.
274 Squadron would have spotted the Stuka escort: 20 divided between Bf 109s and Italian monoplanes with radial engines. However the latter divided between the close cover of Bf 109s and MC.202s were about 30 altogether. Therefore it would seem that 274 Squadron had clashed with only one formation of planes with in-line engines; either Bf 109s or MC.202s. At the same time the 9o Gruppo estimated that about 20 enemy planes had been encountered. It has been ascertained that the Macchis of the 9o Gruppo were engaged in a big battle; on the other hand it seems likely that the Bf 109s also were involved. There could have been the participation of a third Commonwealth unit, although documentation in this regard is missing. To back up this, during the day also AIR 22.401 reported the loss of 3 Tomahawks and of a fifth damaged Hurricane as well as a Beaufort.
When the details of the battles were reported the Macchis always tried to put themselves on the tails of enemy planes, not an easy tactic but one that was thought to be essential to have any chance of shooting down an enemy fighter.

In the winter of 1941-42 the 9o Gruppo enjoyed a brief rest from fighting, before returning to operations over Malta in the spring and early summer of 1942.

On 16 May 1942, five Cant Z.1007bis of 210a Squadriglia raided Takali under the cover of 30 Macchis and 15 Messerschmitts, including a number of Jabos. One the airfield one Spitfire was destroyed and another slightly damaged, while two airmen were killed; nonetheless 16 Spitfires succeeded in getting airborne to intercept. At their head was Flight Lieutenant Denis Barnham of 601 Squadron, although he was suffering from ‘Malta Dog’ and had been ordered not to fly; however, with Squadron Leader John Bisdee and Flight Lieutenant H. Parry still ill, he decided he should lead. He ordered Blue Section to take on the bombers while he led his section up to great height to engage the fighter escort, but at 34,000 feet the cold was so intense that one pilot, the South African A. Bartleman, suffered frostbite to his fingers!
Although given a clear run at the bombers, Blue Section failed to gain any significant success; Flying Officer C. M. Hone (BR125/3-P) and Pilot Officer W. J. E. Hagger jointly claimed one of the Cants probably destroyed, and Sergeant McConnell a Macchi probable. Four 603 Squadron aircraft engaged Bf 109s, Squadron Leader D. Douglas-Hamilton and Pilot Officer G. W. Northcott each claiming one damaged, but Sergeant F. R. Johnson’s aircraft was shot up and the Australian crash-landed at Takali. 4o Stormo Macchi pilots claimed four Spitfires shot down, two by Sergente Maggiore
Massimo Salvatore – one reportedly as it was landing – and one each by Sottotenente Mario Squarcina (73a Squadriglia) and Maresciallo Damiani (97a Squadriglia). Gunners in the bombers claimed one more.
It seems that no Italian losses were suffered in this combat.

On the same day (16 May 1942), he was promoted to Sottotenente.

In 1943, he served in the Scuola Addestramento C.T. (fighter school).

Damiani ended the war with 3 shared biplane victories and a total of 6.
He was decorated with two Medaglie di bronzo al valor militare during the war.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1940                
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Gladiator (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Hurricane (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Hurricane (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Enemy fighter (a) Shared damaged Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Enemy fighter (a) Shared damaged Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Enemy fighter (a) Shared damaged Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  20/11/40 14:40-16:30 1/12 Enemy fighter (a) Shared damaged Fiat CR.42   Sidi Barrani area 97a Squadriglia
  1941                
  21/11/41 07:15- 1 Blenheim Damaged on the ground MC.202   Hal Far area 97a Squadriglia
1 21/11/41 p.m. 1 Hurricane (b) Destroyed MC.202   off Malta 97a Squadriglia
2 01/12/41 11:35-13:20 1 Hurricane (c) Destroyed MC.202   Bir el Gobi area 97a Squadriglia
3 01/12/41 11:35-13:20 1 Hurricane (c) Destroyed MC.202   Bir el Gobi area 97a Squadriglia
  1942                
? 16/05/42   1 Spitfire (d) Destroyed MC.202   Takali 97a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 3 shared destroyed, 4 shared damaged.
TOTAL: 6 and 3 shared destroyed, 4 shared damaged, 1 damaged on the ground.
(a) Claimed in combat with Hurricanes from 33 and 274 Squadrons and Gladiators from 112 Squadron. 9o Gruppo claimed seven victories and two probables while losing three CR.42s, getting four more damaged and losing two pilots KIA. 112 Squadron claimed eight victories for no losses, 274 Squadron possibly suffered one damaged Hurricane while 33 Squadron possibly claimed a CR.42 without losses.
(b) Claimed in combat with four Hurricanes from 185 Squadron. 9o Gruppo claimed five Hurricanes and two probable without losses. 185 Squadron lost one Hurricane (Flight Sergeant Cousens killed) but didn’t claim any opponents.
(c) 274 Squadron claimed 3 destroyed, 1 probable and 2 damaged for the loss of four Hurricanes (1 pilot MIA). Axis fighters claimed 11 destroyed, 5 probables and 1 damaged in this combat while getting 2 MC.202s damaged.
(d) Claimed in combat with Spitfires from 601 and 603 Squadrons. 4o Stormo C.T. claimed 4 Spitfires shot down and 210a Squadriglia B.T. claimed 1 without any Italian losses. RAF claimed 1 probably destroyed Z.1007bis , 1 probable MC.202 and 2 damaged Bf 109s while getting 1 Spitfire damaged (603 Squadron).

Sources:
33 Squadron Operations Record Book
Ace of Aces: M T StJ Pattle - E C R Baker, 1992 Crécy Books, Somerton, ISBN 0-947554-36-X
Aces High - Christopher Shores and Clive Williams, 1994 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-898697-00-0
Aces High Volume 2 - Christopher Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-03-9
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
Annuario Ufficiale Delle Forrze Armate Del Regno D’Italia Anno 1943. Part III Regia Aeronautica – 1943 Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Roma
Diario Storico 73a Squadriglia kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Diario Storico 97a Squadriglia kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Fighters over the Desert - Christopher Shores and Hans Ring, 1969 Neville Spearman Limited, London
Gloster Gladiator - Alex Crawford, 2002 Mushroom Model Publications, ISBN 83-916327-0-9
GORIZIA ed il QUARTO STORMO
Hurricanes over the sands: Part One - Michel Lavigne and James F. Edwards, 2003 Lavigne Aviation Publications, Victoriaville, ISBN 2-9806879-2-8
Hurricanes over Tobruk - Brian Cull with Don Minterne, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-11-X
Italian Aces of World War 2 - Giovanni Massimello and Giorgio Apostolo, 2000 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 1-84176-078-1
La Battaglie Aeree In Africa Settentrionale: Novembre-Dicembre 1941 – Michele Palermo, IBN, ISBN 88-7565-102-7
La Regia Aeronautica - volume I: Dalla non belligeranza all'intervento – Nino Arena, 1981 USSMA, Rome kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Malta: The Hurricane Years 1940-41 - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-89747-207-1
Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942 - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1991 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-16-X
Quelli del Cavallino Rampante - Antonio Duma, 1981 Editore Dell'Ateneo, Roma, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Stormi d'Italia - Giulio Lazzati, 1975 Mursia, Milan kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
The Desert Air War 1939 – 1945 – Richard Townshend Bickers, 1991 Leo Cooper, London, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Wings Over Spain - Emiliani Ghergo, 1997 Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milano
Woody - A Fighter Pilot's Album - Hugh A. Halliday, 1987 Canav Books, Toronto, ISBN 0-9690703-8-1
Additional information kindly provided by Ian Acworth, Stefano Lazzaro and Ludovico Slongo




Last modified 03 May 2016