Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Maresciallo Guido Fibbia

1 October 1917 – 1 July 1988

Guido Fibbia was born on 1 October 1917 in Treviso.

Fibbia served in the VI Gruppo C.T. in the Spanish Civil War were he claimed 3 victories.

When the war broke out he served in the 365a Squadriglia and took part in the attack on Cuers Pierrefeu airfield on 15 June 1940.
For his part in the attacks on the French airfields, he was decorated with the Croce di guerra al valor militare.

He was however soon transferred to the 95a Squadriglia, 18o Gruppo C.T. This unit was at the time equipped with the Fiat CR.42.
He was with the unit during its operations in the Battle of Britain as a part of C.A.I. when 18o Gruppo was temporarily assigned to the 56o Stormo. They were based at the Saturn base (Ursel).

In January the unit was re-located to Libya.

At 07:30 on 14 April 1941, Tobruk harbour was attacked by an estimated 70 aircraft. These included Ju 87s of III./StG 1 and II./StG 2 plus seven from 96o Gruppo Autonomo BaT. These bombers were escorted by eight G.50bis of 155o Gruppo CT, four CR.42s of 18o Gruppo and five Bf 110s of III./ZG 26.
73 Squadron ha only eight serviceable Hurricanes, two of which were just on their way back from a patrol during which Flying Officer George Goodman (Hurricane I V7673/TP-P) and Flight Sergeant Herbert Garth Webster (RAF No. 519739) (V7553/TP-E) had claimed a lone Hs 126 (not verified with Luftwaffe records). They had just landed when Flight Sergeant Webster was ordered off again with Sergeant Ronald Ellis (V7299/TP-D) and two of the unit’s French pilots from ‘C’ Flight (Sous Lieutenants Albert Littolf (V7856) and James Denis (W9198)) to assist Flight Lieutenant James Duncan ‘Smudger’ Smith (P2652), who had taken off alone five minutes earlier to investigate reports of bombing at the harbour.
A number of Ju 87s were encountered over the harbour. Sergeant Ellis promptly shot down two but Flight Sergeant Webster, who had just latched onto the tail of another Stuka was attacked by two G.50bis flown by Tenente Carlo Cugnasca (MM6362) and Maresciallo Angelo Marinelli (MM6370) of the 351a Squadriglia. The blazing Hurricane crashed at 07:43 within the perimeter and taking Webster to his death. It seems probable that CR.42s also engaged the Hurricanes at this stage, Sottotenente Franco Bordoni-Bisleri and Maresciallo Fibbia of 95a Squadriglia each claiming one destroyed.
Observers on the ground then saw a Hurricane which was obviously Flight Lieutenant Smith, shoot down two Italian fighters and inflicting damage on a third before being shot down and killed by the 351a Squadriglia CO, Capitano Angelo Fanello, who had lost sight of Cugnasca’s and Marinelli’s G.50s after seeing them shooting down Webster’s Hurricane. These were clearly Smith’s victims, and both were killed. The 351a Squadriglia diary recorded:

“Capitano Fanello came back over the place of the combat and he saw, near the Hurricane in flames, two G.50s; one had flames near the engine and the other one, which perhaps had tried to land without undercarriage, was hidden by a cloud of sand.”
These were the aircraft of Tenente Cugnasca (who had flown in the C.A.I during the Battle of Britain) and Maresciallo Marinelli, who were posted missing.
While these events had been unfolding, the two French pilots had each claimed a Ju 87 shot down, Albert Littolf also claiming two more as probables. Out of ammunition, Sergeant Ellis had landed and leapt into another Hurricane which was armed and ready, taking off to re-join the battle and claim his third Ju 87 of the day. Apparently Elli’s former Hurricane was rapidly rearmed, allowing Flying Officer Richard Martin to take of in it; he met a Bf 110 which he claimed to have damaged.
RAF claimed 7 destroyed (5 Ju 87s and 2 G.50bis), 2 probables (Ju 87s) and 1 damaged (G.50bis) in this combat while the Axis lost 4 Ju 87s (during the day) and 2 G.50bis. Regia Aeronautica claimed 4 destroyed while RAF lost 2.

After the Italian capitulation in 1943 he served in the Italiana Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) where he served in the 2a Squadriglia of 1o Gruppo C.T. of the ANR.

Following five consecutive days of bad weather 600+ B-17s and B-24s attacked targets in northern Italy on 22 June 1944. The B-17s hit marshalling yards at Fornova di Taro, Modena and Parma while the B-24s hit six marshalling yards and two bridges in Italy, an automobile factory at Turin and an automobile depot at Chivasso. Escorting USAAF fighters flew 250+ sorties in support of the missions.
At noon, 1oand 2o Gruppi together with JG77 attacked 400 B-24s and 60 P-38s in the Bologna-Ferrara area. Four P-38s were sighted by 2a Squadriglia’s MC.205s while climbing to reach the Italians. Despite Capitano Amedeo Guidi’s order to wait, Sergente Spartaco Petrignani, with Maresciallo Fibbia close behind, dived and got on the tail of Lieutenant Tolmie (of the 97th FS, 82nd FG). At first his tracers fell between the P-38’s tail booms, but he tightened his turn and was beginning to score hits when he saw another American sitting on his tail. A sharp split-S followed by a vertical dive got Petrignani out of trouble just as Fibbia was announcing over the R/T that the first P-38 had exploded.
1o Gruppo claimed two of the escort shot down (claimed at 9500 meters altitude east of Modena at 12:10 by Fibbia and Capitano Guidi) and two probables, but in fact only Tolmie was missing.
Feldwebel Ullrich from 6./JG 77 claimed one B-24 at 11:40 south of Cesana while Feldwebel Staroste of 2./JG 77 claimed a B-17.
USAAF fighters claimed one probable MC.202 by First Lieutenant Merrill Adelson of 96th FS, one damaged Bf 109 by Lieutenant Richard Willsie of 96th FS and a damaged MC.202 by Lieutenant Rosier of 82nd FG. The claims were made between 11:45-12:00 south south-west of Ferrara.

Guido Fibbia ended the war with 4 biplane victories and a total of 9.
During the war he was decorated with two Medaglie d’argento, one Medaglia di bronzo, one Croce di guerra and the German Iron Cross 2nd Class.

Guido Fibbia passed away on 1 July 1988 in Treviso.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
4 14/04/41 07:25- 1 Hurricane (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   Tobruk 95a Squadriglia
  1944                
9 22/06/44 12:10 1 P-38 (b) Destroyed MC.205   E Modena 2a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 4 destroyed.
TOTAL: 9 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with 73 Squadron, which claimed 2 G.50s and 1 damaged while losing 2 Hurricanes. The 18o (CR.42) and 155o (G.50bis) Gruppi claimed 4 Hurricanes while losing 2 G.50bis.
(b) Claimed in combat with P-38s from 82nd FG, which lost one P-38 (Lieutenant Tolmie, 97th FS, MIA) while claiming one probable enemy fighter and two damaged. 2a Squadriglia claimed at least two P-38s without losses.

Sources:
3o Stormo, storia fotografica - Dai biplani agli aviogetti - Carlo Lucchini and Leproni Enrico, 1990 Gino Rossato Editore
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
Air War Italy 1944-45 - Nick Beale, Ferdinando D'Amico and Gabriele Valentini, 1996 Airlife Publishing, Shrewbury, ISBN 1-85310-252-0
Assi Italiani Della Caccia 1936-1945 - 1999 Aerofan no. 69 apr.-giu. 1999
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
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Additional information kindly provided by Simone Fibbia.




Last modified 30 September 2013