Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Tenente Giuliano Fissore

In November 1941, Tenente Giuliano Fissore served in the 393a Squadriglia, 160o Gruppo CT. This unit was at the time equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

On 5 November 1941, three CR.42s of the 160o Gruppo piloted by Tenente Fissore (393a Squadriglia), Sottotenente Carlo Piccone (394a Squadriglia), and Sottotenente Renato Baroni (393a Squadriglia), together with a G.50 from the 360a Squadriglia piloted by Sottotenente Calzoni were on a defence patrol above K2 (Benghazi). At 14:10, they were warned via radio of the presence of an enemy formation. At the same time Maresciallo Giuseppe Desideri (375a Squadriglia), who was also at the controls of a G.50 of the 360a Squadriglia, scrambled. There were six enemy bombers identified as Blenheims, which having attacked K2 from an altitude of 4,500 m then went on to K1. Therefore they continued over Benina, Regima and the El Abiar area before changing route to go south-southeast.
The CR.42s fired 710 rounds from 7.7 mm machine guns and 1440 from 12.7 mm ones.
Baroni made a frontal attack on the first patrol, and then all four fighters attacked from stern all the formation and in particular the 2nd flight. After a series of attacks carried out one after the other by the four fighters, two bombers were claimed shot down in flames. They crashed into the ground south-east of El Abiar - Regina (confirmed by the DICAT - anti aircraft defences). Calzoni had to make an emergency landing near El Abiar because of the total loss of oil. The aircraft was damaged and the pilot injured.
In his turn, Desideri managed to reach the enemy aircraft after a chase of 45 minutes, which was favoured by moving nearer to the enemy formation and the reduction of altitude. He shot down a third plane, presumably the one already damaged in the previous action (400 rounds fired). This aircraft was shot down east of Antelat. All five pilots were credited with the victories.
It seems that American bombers were mistaken for Blenheims, in fact they were six Maryland IIs of 21 SAAF Squadron, which had taken off at 11:40 (from LG 75 near the front for refuelling) to attack the depots at Berka airport. They had to lower altitude to 15,000 feet to carry out the bombing because of clouds. Notwithstanding the heavy flak and the presence of enemy fighters the approach was perfect and all the bombs fell on the target. Photos confirm the good results.
Immediately on leaving the target, reportedly two CR.42s attacked the formation. These two fighters flying wide of the formation had been in attendance since the Marylands first crossed the sea, A running fight ensued, for about 15 miles, the enemy being reinforced by another CR.42 and three Bf 109s (in fact G.50s).

”Various types of attack were delivered but the favourite was from the beam and dead astern. The tactics appeared to be for one or two 42s to draw fire from the rear gunners and then for a 109 to make a quick beam or quarter attack. Repeated attacks were made over a period of some 6 or 7 minutes. The gunners all gave a very good account of them-selves and all 3 42s were seen to be hit repeatedly. One, which presented a non-deflection shot, was undoubtedly shot down and last seen spinning near the ground. It is highly probable that another was sent down.”
One gunner reported seeing a blazing aircraft on the ground when some distance away. Air Sergeant gunner Stewart who was responsible for shooting down the first CR.42, described the combat:
”We were attacked by 2 42s from the stern. The method of their attack was for one of the aircraft to overshoot the other at about 30 seconds' interval. In this manner they closed in on us and then the lower of the two darted forward until about 100 or 150 yards away from us. Here I began to open fire on him with short accurate bursts. I saw my tracers hit him head-on. All of a sudden his tail shot up and he went headlong towards earth. I shouted: ”I got him”. Then he went into a violent spin out of control”.
Air Sergeant gunner Tucker who was responsible for hitting the second CR.42 said he had observed that it had taken up a position on the starboard side of the Maryland and below the tail wheel at a distance of about 200 yards.
”I immediately opened up with both my guns and emptied the two pans with four or five long bursts. My bullets streamed toward him and I must have hit him, but he continued to fire and I could plainly see his twin-guns flashing. Just as I had ceased firing and removed my spent pans, I saw my adversary turn steeply to my left and dive down towards the earth.”
At 14:10 while it was near the target and following the interception of enemy fighters, Maryland II AH392/K, piloted by Second Lieutenant N. C. Blake (SAAF no. 103446V), came down with its left engine and rear gunner's cockpit in flames. There were no survivors among the crew, which also included Air Sergeant L. R. G. Brand (SAAF no. 102128), Air Sergeant P. H. Clarence (SAAF no. 102420) and Second Lieutenant F. R. Meintjes (SAAF no. 102097).
The other five were all damaged by hits received from anti-aircraft artillery and fighters. The most badly hit had to land at LG 70. The others returned at 16:40. They claimed to have shot down an enemy fighter and probably a second.

Fissore is credited with claiming six victories during the war.

Fissore ended the war with 3 shared biplane victories and a total of 6.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
  05/11/41 14:10 1/5 Blenheim (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   SE El Abiar-Regina 393a Squadriglia
  05/11/41 14:10 1/5 Blenheim (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   SE El Abiar-Regina 393a Squadriglia
  05/11/41 14:10 1/5 Blenheim (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   E Antelat 393a Squadriglia
1 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        
2 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        
3 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        
4 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        
5 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        
6 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        

Biplane victories: 3 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 6 and 3 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with Marylands from 21 SAAF Squadron, which lost one and getting five damaged.

Sources:
Assi Italiani Della Caccia 1936-1945 - Giovanni Massimello, 1999 Aerofan no. 69 apr.-giu. 1999, Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan
La Battaglie Aeree In Africa Settentrionale: Novembre-Dicembre 1941 – Michele Palermo, IBN, ISBN 88-7565-102-7




Last modified 13 July 2017