Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Tenente Mario Frascadore

30 March 1917 - 21 December 1940

Mario Frascadore was born in Arpaia on 30 March 1917.

Tenente Frascadore served in the 394a Squadriglia of the 160o Gruppo during the Greek campaign. The unit was at this time equipped with Fiat CR.32s and CR.42s

On an early patrol on 1 November three CR.32s of 394a Squadriglia encountered two slow-flying Greek reconnaissance aircraft over the frontier. Led by Frascadore, the Italian pilots attacked repeatedly, claiming many hits, and believed that they had probably shot down both aircraft within Greek territory. It appears that on this occasion their opponents were Breguet XIXs of 2 Mira, both of which were apparently lost, although the crews survived unhurt.

At 10.30 on 21 December 1940, 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 Mario Gaetano Carancini and Tenente 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, Frascadore was credited with 2 shared biplane victories.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1940              
  01/11/40 1 Breguet XIX (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.32   Greek-Albanian front 394a Squadriglia
  01/11/40 1 Breguet XIX (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.32   Greek-Albanian front 394a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 shared destroyed.
(a) Two Breguet XIXs of 2 Mira lost. The crews survived unhurt.

Sources:
Air war for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete - Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-07-0
Ministero della Difesa - Banca Dati sulle sepolture dei Caduti in Guerra




Last modified 25 October 2010