Biplane fighter aces


Sergente Maggiore Luigi Gorrini Medaglia d'oro al valor militare

12 July 1917 – 8 November 2014

© Archive D'Amico-Valentini
Photo kindly via Ferdinando D'Amico.

Date Decoration Note
31/08/43 Medaglia d’oro al valor militare 1940-43
??/??/41 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (1st) 1940-43
??/??/42 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (2nd) 1940-43
??/??/?? Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse 1940-43
??/??/?? Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse 1940-43

Luigi Gorrini was born in Alseno in the province of Piacenza, on 12 July 1917.

He joined the Regia Aeronautica in 1937.

He flew with a Fiat CR.32 for the first time 09.55 on 5 May 1939 at the Fighter School at Castiglione del Lagos airfield (Perugia).

His first flight with a CR.42 was at 16.15 on 8 November 1939 from Mondovis airfield (Cuneo). At this time he was attached to the 85a Squadriglia ”Ocio Che Te Copo”, 18o Gruppo, 3o Stormo as a Sergente Pilota. He was to serve at this unit until the Armistice in September 1943.
While at Mondovis he meet Giuseppe Ruzzin who had recently returned from the Spanish Civil War. Ruzzin was tasked with giving Gorrini more practice and training.

With his unit he took part in the short French campaign in 1940.

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).
While operating over Britain he took part in the big combat on 11 November over Harwich.

On the 23 November a fighter sweep was flown by 29 CR.42s of the 18o Gruppo led by Maggiore Ferruccio Vosilla with Sottotenente Franco Bordoni-Bisleri as his wingman. The course was Dunquerque - Margate - Eastchurch - Folkestone - Calais while 24 G.50s of the 20o Gruppo covered them, operating a little further inland. At 11:40, 12 Spitfires Mk.IIs (P7550, P7597, P7311, P7496, P7529, P7388, P7289, P7543, P7389, P7449, P7528, and P7324) from 603 Squadron were scrambled from Hornchurch and headed south. Off Folkestone, 603 Squadron spotted the Italian CR.42s travelling west and the Spitfires hit them from astern. The CR.42s were badly bounced and two of them were lost when MM5694 of the 83a Squadriglia flown by Tenente Guido Mazza and MM5665 of the 95a Squadriglia flown by Sergente Maggiore Giacomo Grillo were shot down into the sea and reported missing. On return to base Sergente Maggiore F. Campanile and Sergente P. Melano of the 83a Squadriglia had to force-land and both pilots were slightly injured. Later it was found out that Campanile had, due to the lack of armour plating, been saved by his parachute pack, which had stopped several machinegun bullets. During the combat Tenente Giulio Cesare Giuntella’s CR.42 was hit several times but he returned claiming hits on a Spitfire. Maresciallo Felice Sozzi of the 83a Squadriglia (83-15) attacked and chased off a Spitfire on the tail of Sergente Maggiore Gorrini’s aircraft, who in his turn were attacking other British Spitfires. Sozzi was however hit in return by two other Spitfires, who attacked him from behind. He was seriously wounded with three bullets in his lungs, but he succeeded despite pain and a damaged aircraft, to return for an emergency landing on a Belgian beach. He survived his ordeal and recovered to receive the Medaglia d’argento al valor militare “in the field”.
603 Squadron reported that they were to patrol Hornchurch at 4500 meters together with 64 Squadron. They were then ordered on to the Maidstone Patrol Line, then to the Rochford Line. When over Rochford they were detailed to Raid 44 and the squadron went south at 8500 meters. They were given correct height and direction of the enemy raid and dived through misty clouds which was 10/10 from 5500 meters to 7900 meters. When about 16km south-west of Dover they saw about 20 Fiat CR.42s at about 6000 meters flying west parallel to the English coast. There appeared to two separate groups of CR.42s flying one behind the other.
In the front group were four CR.42s in vic echelon starboard, flying wing tip to wing tip. To the right and slightly behind was one CR.42, which was attacked and shot down. There were several CR.42s to the left of this formation.
The second formation consisted of vics, pairs and single aircraft in no special order. Behind and about 90 meters above were two CR.42s flying absolutely straight (no weaving). The Cr42s were flying at about 320km/h.
603 Squadron dived and attacked the rear formation. On the whole, the Italian aircraft took no evasive action and those not attacked flew straight on, keeping their formation although Spitfires were weaving in and out of them. 603 Squadron reported that this was like attacking bombers.
Of those attacked from the rear, one climbed almost vertically, one turned slightly to port and one reduced speed considerably and made a sharp turn.
Pilot Officer Gilroy made head-on attacks on three separate CR.42s, the first of which took no evasive action and he had to pull out over the top of it at the last moment. When at 180 meters range the second CR.42 turned to the right and he had to pull out over the top of the third. All three aircraft fired at him, and twin streams of tracer were seen. Pilot Officer Gilroy’s Spitfire was hit by an amour piercing 7.7mm bullet in the spinner.
Pilot Officer Ronald Berry (P7449) thought that he had hit a reserve petrol in the top wing of an aircraft he attacked. He had a five-minute dogfight with two CR.42s which were on his tail and turned inside him every time. He spun three or four times but the CR.42s were always waiting for him and eventually he had to dive out of range.
Flying Officer Brian MacNamara (P7388), on attacking an enemy aircraft, reported first white and then black smoke coming from in front of the pilot, followed by a shower of small white objects., After this the CR.42 caught fire.
Pilot Officer Archie Winskill (P7389) had four CR.42s on his tail, one of which splintered his Perspex hood. He climbed straight up and left them behind.
The CR.42s had yellow nose, white engine cowlings, green and black camouflage resembling a mackerel, white crosses on tail and white circles with three red fasces on their wings.
None of the Italian pilots baled out and it was thought from the reactions of the aircraft after being fired on that in almost every case the pilot was killed.
It was not understood why the CR.42s kept formation when they were not being attacked and flew straight on. The two CR.42s flying behind the formation did not appear to be guarding it.
603 Squadron was very impressed by the willingness of the Italian pilots to dogfight when attacked, compared to previous experience with Bf 109s and in general their morale was far higher than they had been given to understand.
603 Squadron didn’t suffer any casualties and ten Spitfire landed at Hornchurch at 13:30, one aircraft landed at Rochford while one aircraft landed at Hawkinge. 603 Squadron claimed seven destroyed, two probables and two damaged:
Pilot Officer Winskill claimed two CR.42s destroyed (one in flames, one in sea).
Sergeant Andrew Darling (P7324) claimed two CR.42s destroyed (both in sea).
Flying Officer MacNamara claimed one CR.42 destroyed (in flames).
Flying Officer Colin Pinckney (P7529) claimed one CR.42 destroyed (in sea).
Pilot Officer Berry claimed one CR.42 destroyed (in sea) and one probably destroyed CR.42 (out of control).
Flight Lieutenant John Boulter (P7597) claimed one probably destroyed CR.42 (clouds of smoke and thinks it caught fire).
Pilot Officer David Scott-Malden (P7278 (?)/D) claimed two damaged CR.42s (1 bits of rudder, 1 tracer entered fuselage).
Squadron Leader George Denholm (P7550), CO 603 Squadron, described the combat:

The Italians looked quite toy-like in their brightly-coloured camouflage, and I remember thinking that it seemed almost a shame to shoot down such pretty machines. I must have been wrong, for the pilot who saw six going down at the same time said afterwards that it was a glorious sight. But I must say this about the Eye-ties: they showed fight in a way the Germans have never done with our squadron.
Denholm chased one Fiat halfway across the Channel but had to let it limp home as his own engine started to splutter.
18o Gruppo claimed five enemy fighters. However, it appears that only one Spitfire was actually damaged when Pilot Officer Winskill returned to base with the canopy shattered and the Spitfire damaged by return fire from the CR.42s. Winskill was however safe.
As 603 Squadron disengaged, more RAF units were alerted to the presence of furthers enemy units. 92 Squadron left Biggin Hill at 12:25 together with 74 Squadron. Aircraft identified as Bf 109s were sighted by 92 Squadron pilots some miles south of Dover, but these particular fighters avoided combat. It seems that it is likely that these were the Fiat G.50s of the 20o Gruppo. The Italian pilots reported sighting a formation of British fighters but did not engage them.

When 18o Gruppo returned to Italy in January 1941 they were immediately sent to Africa. According to Gorrini the conditions there was horrible regarding logistics and weather. The dessert wind ”Ghibli” was devastating for the engines on the aircraft since they lacked dust filters.

On 16 April, Sergente Gorrini took off from Derna airfield (Cirenaica) at 07:30 for a fighter patrol over the coast and harbour at 3500 meters altitude. Two enemy aircraft was spotted and after intensive fights, one Blenheim was shot down in flames into the sea and the other damaged. He landed back at Derna at 09:15 after having spent 1100 rounds of ammunition.
No corresponding RAF claim has been possible to find for this claim but V Squadra’s Diary reported that Derna was attacked three times by the enemy. One Ju 87 of C.A.T. ( Corpo Aereo Tedesco – German Air Corps) was destroyed on ground, one of the raiding Blenheims was shot down by one of the Italian fighters (Gorrini) and fell into the sea and two of the crew jumped with parachute.

Around this time, his unit started to receive its first CR.42s fitted with bomb racks and soon they began to gradually transfer to the ground attack role.

During the day on 29 May, the 18o Gruppo were involved in patrols when 15 CR.42s performed protective cruises over the harbour of Benghazi from 05:30 to 19:50.
At 10:15, a CR 42 discovered, east of Coefia, two Blenheims going towards Benghazi and attacked the section leader that fell in flames into the sea off Driana, the second Blenheim (which escaped) was pursued but the CR.42 had to quit because both guns jammed.
At 11:05 another CR 42 performing a protective cruise discovered two Blenheims 15 km north of Benghazi. One was shot down into the sea while the other escaped heading north.
It seems that the first mission was flown by Sergente Spartaco Petrignani of the 85a Squadriglia and the second mission was flown by Sergente Gorrini from the same unit and who claimed one Blenheim shot down about 12 miles north-west of Benghazi and one more as damaged.
No corresponding RAF losses have been found.
Sergente Gorrini was decorated with a Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare for this combat.

On 29 June, Sergente Gorrini took off from Benghasi K2 (Cirenaica) at 16:10 for a fighter patrol over ships, harbour and the town of Benghazi at 8100 meters altitude. Over the radio he was notified of enemy presence. He pursued British Blenheims but lost conscious due to lack of oxygen. However he managed to return to base where he landed at 18:15 after having spent 1375 rounds of ammunition.

During a patrol over Abu Haggag between 09:30-11:30 on 10 October, two MC.202s from 85a Squadriglia met two Beaufighters. Sergente Maggiore Gorrini claimed to have damaged both at 10:00.

In the beginning of 1943, he was flying Macchi MC.202 Folgores over Tunisia. While in Tunisia his unit had been attached to the 3o Stormo.

Mid-afternoon on 2 January 1943, 250 Squadron sent a dozen Kittyhawks (take-off at 15:10) to escort two of 40 SAAF Squadron’s Hurricanes over Churgia landing ground, but these were engaged by II./JG 77 aircraft, the engagement being fought through heavy clouds at around 2,000 m. The German pilots claimed four P- 40s shot down. Unteroffizier Bruno Weidlich, 4./JG 77, claimed one at 1,900 meters altitude 17 km south-west of El Hescia at 15:05. Unteroffizier Bernhard Gräff, 5./JG 77, claimed one at 1,500 meters altitude 43 km west-north-west of Buerat at 15:05. Feldwebel Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert, 4./JG 77, claimed on at 1,500 meters altitude 70 km west-south-west of Buerat. Oberleutnant Anton Hackl, 5./JG 77 claimed one at 2,300 meters altitude 5 km north-west of Buerat. A fifth was claimed as an unconfirmed by an unknown pilot. One more P-40 was claimed by Sergente Maggiore Gorrini of 85a Squadriglia over Churgia at around 16:00.
One Bf 109 G-2 (WNr 13870 Black 5) from 5./JG 77 was destroyed and one Bf 109 G-2 trop (WNr 10526 Yello 7 TN+EB) from 3./JG 77 was damaged 20% in combat.
The returning 250 Squadron pilots claimed two probables and one damaged Bf 109s when Pilot Officer James Collier (Kittyhawk III FL899/B) claimed one probable over Churgia landing ground and Flight Sergeant C. L. Graham (FR307) claimed one probable and one damaged over Churgia.
Three Kittyhawks went down when Flight Sergeant Graham was shot down and became slightly WiA but otherwise safe, Sergeant F. H. Baron (FR244/X) became MiA and Pilot Officer S. Holland (FR321/R) became a PoW.

At 15:45 on 11 January, eight Spitfires from 601 Squadron scrambled, and at 4,300 meters three Bf 109s were seen and chased. Reforming, the squadron then spotted Axis aircraft over the sea near Tamet, coming in to attack Buerat from about 3,600 meters; these intruders were identified as twelve Bf 109s and twelve MC.202s. Several Spitfire pilots saw strikes on aircraft, and one parachute was spotted, but the only claim was made by Flying Officer I. F. Gilbert (Spitfire Vc BR134) for a Bf 109 probably destroyed over Hamraiet.
Twelve P-40Ks of the 64th FS and twelve P-40Fs of the 65th FS had also taken off at 15:25 for a fighter sweep over the lines, the pilots of these sighting Axis aircraft south-west of Buerat at 15:45. 2nd Lieutenant R. J. Byrne (#10) from 64th FS was twice attacked but managed to get a good burst into one of his assailants, being credited with one MC.202 damaged 16km west of Hamraiet, but he was hit (reportedly by a Bf 109 10km west of Hamraiet) and wounded, returning to base with 23 bullet holes in his aircraft. As aircraft returned to land, six pilots were ordered to scramble over base at 2,400 meters. They were then directed to Tamet at 3,600 meters where they attacked four MC.202s over Tamet. One of these was claimed by lst Lieutenant William Beck from 64th FS (#13) when it rolled onto its back and crashed into the sea, while other pilots claimed two more damaged; one each by 1st Lieutenant William Mount (#32) and 1st Lieutenant Thomas Tilley (#11). 1st Lieutenant Gerald A. Brandon's P-40K #26 was hit in the coolant system by one bullet from a MC.202 over Tamet, obliging him to force-land 16km from base; he walked back safely that evening.
Meanwhile the 65th FS P-40Fs also became engaged with enemy fighters between Buerat and Gheddahia at 15:40, 1st Lieutenant Roy Whittaker (#45) claiming one Messerschmitt shot down and 2nd Lieutenant Charles Costanzo (#60) another just as it was lining up on a Warhawk. Two more Bf 109s were claimed damaged, one each by Lieutenant Lee Gossick (87th FS in #41) and Lieutenant Jessie Jory (87th FS in #44). However, Lieutenant Edwin R. Weaver’s (from 64th FS) Warhawk (#40) was hit by two cannon shells, and he crash-landed at base.
Around this time II./JG 77 pilots made claims for no less than ten P-40s and one Spitfire over the Buerat area. At 14:44, Oberleutnant Heinrich Osswald (4./JG/77) claimed a Kittyhawk 20 km north-east of Zidjen at 4,500 meters. At 14:55 (14:35?) Feldwebel Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert (4./JG77) claimed a Kittyhawk 38km east of Zidjen at 5,200 meters and at 14:56, he claimed a second 26 km east-north-east of Zidjen at 3,400 meters (he had claimed two Spitfires during the morning). At 15:00 Unteroffizier Bruno Weidlich (4./JG 77) claimed a Kittyhawk 15km north-east of Zidjen at 3,500 meters and at the same time did Unteroffizier Franz Nägele (6./JG 77) claim a Spitfire (unknown place). At unknown time during the afternoon, two P-40s were claimed by Hauptmann Anton Hackl from 5./JG 77 (he had already claimed two in the morning) while Leutnant Erwin Müller (4./JG 77) claimed a Kittyhawk and Leutnant Johann Badum (6./JG 77) claimed a P-40. Two unknown pilots from II./JG 77 also did claim two P-40s during the afternoon.
The only known loss for German fighters during the day was Bf 109 G-1 WNr 13892 from 6./JG 77, which suffered 10% damage during combat north-west of Zliten.
At 15:40, a big Italian formation approached Tamet, comprising 17 MC.200s and MC.202s of the 13o Gruppo, led by Maggiore Lorenzo Viale out to attack British airfields in the Uadi Tamet area. These fighter-bombers were escorted by 22 MC.202s of the 18o and 23o Gruppi, led by Tenente Colonnello Tito Falconi with the 18o Gruppo’s new commanding officer, Maggiore Gustavo Garretto (later to become a Generale in the post-war Italian air force) (take-off at 14:55) and the 23o Gruppos’s commander, Maggiore Luigi Filippi. Acting as close escort on this mission were four aircraft from the 95a Squadriglia (18o Gruppo) under the command of Tenente Giorgio Solaroli. A little bit higher up were Maggiore Gustavo Garetto with six aircraft. As top cover at 6,000 to 7,000 metres were six MC.202s from the 23o Gruppo under the command of Capitano Mario Rigatti and above these were six more under the command of Tenente Colonnello Falconi.
The Italian aircraft were attacked by enemy fighters and the escort managed wth difficulties to defend the fighter-bombers. The pilots of the MC.202s claimed to have shot down five Spitfires and one probable, plus nine more damaged during this combat which they reported involved 25-30 Spitfires. From the 85a Squadriglia Sergente Gorrini claimed one destroyed and one damaged north-north-west of Tamet and Tenente Mario Melis claimed one destroyed over Tamet. From the 95a Squadriglia Maresciallo Felice Longhi claimed one destroyed north-north-west of Tamet, Tenente Giorgio Solaroli claimed one destroyed north-north-west of Tamet, Tenente Pietro Salvatico claimed one destroyed over Tamet and Tenente Roberto Caetani claimed one probably destroyed over Tamet.
The 13o Gruppo strafed Tamet landing ground with some success, four aircraft being claimed burnt and nine damaged. At Tamet, three Baltimores of 1437 Strategic Reconnaissance Flight were badly damaged, one Hurricane of 73 Squadron, which had just arrived, was burnt out, and a Lysander was destroyed. 2 PRU arrived later in the day, fortuitously missing this attack.
Maresciallo Longhi’s MC.202 (MM7894) was damaged in combat but Longhi managed to return to base. However, two MC.202 and one MC.200 were shot down. Sottotenente Ferruccio Telleschi from 95a Squadriglia (MM7908) and Maggiore Garetto were shot down together with Sergente Giuseppe Torre from 78a Squadriglia, 13o Gruppo, (MC.200 MM8324). All three pilots managed to escape by parachute. Sergente Torre was apparently hit by AA and wounded; he force-landed his MC.200 some distance away and was able to reach Axis lines two days later with the help of some Arabs. The other two pilots were captured and became PoWs.
Nine Spitfires of 92 Squadron were scrambled at 15:30 to intercept, led by Flying Officer Neville Duke (whose birthday it was) in Spitfire Vb EP338/QJ-S. Climbing to 4,000 meters over Tamet, the Spitfire pilots then spotted five MC.202s and dived on them. Four of the Italians dived and one climbed, Duke giving chase to the latter; after a burst struck the aircraft behind the cockpit, it rolled over and the pilot (most probably Sottotenente Telleschi), baled out north-north-west of Tamet. Flying Officer Duke and Sergeant McMahon then flew about for a few minutes before seeing another Macchi below west-south-west of Buerat, on which they dived out of the sun. Duke followed it and fired until it crash-landed; this aircraft was probably flown by Maggiore Garretto (the next day, Maggiore Domenico Camarda took over command of the 18o Gruppo). Duke’s claims were reported at 16:30-17:15.

His unit was withdrawn from Tunisia in early April 1943, but he had already returned to Italy since at 15.00-17.45 on 9 March 1943 he flew a CR.42 for the last time. The flight, which was a transportation flight, were from Alitalia airfield (Torino) to Ciampino airfield (Rome) at an altitude of 1500 meters. Gorrini describes the CR.42 as a tough aircraft and good up till 5000-6000 meters but slow.
Back in Italy 85a Squadriglia was re-equipped with the Macchi MC.205 Veltro and assigned to the defence of Rome.

He was grounded for a while due to an irritating eye injury.

On 19 July he claimed a B-24 and a P-38 and a P-38 damaged over Rome.

Next day on 20 July he claimed another P-38 destroyed and a P-38 damaged.

On 13 August he claimed a B-24 off the coast at Ostia, in the Lazio region, but he was also shot down by defensive fire from the bomber, bailing out safely.

He claimed a Spitfire on 26 August.

The next day, on 27 August, the whole Stormo scrambled to intercept four-engine bombers, which were attacking Cerveteri. During the combat, Gorrini claimed two B-24s.
One wing of his MC.205 was damaged after that an overheating machinegun-muzzle exploded and after running out of gasoline he glided back to his base for a powerless landing.

Two P-38s was claimed destroyed and two more were claimed damaged on 29 August.

He claimed a B-17 over Frascati on 30 August.

He was mentioned in dispatches on 30 August:

“ Sergente Maggiore Luigi Gorrini da Alsen (Piacenza) of 3o Stormo Caccia has distinguished himself during the aerial battles of the 27th and 29th, during which he has shot down two four-engined bombers and a twin-engined fighter.”

On 31 August he took off from Palidoro airfield (Rome) at 12.00 in a MC.205V. They flew in the direction of Naples to engage enemy bombers over this town. At 8500 meters they became involved in heavy dogfights with escorting Spitfires. He shot down one Spitfire and damaged a P-38.His aircraft was however badly hit by machine-gun fire and he was forced to make a forced-landing away from his airfield at 12.50.
He was seriously wounded, hospitalised and was out of the fighting when Italy surrendered to the Allies on 8 September 1943. 85a Squadriglia claimed 3 Spitfires and 5 damaged during this combat.

On 23 December 1943 Gorrini joined the Italiana Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) where he was assigned to 1a Squadriglia, 1o Gruppo and continued to fly MC.205 fighters. At this time this unit was under the command of Capitano Adriano Visconti and based at Lagnasco airfield (Cuneo). On this day Gorrini flew up in a MC.205V at 10.15 and was declared fit for combat.

On 30 January 1944, heavy bombers from the 15th AF attacked targets in the Udine area. B-17s hit airfields and landing grounds at Villaorba, Maniago, and Lavariano. B-24s bombed Udine airfield and Fier radar station. P-38s escorted the B-17s on the Villaorba and Maniago missions, and P-38s and some RAF Spitfires escorted the B-24s on the Udine mission. Additional P-47s from 325th FG carried out sweep over the Villaorba area. The bombers and the fighters claimed over 60 airplanes shot down and a number destroyed on the ground (the US fighters alone claimed 45 destroyed, 11 probables and 2 damaged). It seems that the 15th AF losses were 9 aircraft (2 B-17s, 3 B-24s, 1 P-38 and 2 P-47s).
This heavy raid was intercepted by a mix of German and Italian fighters. The German fighters from JG 53 and JG 77 claimed at least 14 heavy bombers (9 B-24s and 5 B-17s) and three fighters (2 P-38s and 1 P-47) between 11:56 and 12:44.
Around 12:30, the 1o Gruppo ANR was involved in this combat and the 1a Squadriglia claimed five enemy aircraft when Sergente Maggiore Also Burei claimed one B-24, Sergente Maggiore Gorrini claimed a P-47, Tenente Giuseppe Re claimed a P-47 and Maresciallo Carlo Magnaghi claimed two P-47s. These were claimed over Grado with the exception for one of Magnaghi’s claims, which was made over Palmanova. Natalino Stabile of the 3a Squadriglia claimed a B-24 over Udine during the day.
However, the Italian fighters suffered hard and the MC.205 of Tenente Re was shot down and the pilot bailed out. At the end of the fighting three more MC.205s had been shot down with the pilots KIA; Capitano Marco Marinone (born 31 August 1914 in Vercelli), Tenente Luigi Torchio (3a Squadriglia) and Sottotenente Luciano Cipiciani (born 23 September 1918 in Gubbio).

Next day, 31 January, he claimed a P-38 over Commachio.

A B-17 was claimed on 11 March and another P-47 on 6 April thus reaching 19 victories.

On 25 May he claimed a B-17 damaged.

He was again shot down during a dogfight with P-47 Thunderbolts and seriously wounded on 15 June 1944.
He did not fly again during World War II.

During his time with the A.N.R. he flew in combat with the Macchi MC.205V and Fiat G.55.
Gorrini was shot down four times and wounded twice during the war.
He was awarded with two Medaglie di bronzo al valor militare and the German Iron Cross, 1st and 2nd Class. In 1958, he received the Medaglia d'oro al valor militare. Gorrini is the only pilot who has served in the A.N.R. to be awarded with the Italian highest military award after the war for his accomplishments obtained before the Armistice of 8 September 1943! According to his decoration text for the Medaglia d’oro al valor militare, he took part in 132 air combat.

Gorrini ended the war with 2 biplane victories and a total of 19. 15 of his claims were with the Regia Aeronautica and 4 were with the A.N.R. Please note that all Gorrini’s claims were and are unofficial, as up to date there isn’t any official confirmed listing of Italian aces.

Following the war, he joined the rebuilt Italian Air Force and served with it until 1979, when he retired, being nominated Ufficiale on retirement.

Gorrini lived in retirement in Alseno before passing away on 8 November 2014.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 16/04/41 07:30-09:15 1 Beaufighter (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   Derna 85a Squadriglia
  16/04/41 07:30-09:15 1 Beaufighter (a) Damaged Fiat CR.42   Derna 85a Squadriglia
2 29/05/41 11:05 1 Blenheim (b) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   12m NW Benghasi 85a Squadriglia
  29/05/41 11:05 1 Blenheim (b) Damaged Fiat CR.42   12m NW Benghasi 85a Squadriglia
  10/10/42 10:00 1 Beaufighter Damaged MC.202   Abu Haggag 85a Squadriglia
  10/10/42 10:00 1 Beaufighter Damaged MC.202   Abu Haggag 85a Squadriglia
3 02/01/43 16:00 ca 1 P-40 (c) Destroyed MC.202   Churgia 85a Squadriglia
4 11/01/43 14:55- 1 Spitfire (d) Destroyed MC.202   NNW Tamet 85a Squadriglia
  11/01/43 14:55- 1 Spitfire (d) Damaged MC.202   NNW Tamet 85a Squadriglia
5 19/07/43   1 B-24 (e) Destroyed MC.205V   Rome 85a Squadriglia
6 19/07/43   1 P-38 (e) Destroyed MC.205V   Rome 85a Squadriglia
  19/07/43   1 P-38 Damaged MC.205V   Rome 85a Squadriglia
7 20/07/43   1 P-38 (f) Destroyed MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
  20/07/43   1 P-38 Damaged MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
8 13/08/43   1 B-24 (g) Destroyed MC.202   off Ostia 85a Squadriglia
9 26/08/43   1 Spitfire Destroyed MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
10 27/08/43   1 B-24 Destroyed MC.205V   Cerveteri area 85a Squadriglia
11 27/08/43   1 B-24 Destroyed MC.205V   Cerveteri area 85a Squadriglia
12 29/08/43   1 P-38 Destroyed MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
13 29/08/43   1 P-38 Destroyed MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
  29/08/43   1 P-38 Damaged MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
  29/08/43   1 P-38 Damaged MC.205V     85a Squadriglia
14 30/08/43   1 B-17 (h) Destroyed MC.205V   Frascati 85a Squadriglia
15 31/08/43   1 Spitfire Destroyed MC.205V   Naples 85a Squadriglia
  31/08/43   1 P-38 Damaged MC.205V   Naples 85a Squadriglia
16 30/01/44 12:30 1 P-47 (i) Destroyed MC.205V   Grado area 1a Squadriglia ANR
17 31/01/44   1 P-38 (j) Destroyed MC.205V   Commachio 1a Squadriglia ANR
18 11/03/44   1 B-17 (k) Destroyed MC.205V     1o Gruppo ANR
19 06/04/44   1 P-47 (l) Destroyed MC.205V     1o Gruppo ANR
  25/05/44   1 B-17 (m) Damaged MC.205V     1o Gruppo ANR

Biplane victories: 2 destroyed, 1 damaged.
TOTAL: 19 destroyed, 11 damaged.
(a) Not verified with Commonwealth records.
(b) Not verified with Commonwealth records.
(c) Probably claimed in combat with Kittyhawk IIIs from 250 Squadron, which claimed 2 probable 109s and 1 damaged Bf 109 while losing 3 Kittyhawks. II./JG 77 claimed 4 P-40s and 1 unconfirmed and 85a Squadriglia claimed 1 P-40 while losing 1 Bf 109s and 1 damaged.
(d) Claimed in combat with Spitfire Vs from 92 and 601 Squadrons and P-40s from 57th FG, which claimed 2 destroyed Bf 109s and 3 destroyed MC.202s, 1 probable Bf 109, 2 damaged Bf 109s and 3 damaged MC.202s while losing 2 P-40s and getting 1 P-40 damaged. II./JG 77, 18o and 23o Gruppi claimed 10 destroyed P-40s, 6 Spitfires destroyed, 1 probable Spitfire and 9 damaged Spitfires while losing 2 MC.202s (2 pilots PoW) and 1 MC.200, 1 damaged MC.202 and possibly 1 damaged Bf 109.
(e) 18o Gruppo claimed five B-24s and two P-38 over Rome during this day. No USAAF B-24s or P-38s were actually lost.
(f) It seems that no USAAF P-38s were actually lost during this combat.
(g) It seems that no USAAF B-24s were actually lost during this combat.
(h) It seems that no USAAF B-17s were actually lost during this combat.
(i) Claimed in combat with fighters from 15th AF, which lost 2 P-47s during the day. Axis fighters claimed 5 P-47s during this combat. This claim is not credited to him in ANR or Luftwaffe sources.
(j) This claim is not credited to him in ANR or Luftwaffe sources. No P-38s were lost over Italy during this day.
(k) This claim is not credited to him Luftwaffe sources (but in ANR sources).
(l) This claim is not credited to him in ANR or Luftwaffe sources. No P-47s were lost over Italy during this day.
(m) This claim is not credited to him in ANR or Luftwaffe sources.

Personal letter from Luigi Gorrini kindly translated by Birgitta Hallberg-Lombardi
Personal letter from Giuseppe Ruzzin kindly translated by Martina Sandberg
3o Stormo, storia fotografica - Dai biplani agli aviogetti - C. Lucchini and E. Leproni, 1990 Gino Rossato Editore kindly provided by Jean Michel Cala with translations kindly provided by Birgitta Hallberg-Lombardi
Aces - W. Wayne Patton, 1998
Aces’ Aircraft, Two aces of 18 Gruppo (Aero Album Volume 5 Number 1 Spring 1972) - Christopher Shores, 1972 kindly provided by Santiago Flores
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
A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945: Volume Two – Christopher Shores and Giovanni Massimello with Russell Guest, Frank Olynyk & Winfried Bock, 2012 Grub Street, London, ISBN-13: 9781909166127
Courage Alone - Chris Dunning, 1998
Elenco Nominativo dei Militari dell’ A. M. Decorati al V. M. Durante it Periodo 1929 - 1945 1 Volume A - L
Macchi MC.205 Veltro - Maurizio Di Terlizzi, 1997 IBN Editore Aviolibri No. 1, Roma, ISBN 88-86815-55-7
Storia Aeronautica Italiana
Additional information kindly provided by Ferdinando D'Amico, Stefano Mencarelli and Ludovico Slongo.

Last modified 26 June 2023