Biplane fighter aces


Tenente Saverio Gostini

7 November 1915 – 30 March 1942

Saverio Gostini was born on 7 November 1915.

He volunteered for service in the Spanish Civil War where he served in XXIII Gruppo flying CR.32s.

Gostini ended the Spanish Civil War with 2 biplane victories.

On 9 August 1940, 13 twin-engined Breda Ba.88 Lince (Lynx) fighter-bombers of the 7o Gruppo Combattimento arrived at Castle Benito near Tripoli. This was the first unit arriving in North Africa with this eagerly awaited type. The type had however suffered a very disappointing start and was plagued with reliability problems. The problems where well known but decision was nevertheless taken to deploy the Bredas in Libya, hoping to solve them quickly in the new African bases since ground attack aircraft were in great demand.
The unit was commanded by Maggiore Marcello Fossetta and its three Squadriglie were commanded by Tenente Valentino Festa (76a Squadriglia), Tenente Bruno Politi (86a Squadriglia) and Tenente Gostini (98a Squadriglia).
The Gruppo had taken off from its home-base of Lonate Pozzolo on 5 August with 20 aircraft. First stop was Capua airfield near Napoli where only seventeen planes arrived after engine failure on the aircraft flown by Sergente Maggiore Gatti, Maresciallo Giovanni Orofino and Tenente Sergio Maurer. Luckily all the crew survived the forced landings almost unhurt. In the afternoon of the same day the Gruppo proceeded for Sicily where it landed at Castelvetrano airfield losing another Breda when Tenente Elio Martire’s Breda was damaged in a landing accident while Tenente Bruno Politi succeeded in landing notwithstanding a broken engine. On 9 August, the Gruppo took off for the last part of the trip to Africa but in Castel Benito only thirteen aircraft arrived, the Bredas of Maresciallo Del Zotto and Sergente Maggiore Giardini force landed on the island of Pantelleria (engine breakdowns) while Tenente Maurer destroyed another plane in a landing accident caused by a faulty fuel supply system (Maurer and his gunner where wounded). The damaged aircraft were repaired and four spare Bredas where immediately sent to Africa to rise the strength of the Gruppo to twenty planes.
The Ba.88s was destined to never meet the enemy. After a month of acclimatisation, trying to work out their many problems, a desperate attempt to use them in action at least one time was made during the September offensive against Egypt.

On 14 October, the 7o Gruppo only had 10 or 11 Ba.88s flyable out of 29 on charge.
Notwithstanding the low efficiency, another effort was made to use the Bredas of the Gruppo operationally, when a three-plane formation of the 98a Squadriglia, led by Tenente Gostini was ordered to attack enemy armoured vehicles in the general area between Sidi Barrani and Bir Enba. This time the Ba.88s were at least able to reach the target area but the enemies were not located and they failed to draw first blood.

Gostini was killed on 30 March 1942

At the time of his death, Gostini was credited with 2 biplane victories and a total of 5.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 ??/??/3?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Fiat CR.32   Spain XXIII Gruppo
2 ??/??/3?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Fiat CR.32   Spain XXIII Gruppo
3 30/06/41 12:15- 1 Hurricane Destroyed MC.200   Malta 7o Gruppo
4 26/07/41 dawn 1 Hurricane Destroyed MC.200   off Malta coast 7o Gruppo
5 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed        

Biplane victories: 2 destroyed.
TOTAL: 5 destroyed.

Air War over Spain - Jesus Salas Larrazabal, 1974 Ian Allan Ltd, Shepperton, Surrey, ISBN 0-7110-0521-4
Assi Italiani Della Caccia 1936-1945 - Giovanni Massimello, 1999 Aerofan no. 69 apr.-giu. 1999, Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan
Desert Prelude: Early clashes June-November 1940 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2010 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-89450-52-4
Fiat CR.32 Aces of the Spanish Civil War - Alfredo Logoluso, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-983-6

Last modified 26 May 2017