Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Capitano Germano La Ferla

Germano La Ferla took part in the Spanish Civil War where he claimed one victory while serving in the XVI Gruppo.

In July 1941, the 362a Squadriglia, 22o Gruppo moved to operate in Russia under the control of the CSIR.
The 22o Gruppo was transferred on 9 August with a force of 51 MC.200s, 3 C.133s and 2 S.81s. All aircraft transferred through Tirana, Belgrade, Bucharest and Tudora arriving on 12 August without losses. Especially remarkable was the take-off from Belgrade in rain and with all the 51 Macchis of the four Squadriglie lined up in a right echelon.

On 28 February 1942, a mixed formation from the 362a Squadriglia (Capitano La Ferla, Tenente Giovanni Beduz, Tenente Oberdan Militano, Tenente Giulio Torresi and Tenenente Frank Passerini), 369a Squadriglia (Capitano Giovanni Cervellin, Tenente Walter Benedetti, Sottotenente Giuseppe Biron and Maresciallo Romano Pesavento) and 359a Squadriglia (Capitano Vittorio Minguzzi) led by the 22o Gruppo’s CO, Maggiore Giuseppe D’Agostinis (on his first mission over the Eastern front) flew a fighter sweep. At 15:00, they intercept ten Soviet fighters identified as "I-26s" (probably Yak-1s) and "I-27s" (probably Yak-7s at 4,500 meters over Alexandrowka. Two "I-26s" were claimed as shared by the pilots from 362a and 369a Squadriglie together with Maggiore D’Agostinis. Capitano Minguzzi claimed one and one probable "I-27". Two C.200s were damaged in the combat but managed to return to Stalino airfield.

On 9 March, six C.200s of the 362a Squadriglia (Capitano La Ferla, Tenente Giulio Torresi, Sottotenente Edgardo Vaghi, Tenente Giovanni Beduz, Sergente Maggiore Attilio Sanson and Tenente Gianfranco Montagnani) plus Sottotenente Giuseppe Biron of the 369a Squadriglia escorted Luftwaffe Stukas. Over Mikhailowka they met a formation of about twenty enemy aircraft composed of Soviet bombers escorted by fighters (the latter identified as "I-18s"). The returning Italian pilots clamed three shared fighters shot down and two more probables, for no losses.

On 15 March, five Macchi C.200s (Capitano La Ferla, Tenente Giovanni Beduz, Miazzo, Capitano Giovanni Cervellin and Bond) escorted six German Ju 87s. Over Laworoska-Mikhailowka they clashed with seven fighters, identified as I-80s. Two of the Soviet fighters were claimed shot down without losses.

At 09:45 on 17 March, 14 C.200s of the 22o Gruppo took off from Stalino for a strafing mission on Luskotowa airfield, escorted by two Luftwaffe Bf 109F-4s from 1./JG 77. Among the participating pilots were Maggiore Giuseppe D’Agostinis, Capitano La Ferla, Tenente Edgardo Vaghi, Tenente Giulio Torresi, Tenenente Frank Passerini, Sergente Maggiore Fausto Fornaci (362a Squadriglia, 9 victories in WWII) and Sergente Attilio Sanson (362a Squadriglia, 12 victories in WWII). According to D’Agostinis were no less than ten I-16s destroyed on the ground.

From 12 March, the 22o Gruppo was gradually withdrawn to Italy leaving their worn-out C.200s in Russia and being replaced by the 21o Gruppo (356a, 361a, 382a and 386a Squadriglie) from early May.
The 22o Gruppo flew 68 missions, took part in 19 air combats and flew 11 ground attack missions in Russia.
The Gruppo was credited with 66 destroyed, 16 probables and 45 damaged and awarded a Medaglia d’argento al valor militare.

In July 1942 the 22o Gruppo, now back in Italy, was re-equipped with Re.2001s to operate from Sardinia and Sicily.

The 22o Gruppo (359a, 362a and 369a Squadriglie) flew naval escorts and then took part in the “battle of mid-August” before being sent to Sicily to take part in the offensive in October 1942 against Malta.

January 1943, the 22o Gruppo was based at Napoli-Capodichino, where the Gruppo had the task of defending the city and the port.
The Gruppo was organised into four Squadriglias operating a mixed complement of aircraft; Macchi C.202s, Re.2001s, MC.200s and CR.42s for night flying.
In the end of February the Gruppo also received eight Dewoitine D.520s

The Gruppo also received the prototype of the Re.2005 (MM494), which was incorporated into 362a Squadriglia.

During April 362a Squadriglia received three more Re.2005s from the “0-serie” (MM092344/362-1(?), MM092345/362-2 and MM092346/362-3).

La Ferla ended the war with one biplane victory and a total of five.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  193?                
1 ??/??/3?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Fiat CR.22   Spain XVI Gruppo
  1942                
  28/02/42 15:00 1/10 I-26 (a) Shared destroyed MC.200   Alexandrowka 362a Squadriglia
  28/02/42 15:00 1/10 I-26 (a) Shared destroyed MC.200   Alexandrowka 362a Squadriglia
  09/03/42   1/7 Soviet fighter (b) Shared destroyed MC.200   Mikhailowka area 362a Squadriglia
  09/03/42   1/7 Soviet fighter (b) Shared destroyed MC.200   Mikhailowka area 362a Squadriglia
  09/03/42   1/7 Soviet fighter (b) Shared destroyed MC.200   Mikhailowka area 362a Squadriglia
  09/03/42   1/7 Soviet fighter (b) Shared probable MC.200   Mikhailowka area 362a Squadriglia
  09/03/42   1/7 Soviet fighter (b) Shared probable MC.200   Mikhailowka area 362a Squadriglia
  15/03/42   1/5 Soviet fighter (c) Shared destroyed MC.200   Laworoska-Mikhailowka 362a Squadriglia
  15/03/42   1/5 Soviet fighter (c) Shared destroyed MC.200   Laworoska-Mikhailowka 362a Squadriglia
  30/03/42   1/? Enemy aircraft Shared destroyed MC.200   Russia 362a Squadriglia
  30/03/42   1/? Enemy aircraft Shared destroyed MC.200   Russia 362a Squadriglia
  30/03/42   1/? Enemy aircraft Shared destroyed MC.200   Russia 362a Squadriglia
  30/03/42   1/? Enemy aircraft Shared destroyed MC.200   Russia 362a Squadriglia
2 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed       362a Squadriglia
3 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed       362a Squadriglia
4 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed       362a Squadriglia
5 ??/??/4?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed       362a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 5 and 11 shared destroyed, 2 shared probably destroyed.
(a) I-26 = Yak-1.
(b) Identified as “I-18s”.
(c) Identified as “I-80s”.

Sources:
Ali Sulla Steppa: La Regia Aeronautica nella campagna di Russia – Nicola Malizia, 2008 IBN Editore, Roma, ISBN 88-7565-049-7
Annuario Ufficiale Delle Forze Armate Del Regno D’Italia Anno 1943. Part III Regia Aeronautica – 1943 Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Roma
Assi Italiani Della Caccia 1936-1945 - 1999 Aerofan no. 69 apr.-giu. 1999, Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro




Last modified 15 August 2016