Biplane fighter aces


Sergente Abramo Lanzarini

24 April 1918 - 12 July 1940

Date Decoration Note
??/??/40 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (1st) 1940-43
??/??/41 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (2nd) 1940-43

Abramo Lanzarini was born in San Giovanni In Persiceto on 24 April 1918.

On 12 July 1940, the recently arrived 9o Gruppo C.T. was ordered to fly on to Libya, to operate in the desert. To replace the unit in the missions over Malta two new gruppi of fighter flew in, the autonomous 23o and the 17o from 1o Stormo C.T. Both units flew their first sorties over Malta on that same day, reporting an engagement with four British fighters. Tenente Gino Battaggion of the 23o Gruppo’s 70a Squadriglia claimed one shot down. He identified his victim as a Spitfire. During the same engagement pilots of the 17o Gruppo claimed one more. This aircraft was claimed as a shared between Maresciallo Magli and Sergente Abramo Lanzarini of 72a Squadriglia.
No RAF losses are recorded.

At about 12:20 on 2 November 1940, Italian aircraft were reported high to the north of Malta. This was 20 S.79s of the 34o Stormo under a fairly strong fighter escort. Eleven MC.200s from the 71a and 72a Squadriglie led by Maggiore Bruno Brambilla (top cover), and five CR.42s of the 80a Squadriglia led by Capitano Luigi Corsini (close escort) undertook the mission, these squadriglie forming the 17o Gruppo of the 1o Stormo C.T. They reported being involved in a big dogfight with five Hurricanes, Maresciallo Leonida Carozzo claiming one shot down while Sergente Lanzarini of the 72a Squadriglia was killed when his MC.200 crashed on the island at Zeitun.
261 Squadron had in fact scrambled six Hurricanes of 'B' Flight led by Flying Officer John Waters (Hurricane P3730) and two Gladiators including N5520 in the capable hands of George Burges. It is possible that Sergente Lanzarini was shot down by Pilot Officer Allan McAdam, who claimed a Macchi shot down, while Burges attacked a formation which he identified as compromising eight CR.42s. He thought he had shot one of these down but did not see it crash. He also claimed a second damaged. A second MC.200 was claimed probably destroyed by an unknown pilot from 261 Squadron. It is possible that John Waters claimed a MC.200 in this combat since it's known that he made a claim around this date and this combat is the one that most fits this claim. Thus the second claim should be a 'confirmed'. AA gunners believed they had shot down a bomber.
Bombs fell on Luqa, where an empty hangar received a direct hit, and on Zabbar where four houses were demolished, fortunately without inflicting any casualties.
After the attack a reconnaissance part of from the 2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment was dispatched to the crash site of the Italian aircraft at Buleben il-Kbir between Zeitun and Fgura, arriving to find "the whole village...out in the streets". The unit's War Diary also noted that Lanzarini "was quite dead and the Italian equipment was very poor indeed". Lanzarini had baled out of his stricken aircraft only to plummet to his death when the parachute failed to deploy.

At the time of his death, Lanarini was credited with 1 shared biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  12/07/40 1 enemy fighter (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Malta 72a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 shared destroyed.
(a) No RAF losses are recorded.

Battle over Malta - Anthony Rogers, 2000 Sutton Publishing Limited, Gloucestershire, ISBN 0-7509-2392-X
Elenco Nominativo dei Militari dell’ A. M. Decorati al V. M. Durante it Periodo 1929 - 1945 1 Volume A - L
Hurricanes over Malta - Brian Cull and Frederick Galea, 2001 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-91-8
Malta: The Hurricane Years 1940-41 - Christopher Shores, 1987
Ministero della Difesa - Banca Dati sulle sepolture dei Caduti in Guerra

Last modified 17 April 2023