Biplane fighter aces


Sottotenente Giuseppe Magli

23 April 1906 – 30 May 1942

Date Decoration Note
??/??/40 Medaglia d’argento al valor militare O.M.S.
??/??/40 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (1st) 1940-43
??/??/42 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (2nd) 1940-43

Giuseppe Magli was born in Carovigno on 23 April 1906.

Magli served as a volunteer during the Spanish Civil War and was decorated for this.

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 fighters 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. No RAF losses are recorded.

On 30 May 1942, eight Macchis of the 17o Gruppo (three from the 71a Squadriglia, two from the 72a Squadriglia and three from the 80a Squadriglia) we] on a free sweep in the Bir Harmat area (09:50-11:05). They were led by Capitano Pericle Baruffi (71a Squadriglia).
Climbing to an altitude of 4,500m, they intercepted a formation of P-40s that was trying to attack Stukas that were bombing armoured vehicles north-east of Bir Harmat. They were credited with four P-40s shot down and another six machine-gunned (total rounds used: 1164). Tenente Mario Carini (72a Squadriglia) claimed one P-40. The second was shared between Capitano Baruffi, Maresciallo Marcello Lui and Tenente Sergio Morandi (all 71a Squadriglia). The third and fourth was shared between Tenente Emilio Marchi (using 80 rounds), Tenente Giovanni B. Ghiglia (154 rounds) and Sergente Maggiore Alvise Andrich (470 rounds) (all 80a Squadriglia). Maresciallo Magli (72a Squadriglia, MM7735/72-3) didn't return and was posthumously promoted to Sottotenente.
The action had probably involved nine Kittyhawk Ias of 2 SAAF Squadron on a reconnaissance mission to identify targets for the Bostons (10:20-12:10). At 11:00, Lieutenants ‘Doug’ Allen and ‘Tim’ McLeod landed at El Adem because of engine trouble. The Kittyhawks, which had to fly low at an altitude of 800 feet, reported the attack by five Macchi MC.202s at 11:45 and were caught at a disadvantage. The Macchis were sighted in a loose formation at 2000 feet down sun, ”gambolling about in rough line astern in typical Italian fashion.” The usual dive and zoom tactics were employed. Lieutenant Leonard Berrange (AK735/DB-E) claimed one MC.202 at 11:45 and stated:

“I heard duck on the R/T and did a steep turn to the left. As I looped round I saw 2 Macchis completing attacks and climbing into the sky. I then completed my turn through about 270 degrees and then noticed a Macchi coming in low from the East to attack our 3 AC below. I pushed my stick forward as he came in and fired two short bursts which went in front of him, then fired a long burst and saw my bullets converging on him. He immediately pulled up vertically, smoke came from him as he got to the top of his climb, when he stalled, went on his back and dived into the ground where he burst into flames. .50. 180.”
Lieutenant Eric Smith nearly collided with another Macchi while Lieutenant Richard Gifford ‘Dick’ Harrison (AK841/DB-K) was hit, losing control of his aircraft but managed to regain it; he crash-landed on its belly at Acroma and was taken prisoner. During the fight, the enemy ground forces fired with MG (total rounds: .50-570).

At the time of his death, Magli 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.

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
Eagles over Gazala: Air Battles in North Africa May-June 1942 – Michele Palermo, IBN Editore, ISBN (10) 88-7565-168-X
Elenco Nominativo dei Militari dell’ A. M. Decorati al V. M. Durante it Periodo 1929 - 1945 2 Volume M - Z
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 and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-89747-207-1
Additional information kindly provided by Giovanni Massimello.

Last modified 06 February 2023