Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Sergente Giuseppe Marini

– 24 December 1938

Sergente Giuseppe Marini took part in the Spanish Civil War and served in the 25a Squadriglia, XVI Gruppo.

On 31 August 1938, CR.32s from the XVI Gruppo was indirectly escorting S.79 and BR.20 bombers to the front of Gandesa. At the end of the bombing, the fighters stayed in the area for interdiction. As in the previous week, the 25a Squadriglia had the duty to cover at 7,000m while the fighters from 26a and 24a Squadriglie flew at 5,500m.
The XVI Gruppo had taken off from Caspe at 16:30 and the eight CR.32s from the 25a Squadriglia flew in four sections of two aircraft:
1st section – Capitano Roberto Fassi (CO) and Tenente Raimondi
2nd section – Sottotenente Mario Visintini and Sergente Marini
3rd section – Sottotenente Bongiovanni and Sottotenente Mario Pinna
4th section – Sottotenente Emilio Marchi and Maresciallo Acerbi
Around 18:00, Capitano Giuseppe Majone (CO 24a Squadriglia) spotted six SBs in two formations of three each heading from the Segre river towards Villalba.
They were soon attacked by the Italian fighters. Suddenly, a dozen of escorting I-16s dived on the CR.32s of the 24a Squadriglia, but they were in turn jumped by the 25a Squadriglia, which soon was joined by all the Fiats. In the ensuing dogfight Italians claimed two Ratas destroyed and one probable, that were officially shared among the three Squadriglie, though one of the kills was unofficially credited to Capitano Fassi. Sottotenente Visintini (25a Squadriglia) shot at four I-16s, one of which “effectively and by short distance” and saw a Rata falling in flames, which considering the place and the time should be the one shot down by Capitano Fassi. Visintini’s Fiat was however damaged in the action.
As a result, the commander of the XVI Gruppo, Tenente Colonnello Arrigo Tessari, proposed that each Squadriglia should be creited with one shared destroyed I-16.

During the morning on 24 December, 22 CR.32s from XVI Gruppo clashed over the Lérida front with 26 I-15s and eight I-16s. Capitani Giuseppe Majone and Travaglini, leading 24a and 26a Squadriglie, dived headlong at the I-15s, which in turn fled towards the northern bank of the River Segre. The aerial battle continued between Serós and Castelldáns following the intervention of eight CR.32s from Capitano Meille’s 25a Squadriglia just as three I-15s that were hit as the combat commenced abandoned the fight. The I-16s also fled at this time, leaving close to 40 biplane fighters locked in a series of bitter duels from a height of 3500 ft all the way down to the ground between Castelldáns and Borjas Blancas.
The battle lasted more than 30 minutes, and upon returning to base the Italians claimed 14 ‘Curtiss fighters’ destroyed and four more as probables - two victories were awarded to Capitano Majone.
In reality, just five I-15s had actually been shot down by the CR.32s, including the fighter flown by the veteran commander of Grupo No 26, capitán Miguel Zambudio Martínez, who had been leading the Grupo No 26 on a sortie over the Serós bridgehead. Despite having suffered a serious bullet wound to his right leg including damage to the sciatic nerve, he managed to force land his aircraft in Republican territory and admitted to hospital in Barcelona. The remaining aircraft destroyed came from 1a and 4a Escuadrillas, and four more I-15s returned to base with battle damage.
In return, two CR.32s from 25a Squadriglia were shot down by I-15s between Castelldáns and Borjas Blancas. Sergente Marini was killed, while Sergente Giovanni Accorsi crash-landed in Nationalist territory and emerged from the wreckage of his CR.32 with only a slight wound following the explosion of his fighter’s fuel tank.

At the time of his death, Marini was credited with one shared victory.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1938                
  31/08/38 18:00- 1/8 I-16 Shared destroyed Fiat CR.32   Gandesa 25a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 shared destroyed.

Sources:
Courage Alone - Chris Dunning, 1998 Hikoki Publications, Aldershot, ISBN 1-902109-02-3
Fiat CR.32 Aces of the Spanish Civil War - Alfredo Logoluso, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-983-6
Regia Aeronautica: The Italian Air Force 1923-1945 - An Operational History - Chris Dunning, 2009 Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, Surrey, ISBN 978-1-906537-02-9
Additional information kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro and Ludovico Slongo.




Last modified 16 August 2016