Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Capitano Alfiero Mezzetti

– 18 April 1939

Alfiero Mezzetti took part in the Spanish Civil War using the nom de guerre ’Mariani’.

Between November 1936 and January 1937 an additional 60 Fiat CR.32 arrived in Spain (thus so far making the total 120 CR.32). The bulk of these aircraft departed La Spezia aboard the Aniene in late December and arrived in Seville on 1 January 1937.
Among the fighters supplied were 20 examples of the CR.32bis quadriarmi (four-gun). These machines boasted two 12.7 mm guns fitted above the forward fuselage and synchronised to fire through the propeller arc, as well as a pair of 7.7 mm guns housed within the lower wings. The CR.32bis was also fitted with the improved Fiat A 30 RAbis engine.
Accompanying the aircraft aboard the Aniene were eight engine mechanics, six riggers, eight armourers, three airmen of other categories and 33 fighter pilots. Leading the expedition was Tenente Colonnello Alberto Canaveri (’Franco Signorelli’), who had orders to command the Reggimento or Stormo da Caccia of the Aviazione Legionaria. Other pilots included the squadriglia commanders, Capitani Armando François (’Martori’) and Luigi Lodi (’Marcelli’), Tenenti Enrico Degli Incerti (’Tocci’) and Mezzetti and ten Sottotenenti and 18 Sottufficiali.

Tenente Mezzetti took command of the 26a Squadriglia, XVI Gruppo, on 3 August 1937.

After the Republican offensive in the Aragon started on 24 August 1937, the Nationalists immediately bolstered the aerial defence of the Aragon front by sending XXIII Gruppo Caccia to Saragossa-Sanjurjo. Led by Maggiore Andrea Zotti, the gruppo was comprised of 18a, 19a and 20a Squadriglie, led by Capitani Guido Nobili, Enrico Degli Incerti and Antonio Larsimont Pergameni, respectively.
On 25 August these units were joined by the CR.32s of capitán Joaquín García Morato’s Grupo 2-G-3 and Maggiore Giuseppe Casero’s XVI Gruppo, consisting of 24a, 25a and 26a Squadriglie, led by Capitani Bruno Brambilla and Armando François and Tenente Mezzetti, respectively.
Finally, Maggiore Eugenio Leotta’s VI Gruppo was also transferred in with its 31a and 32a Squadriglie, led by Capitani Luigi Borgogno and Ernesto Botto.
This was virtually all the CR.32s on mainland Spain with both the Spanish CR.32 Grupo and the whole 3o Stormo Caccia dell’Aviazione Legionaria.

Capitano Mezzetti left the command of the 26a Squadriglia, XVI Gruppo, on 10 May 1938.

While serving in the 26a Squadriglia, he was assigned CR.32bis NC 673.

During his time in Spain, Mezzetti was credited with one and seven shared victories, as well as four probables.

Capitano Mezzetti perished in a flying accident in Italy on 18 April 1939 when his CR.32 collided with a similar machine flown by Capitano Giuseppe Majone, who also died in the accident.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  193?                
1 ??/??/3?   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Fiat CR.32   Spain 26a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 and 7 shared destroyed, 4 probably destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 and 7 shared destroyed, 4 probably 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




Last modified 19 October 2012