Biplane fighter aces


Tenente Giovanni Pappalardo

In March 1942, Sottotenente Giovanni Pappalardo served in the 163a Squadriglia, 161o Gruppo CT. This unit was re-equipping with MC.200s and G.50s but also operated CR.42CNs for night-fighter missions in the Aegean.

At 00:25 on 15 March 1942, Sottotenente Pappalardo submitted a claim for a Wellington probably shot down during a raid on Rhodes.
No RAF losses were recorded on this night.

From Grottaglie on 13 January 1943, one MC.200 and seven G.50s from the 162a Squadriglia, led by Capitano Rodolfo Guza, were scrambled at 15:30, to intercept 15 Liberators heading towards the ‘heel’ of the country. Tenente Pappalardo (in the MC.200) chased three B-24s off the coast and fired repeatedly at one of these, claiming damage to it. His MC.200 was damaged by return fire and ran out of fuel forcing him to crash-land.

Five B-24s from the 346th BS, 98th BG, raided the railway terminal at Messina in the afternoon on 30 January 1943.
MC.202s and MC.200s from the 164a Squadriglia, 161o Gruppo, were scrambled from Reggio Calabria to intercept, claiming two of these bombers shot down near Messina at 17:10. Tenente Pappalardo (MC.202) claimed one of these and the second shared with Sergente Maggiore Francesco Azzena (MC.200), Sergente Luigi Dondi (MC.200) and Maresciallo Giuseppe Ravasio (MC.200). Maresciallo Ravasio’s MC.200 was hit by return fire from the bombers. He baled out slightly wounded and was rescued from the sea.
Gunners aboard B-24D 41-11774/O piloted by Captain L. C. Holloway claimed damage to one fighter identified as a Bf 109 over Messina 16:20-16:22.

Pappalardo ended the war with 1 probable biplane victory and a total of 1.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  15/03/42 00:25 1 Wellington (a) Probably destroyed Fiat CR.42   Rhodes 163a Squadriglia
  13/01/43 15:45 1 B-24 Damaged MC.200   off Brindisi 162a Squadriglia
1 30/01/43 17:10 1 B-24 (b) Destroyed MC.202   nr Messina 164a Squadriglia
  30/01/43 17:10 1/4 B-24 (b) Shared destroyed MC.202   nr Messina 164a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 probably destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 and 1 shared destroyed, 1 probably destroyed, 1 damaged.
(a) Can’t be verified with any Allied losses.
(b) Claimed in combat with B-24s from 346th BS, 98th BG, which claimed 1 damaged Bf 109s without losses. 164a Squadriglia claimed 2 B-24s destroyed while losing 1 MC.200 (pilot safe).

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
A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945: Volume Three – Christopher Shores and Giovanni Massimello with Russell Guest, Frank Olynyk & Winfried Bock, 2016 Grub Street, London, ISBN-13: 9781910690000

Last modified 14 February 2024