Biplane fighter aces

Italy

Sottotenente Andrea Dalla Pasqua

23 August 1914 – 4 September 1941

Andrea Dalla Pasqua was born on 23 August 1914.

In June 1940, Sottotenente Andrea Dalla Pasqua served in the 386a Squadriglia, 157o Gruppo. This unit was equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

On 13 June 1940, bombers from the 30o and 36o Stormi attacked the airfields in Tunis area escorted by the 1o Stormo’s fighters. The SM 79s of the 108o and 109o Gruppi under command of Generale Giuseppe Barba and Colonnello Carlo Drago took off from Castelvetrano at 07:05 in two formations. In the meantime 15 SM 79s of the 30o Stormo (five each from the 193a, 194a, and 195a Squadriglie) took off from Sciacca and formed with the 36o Stormo’s formation. On take-off, Tenente Arrighi’s bomber crashed but the crew was unhurt. The bombers then met 15 CR.42s from the 157o Gruppo, which had taken off from the island of Pantelleria on seeing the bombers passing overhead. The Italian fighters had taken off from Trapani at 04:40 and had landed at Pantelleria at 05:10. They were three fighters from the 385a Squadriglia (Capitano Aldo Li Greci (CO), Sottotenente Giacomo Cremona and Maresciallo Marcello Baccara), six fighters from the 386a Squadriglia (Capitano Gustavo Garretto (CO), Sottotenente Angelo Carminati, Sergente Fausto Fiorani, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sergente Maggiore Giuseppe Tomasi, Sergente Giuseppe Gullà) and six from the 384a Squadriglia (the war diary of the Squadriglia isn’t available but it seems that Sergente Teresio Martinoli, Sottotenente Luigi ’Gigi’ Caneppele and Maggiore Guido Nobili (CO of the 157o Gruppo) were part of the formation together with three other pilots).
At around 08:35 when the fighters were flying towards Tunis, Sottotenente Carminati was suddenly taken ill and collided with Sergente Fiorani, both pilots crashed from 6000 metres. The 386a Squadriglia’s formation became totally uncoordinated with Dalla Pasqua, Tomasi and Gulla returning to Pantelleria after searching for wreckage after their comrades’ aircraft while Garretto went on, lost contact with the bombers and flew alone over Tunis at 6000 metres, finally returning at 09:50.
Over the target, the 36o Stormo pilots reported being attacked by French fighters tentatively identified as Curtiss that were immediately attacked and dispersed by the escorting CR.42s. Only the SM 79 of Tenente Poggi of the 259a Squadriglia was slightly damaged in the tail and in a fuel tank.
Two Moranes was damaged and one of them as seen to dive away trailing smoke. Sergente Martinoli, Sottotenente Caneppele and Maggiore Nobili each fired their guns at an enemy fighter. Sergente Martinoli claimed a French twin-engined aircraft over Tunis during this mission (it seems that the claim was only made in his personal logbook) while the 385a Squadriglia’s fighters returned with nothing to report so it seems that only the 384a Squadriglia’s made contact with the French interceptors.
The 36o Stormo attacked Ksar-Said and Menzel-Temime airstrips with 50 and 100 kilos bombs while the 30o Stormo hit El Aouina from 4000 metres with 120 50 kilos and 40 100 kilos bombs. Colonnello Serra’s SM 79 was hit and damaged by AA.
All bombers were back at around 10:00 but on landing at Sciacca the Savoia of Tenente Mazzotti (‘194 – 5’) run into a grove of olive trees and was written off.
The French fighters were almost surely Morane Saulnier MS.406s and Potez 630s (perhaps the twin-engined aircraft engaged by Martinoli) from 2ème escadrille GC I/9 but no other detail regarding this combat is known from French sources (and no losses or claims were recorded). It is also possible that first Escadrille of GC III/5 took part in the action.

In September 1940, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua served in the 91a Squadriglia, 10o Gruppo C.T. This unit was stationed in North Africa and equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

On 14 September, the 4o Stormo continued to protect the ground forces. A mixed formation of 23 CR.42s from the 9o Gruppo commanded by Maggiore Ernesto Botto with 15 CR.42s from the 10o Gruppo as high cover, took off at 10:25. At 11:00, over Sollum some 10o Gruppo pilots discovered a formation of four Bristol Blenheims. They attacked and claimed one shot down in flames. The bomber was credited as a shared to the whole formation from the 10o Gruppo (Tenente Giovanni Guiducci, Sottotenente Luigi Prati, Tenente Franco Lucchini and Sergente Bruno Bortoletti of the 90a Squadriglia and Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli, Capitano Giuseppe D’Agostinis, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sottotenente Ruggero Caporali, Sottotenente Carlo Albertini and Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli of the 91a Squadriglia and Capitano Luigi Monti, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Tenente Giuseppe Aurili, Tenente Paolo Berti and Sergente Domenico Santonocito of the 84a Squadriglia).
Sottotenente Albertini later told that that the Blenheim had been left behind by its squadron and he fired at it all the rounds he had, but he could not destroy it. At the beginning, the bomber returned fire, but after being hit several times, they stopped and no sign of life could be noticed. He followed the bomber for a while, once finished his rounds, but nothing happened, and the Blenheim continued on the same route.
This clam can’t be verified with RAF records. The only known British actions for the day were a couple of afternoon bomber raids. Four Blenheims of 55 Squadron with others from 211 Squadron were ordered to attack Italian troops in the Sollum area in the first afternoon. The 55 Squadron quartet came back at 16:45 without suffering losses. Its pilots reported slight and ineffective AA fire and the presence of Italian fighters (but no interception occurred). Eight machines of 211 Squadron led by Gordon-Finalyson also attacked, claiming many hits in the target area. However, no Italian fighters were seen and all the bombers were back at around 17:10.

On 8 December, four fighters from the 91a Squadriglia flown by Dalla Pasqua, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli and Sergente Maggiore Lorenzo Migliorato performed aerobatics over Benina for the cine-operator of the Istituto Luce.

On 11 December, the 91a Squadriglia of the 10o Gruppo finally arrived at El Adem with seven fighters (Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Sergente Maggiore Lorenzo Migliorato, Sergente Maggiore Natale Fiorito, Sergente Maggiore Giovanni Casero, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli and Sergente Elio Miotto).

At 11:10 on 12 December, a mixed formation from the 4o Stormo took off for a free sweep in the Ogerin Bir El Kreighat area. After the sweep, they were to ground strafe targets of opportunity. Participating pilots from the 91a Squadriglia were Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli (CO 10o Gruppo), Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli, Sergente Maggiore Natale Fiorito and Sergente Maggiore Giovanni Casero. From 84a Squadriglia came Capitano Luigi Monti, Sottotenente Paolo Berti, Sottotenente Luigi Prati, Sottotenente Bruno Devoto, Sergente Roberto Steppi and Sergente Onorino Crestani.
Sergente Giovanni Battista Ceoletta of the 90a Squadriglia was part of a formation taking off at 11:40 while his squadriglia mates Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini and Sergente Alfredo Sclavo suffered accidents on take off, which prevented them to take part (and probably wrote off the plane of Sclavo). Tenente Aldo Gon and Sergente Gustavo Minelli from the 96a Squadriglia, 9o Gruppo also took part in this action.
Bad weather prevented the discovery of ground targets, so Romagnoli led his fighters to the Bir Enba area where a formation of Gladiators surprised the 84a Squadriglia formation. A long dogfight started after which the CR.42 of Onorino Crestani was missing and the remaining pilots claimed two victories. Crestani was taken prisoner.
According to the squadriglia diaries, the two confirmed victories were shared among the 91a Squadriglia pilots plus Ceoletta (who used 120 rounds of ammunition during the combat) and the pilots from the 9o Gruppo. Gon and Minelli in fact only claimed a shared probable in a combat against a reportedly six Gladiators, while the 10o Gruppo’s Diary downgraded the victories to two probables. Monti, Prati and Steppi were credited with a damaged each while Ceoletta also claimed two damaged Gladiators (according to some Italian historians one Gladiator was shared between Monti, Prati and Steppi and the second shared between Gon and Minelli, while one or two other Gladiators were considered probably shot down but there is however no trace of such claims in the official diaries).
They had run into five Gladiators from 3 RAAF Squadron, which had taken off from ALG 74 at 11:25 to carry out an offensive patrol around Sofafi. The patrol intercepted a reported 16 to 18 CR.42 six miles north-west of Sofafi. During the ensuing combat three of the Italian fighters were claimed shot down, one apiece being credited to Flying Officers Alan Boyd, Wilfred Arthur and Alan Gatward, without loss. The Gladiators returned to base at 13:05.

Following an air alarm at an unknown time on 13 December, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua of the 91a Squadriglia scrambled from T3 towards Bardia and fought an inconclusive combat with a Hurricane.

On 22 December, a formation of 23 fighters from the 10o Gruppo took off at 10:15 from Z1 to escort SM 79s bound to attack the usual British forces in the Sidi Omar-Sidi Azeiz area. The formation included six CR.42s from the 91a Squadriglia (Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sergente Maggiore Lorenzo Migliorato, Sergente Maggiore Natale Fiorito and Sergente Elio Miotto), seven from the 90a Squadriglia (Tenente Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Alessandro Rusconi, Sottotenente Neri De Benedetti, Sergente Alfredo Sclavo, Sergente Bruno Bortoletti, Sergente Luigi Bagato and Sergente Luigi Contarini) and ten from the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Luigi Monti, Capitano Mario Pluda (from the 91a Squadriglia but attached to the 84a Squadriglia), Tenente Antonio Angeloni, Sottotenente Luigi Prati, Sergente Domenico Santonocito, Sergente Roberto Steppi, Sergente Corrado Patrizi, Sergente Giuseppe Scaglioni, Sergente Piero Buttazzi and Sergente Luciano Perdoni).
Capitano Monti, Sottotenente Prati and Sergente Scaglioni were forced to turn back due to engine problems.
During the return journey, a British aircraft, identified as a “Battle”, tried to attack the formation but was attacked and damaged by Sergente Perdoni, Sergente Steppi and Tenente Angeloni. The 91a Squadriglia formation attacked enemy aircraft (of unspecified type) over the front and claimed one of them confirmed. AA fire damaged Sergente Steppi’s CR.42. At 12:10, all the fighters landed back at Z1.
The bombers were part of the biggest operation by the Regia Aeronautica since the beginning of Operation Compass, consisting of ten bombers from the 41o Stormo under Colonnello Pezzi and ten more from the 15o Stormo under Capitano De Cecco. Enemy vehicles around the border area were attacked by Pezzi, who after releasing his bombs went down to strafe from 50 metres altitude using 6000 rounds of ammo. The only damage suffered was from light AA on Tenente Pandolfi’s aircraft. The bombers returned at 12:15.
The 15o Stormo attacked the Sidi Azeiz area with 90 100kg bombs but was intercepted by aircraft identified as Battles (!). The Italian didn’t have any escort, which had remained with the 41o Stormo and had to accept combat. Nine SM 79 landed normally at 12:05 but the tenth was shot down, being forced to crash-land 30 kilometres south-east of Tobruk with a dead and two wounded among its crew.
It seems that they “Battles” in fact were Hurricanes from 33 Squadron, which reported that they flew offensive patrol together with 112 Squadron. During the day, they claimed two confirmed SM 79s shot down.

On 25 December, the 23o Gruppo flew its first escorting missions after its arrival in the theatre, one of these was at 15:00 with 12 CR.42s in collaboration with 22 CR.42s from the 10o Gruppo, which had taken off at 14:35 to escort the 15o Stormo’s SM 79s bound to attack Sollum Harbour.
The fighters from the 23o included four from the 70a Squadriglia (Maggiore Tito Falconi, Tenente Claudio Solaro, Sottotenente Oscar Abello and Sergente Maggiore Balilla Albani), four from the 74a Squadriglia (Capitano Guido Bobba, Tenente Mario Pinna, Tenente Lorenzo Lorenzoni and Sergente Emilio Stefani) and four from the 75a Squadriglia (Tenente Pietro Calistri, Tenente Ezio Maria Monti, Sottotenente Giuseppe De Angelis and Maresciallo Giovanni Carmello). The fighters from the 10o Gruppo included six CR.42s from the 91a Squadriglia (Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Sottotenente Ruggero Caporali, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli and Sergente Maggiore Lorenzo Migliorato), seven from the 90a Squadriglia (Tenente Giovanni Guiducci, Tenente Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Alessandro Rusconi, Sottotenente Neri De Benedetti, Sergente Alfredo Sclavo, Sergente Luigi Bagato and Sergente Enrico Botti) and nine from the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Luigi Monti, Tenente Antonio Angeloni, Sergente Maggiore Salvatore Mechelli, Sergente Domenico Santonocito, Sergente Luciano Perdoni, Sergente Corrado Patrizi, Sergente Piero Buttazzi, Sergente Mario Veronesi and Capitano Mario Pluda (91a Squadriglia)).
The formation was attacked by some Hurricanes that were counter-attacked and obliged to flee. Two Hurricanes were claimed as probably shot down by the pilots of 90a and 91a Squadriglie (the 90a Squadriglia used 160 rounds of ammunition), which claimed them as shared with the 23o Gruppo even if the pilot from the 23o Gruppo in fact weren’t able to claim anything. Tenente Guiducci landed at T5 with engine trouble while the rest of the formation landed at Z1 between 16:50 and 17:00. No losses were suffered by the bombers, which claimed to have hit an aircraft carrier. In fact, they aimed their bomb load at a monitor, but it is not known if the ship was in fact hit.
The Hurricanes were probably machines of 33 Squadron with Flying Officer Peter Wickham and Flying Officer Vernon Woodward that encountered one SM 79 and one CR.42, damaging the CR.42. The action was however recorded in the morning.

At 09:15 on 26 December, eight Gladiators from 3 RAAF Squadron took off from the LG south-west of Sollum to escort a Lysander doing artillery reconnaissance over Bardia. The Lysander failed to appear. At approximately 14:05 (obviously during a third patrol) two flights of five SM 79s escorted by a number of CR.42s were observed a few miles north-east of Sollum Bay. A separate formation of 18 CR.42s was following the bomber formation and escort 2,000 feet higher as top cover. Two Gladiators attacked the bomber formation whilst the remainder climbed to meet the higher formation. The attack on the bombers was broken off when the higher formation attacked the Gladiators. In the ensuing combat, Flight Lieutenant Gordon Steege and Flying Officer Wilfred Arthur each claimed a destroyed (seen to fall into the sea) and a damaged CR.42. Flying Officer Peter Turnbull, Flying Officer John Perrin and Flying Officer Alan Rawlinson each claimed one probable.
The CR.42s were 14 fighters from the newly arrived 23o Gruppo led by the CO, Maggiore Tito Falconi and 22 CR.42s from the 10o Gruppo. The CR.42s from the 23o Gruppo included three from the 70a Squadriglia (Tenente Claudio Solaro, Sergente Pardino Pardini and Tenente Gino Battaggion), five from the 74a Squadriglia (Capitano Guido Bobba, Tenente Lorenzo Lorenzoni, Sottotenente Sante Schiroli, Sergente Maggiore Raffaele Marzocca (forced to return early due to a sudden illness) and Sergente Manlio Tarantino) and five from the 75a Squadriglia (Tenente Pietro Calistri, Tenente Ezio Monti, Sottotenente Renato Villa, Sottotenente Leopoldo Marangoni and Maresciallo Carlo Dentis). The fighters from the the 10o Gruppo included seven from the 91a Squadriglia (Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Capitano Mario Pluda, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sottotenente Ruggero Caporali, Sergente Maggiore Lorenzo Migliorato and Sergente Elio Miotto), nine from the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Luigi Monti, Tenente Antonio Angeloni, Sottotenente Luigi Prati, Sottotenente Bruno Devoto, Sergente Domenico Santonocito, Sergente Corrado Patrizi, Sergente Piero Buttazzi, Sergente Luciano Perdoni and Sergente Mario Veronesi) and six from the 90a Squadriglia (Tenente Giovanni Guiducci, Tenente Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Alessandro Rusconi, Sottotenente Neri De Benedetti, Sergente Luigi Contarini and Sergente Giovanni Battista Ceoletta), which had taken off at 13:00.
They were escorting ten SM 79s from the 41o Stormo under Tenente Colonnello Draghelli and five SM 79s 216a Squadriglia, 53o Gruppo, 34o Stormo, led by Tenente Stringa. The SM 79s had taken off from M2 at 12:25 and attacked Sollum harbour’s jetty (reportedly hit) and two destroyers inside Sollum Bay (with poor results because of the heavy AA fire). AA from the ships hit four bombers from the 34o Stormo; one of them, piloted by Sottotenente Bellini had to force land close to Ain El Gazala with the central engine out of action. Returning pilots reported an attempt to intercept by some Gladiators but the escort repulsed the British fighters. They landed without further problems at 15:15.
Over the target, immediately after the bombing, the Italian fighters reported the interception of “enemy aircraft” alternatively “many Glosters” or “Hurricanes and Glosters”. The 70a Squadrigli pilots claimed a shared Hurricane, this was possibly an aircraft from 33 Squadron. This unit’s ORB reported that during the day’s patrols many SM 79s and CR.42s were intercepted with one CR.42 believed damaged. Two Gladiators confirmed and two probables were shared between the whole 10o Gruppo. Another Gladiator was assigned to the 23o Gruppo (in the documents of 75a Squadriglia but this is not confirmed by the other two Squadriglie). Many Glosters were claimed damaged by Tenente Lorenzoni, Sottotenente Schiroli, Sergente Tarantino, Sottotenente Marangoni, Tenente Calistri, Tenente Monti and Sottotenente Villa. The CR.42s were back between 14:30 and 15:05.
No Gladiators were lost even if three of them were damaged (all repairable within the unit). The Australians had done a very good job indeed, facing a formation four times more numerous (even if it seem improbable that all the Italian fighters were able to join the combat). From the Italian reports it seems that only the front sections of the escort (including the 74a, 75a and the 84a Squadriglie) were engaged in a sharp dogfight with the Gladiators. The Australians were able to shot down the CO of the 74a Squadriglia, Capitano Guido Bobba, who was killed when his fighter fell in flames into the sea and damaged Tenente Lorenzoni’s fighter, who landed at T2 (and came back to Z1 the day after). Three more CR.42s were damaged when Tenente Angeloni was forced to land at T5 before reaching Z1, Sergente Veronesi’s fighter was damaged and Sottotenente Prati was forced to make an emergency landing short of T2 (his fighter was reportedly undamaged and only suffering for a slight engine breakdown). Maggiore Falconi’s fighter was also heavily damaged but managed to return. The morning after Angeloni was able to return to Z1 with his aircraft.
Capitano Guido Bobba was awarded a posthumously Medaglia d’Argento al valor militare. He was replaced as CO of the 74a Squadriglia by Tenente Mario Pinna.

The last Italian bombing mission of the day on 27 December was again against Sollum. Four SM 79s from the 41o Stormo under Tenente Colonnello D’Ippolito and four bombers from the 216a Squadriglia, 34o Stormo, led by Tenente Romanini took off from Tmini at 14:30.
They were escorted by fighters from the 23o Gruppo and 10o Gruppi. Maggiore Tito Falconi was at the head of the formation of the first unit, which also included Tenente Claudio Solaro, Sottotenente Oscar Abello and Sergente Ubaldo Marziali from the 70a Squadriglia, Tenente Mario Pinna, Sottotenente Milano Pausi and Sergente Giuseppe Sanguettoli from the 74a Squadriglia and Tenente Pietro Calistri, Tenente Ezio Maria Monti, Maresciallo Giovanni Carmello, Sergente Leo Mannucci and Sottotenente Leopoldo Marangoni from the 75a Squadriglia.
It seems that the bomber formation split and the 41o Stormo attacked British mechanized units in Halfaya and Gabr Bu Fares under heavy AA that damaged, although slightly, all the aircraft. The SM 79s of the 34o Stormo attacked ships in Sollum harbour and were intercepted by many Hurricanes. The SM 79s were totally unable to defend themselves because of icing on all the guns and one of them was shot down. This was Sottotenente Aldo Peterlini’s bomber and Peterlini was killed together with three of his crew (Sergente Maggiore Arturo Scagnetti (second pilot), Aviere Scelto Motorista Alcide Frizzera and Aviere Scelto Radiotelegrafista Gioacchino Scuderi). The other two members of the crew (Primo Aviere Armiere Ciancilla and Primo Aviere Montatore Fiore) where able to bale out. Tenente Pandolfi’s aircraft was riddled by enemy bullets (probably RD) while the other two SM 79s were less seriously damaged although suffering some wounded among their crews.
They had been intercepted by 33 Squadron which claimed three SM 79s and one probable and probably two CR.42s during offensive patrols performed by pairs of Hurricanes over Sollum. They also claimed one SM 79 and one CR.42 damaged. Vernon Woodward claimed one of the probable CR.42s and the damaged CR.42.
Falconi’s pilots recorded combat with many Hurricanes, one of which was claimed as probable by the 70a Squadriglia and six more were damaged. Tenente Solaro and Sottotenente Abello returned with damaged fighters. Solaro had been hit by AA fire and Sottotenente Abello by British fighters. Calistri and his men claimed a shared Hurricane and four more damaged. They landed back at 16:55. A shot down Hurricane was also recorded by the 74a Squadriglia, which also recorded a SM 79 shot down by AA fire.
The CR.42 escort from the 10o Gruppo was composed of seven fighters from the 90a Squadriglia (Tenente Giovanni Guiducci, Tenente Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Alessandro Rusconi, Sottotenente Neri De Benedetti, Sergente Alfredo Sclavo, Sergente Bruno Bortoletti and Sergente Enrico Botti), six from the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Luigi Monti, Tenente Antonio Angeloni, Sottotenente Bruno Devoto, Sergente Maggiore Salvatore Mechelli, Sergente Domenico Santonocito and Sergente Piero Buttazzi) and six from the 91a Squadriglia (Maggiore Carlo Romagnoli, Capitano Vincenzo Vanni, Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua, Sottotenente Orlando Mandolini, Sottotenente Ennio Grifoni and Sergente Elio Miotto). Tenente Guiducci reported that the heavy AA immediately hit one of the SM 79s, which was shot down. Then five monoplanes (Hurricanes and Spitfires(!)) tried to attack but were immediately counterattacked and one of them was shot down. Later, another attempt by a lone British fighter failed after the intervention of the Italian escort. The 90a Squadriglia pilots expanded 320 rounds of ammunition and it seems that in the end the victory was assigned to the whole formation as a Gruppo victory. It seems that it was the same aircraft claimed independently by the two Squadriglie of the 23o Gruppo.

On 30 December 1940, he was commissioned (in Servizio Permanente Effettivo) due to war merits and received the rank of Sottotenente.

In January 1941, the 10o Gruppo was withdrawn to Italy to re-equip with the Macchi MC.200 and in April they operated from Ronchi with 23 MC.200s against Yugoslavia.

On 16 June 1941, the 10o Gruppo moved to Trapani, Sicily to take part in the attacks on Malta.

At 01:50 on 4 September 1941, 19 MC.200s of the 10o Gruppo set off from Comiso led by the CO, Tenente Colonnello Carlo Romagnoli, to search an area of sea where returning Ju 87 crews of 101o Gruppo claimed to have sunk a ship during the night. While returning towards Sicily, and when only some nine or ten miles from Malta, they were engaged by a reported 30 Hurricanes, and a big dogfight commenced. In fact twelve aircraft from 126 Squadron and nine from 185 Squadron had been scrambled, sighting the Italian formation at 22,500 feet in the Grand Harbour area. Squadron Leader Rabagliati (Hurricane Z4941/XL) at once attacked two Macchis, one which went down pouring smoke and was confirmed to have crashed by one of the 185 Squadron pilots. Flying Officer Carpenter, who was acting as top ‘Weaver’, some distance above the other Hurricanes, climbed after four Macchis giving similar high cover to their own formation. Accompanied by Pilot Officer Lardner-Burke, who was in a Hurricane Mk.IIC, Carpenter attacked one Macchi from below and to port, at which all four dived and went into line astern. His fire struck the starboard aileron of the leading fighter and pieces flew off the wing. The Italian pilot did a flick roll and turned to see what was going on, at which point Carpenter claimed to have shot him down. Lardner-Burke meanwhile was attacking the No.2 aircraft and saw the wing disintegrate under the impact of the 20mm shells. At once, the pilot went into a spin and the pilot baled out. At this point, his cannons jammed, but looking down he was able to count three parachutes and two crashing aircraft.
Below meanwhile Pilot Officer Blackburn attacked two MC.200s, scoring hits on both and seeing one dive down; he claimed a probable and a damaged. Flight Lieutenant Lefevre, Sergeant Simpson and Sergeant MacGregor each claimed a Macchi shot down, as did Sergeant Russell, who also claimed another damaged; MacGregor force-landed Z3498 at Takali due to a burst glycol tank. The pilots of 185 Squadron also joined in, Flight Lieutenant Jeffries attacking one MC.200 orbiting at 19,000 feet and getting in a short burst at only 25 yards range. He saw hits around the cockpit and the Macchi dived vertically towards the sea. Unable to observe the crash, he did see a puff of smoke where he assumed it would crash, and was awarded a probable. Returning pilots reported seeing three parachutes and one pilot bale out but fall without his ‘chute’ opening.
The Italians actually lost Romagnoli and Sottotenente Dalla Pasqua of the 91a Squadriglia, while two more pilots returned in damaged aircraft. Five Hurricanes were claimed shot down by all pilots jointly.

At the time of his death, Andrea Dalla Pasqua was credited with 5 shared biplane victories.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1940                
  14/09/40 11:00- 1/15 Blenheim (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  12/12/40 11:10- 1/9 Gladiator (b) Shared probable Fiat CR.42   Bir Enba area 91a Squadriglia
  12/12/40 11:10- 1/9 Gladiator (b) Shared probable Fiat CR.42   Bir Enba area 91a Squadriglia
  22/12/40 10:15-12:10 1/6 Enemy aircraft Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sidi Omar-Sidi Azeiz area 91a Squadriglia
  25/12/40 14:35-17:00 1/13 Hurricane (c) Shared probable Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  25/12/40 14:35-17:00 1/13 Hurricane (c) Shared probable Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  26/12/40 13:00-15:05 1/22 Gladiator (d) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  26/12/40 13:00-15:05 1/22 Gladiator (d) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  26/12/40 13:00-15:05 1/22 Gladiator (d) Shared probable Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  26/12/40 13:00-15:05 1/22 Gladiator (d) Shared probable Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia
  27/12/40 14:30- 1/19 Hurricane (e) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Sollum area 91a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 5 shared destroyed, 6 shared probably destroyed.
TOTAL: 5 shared destroyed, 6 shared probably destroyed.
(a) This claim can’t be verified with RAF records.
(b) Claimed in combat with Gladiators from 3 RAAF Squadron, which claimed 3 CR.42s without suffering losses. The 4o Stormo claimed 2 probables while losing one CR.42 (Sergente Crestani PoW).
(c) Possibly claimed in combat with Hurricanes from 33 Squadron, which claimed one damaged CR.42 without any losses. The CR.42s from 10o claimed two probables without losses.
(d) Claimed in combat with Gladiators from 3 RAAF Squadron, which claimed 2 and 3 probables without any losses, and possibly Hurricanes from 33 Squadron, which claimed a damaged CR.42 during the day. The 23o Gruppo claimed 1 Hurricane and 1 Gladiator and the 10o Gruppo claimed 2 and 2 probable Gladiators while losing one CR.42 and getting five more damaged.
(e) Claimed in combat with Hurricanes from 33 Squadron, which claimed two probable CR.42s and one damaged without losses. The 10o and 23o Gruppi claimed 3 Hurricanes and 1 probably shot down with another 10 damaged while suffering 3 damaged CR.42s.

Sources:
53o Stormo - Marco Mattioli, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-977-5
55 Squadron Operations Record Book
Annuario Ufficiale Delle Forze Armate Del Regno D’Italia Anno 1943. Part III Regia Aeronautica – 1943 Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Roma
Desert Prelude: Early clashes June-November 1940 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2010 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-89450-52-4
Desert Prelude: Operation Compass - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2011 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-61421-18-4
Malta: The Hurricane Years 1940-41 - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-89747-207-1
Quelli del Cavallino Rampante - Antonio Duma, 1981 Editore Dell'Ateneo, Roma, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Additional information kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo




Last modified 05 May 2012