Capitano Ranieri Piccolomini Clementini Adami
Ranieri Piccolomini Clementini Adami was born on 26 November 1912.
He belonged to an ancient family of the so called "Roman Nobility" (one of his ancestors was Pope of the Catholic Church - Pius II Piccolomini, 1458 to 1464).
On 19 August 1936, he was commissioned (in Servizio Permanente Effettivo).
From September 1937, with the rank of Sottotenente, he took part in the Spanish Civil War, flying in the 65a Squadriglia Assalto, which was commanded by Capitano Duilio Fanali (commander of the 65a Squadriglia from 13 October 1937 to 1 July 1938) and equipped with Breda Ba.65s.
During this period, his personal aircraft was coded "16-7", and he flew it until he crashed it after an aborted take-off due to a propeller failure on 18 June 1938.
His first mission was flown on the Teruel front on 30 December 1937. During the mission he attacked Republican tanks and troops with bombs and machine-guns. In return his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft gunfire.
On 26 July 1938, he destroyed the Ascò Bridge over the Ebro with 100 kg bombs together with Capitano Miotto (who at this time was the new Squadriglia commander) and Maresciallo Marinelli.
Two hours later he and five other Ba.65s were back to strafe roads around the bridge, but his aircraft was hit by AA fire. With the engine out of order, Piccolomini crash-landed near Gandesa, destroying Ba.65 "16-16", but suffering only minor wounds.
This was probably his last combat mission in Spain.
When Italy declared war on the Great Britain and France on 10 June 1940 Tenente Ranieri Piccolomini served in the 92a Squadriglia of the 8o Gruppo, 2o Stormo C.T. in Libya.
The 8o Gruppo (92a, 93a and 94a Squadriglie) was commanded by Maggiore Vincenzo La Carruba and started the war based at Tobruk T2 airfield with a full complement of 25 Fiat CR.32Qs.
Pilots in the 92a Squadriglia on 11 June were: Capitano Martino “Nino” Zannier (CO), Tenente Riccardo Marcovich (Gruppo Adjutant), Tenente Piccolomini, Tenente Giorgio Savoja, Sergente Maggiore Guglielmo Gorgone, Sergente Vito Copersino, Sergente Nadio Monti, Sergente Ernesto Pavan and Sergente Bruno Salvi. These pilots had nine CR.32quaters (including Maggiore La Carruba’s) and one S.81 (piloted by Savini during the transfer) available on 11 June. On strength, there was also Sergente Giovanni Sessa but he hadn’t left Tripoli. A number of pilots had been assigned to the squadriglia before the start of the hostilities; Sottotenente Alfonso Notari (from the 4o Stormo on 8 June), Sergente Augusto Mannu (from 53o Stormo on 8 June), Sergente Guido Piazza (from 53o Stormo on 10 June) and Sergente Clemente Bonfanti (from 53o Stormo on 10 June); these pilots however remained at Tripoli.
Reconnaissance sorties by 113 Squadron had revealed Tobruk harbour to be crowded and a combined action by the RAF and the Royal Navy was planned at dawn on 12 June against the shipping in the harbour.
The light cruiser HSM Gloucester and the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney were to carry out a sweep against Tobruk while the RAF bombed the harbour to drive shipping out of it and into the guns of the waiting fleet and to destroy at their moorings those vessels that did not flee.
Twenty-nine Blenheims from four squadrons were briefed to be over Tobruk at sunrise.
Six Blenheim Mk.Is from 45 Squadron took off but Sergeant Grant in L6664 aborted with an engine failure, wile the other five failed to find the target and four returned with the bombs still aboard. Flying Officer Rixson in the fifth Blenheim (L8524) bombed some troops near Bardia but had to force-land at Mersa Matruh during the return journey (unknown reason).
Only two of the five from 55 Squadron reached Tobruk – an engine of one would not start, the observer of another was struck by a propeller so it too did not take off, while a third had to turn back with engine trouble. Over the target they met a reported fifty CR.42s, which did not attack, so they returned to base unharmed.
Two of the nine from 211 Squadron crashed on take-off while a third suffered a slight ground collision with a Bombay; the remaining six were engaged by (reportedly) Fiat CR.42s defending Tobruk and claimed to have shot down two of them, (first claims by the Royal Air Force in the desert).
Finally nine Blenheim Mk.IVs of 113 Squadron did manage to find and bomb the harbour and reporting hits on the old cruiser San Giorgio.
There were not any CR.42s operational over Tobruk on the morning of 12 June, only the CR.32 of the 8o Gruppo. The Gruppo reported that two different formations of British bombers were intercepted before they were able to reach their target and obliged to jettison their bombs and turn back suffering heavy damage. The intercepting fighters were from three sections drawn from the three Squadriglie of the Gruppo. The section of the 92a Squadriglia was commanded by Tenente Piccolomini, the 93a Squadriglia section was commanded by Sergente Maggiore Italo Bertinelli and the 94a Squadriglia section was commanded by Sottotenente Giacomo Maggi. The Italian fighters didn’t claim victories (only damage) and didn’t suffer any losses.
It seems that some bombs fell on T2 but didn’t cause any damage. The air attack on the harbour was similarly devoid of concrete results.
According with the war diary of the cruiser San Giorgio, at dawn, two British cruisers with their escort of destroyers shelled the base, sinking the minesweeper Giovanni Berta, which was caught 3,5 miles out of the harbour. In the meantime, between 04:52 and 05:02, the Navy base was under air attacks that didn’t cause damage; San Giorgio was not damaged.
14 June saw the first combats between opposing RAF and Regia Aeronautica fighters over North Africa. This was caused because the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own), joined by elements of 4th Armoured Brigade and 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, assaulted Fort Capuzzo and Fort Maddalena (the two most important Italian frontier posts). The offensive was supported by attacks by Blenheims from 45, 55, 113 and 211 Squadrons. To protect both bombers and ground forces, 33 Squadron flew offensive sweeps as far as Bardia, meeting the Regia Aeronautica two times in the morning and Piccolomini took part in the second engagement.
At 10:00, after refuelling the Gladiators, Dean (Gladiator L9046) and Woodward (Gladiator N5783) were off again, followed a few minutes later by Sergeant J. Craig (Gladiator N5768). Near Fort Capuzzo they intercepted two Caproni Ca.310Bs escorted by CR.32s. Dean shot down one of the CR.32s while Woodward and Craig jointly attacked one Caproni, setting one of the engines on fire. The Italian bomber crash-landed among British tanks near Fort Capuzzo. Woodward also attacked and claimed a second CR.32 (this claim is unconfirmed and no more Italian losses has been possible to verify) before retuning to base with a single bullet hole in one of the wings. Dean later told:
“Soon after being promoted to Flying Officer, I was posted to No 33 Squadron at Mersa Matruh. I had a good flight with Verne Woodward, Peter Wickham and Sergeant Craig. It wasn’t long after Italy declared war that we were moved to Sidi Barrani. We had no warning system at all of aircraft movement by the enemy, and only very sketchy and vague locations of both ours and their positions from the Army. We carried out the old traditions of patrolling along and over the border in the beginning in “vics” and pairs. Later, we flew bigger sweeps with more aircraft. The combat of 14 June near Fort Capuzzo was our very first encounter with the enemy. An inoffensive-looking light bomber was seen, and I detached Woodward and Sergeant Craig to attack, whilst I stayed aloft to cover. Within a short spell, I saw six aircraft in line astern heading from the west. I recognised them as CR 32s. I remember being quite calm, and wondering what the heck to do. I flew towards them, keeping them well to my right – with the thought of getting behind them (and shooting them down one by one – silly boy!).
Before I got close enough to them, they split in all directions and formed a ring around me – the sitting duck! I remembered somewhere about flying extraordinarily badly to present a very bad target. I throttled back, yawed and waffled up and down and around, and could hear the thump of their half-inch cannon at each pass, and as each came into my sights having a rapid squirt at them. This seemed to go on for ages, and eventually one of them dropped away and suddenly the remainder disappeared, and I was thankfully alone in the sky and flew back.
I heard upon my return to base that one CR 32 had been destroyed, apparently by me, whilst Woodward and Craig had shared the bomber. I did hear later that the pilot of the CR 32 had been struck by a single bullet through the heart.”
At 07:45 on 19 June, four Gladiators from 33 Squadron flown by Squadron Leader D. V. Johnson (N5782), Flight Lieutenant G. E. Hawkins (N5765), Flying Officer A. H. Lynch (N5764), and Sergeant Roy Leslie Green (L9043) accompanied by Flying Officer Peter Wykeham-Barnes (Hurricane Mk.I P2639) of 80 Squadron and two Blenheim IFs from 30 Squadron took off from Mersa Matruh to patrol between Bug Bug and Sollum.
At 09:40, they sighted a formation of nine Fiat CR.42s (in other sources it is stated that it was five CR.42s and either seven CR.32s or Ro.37s). The Fiats were slightly below and to the port side of the British fighters, who were in an ideal position to make an attack.
Wykeham-Barnes shot down the leader of the Italian fighters whilst he was doing a vertical turn, with a short burst at full deflection. The Gladiators claimed two more CR.42s, but lost 24-year-old Sergeant Green (RAF No. 44754) when he was shot down despite some violent aerobatics.
The returning RAF pilots reported that although the enemy was superior in numbers, they lacked the aggression of the Gladiator pilots and gradually retreated towards the Libyan border. Wykeham-Barnes found it difficult to get his sights on the Fiats, because they were so very manoeuvrable, but eventually one of them made a mistake and he was able to get in a good burst of shells, which caused the CR.42 to dive away with smoke trailing behind it. He did not actually see it crash, but it was later confirmed as being destroyed by the ground forces. The Gladiators and the Hurricane were then forced to break off the combat by lack of petrol and ammunition. On their way back to Mersa Matruh they had to land at Sidi Barrani to refuel and rearm. The Gladiators were back at 10:10 and Wykeham-Barnes at 10:30.
The Italian aircraft had been from the Tobruk T2 based 10o Gruppo C.T. At 08:40, five aircraft of the 84a Squadriglia took off to escort a formation of five Breda Ba.65/A80s of the 159a Squadriglia, 12o Gruppo Assalto and nine CR.32s from the 8o Gruppo, heading to attack enemy vehicles between Sollum and Sidi El Barrani. The Bredas took off at 07:20, commanded by Capitano Duilio Fanali. The Italian fighters of the 84a Squadriglia were flown by Tenente Colonnello Armando Piragino, Capitano Luigi Monti, Sergente Maggiore Ugo Corsi, Sergente Giuseppe Scaglioni and Sergente Narciso Pillepich (almost certain MM5552). Monti, who was the pilot with the longer war experience insisted with his commander to increase the number of aircraft participating in the escort, but without avail. The assault planes were out in a search-and-destroy mission and firstly they had to find targets. In doing so they started with a pass between Amseat and Bardia, then a second one going beyond Sollum then a third one. In this way, a lot of time was lost and the RAF could scramble its aircraft. The Fiats were over the Bredas, turning at 2000 metres when a number of Glosters and Hurricanes (the Blenheims were not seen at all while the Hurricane was, as usual, misidentified as a Spitfire) suddenly attacked them. After a sharp engagement, three pilots came back to T2. The missing pilots were Corsi and Piragino. A CR.42s (Corsi, who was killed) was clearly seen to fall into the sea after being hit by a Hurricane, while nothing was known of the second CR.42. The Ba.65s came back safely, without seeing enemy planes that were obviously too busy with the 4o Stormo planes and didn’t engage them. However, returning to T2, the Breda flown by Sergente Maggiore Pietro Scaramucci suffered an engine breakdown and crash-landed, being written-off as a consequence.
Sergente Giuseppe Scaglioni returned claiming a Gladiator (probably Green) and a damaged Spitfire, Sergente Pillepich claimed two damaged Gladiators and Capitano Monti claimed a damaged Gladiator. The same evening a “British communiqué” advised that six (!) British fighters were lost in exchange for two Italians. So all participating pilots in this combat were credited with six shared victories because this was the only combat of the day for Italian units. Some days after, a British message dropped on Bardia informed that Piragino was wounded in a leg after crashing at Sollum and prisoner. Scaglioni described the combat:
“Over Bir el Gib we were surprised by a number of Glosters and a Hurricane that attacked with height advantage giving us a lot of trouble. I saw the commander doing a violent overturning while I was doing a break on the left, this manoeuvre put me behind a Gloster that I shot down with my 12,7 mm guns.
I lost sight of the commander immediately and after landing I knew he was missing. In the same combat we lost Sergente Maggiore Corsi shot down by a Hurricane that I attacked trying to distract it from its action but in vain. For sure Corsi was taken by surprise because he was considered a pilot of exceptional skill and the very best aerobatic pilot of the Stormo.”
At dawn on 21 June, a Short Sunderland appeared over Tobruk harbour. Sergente Roberto Steppi of the 84a Squadriglia took off immediately and intercepted the seaplane 20 kilometres north of Tobruk were it already was under attack of two CR.32s flown by Tenente Piccolomini and Tenente Giorgio Savoja of the 92a Squadriglia, which had scrambled from Tobruk T2 at 04:30. Diving on the Sunderland, Steppi opened fire aiming at the cockpit but after two bursts of fire, his guns jammed and he was obliged to leave the pursuit.
Tenente Franco Lucchini of the 90a Squadriglia took off after Steppi and joined the fight, following the Sunderland far out over open sea and leaving it off coast with two engines smoking.
Neither Lucchini nor Steppi claimed any victory but, two days later, on 23 June, news arrived from the Navy base at Bardia, that the Sunderland, heavily damaged, had been forced to ditch in the sea off the coast and had been captured with all the crew dead except from the pilot, who was wounded. The victory was assigned to the four pilots collectively although it should be attributed to Lucchini.
This was the first reported Italian meeting with the lumbering Sunderland and its overall dimensions made a strong impression on them. Asked about his feelings during the combat, the “Archduke”, as Piccolomini was playfully nicknamed by his comrades, stated graphically – “That was not a plane, that was a tram”.
According to British records, the intruder on the evening on 20 June was a 228 Squadron Sunderland (N9025/Y) piloted by Acting Flight Lieutenant T. M. W. Smith DFC and Flying Officer D. R. S. Bevan-John. The British crew reported heavy AA during an evening reconnaissance of Tobruk’s harbour and landed at Alexandria by night, undamaged.
Then the attack of the Bombay followed and finally at 02:20, Sunderland L2160/X of 230 Squadron piloted by Wing Commander G. Francis and Flight Lieutenant Garside, took off from Alexandria for a reconnaissance of Tobruk’s harbour. Over Tobruk they were intercepted by a reportedly four CR.32s or CR.42s claiming one of them shot down while the others broke off after a 15 minutes engagement. L2160 was however heavily damaged by explosive bullets (0.52’’ diameter), principal damage being a large hole in hull (6’’ x 8’’). The fuel tanks were also extensively holed but these were stopped in air with plasticize.
From Alexandria L2166/U took off at 08:05 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Alington to escort L2160 as a safety aircraft in case it was unable to make it back. It was however unable to join with “X”, which in turn landed in Alexandria at 08:30 and was immediately put on the slipway of Imperial Airways for repairs (the aircraft was back in action on 9 July).
L2160 was undoubtedly the plane attacked by Piccolomini, Savoja, Steppi and Lucchini while there is the strong possibility that the aircraft ditched off Bardia was in fact the 216 Squadron’s Bombay (perhaps previously hit by AA fire and in fact the AA defences of Tobruk was credited with a victory during the day) that was incorrectly reported as a Sunderland and originated the Italian fighter’s claim.
At 09:40 on the same morning, six CR.32s of the 92a Squadriglia (Capitano Martino Zannier, Tenente Piccolomini, Sergente Maggiore Guglielmo Gorgone, Sergente Vito Copersino, Sergente Nadio Monti and Sergente Ernesto Pavan) and three from the 93a Squadriglia (Tenente Alberto Argenton, Sergente Italo Bertinelli and Sergente Roberto Lendaro) took off and attacked enemy vehicles south of Bir El Gobi, escorted by CR.42s from the 13o Gruppo. The fire from the CR.32s, which attacked in single file, stopped an enemy armoured car and forced two other armoured cars of the same formation, less seriously damaged, to flee.
They were back at base at 11:00, where Copersino’s fighter was found damaged in the fuel tank by AA. The 92a Squadriglia formation expended 1756 rounds and 96 two-kilo bombs.
In the beginning of July the 8o Gruppo re-equipped with Fiat CR.42s.
At 18:00 on 8 October, Piccolomini alone attacked a formation composed by reportedly three Wellingtons until he was out of ammunition. He returned with his damaged fighter, which had been hit in the wings and in the fuselage, claiming damage to all three Wellingtons with the use of 618 rounds.
He had met a couple of Blenheims from 55 Squadron that had taken off at 17:00 from Fuka to attack targets in Bardia with small calibre bombs. The returning British pilots reported that after the bomb drop they were unable to see their results because they were immediately attacked by a CR.42, which stayed behind them firing alternatively at both from about 400 yards. After around five minutes, the fighter disengaged having caused no damage and apparently having suffered none. The British crew noted that the heavy but inaccurate AA burst mainly around the pursuing fighter 400 yards behind (probably the damage suffered by Piccolomini was caused by Italian AA).
However, when the British bombers landed at 19:10, Blenheim L8391 hit a lorry after landing, slightly bending one airscrew and the Vokes filter.
While on a patrol between 10:50 and 13:25 on 15 October over Sollum and Giarabub together with Sergente Maggiore Guglielmo Gorgone and Sergente Nadio Monti, Tenente Piccolomini of the 92a Squadriglia spotted and shot down a Lysander with the use of 2284 rounds of ammunition.
This was Pilot Officer David Mervyn Boughey Druce (RAF no. 72022) of 208 Squadron flying a reconnaissance over Giarabub in a lone Lysander (L4714), who reportedly was attacked by the CR.42s and shot down, his aircraft blowing-up on hitting the ground killing him and his Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sergeant John Felix Muldowney (RAF no. 537426). Before being shot down however, the Lysander fought back tenaciously discharging four pans of rear gun ammunition and damaging both Gorgone’s and Monti’s fighters.
Egyptian soldiers from a frontier post witnessed the action and later recovered the bodies of the two British pilots. Lysander L4720 was allotted as replacement for L4714.
On 8 December, the 92a Squadriglia (CO Capitano Martino Zannier) had three combat ready CR.42s, four inefficient at Menastir and one inefficient at Benghazi waiting for an engine. During the morning on 8 December the three combat ready CR.42s were passed to the 13o Gruppo at Gambut while two of the inefficient machines were flown to Benina. During the morning on 10 December one CR.42 of the Squadriglia piloted by Sergente Orsi made a standing patrol over Menastir (obviously one of the planes that was inefficient on the 8th), while on 11 December another inefficient machine was taken to El Adem for a general revision.
Regarding the Commanding Officer it is noteworthy that Zannier (who wrote down the Squadriglia’s Diary) didn’t take part in any of the missions of his Squadriglia after 5 October and during the following months it appears that the Squadriglia was led in the air directly by Maggiore La Carruba (Gruppo CO) or Tenente Piccolomini and on one occasion (28 November) one of its CR.42s was flown by Capitano Travaglini, a pilot of the 77a Squadriglia.
In December 1940 the 2o Stormo returned to Italy. During the African tour from 11 June to 19 December, it had flown 2403 missions, destroyed 45 enemy aircraft and lost 13, with ten pilots KIA or MIA and two POW.
Back in Italy Piccolomini was transferred to the 4o Stormo. In 1941 and with the rank of Capitano, he was in the Comando staff of the Stormo.
He was promoted to Capitano on 17 August 1941.
At 14.00 on 20 April 1942 19 MC.202s of the 10o Gruppo undertook their first mission – a fighter sweep over Malta. They were led by Capitano Giovanni Guiducci, leader of the 90a Squadriglia. Half an hour into their flight Guiducci and his No. 2, Sergente Maggiore Giambattista Ceoletta, collided, both aircraft falling into the sea off Porto Empedocle. Although Ceoletta managed to bale out and was picked up by a fishing boat, Guiducci’s aircraft fell in flames and he was killed; the mission was at once aborted.
Two days later Capitano Piccolomini was posted in to take over the 90a Squadriglia.
In early May the 4o Stormo (equipped with Macchi MC.202 Folgores) was in Sicily with the duty of bomber escort over Malta.
On 24 May 1942, the 54 MC.202s of the 4o Stormo C, which had been operating over Malta, arrived at Martuba, led by Tenente Colonnello Armando François.
They joined 1o Stormo (CO Colonnello Alfredo Reglieri), forming a force of more than 100 MC.202s, the largest concentration of these fighters ever to be achieved in Libya.
Next day a Comando Caccia (Fighter Command) was established at Martuba under the 1o Stormo commander, to co-ordinate the activities of the four MC.202-equipped units:
6o Gruppo (1o Stormo); CO Maggiore Mario Larcher
17o Gruppo (1o Stormo); CO Maggiore Domenico Sciaudone
9o Gruppo (4o Stormo); CO Maggiore Antonio Larsimont Pergameni
10o Gruppo (4o Stormo); CO Maggiore Paolo Maddalena
The three squadriglie of the newly arrived 9o Gruppo were led by Sottotenente Alvaro Querci (73a Squadriglia), Capitano Ezio Viglione Borghese (96a Squadriglia) and Sottotenente Jacopo Frigerio (97a Squadriglia), who would be replaced by Tenente Fernando Malvezzi on 1 June. The commanders of the three squadriglie of 10o Gruppo were Capitano Franco Lucchini (84a Squadriglia), Capitano Piccolomini (90a Squadriglia) and Tenente Orlando Mandolini (91a Squadriglia).
It is believed that Piccolomini's personal aircraft during this tour was Macchi MC.202 serie III "90-1" (MM unknown).
On 4 June nine MC.202s of the 10 o Gruppo, led by Maggiore Paolo Tito Maddalena, met fifteen P-40s at a lower level over Bir Haftach, and dived unseen on them. Maresciallo Luigi Bignami (84a Squadriglia) and Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini (90a Squadriglia) each claimed a fighter while three other were claimed as shared destroyed by the 91a Squadriglia's pilots. Piccolomini, Sergente Livio Barbera (84a Squadriglia) and pilots of the 91a Squadriglia each claimed probable P-40s (details on activity of the 91a Squadriglia during this tour are not known because of the loss of the Unit diaries during the retreat from Africa).
Three days later, on 7 June, Maggiore Maddalena and eight MC.202s of the 10 o Gruppo flew a "free hunt" mission over Sidi Muftach area when they met an enemy formation of P-40s. Maddalena described the mission in his Unit diary:
"At 09:10 I spotted a formation of about ten aircraft, 10 km W of Acroma, heading east. I radioed my pilots, then I headed north and I met a big formation of about thirty P-40s flying at our level. We resolutely attacked them, and we started a combat that ended at a very low level; it lasted more than twenty minutes. Five aircraft were shot down, and one more was probably destroyed."Maddalena claimed two P-40s, Piccolomini and Sottotenente Mario Squarcina (90a Squadriglia) one each while pilots of the 91a Squadriglia claimed the fifth.
In the morning on 12 June, 14 MC.202s from the 10o Gruppo led by the Gruppo commander Maggiore Paolo Tito Maddalena, together with German Bf 109s were escorting Luftwaffe Ju 87s to attack targets south-east of Acroma. At 3500 meters halfway between Ain el Gazala and Acroma the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Paolo Berti, Maresciallo Luigi Bignami, Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi, Sergente Roberto Ugazio and Sergente Piero Buttazzi) was attacked by three diving Spitfires. The formation broke up, while the 90a Squadriglia (Capitano Piccolomini, Sottotenente Virgilio Vanzan and Sergente Gregorio Taverna) counter-attacked and scattered the Spitfires. Soon after this, these three pilots spotted a lone P-40, which was hit several times. The P-40 made a wheels-up landing at Gambut and was claimed as a shared victory. After this was, Taverna shot down by ground fire. Vanzan was also hit over Tobruk, but was able to return at Martuba. Meanwhile Lucchini, Buttazzi and Veronesi had met eleven RAF fighters (Spitfires and P-40s) north-east of El Adem. In the combat, they claimed a shared Spitfire and damaged many others.
On 1 July the 10o Gruppo transferred to Fuka.
Next day, on 2 July whilst leading the 90a Squadriglia, Piccolomini encountered nine Bostons escorted by twenty P-40s north of Fuka. The Italian fighters attacked and Piccolomini claimed a Boston while the other bombers hid in a cast of clouds.
The escorting fighters engaged the Italians and Sottotenente Virgilio Vanzan claimed one and one probable P-40s while Sergente Maggiore Amleto Monterumici claimed a second P-40. A third P-40 was claimed as a shared by all the pilots of the 90a Squadriglia. Several more aircraft were claimed damaged by Vanzan, Monterumici, Sergente Elio Trevisan and Tenente Italo Alessandrini (MC.202 "90-12" MM 7792). The latter was subsequently hit by P-40s, made an emergency landing on the desert, and was captured to become a POW.
In the morning on 4 July, Capitano Franco Lucchini led six MC.202s of the 84a Squadriglia and six of the 90a Squadriglia over El Alamein. At 4500 m they met twenty Bostons escorted by many P-40 and Spitfires; at a lower level flew a formation of Hurribombers. Led by Lucchini, the Italians attacked both formations with success. Lucchini claimed a P-40, Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini a Boston, Maresciallo Pietro Del Turco a Hurricane, Sottotenente Luigi Giannella a Spitfire, Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi another Spitfire and a probable Boston, while a P-40 was shared by all in the Gruppo. In addition Capitano Piccolomini and Sottotenente Virgilio Vanzan claimed a fighter probable each while Lucchini, Sottotenente Paolo Berti and Sergente Livio Barbera damaged many others. Sottotenente Sforza Libera (90a Squadriglia) in his first combat mission, damaged a Spitfire.
In the morning on 8 July Piccolomini led five MC.202s of the 90a Squadriglia and four of the 91a Squadriglia to intercept fifteen Hurribombers escorted by a reported twenty P-40s and twenty-five Spitfires. They attacked the escort while the Hawkers escaped eastward. Piccolomini claimed a fighter (probably a P-40) while some others were damaged by other pilots.
At 18:00 on the same day Piccolomini, Sottotenente Luigi Giannella (84a Squadriglia) and other pilots from the 9o Gruppo strafed four enemy trucks towing cannons, about 30 km south-west and south-east of Fuka.
On 10 July, twelve MC.202s of 10o Gruppo led by Capitano Piccolomini took off at 18:00 for a free sweep over El Alamien. At 6000 meters over El Alamein, they met eight Hurribombers covered by 15 P-40s and four Spitfires and engaged. They claimed two confirmed victories (one by Sergente Maggiore Alessandro Bladelli) and one probable (Piccolomini). After around 20 minutes the combat ended due to lack of ammunitions and impending dark. The Macchis landed back at 19:30.
It seems that 10o Gruppo met 274 and 80 Squadrons. Nine Hurricane IIs of the former had taken off at 19:10 to cover eight Hurribombers of 80 Squadron over the frontline (take off 19:05 and landing 20:10). Ten miles west of Alamein at the height of 10,000ft they discovered a mixed patrol of Bf 109s and Macchis and the two formations charged frontally. The Macchis opened fire from long distance damaging the left wing of the Hurricane of Sergeant Macfarlane. The 274 Squadron then assumed a defensive position regaining its territory and coming back at 20:15. 80 Squadron according with Form 541, wasn’t apparently engaged and just recorded eight Spitfires clashing against Bf 109s.
On 14 July, Piccolomini led six aircraft of the 84a Squadriglia and six of the 90a Squadriglia to intercept twelve Hurribombers escorted by twenty P-40s. As a result of the combat the pilots of the 90a Squadriglia claimed a shared P-40 while a Hurribomber was credited to all pilots.
On 16 July, Capitano Franco Lucchini led MC.202s of the 84a Squadriglia (Sottotenente Luigi Giannella, Sottotenente Paolo Berti, Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi, Maresciallo Luigi Bignami and Sergente Corrado Patrizi), of the 90a Squadriglia (Capitano Piccolomini, Sottotenente Renato Baroni, Sottotenente Sforza Libera, Sergente Maggiore Amleto Monterumici and Sergente Sergente Giambattista Ceoletta) and of the 91a Squadriglia (Tenente Paolo Benedicti) to escort CR.42s. Over Deir el Qattara they intercepted ten Hurribombers flying at 500 m, escorted by ten P-40s at 2000 m, with fifteen of the same type at 5000 m and six Spitfires at 6000 m. The returning Italians claimed four P-40s; Berti and Veronesi one each, one shared by Lucchini, Giannella, Berti and Benedicti while the fourth also was claimed as a shared by Bignami, Veronesi, Piccolomini, Baroni and Monterumici. Many others were damaged. Baroni was wounded in the combat and with his MC.202 damaged, made an emergency landing at El Daba. Bignami was hit in the wings and on the windscreen. Berti was attacked by P-40s while returning home, but escaped. Lucchini’s aircraft was hit by five bullets, one of them piercing a fuel tank in left wing root but he was able to land at El Quteifiya, although stunned by fuel vapour.
At 06:45 on 18 July, eight MC.202s; four of the 84a Squadriglia (Capitano Franco Lucchini, Sottotenente Luigi Giannella, Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi and Sergente Piero Buttazzi) and four of the 90a Squadriglia (Capitano Piccolomini, Sottotenente Virgilio Vanzan, Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini and Sergente Maggiore Amleto Monterumici), led by Lucchini, took off from Bu Amud for a "free hunt" mission. Over the front, they spotted nine P-40s escorted by eleven Hurricanes. The P-40s jettisoned their bombs over the El Qasaba area and tried to escape home eastward. The Italian fighters caught the Allied aircraft over Burg el Arab, 50 km east of El Alamein. A P-40 was claimed as a shared destroyed by Lucchini and Buttazzi, a second was claimed as a shared by Giannella and Veronesi, a third was claimed by Savini and a fourth was claimed jointly by Piccolomini, Vanzan and Monterumici.
After an alarm from the Freya radar in the morning on 5 August, Capitano Franco Lucchini (CO of the 84a Squadriglia) scrambled with twelve MC.202s of the 84a and 90a Squadriglie to intercept bombers. The fighters were radio-guided eastward over the sea, until 20 km from Alexandria, without having found any aircraft. On the way home, they met fifteen Hurricanes and P-40s at 4000 meters in the El Hammam - El Amirya area and attacked them. Lucchini and Sottotenente Paolo Berti (84a Squadriglia) claimed a P-40 each; a third was claimed as shared by all the pilots. Capitano Piccolomini, Sergente Maggiore Natale Molteni (90a Squadriglia) and a pilot of the 84a Squadriglia claimed a probable P-40 each.
On 11 August twelve fighters from the 84a and 90a Squadriglie, led by Maggiore Giuseppe D’Agostinis (new CO of the 10o Gruppo after the death of Maggiore Maddalena) and radio-guided by Freya radar, intercepted fifteen P-40s at 5000 m over El Hammam-Burgh el Arab. Capitano Piccolomini claimed one while Capitano Franco Lucchini claimed another as a probable.
At 06:00 on 2 September Maggiore Giuseppe D’Agostinis led 18 Macchis of the 10o Gruppo for a free hunt mission. They met two squadrons of eighteen Bostons, escorted by twenty Spitfires, and one of twelve Bostons, escorted by fifteen Spitfires and P-40s, at 7000 m over the Bir Mseilikh area. In the combat Capitano Franco Lucchini claimed a Boston and a Spitfire while D’Agostinis, Capitano Carlo Maurizio Ruspoli di Poggio Suasa (leader of the 91a Squadriglia), Sottotenente Luciano Barsotti (91a Squadriglia) and Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli (91a Squadriglia) also claimed a Spitfire each. Capitano Piccolomini and Tenente Luigi Padovani (90a Squadriglia) claimed a Spitfire as a shared. Maresciallo Pietro Del Turco (90a Squadriglia) was probably shot down and MIA.
On 11 September twelve Folgores from the 90a and the 91a Squadriglie, led respectively by Capitano Piccolomini and Capitano Carlo Maurizio Ruspoli di Poggio Suasa, intercepted fifteen bomb-laden P-40s at 2000 m, covered by ten Spitfires at 4000 m over El Alamein-El Hammam. While the 91a Squadriglia attacked the P-40s (which jettisoned their bombs in the sea) and the 90a Squadriglia attacked the Spitfires, eight other Spitfires dived unseen on them from 6000 m. A hard fight began and lasted for over twenty minutes until 60 km east of El Alamein. Piccolomini, Sergente Maggiore Giovanni Silvestri (91a Squadriglia) and Sottotenente Luciano Barsotti (91a Squadriglia) claimed a P-40 each, while Sottotenente Orlando Mandolini (91a Squadriglia) claimed a Spitfire. Another Spitfire was claimed as a shared probable by Tenente Luigi Padovani, Sergente Maggiore Angelo Savini, Sottotenente Sforza Libera and Sergente Maggiore Bruno Bortoletti (all from the 90a Squadriglia). Many others were claimed damaged. Five Macchis were hit, but returned back to base; Savini’s, Libera’s and Sergente Maggiore Leonardo Ferrulli’s aircraft were damaged, as was Barsotti’s, who also was lightly wounded, as was Padovani, who received a bulled in his left leg. Bortoletti, with his Folgore riddled by a Spitfire, made an emergency landing near Hisiyet Busata.
In the morning on 22 October fifteen MC.202s of the 9o and the 10o Gruppi, led respectively by Capitano Giulio Reiner (CO of the 73a Squadriglia) and Capitano Piccolomini, scrambled to intercept eighteeen Bostons, escorted by twenty-five Spitfires, that were going to bomb the airfield of Fuka. The bombers were scattered, jettisoned their bombs 20 km south of Bir Sarahat and tried to get home. The escorting Spitfires dived on the Macchis. In the ensuing combat three Spitfires were claimed shot down, one each by Tenente Mario Mecatti (91a Squadriglia) and Sottotenente Virgilio Vanzan, and one shared by Piccolomini, Tenente Pietro Dell'Antonio (90a Squadriglia), Sergente Maggiore Natale Molteni and Sottotenente Sforza Libera. Reiner and other four pilots of his Squadriglia damaged three Bostons and a Spitfire. Two Macchis returned lightly damaged.
At 11:35 on the same day, Giulio Reiner and Piccolomini scrambled again, this time with eleven MC.202s, to intercept forty Spitfires flying in two formations at 5000 and 6000 meters south-east of Fuka. They spotted the enemy while only at 4000 meters, so they made a big turn and climbed unseen to 7000 meters. With the sun at 6 o’clock the Italians attacked the higher group of Spitfires. Maresciallo Antonio Sacchi claimed setting fire on one, Reiner claimed one as a probable that fell leaving a smoke trail, while three more were claimed as shared probably destroyed by Piccolomini and the other pilots. Sacchi, who remained alone among a gang of ten Spitfires, was shot down, but parachuted, with slight wounds, behind Axis lines. Three other MC.202s were damaged in the combat.
On 18 November, during a reconnaissance mission over Msus, Piccolomini, who flew a MC.202 from the 96a Squadriglia, met two Hurricanes and attacked them, damaging one.
After the battle of El Alamein, the Axis forces gradually retreated. In early December, the 10o Gruppo was at Castelbenito to be sent back to Italy; the last pilots to leave, on 12 December, were Maggiore Giuseppe D’Agostinis, Tenente Luigi Giannella and Capitano Piccolomini (CO 90a Squadriglia).
During the period January 1942 – January 1943, the 4o Stormo flew 7202 hours on missions, took part in 133 combats, claimed 289 aircraft destroyed (totally 501 from the beginning of the war) and lost 24 pilots KIA or MIA with 29 wounded and 2 POWs.
After a period of rest, on 24 February 1943, pilots of the 10o Gruppo rejoined to reorganize the unit at Bresso airfield, under the command of Maggiore Giuseppe D’Agostinis.
Pilots in the 84a Squadriglia were Capitano Franco Lucchini (CO) (hospitalized), Tenente Luigi Giannella, Tenente Alessandro Mettimano, Sottotenente Francesco De Seta, Sottotenente Ugo Picchiottini, Maresciallo Luigi Bignami, Sergente Maggiore Domenico Santonocito, Sergente Maggiore Corrado Patrizi, Sergente Maggiore Piero Buttazzi, Sergente Maggiore Luciano Perdoni and Sergente Livio Barbera.
Pilots in the 90a Squadriglia were Capitano Piccolomini (CO), Sottotenente Sforza Libera, Sottotenente Renato Baroni, Sottotenente Luigi Cima, Sergente Maggiore Massimo Salvatore, Sergente Maggiore Bruno Bortoletti, Sergente Maggiore Giovanni Battista Ceoletta, Sergente Maggiore Amleto Monterumici and Sergente Maggiore Natale Molteni.
Pilots in the 91a Squadriglia were Capitano Luigi Mariotti (CO), Tenente Giuseppe Ferazzani, Tenente Alvaro Bondi, Sottotenente Leonardo Ferrulli, Sottotenente Elio Miotto, Sottotenente Guerriero Silvestri, Sottotenente Vittorino Daffara, Maresciallo Alessandro Bladelli, Maresciallo Lamberto Martelli, Sergente Maggiore Ferruccio Terrabujo, Sergente Ambrogio Rusconi and Sergente Giulio Fornalé.
On 20 April, the Gruppo transferred to Ciampino Sud for the defence of Rome.
In June, the Gruppo was transferred to Catania, for the defence of Sicily. At this time the 90a Squadriglia operated together with the 84a Squadriglia at S. Salvatore, near Catania.
At the beginning of July Allied forces started to attack Sicily.
On 4 July sixty USAAF bombers, escorted by thirty-six P-38s and Spitfires, attacked the airfield of Gerbini Sud and the railway stations of Catania and Misterbianco.
Twenty-one MC.202s and MC.205s were scrambled and intercepted the bombers and their escort between Catania, Syracuse and Cape Passero. Capitano Piccolomini and Sottotenente Renato Baroni (90 a Squadriglia) claimed a shared P-38 in this combat while Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi, Sottotenente Mario Squarcina (90 a Squadriglia) and Sottotenente Leonardo Ferrulli claimed a P-38 each. Many other Allied aircraft were claimed damaged. No losses were suffered by the Italian fighters.
After the death of Franco Lucchini on 5 July, Piccolomini took command of the 10o Gruppo and held this until the Armistice on 8 September 1943.
During the last period he flew MC.205 serie III MM 92211 (possibly "90-1" again).
After the Armistice, Piccolomini, as most pilots of the 4o Stormo, joined to Aeronautica Cobelligerante, or Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (ICAF).
On 6 October he should have participated together with Capitano Carlo Maurizio Ruspoli di Poggio Suasa (MC.205 serie III MM92214, later coded “21-5”) and Capitano Luigi Mariotti (MC.205 serie III MM 92176) in a leaflet dropping sortie over Rome, but his Macchi had a brake failure and did not take off.
In the ICAF he commanded the 90a Squadriglia until 30 January 1944, when, with the rank of Maggiore, was appointed CO of the 10o Gruppo.
In September 1944 the 4o Stormo was re-equipped with Bell P-39 Airacobras.
From 31 December to the end of the war he commanded the 4o Stormo.
During his service with the ICAF, Piccolomini performed several escort, recon and attack missions over the Balkans.
On 8 February 1944 he was lightly wounded by ground fire during an action over Dubrownik.
In fact, he used to strafe at a very low level and was known by his companions to be an "aircraft smasher" for this reason.
During the war, he was decorated with one Medaglia d'argento al valor militare, the Croce al merito di guerra, the Medaglia commemorativa della campagna di Spagna and the Medaglia di benemerenza per i volontari della guerra Spagna.
Piccolomini ended the war with 2 biplane victories and a total of 7.
After the war Piccolomini remained in the Aeronautica Militare Italiana.
With the rank of Colonnello he was CO of the 1o Stormo from 1 May 1956. This unit was at this time equipped with FIAT/North American F-86Ks.
From 1959 to 1960 he commanded the 51a Aerobrigata, which was equipped with Republic F-84Fs.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|1||14/06/40||09:30-||1||Gladiator (a)||Destroyed||Fiat CR.32||near Fort Capuzzo||92a Squadriglia|
|21/06/40||04:30-||1/4||Sunderland (b)||Shared destroyed||Fiat CR.32||Bardia area||92a Squadriglia|
|08/10/40||18:00||1||Wellington (c)||Damaged||Fiat CR.42||Fuka area||92a Squadriglia|
|08/10/40||18:00||1||Wellington (c)||Damaged||Fiat CR.42||Fuka area||92a Squadriglia|
|08/10/40||18:00||1||Wellington (c)||Damaged||Fiat CR.42||Fuka area||92a Squadriglia|
|2||15/10/40||10:50-13:25||1||Lysander (d)||Destroyed||Fiat CR.42||Sollum - Giarabub||92a Squadriglia|
|04/06/42||1||P-40||Probable||MC.202||Bir Haftach area||90a Squadriglia|
|3||07/06/42||1||P-40||Destroyed||MC.202||Sidi Muftach area||90a Squadriglia|
|12/06/42||a.m.||1/3||P-40||Shared destroyed||MC.202||Gambut area||90a Squadriglia|
|4||02/07/42||1||Boston||Destroyed||MC.202||N Fuka||90a Squadriglia|
|02/07/42||1||P-40||Shared destroyed||MC.202||N Fuka||90a Squadriglia|
|04/07/42||morning||1||Enemy fighter||Probable||MC.202||El Alamein area||90a Squadriglia|
|04/07/42||morning||1/12||P-40 (e)||Shared destroyed||MC.202||El Alamein area||90a Squadriglia|
|10/07/42||18:00-19:30||1||P-40 (f)||Probable||MC.202||El Alamein area||90a Squadriglia|
|14/07/42||1/6||P-40||Shared destroyed||MC.202||90a Squadriglia|
|14/07/42||1/12||Hurricane||Shared destroyed||MC.202||90a Squadriglia|
|16/07/42||1/5||P-40||Shared destroyed||MC.202||Deir el Qattara area||90a Squadriglia|
|18/07/42||06:45-||1/3||P-40||Shared destroyed||MC.202||Burg el Arab area||90a Squadriglia|
|05/08/42||1/12||P-40||Shared destroyed||MC.202||El Hammam - El Amirya area||90a Squadriglia|
|05/08/42||1||P-40||Probable||MC.202||El Hammam - El Amirya area||90a Squadriglia|
|6||11/08/42||1||P-40||Destroyed||MC.202||El Hammam – Burg el Arab||90a Squadriglia|
|02/09/42||½||Spitfire||Shared destroyed||MC.202||Bir Mseilikh area||90a Squadriglia|
|7||11/09/42||1||P-40||Destroyed||MC.202||El Alamein – El Hammam||90a Squadriglia|
|22/10/42||1/4||Spitfire||Shared destroyed||MC.202||20km S Bir Sarahat||90a Squadriglia|
|22/10/42||1||Spitfire||Shared probable||MC.202||SE Fuka||90a Squadriglia|
|22/10/42||1||Spitfire||Shared probable||MC.202||SE Fuka||90a Squadriglia|
|22/10/42||1||Spitfire||Shared probable||MC.202||SE Fuka||90a Squadriglia|
|18/11/42||1||Hurricane||Damaged||MC.202||Msus area||90a Squadriglia|
|04/07/43||½||P-38||Shared destroyed||Macchi||Catania - Syracuse - Cape Passero||90a Squadriglia|
Biplane victories: 2 and 1 shared destroyed, 3 damaged.
TOTAL: 7 and 12 shared destroyed, 4 and 3 shared probables, 4 damaged.
(a) Claimed in combat with three Gladiators from 33 Squadron. 33 Squadron claimed one and one unconfirmed CR.32s and one Ca.310 without losses. The 8o Gruppo claimed three victories (or two) for the loss of one CR.32 (Sergente Edoardo Azzarone, 93a Squadriglia, killed).
(b) Sunderland L2160/X of 230 Squadron, which returned to base damaged.
(c) Actually Blenheims from 55 Squadron, which didn’t suffer any damage.
(d) Lysander L4714 of 208 Squadron. Pilot Officer David Mervyn Boughey Druce and Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sergeant John Felix Muldowney KIA.
(e) Claimed as a shared by the whole 10o Gruppo.
(f) Probably claimed in combat with 80 and 274 Squadrons, which didn’t suffer any losses.
2o Stormo - Note storiche dal 1925 al 1975 - Gino Strada, 1975 USSMA, Rome kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
50o Stormo d'Assalto - Nino Arena, 1979 STEM Mucchi, Modena kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Adriano Visconti Asso di Guerra - Giuseppe Pesce and Giovanni Massimello, 1997 Albertelli Edizioni Speciali, Parma, ISBN 88-85909-80-9, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
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
Ali d’Africa - Michele Palermo and Ludovico Slongo, 2009 IBN Editore, ISBN 88-7565-060-8
Ali nella tragedia - Giulio Lazzati, 1970 Mursia, Milan kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Annuario Ufficiale Delle Forze Armate Del Regno D’Italia Anno 1943. Part III Regia Aeronautica – 1943 Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Roma
Assi Italiani Della Caccia 1936-1945 - Giovanni Massimello, 1999 Aerofan no. 69 apr.-giu. 1999, Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan
Desert Prelude: Early clashes June-November 1940 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2010 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-89450-52-4
Diario Storico 92a Squadriglia C.T. kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.
Diario Storico 93a Squadriglia C.T. kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.
Diario Storico 94a Squadriglia C.T. kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.
Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2009 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-427-5
Fighters over the Desert - Christopher Shores and Hans Ring kindly provided by Santiago Flores
Gli Assi Italiani Della Caccia - Santi Corvaja kindly provided by Santiago Flores
Gloster Gladiator - Alex Crawford, 2002 Mushroom Model Publications, ISBN 83-916327-0-9
Gloster Gladiator Aces - Andrew Thomas, 2002 Osprey Publishing, London, ISBN 1-84176-289-X
Hurricanes over Tobruk - Brian Cull with Don Minterne, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-11-X
Il Breda 65 e l'Aviazione d'Assalto - Giancarlo Garello, 1980 Ed. dell'Ateneo & Bizzarri, Rome kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Il Fiat CR 32 poesia del volo - Nicola Malizia, 1981 Edizioni dell’Ateneo, Roma, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Italian Aces of World War 2 - Giovanni Massimello and Giorgio Apostolo, 2000 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 1-84176-078-1
L'8o Gruppo Caccia in due conflitti mondiali - Giuseppe Pesce, 1974 STEM Mucchi, Modena kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
La Regia Aeronautica - volume I: Dalla non belligeranza all'intervento – Nino Arena, 1981 USSMA, Rome kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
La Regia Aeronautica 1939-1943, vol. III - Nino Arena, 1984 USSMA, Rome kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
La Regia Aeronautica 1943-1946, parte prima - Dall'Armistizio alla Cobelligeranza - Nino Arena, 1977 USSMA/STEM Mucchi, Modena kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
La Regia Aeronautica 1943-1946, parte seconda - Dalla Guerra di Liberazione alla Repubblica - Nino Arena, 1977 USSMA/STEM Mucchi, Modena kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Macchi MC 205 Veltro - Maurizio Di Terlizzi, 1997 IBN Editore, Rome, ISBN 88-86815-55-7, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942 - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1991 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-16-X
Operation Compass 1940 - Jon Latimer, 2000 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 1-85532-967-0, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Quelli del Cavallino Rampante - Antonio Duma, 1981 Editore Dell'Ateneo, Roma, kindly provided by Stefan Lazzaro
Storia di 10.000 aeroplani – Franco Pagliano, 2003 Ugo Mursia, Milano kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.
Stormi d'Italia - Giulio Lazzati, 1975 Mursia, Milan kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Sunderland Squadrons of World War 2 – Jon Lake, 2000 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 1-84176-024-2 kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo.
The Bristol Blenheim: A complete history – Graham Warner, 2002 Crécy Publishing Limited, Manchester, ISBN 0-947554-92-0
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Desert Air Force - Roderick Owen, 1948 Hutchinson, London, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
The Desert Air War 1939 – 1945 – Richard Townshend Bickers, 1991 Leo Cooper, London, ISBN 0-85052-216-1, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
The Gloster Gladiator - Francis K. Mason, 1964 Macdonald & Co. Ltd. London
Additional information kindly provided by Ferdinando D’Amico, Stefano Lazzaro, Ludovico Slongo and Renato Zavattini.