Biplane fighter aces


Capitano Leopoldo Sartirana

16 April 1913 -

Soria, October 1937. From left to right:
Sottotenente Ranieri Piccolomini, Tenente Sartirana, Capitano Desiderio, Capitano Duilio Fanali and Sottotenente Torquato Testerini.

Date Decoration Note
??/??/38 Medaglia d’argento al valor militare (1st) O.M.S.
??/??/?? Medaglia d’argento al valor militare (2nd)  
??/??/40 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (1st) O.M.S.
??/??/40 Medaglia di bronzo al valor militare (2nd) O.M.S.
??/??/?? Croce al merito di guerra 1940-43
??/??/?? Medaglia commemorativa della campagna di Spagna (1936-1939) O.M.S.
??/??/?? Medaglia di benemerenza per i volontari della guerra Spagna O.M.S.

Leopoldo Sartirana was born on 16 April 1913 and was from Milano.

He served as a volunteer during the Spanish Civil War.

On 7 October 1938, he was commissioned (in Servizio Permanente Effettivo).

On 12 July 1940, the recently arrived 9o Gruppo C.T. was ordered to leave Sicily and to fly on to Libya, to operate in the desert. To replace the unit two new gruppi of fighter flew in to Sicily, the autonomous 23o and the 17o from 1o Stormo C.T.

On 15 August 1940, ten S.79s of 60o Gruppo, 41o Stormo in two equal formations approached Hal Far, escorted by eighteen CR.42s of the 17o Gruppo and one from the 23o Gruppo. Four Hurricanes of 261 Squadron attempted to intercept, but were engaged by the escort. Tenente Sartirana of the 72a Squadriglia, 17o Gruppo, succeeded in shooting down Hurricane N2716 into the sea, the pilot - Sergeant Roy O’Donnell (RAF no. 740193) - being lost; his body was not recovered. Flight Lieutenant Balden (in N2672) with Sergeant Kelsey on his wing chased one straggling CR.42, which they had spotted, to the north of the island. Balden fired one long burst whereupon the biplane looped and was lost to sight; it was claimed as damaged.

He was promoted to Capitano on 25 September 1940.

At the end of the war, Sartirana was credited with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 15/08/40 1 Hurricane (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.42   Hal Far 72a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) Hurricane (N2716) of 261 Squadron shoot down into the sea, the pilot - Sergeant Roy O’Donnell (RAF no. 740193) - being lost; his body was not recovered.

Annuario Ufficiale Delle Forze Armate Del Regno D’Italia Anno 1943. Part III Regia Aeronautica – 1943 Istituto Poligrafico Dello Stato, Roma
Elenco Nominativo dei Militari dell' A. M. Decorati al V. M. Durante it Periodo 1929 - 1945 2 Volume M - Z
Hurricanes over Malta - Brian Cull and Frederick Galea, 2001 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-91-8
Malta: The Hurricane Years 1940-41 - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-89747-207-1
Additional information kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro.

Last modified 07 December 2021