Biplane fighter aces


Sergente Pietro Secchi

In November 1940, Sergente Pietro Secchi served in the 365a Squadriglia, 150o Gruppo C.T. This unit was at the time equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

On 2 November, five Junkers Ju 87R Stukas from the 96o Gruppo Ba'T attacked Yanina. The town was also raided by ten Cant Z.1007bis from the 47o Stormo.
Yanina was the main base from which the Greek forces were now launching their counter-attacks against the Italian forces, and three PZLs of 21 Mira had been detached here for defense. These were scrambled after an attack on Larissa, led by Hiposminagos John Sakellariou. The interception took place over Mitsikeli Mountain, close to Yanina, but during the fight, Sakellariou was shot down and killed as he attacked one bomber. He was credited with having shot down two others before he fell, although it seems that none of the Italian units sustained any losses. Episminias Christos Papadopulos was also shot down and killed in his P.24 according to Greek sources.
Although not mentioned in the Greek account of this raid, escorting CR.42s were present over Yanina and Capitano Giorgio Graffer's 365a Squadriglia engaged three PZLs. Capitano Graffer, Sottotenente Lorenzo Clerici, Sergente Bruno Zotti and Sergente Secchi claimed the three PZL shared shot down.

After the end of the Greek campaign, the 150o Gruppo remained in the area and took part in counter-insurgency operations against Montenegrin partisans.
Meanwhile, throughout July 1941, the Gruppo's pilots continued to ferry captured Yugoslav aircraft to Italy. On 16 July a Breguet XIX that was being flown from Niksic to Tirana force-landed due to engine failure. Its pilot, Sergente Secchi of the 365a Squadriglia, was captured by Montenegrin rebels.

Secchi ended the war with 3 shared biplane victories.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  02/11/40   1/4 PZL P.24 (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Yanina area 365a Squadriglia
  02/11/40   1/4 PZL P.24 (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Yanina area 365a Squadriglia
  02/11/40   1/4 PZL P.24 (a) Shared destroyed Fiat CR.42   Yanina area 365a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 3 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 3 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with PZL P.24s from 21 Mira which lost two pilots KIA while the 365a Squadriglia claimed three.

53o Stormo - Marco Mattioli, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-977-5
Air war for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete - Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-07-0
Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2009 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-427-5

Last modified 16 April 2012