Tenente Luigi Torchio
10 December 1917 – 30 January 1944
Luigi Torchio was born on 10 December 1917 in Voghera.
In the beginning of the war, Torchio served in the 75a Squadriglia.
In February 1943 he served in the 377a Squadriglia Autonoma. This unit was at the time based at Palermo and equipped with some Fiat CR.42 nightfighters.
During the night of 21/22 February 1943 he shot down a Wellington over Palermo.
Later in the war he claimed one victory while flying a Macchi MC.200 and three more while flying Macchi MC.202 ‘377-1’.
After the Italian surrender he joined the Italiana Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) where he was assigned to 3a Squadriglia.
On 30 January 1944, heavy bombers from the 15th AF attacked targets in the Udine area. B-17s hit airfields and landing grounds at Villaorba, Maniago, and Lavariano. B-24s bombed Udine airfield and Fier radar station. P-38s escorted the B-17s on the Villaorba and Maniago missions, and P-38s and some RAF Spitfires escorted the B-24s on the Udine mission. Additional P-47s from 325th FG carried out sweep over the Villaorba area. The bombers and the fighters claimed over 60 airplanes shot down and a number destroyed on the ground (the US fighters alone claimed 45 destroyed, 11 probables and 2 damaged). It seems that the 15th AF losses were 9 aircraft (2 B-17s, 3 B-24s, 1 P-38 and 2 P-47s).
This heavy raid was intercepted by a mix of German and Italian fighters. The German fighters from JG 53 and JG 77 claimed at least 14 heavy bombers (9 B-24s and 5 B-17s) and three fighters (2 P-38s and 1 P-47) between 11:56 and 12:44.
Around 12:30, the 1o Gruppo ANR was involved in this combat and the 1a Squadriglia claimed five enemy aircraft when Sergente Maggiore Also Burei claimed one B-24, Sergente Maggiore Luigi Gorrini claimed a P-47, Tenente Giuseppe Re claimed a P-47 and Maresciallo Carlo Magnaghi claimed two P-47s. These were claimed over Grado with the exception for one of Magnaghi’s claims, which was made over Palmanova. Natalino Stabile of the 3a Squadriglia claimed a B-24 over Udine during the day.
However, the Italian fighters suffered hard and the MC.205 of Tenente Re was shot down and the pilot bailed out. At the end of the fighting three more MC.205s had been shot down with the pilots KIA; Capitano Marco Marinone (born 31 August 1914 in Vercelli), Tenente Torchio (3a Squadriglia) and Sottotenente Luciano Cipiciani (born 23 September 1918 in Gubbio).
During the war he had been awarded with the Medaglia d'argento al valor militare and the Croce di guerra al valor militare.
At the time of his death, Torchio was credited with 1 biplane victory and a total of 5 destroyed.
|Kill no.||Date||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|1||21/02/43||1||Wellington||Destroyed||Fiat CR.42||Palermo||377a Squadriglia|
Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 5 destroyed.
Italian Aces of World War 2 - Giovanni Massimello and Giorgio Apostolo, 2000 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 1-84176-078-1
Ministero della Difesa
Additional information kindly provided by Stefano Mencarelli.