Biplane fighter aces


Capitano Bruno Trevisan

11 November 1914 –

Date Decoration Note
??/??/38 Medaglia d’argento al valor militare (1st) O.M.S.
??/??/38 Medaglia d’argento 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.

Bruno Trevisan was born on 11 November 1914 and was from Vescorada (Padova).

On 16 January 1936, he was commissioned (in Servizio Permanente Effettivo).

Trevisan served as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, where he served in the 19a Squadriglia, XXIII Gruppo.

On 6 July 1937, the 19a and 20a Squadriglie participated in four separate aerial battles near Brunete, engaging Republican formations twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.
Three light bombers, one ‘Martin bomber’, seven ‘Curtiss fighters’ and five ’Ratas’ were claimed, but Sottotenente Vercellio from the 19a Squadriglia was killed during the third encounter. Sergente Giuseppe Mottet (20a Squadriglia) claimed one of the I-15s. One of the I-16s destroyed was credited to Maggiore Andrea Zotti (CO XXIII Gruppo) as his first victory, its pilot taking to his parachute over the battlefield at Villanueva de la Cañada. Another ’Rata’ downed minutes later was credited to Capitano Enrico Degli Incerti (CO 19a Squadriglia), who subsequently recalled:

“Each one of us chose his quarry and the melee began. Our guns splendidly spat out a barrage, and our adversaries replied in kind. It was a matter of life or death. I pounced on a Rata and shot at it. It appeared that I had scored a direct hit. I kept following him until I thought that he was clearly falling away. However, as I broke off my chase he zigzagged, dropped a little further and then climbed. He attempted to turn onto my tail, so I quickly hit him again. He pulled up abruptly after diving down a few hundred feet, so I fired at him once more. It looked to me as if the bullets had found their mark – the tracers clearly indicated that I was aiming correctly – but the Rata pilot continued to defend himself.
I persevered with my foe, despite now feeling that I was possibly coming under attack. I looked over my shoulder and spotted three enemy aeroplanes, still at a distance, heading in my direction with their guns blazing. Moments later my prey finally fell headlong into a thickly wooded area. Staying with him had made me lose precious height, and as I looked up I could see that the fighting was still continuing above me.
I climbed back up into the battle at full throttle, and saw a “Red” aeroplane chasing a Fiat. Turning tightly, I managed to get in behind the pursuing fighter. He then tried to disengage, but I made the most of my superior position and fired several long bursts at him. I succeeded in forcing him to take flight. Other enemy survivors duly abandoned the fight, and we reformed on our leader after he waggled his wings. We all landed with visible scars of battle on our aircraft.”
The pilot that had been shot down by Capitano Degli Incerti was almost certainly Leitenant Aleksey Sergeyevich Trusov, who had been in Spain for just a matter of weeks.
A third I-16 was claimed over Villanueva de la Cañada by Tenente Trevisan (19a Squadriglia). This was probably Leitenant Grigorii Nikolaevich Khozyainov of 2a/21, who force-landed his damaged I-16 (#35) in Nationalist territory and was taken prisoner (according to some sources Khozyainov was shot down on 8 July). Khozyainov was released and returned home on 7 February 1939.

On 12 October, the Republican Air Force intervened heavily to support International battalions and tanks in an attempt to break through the enemy lines at Fuentes del Ebro.
During the day, the VI Gruppo lost a good part of numerical, considering that part of the 31a Squadriglia had previously been detached to Córdoba. Therefore, immediately the same morning, the Comando dell’Aviazione Legionaria ordered the XXIII Gruppo to transfer to Sanjurio (Zaragoza).
At 10.30, 29 CR.32s led by Maggiore Andrea Zotti, took off from Almaluèz and arrived over Sanjurio around noon. However, before landing, Maggiore Zotti decided to lead his pilots to explore the area between Villafranca and Fuentes del Ebro. Here they spotted four Polikarpov RZ “Natachas” escorted by nine I-16s “Ratas” (above them) and 15 I-15 “Curtiss” (below them). The Italian fighters attacked the Republican aircraft and at the end of the dogfight, that lasted about fifteen minutes, the Italians claimed seven (eleven according to other sources) fighters destroyed for no losses, although several CR.32s were hit and damaged. Combat was very hard for the Italians because their fighters were weighted by pilots’ personal luggage. Pilots that scored, either individually or jointly, were Maggiore Zotti (1 I-15), Sergente Giuseppe Mottet (20a Squadriglia) (1 I-16), Sottotenente Giampiero Del Prete, Capitano Antonio Larsimont Pergameni (CO of the 20a Squadriglia), Sergente Francesco Penna, Sottotenente Aldo Felici, Capitano Enrico Degli Incerti (CO of the 19a Squadriglia) (1 I-16), Sottotenente Pio Tomaselli (19a Squadriglia), Sottotenente Franco Lucchini (19a Squadriglia), Capitano Guido Nobili (CO of the 18a Squadriglia), Sergente Maggiore Giovanni Carmello, Sergente Carlo Dentis, Sottotenente Giuseppe Enrico Zuffi, Sergente Federico Tassinari (19a Squadriglia), Sergente Maggiore Alfonso Mattei and Sottotenente Trevisan (19a Squadriglia). It seems that Lucchini’s, Tassinari’s and Mattei’s claims was a shared between these three pilots.

In 1940, he was part in the C.A.I. operations over Britain when 353a Squadriglia, 20o Gruppo was temporarily assigned to the 56o Stormo. They were based first at Ursel and then later at Maldegem and equipped with Fiat G.50bis.

He was promoted to Capitano on 6 February 1941.

In February 1942, he served a CO of the 395a Squadriglia. This unit was part of 154o Gruppo CT (CO Maggiore Delio Guizzon), which was part of Aeronautica dell’Ego. The other Squadriglia in the Gruppo was the 396a Squadriglia (Capitano Fernando Giocondi) and the Gruppo was at the time equipped with 23 CR.42s and 18 G.50bis.

In 1943, he served in the 154o Gruppo Autonomo.

Trevisan ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 06/07/37   1 I-16 (a) Destroyed Fiat CR.32   Villanueva de la Cañada 19a Squadriglia
  12/10/37 10:30- 1/? Enemy fighter Shared destroyed Fiat CR.32   Villafranca-Fuentes del Ebro 19a Squadriglia

Biplane victories: 1 and 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 and 1 shared destroyed.
(a) Probably Leitenant Grigorii Nikolaevich Khozyainov of 2a/21.

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 in Spagna - Giuseppe Federico Ghergo and Angelo Emiliani, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Ali nella tragedia - Giulio Lazzati, 1970 Mursia, Milan, ISBN 88-425-2132-9, 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
Aviatori Italiani - Franco Pagliano, 1964 Longanesi Milano, kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Aviobrigada X - Alfredo Lagoluso, 2001 no. 97, 98 and 99 of Storia Militare (October-December 2001), kindly provided by Ludovico Slongo
Elenco Nominativo dei Militari dell' A. M. Decorati al V. M. Durante it Periodo 1929 - 1945 2 Volume M - Z
Guerra di Spagna e Aviazione Italiana - Ferdinando Pedriali, 1992 USSMA, Rome, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Il 23o Gruppo Caccia - Nicola Malizia, 1974 Bizzarri, Roma, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Le giovani aquile – Antonio Trizzino, 1972 Longanesi Milano, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Quelli del Cavallino Rampante - Antonio Duma, 1981 Editore Dell'Ateneo, Roma, kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro
Soviet airmen in the Spanish civil war 1936-1939 - Paul Whelan, 2014 Schiffer Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-0-7643-0
Additional information kindly provided by Stefano Lazzaro and Ludovico Slongo.

Last modified 14 February 2023