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  #1  
Old 7th October 2009, 22:52
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Good night to all.
Having NO access to Italian sources, I would like to obtain some help from Italian members of this Forum about a possible ( night ? ) fighter claim during the night of 13/14th February 1943, over MILAN ( RAF Raid against Milan - not necessary the combat took place right over the city ).
I do have a report of a crew being shot down by Italian fighters at night during this raid.
ANY information about the Italian reaction ( Squadron / pilots who claimed that night ) would be very welcomed.
Yours
Adriano
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  #2  
Old 8th October 2009, 21:20
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Hallo Adriano

No help I'm afraid, but are you sure about the date? Bomber Command made no raid on Milan the night you refer to, BUT they flew a Lancaster raid on the night of 14/15 th of Feb.

If it is two Lancaster were lost and one damaged. The damaged Lanc is reported as being attacked by a Fiat CR.42 and set on fire. The Lanc crew claimed the Fiat as shot down and also through diving put out the fire and managed to return home again.

Cheers
Stig
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Old 9th October 2009, 04:19
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Hello STIG!
You are correct my friend! I must have mis-read the DATE in question...
I am looking for the identity of the pilot of THIS Fiat CR.42 who was claimed by the Lancaster crew. I thought it should have come from an "Ad Hoc" unit. Do not remember seing on the excellent book "Bomber Command War Diaries" an entry about the weather ( if it was a full moon raid, if there were clouds over the city ) - will have to recheck it - BUT, this Fiat could have come from a Day Fighter Unit also...
Maybe some Italian friend can help us identify this pilot / aircraft.
Thanks for correcting me on the DATE, Stig!
Yours
Adriano
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Old 9th October 2009, 18:19
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Hallo Adriano

I think the reason our Italian friends stay silent is that this is a very badly researched area in Italy. I have found a two-part article in Aerofan no 57 and 58 and we can immediately see that Italy in 1939/40 did have very few pilots capable of flying at night and even fewer capable of fighting at night. In spite of spending long time debating the problem very little came out of the Italian effort. No true night fighter was ever developed beyond prototype stage and as late as 1943 Fiat CR 42 was still being used, but also many other single engined fighter aeroplanes made obsolete for day fighting. The conclusion drawn by the author is that only two night fighter claims were valid during the whole war although a lot of probable claims were made in good faith by pilots. IF this Fiat pilot from the night of 14/15th Feb survived he may have put in a claim which then must have been treated as a probable by the Italian authorities since it seems there had to be found a wreckage to get a confirmed victory.

Unfortunately Italian aviation is sadly under researched and I have yet to see anything resembling good loss lists with serial numbers given for WW 2. Possibly such records are not in existance any more (destroyed perhaps) or they are yet to be found in Italian archives. Since lately at least SOME lists have been produced (see the Ali Straniere in Italia books) there might still be some surprises yet to come from Italy. I at least I truly hope so, since Italian aviation certainly belongs to the great nations.

Cheers
Stig
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  #5  
Old 9th October 2009, 23:27
Gianandrea Bussi Gianandrea Bussi is offline
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Gianandrea Bussi
Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

According to an old article published in the magazine AEREI (october 1977)
on 14 february 1943 (one or more?) CR.42 of the 233a Squadriglia Intercettori based at Torino-Caselle took off in order to intercept enemy aircraft: but they didn't see any target.
So, I don't know whether the claim made by the RAF gunner could be related to this unit.

Gianandrea
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  #6  
Old 10th October 2009, 13:29
Gianandrea Bussi Gianandrea Bussi is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

I post the following message on behalf of Ludovico SLONGO who experiences some difficul to post in this forum:

"The claim on the night 14th-15th, was submitted by Tenente Cesare Balli of 41° Stormo C.N. Balli was a twenty-nine years old permanent officer, already decorated with two silver medals for bravery, that survived the war. Adriano could you please tell me the details of the damaged British bombers (crew, serial , other details) ?"


Thanks


Gianandrea

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Old 10th October 2009, 17:14
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Gianandrea, graccie tanti!
As STIG pointed out correctly, there were only 2 losses recorded on the raid against MILAN, which were ( below ):
Lancaster L7547 Information
Type
Lancaster
Serial Number
L7547
Squadron
207
X1D
EM-M
Operation
Milan
Date 1
14th February 1943
Date 2
15th February 1943


Further Information
"Serial range L7276 - L7854 This aircraft was one of 200 Manchester Mk.1s/Lancaster Mk.1s ordered from A.V.Roe (Manchester) Aug36 to AM Spec 19/37 and built as 157 Manchester 1/1As from 31Jul40, and 43 Lancaster Mk.1s from Oct41 to Mar42. L7547 was delivered to 44 Sqdn 17Jan42, joining 207 Sqdn Sep42. L7547 took part in the following key Operations: With No.44 Sqdn as KM-D, Gardening Rosemary 3Mar42-first aircraft off on first Lancaster operation; Stuttgart 5/6May42-attacked by a night- fighter, lost an engine, returned safely, no injuries. N0.207 Sqdn as EM-M, Le Creusot 17Oct42-daylight; Genoa 13/14Nov42; Turin 9/10Dec42; Munich 21/22Dec42; Lorient 13/14Feb43; Milan 14/15Feb43- Lost. When lost this aircraft had a total of 208 hours. Airborne 1914 15Feb42 from Langar. Homebound, crashed at St-Brisson (Nievre), 11 km W of Saulieu C_te d'Or, France. Those killed are buried in St-Brisson Communal Cemetery. The cause of the crash is attributed to overheating engines which led to a fire in the port outer. F/S J.H.F.Whyte RNZAF Evd F/S S.H.Eyre Evd F/S T.W.Strong KIA Sgt F.I.Tillen KIA F/S A.R.Grainger RAAF KIA Sgt H.G.Bone KIA Sgt K.White KIA "
Lancaster W4362 Information
Type
Lancaster
Serial Number
W4362
Squadron
103
X1D
PM-P
Operation
Milan
Date 1
14th February 1943
Date 2
15th February 1943


Further Information
"Serial Range W4102 - W4700 This aircraft was one of 450 Manchesters ordered from A.V.Roe (Chadderton) Jan40 of which 207 were built as Lancaster Mk.1s, delivered from Jul42 to Nov42 initially fitted with Merlin 20 engines. W4362 was delivered to No.103 Sqdn 18Nov42 W4362 took part in the following Key Operations: Gardening, Elderberry 21/22Nov42 (No.103 Sqdns first Lancaster operation); Stuttgart 22/23Nov43; Duisburg 20/21Dec42; Essen 11/12Jan43; Berlin 16/17Jan43; Berlin 17/18Jan43; Lorient 13/14Feb42; Milan 14/15Feb43-Lost. When lost this aircraft had a total of 100 hours. Airborne 1850 14Feb43 from Elsham Wolds. Abandoned in the target area after being struck by falling incendiaries which destroyed the instrument panel. Of those killed, three are buried in Milano War Cemetery. P/O Nicholson is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. S/L Powdrell was a New Zealander serving in the RAF. P/O Young's brother, Leslie, was also killed on Active Service. S/L W.H.Powdrell KIA Sgt J.G.W.T.Duffield Inj P/O A.J.Burton PoW Sgt A.Rusling PoW P/O C.E.Nicholson KIA P/O D.Young KIA Sgt J.G.Nolan KIA P/O A.J.Burton was interned in Camp L3. PoW No.2589. Sgt J.G.W.T.Duffield was confined in Hospital due injuries, No PoW No. Sgt A.G.Rusling in Camps L6/L4, PoW No.3869. "
HOWEVER, an Avro Lancaster from 101 Squadron was seriously damaged ( the crew I mentioned ) by an Italian Fiat CR.42, which they claimed shot down. The Lancaster returned home safely tough.
I will send you the information soon - must take from my other computer - please just wait a couple of hours, ok?
Thanks a lot and please do thank Mr Ludovico Slongo for me. Could you ask him IF he do possess a photograph of Tenente Cesare Balli? I tried to find more data about him but got no joy with Google!
Yours ( very thankful )
Adriano
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  #8  
Old 10th October 2009, 17:24
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

By the way Giannandrea, was Tenente BALLI flying a Fiat CR.42 or a Re.2001 CN? Was he from 59º or 60º Gruppo?
Yours
Adriano
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  #9  
Old 10th October 2009, 19:24
Håkan Håkan is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Hello,

Tenente Cesare Balli was flying a CR.42.
This info is from Ludovico's and mine forthcomming CR.42 aces in Osprey's serie "Aircraft of the Aces": http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiat-Cr-42-W...3259652&sr=1-1

Best wishes/Håkan
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  #10  
Old 11th October 2009, 01:15
Adriano Baumgartner Adriano Baumgartner is offline
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Re: Italian Night Fighters - Milan - 13/14th Feb. 1943

Hello Hakan,
Thanks indeed for adding news about Cesare Balli, who unfortunately I am unable to obtain more DATA. I´ve checked Jan Safarik Air Aces homepage and he is NOT even mentioned here! Was this claim granted to him?
Do you have more information about what the marking of the CR.42 he was flying? Was he shot down or hit during the combat? Was he from 59º Gruppo or 60º?
Answering GIANANDREA:
The 101 Squadron´s Lancaster was flown by Sgt. Ivan Henry HAZARD ( who got a CGM ). The gunner who claimed the Fiat CR.42 was F/Sgt. George Frederick Dove, DFM ( who also got a CGM ). The Navigator, P/O Frederick William Gaze was awarded a DSO. Unfortunately I do not have neither the serial number, neither the aircraft code of their machine, who was seriously damaged but got home.
HAKAN, If my memory do not fail, you had a fantastic site about the biplane aces of WW2. I tried to find it but got no joy...it seems to have vanished...
Well, thanks indeed. Wish you success with the book which seems very interesting, by the way!
ADRIANO
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