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Combat Units Of The Regia Aeronautica Italian Air Force 1940 43

By November, C. In addition to North Africa, the aircraft saw limited service on the Eastern Front where between and , together with C. Following the Allied Armistice with Italy , C. After the war, two examples served as trainers in Lecce until Allied pilots who flew against the Folgore were impressed with its performance and manoeuvrability. The Folgore first saw service during the Siege of Malta on 29 or 30 September ; this first mission was intercepting British Hurricanes over Sicily.


From its initial combat missions, the C. The presence of the Folgores in Maltese skies was to last only until the end of November, when most of the unit was transferred to the deteriorating North Africa front. During this time the Axis had to give up the planned invasion of Malta Operation C 3 , aircraft and men being necessary elsewhere. At the end of June, about 60 C. V in quite considerable quantities.

Even if the Macchi could out-turn the Supermarine fighter, the Folgores suffered from the lack of a more powerful armament and, without radios, the Regia Aeronautica pilots were forced to communicate by waggling their wings and, consequently, had to adopt too tight and less effective formations. They also suffered due to the lack of radar, which the RAF used successfully to vector their fighters. During its initial combats over the Western Desert, the Folgore was quite a surprise to British pilots and it remained a respected adversary. In the desert war, the SAS incursions behind the lines, led by men like "Paddy" Maine were aimed at destroying aircraft at their bases.

They were transferred from Italy one month before and recently relocated from El Merduma because this airbase was too exposed to SAS attacks but this did not help them. In a month of combat this latter lost eight fighters. Italians placed much hope in these brand-new fighters but after this attack were forced to move them further back, well away from the front lines to avoid more losses. This, coupled with the 32 Cant Z.

At the end of the year, the growing strength of the Allied forces was overwhelming and after the defeat in the skies over Malta as well as El-Alamein the last operational Axis units lost their air superiority in the Mediterranean. The Germans and the Italians succeeded in establishing a bridgehead in Tunisia, and later in December the Regia Aeronautica transferred four fighter squadrons there. The 5a Squadra Aerea, which had left Libya and retreated to the Tunisian regions, had previously repatriated all aircraft unsuitable for further action to Italy.

The Macchis continued fighting while retreating to Tunisia and then in the defence of Sicily, Sardinia and Italy against an increasingly stronger opponent. The Macchis of two groups which landed at Korba airfield from Italy experienced one notable action. Forced to concentrate 40 C. A contemporary photo showed over a dozen Macchi C. At least one, manned by Tenente Lombardo, was destroyed and the two men inside were wounded after crash-landing on a beach near Reggio Calabria.

Only a total of 17 missions were flown with Folgores on the Eastern Front during a four-month period. One of these missions was the escort to Junkers Ju 52s flying to Stalingrad, on 11 December , during which Tenente Pilota Gino Lionello was shot down and had to bail out from his Folgore. After the abandonment of advanced airfields between December - January at Voroshilovgrad, Stalino and Tscerkow, the Italian air units operated in defensive actions against a more potent Soviet air offensive, mainly using Ilyushin IL-2s Shturmoviks and Petlyakov Pe-2s.

The last effective operation of Corpo Aereo Italiano in Russia occurred on 17 January , when one mixed formation of 25 surviving Macchi fighters out of a remaining total of 30 C. A Macchi C.

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At the Armistice , there were only Folgores , with aircraft still servicable. Switzerland ordered 20 C. After the bombing of Macchi Industries in , the combat career of the C. Post-war, however, some aircraft had survived along with newly manufactured C. Some of these aircraft fought against Israel, and were in service until In January, eight brand-new Folgore arrived at Zagreb's Lucko airfield. Another four arrived two weeks later, but one was lost during a test-flight. They equipped Kroat. JGr 1. These aircraft retained their Luftwaffe markings whilst in service with the unit. Upon its return the HZL was redesignated Kroat.

JGr 1 and its operational fighter squadron was redesignated 2. This unit was equipped with Macchis.

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JGr and equipped with Fiat G. In March they were scrambled for the first time against an American raid west of Zagreb, but combat was avoided: Croatian Macchi pilots were initially instructed to attack only damaged aircraft and stragglers from the main formation. Croatian pilots did not at first have a high opinion of the Macchi fighter, due to its armament of just two JGr , initially regarded the Macchis as "old, weary and unusable", and described the morale of his men as "low", and his unit's results as "nil", primarily because of the NDH 's underdeveloped air-raid warning system, which saw the Croatian Macchi fighters often taking off to intercept attacking Allied bombers when they were already overhead.

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During a period of intensive activity over the summer of , the squadron claimed some 20 Allied aircraft shot down, while at the same time receiving six further Macchi C. Martinoli was killed during a training flight with the P Airacobra on 25 August He was killed in his C. Surviving aircraft were used by Aeronautica Militare Italiana as trainers until Like its predecessor C.

The amount produced was actually 1, and not 1, as previous stated. One of the differences between prototype and series production was the lack of radio antenna and the retractable tailwheel these differences resulting in a slightly higher top speed ; the difference in speed was not so great and so, the series version had the fixed tailwheel and the radio antenna. However, the support for the engine, originally made in steel, was replaced with a lighter aluminium structure.

After the war, 31 C. Data from [22] and [57]. Sign In Don't have an account? Contents [ show ]. Lu-August , pp. La caccia italiana , p. Macchi MC. Modena, Edizioni Stem Mucchi , p. I caccia Serie 5 Monography , March , pp. Angelucci, Enzo and Paolo Matricardi. Maidenhead, UK: Sampson Low, ISBN Stalingrad—The Air Battle: through January Hinckley, UK: Midland, Beurling, George and Leslie Roberts. Malta Spitfire: The Story of a Fighter pilot.

Borgiotti, Alberto and Cesare Gori. No ISBN.

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Malta: Modelaid InternationaL Publications, Cattaneo, Gianni. Ciampaglia, Giuseppe. De Marchi, Italo and Pietro Tonizzo.

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Modena, Italy: Edizioni Stem Mucchi Duma, Antonio. Roma: Aeronautica Militare — Ufficio Storico, Dunning, Chris. Solo coraggio! La storia completa della Regia Aeronautica dal al in Italian. Parma, Italy: Delta Editrice, Ethell, Jeffrey L. Aircraft of World War II. P Hawks at War.