The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

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Hello to all :D; just sharing something I found...............................

The XXII° Gruppo Autonomo Caccia, July 25, 1941 - May 7, 1942.

Chronology and marching diary.

July 1941:

July 25, 1941: administrative constitution of the Aviazone Command of the CSIR, under the orders of Colonel Carlo Drago. Major Giovanni Borzoni commanded the XXII° Gruppo Autonomo Caccia. The Order of Battle of Italian aviation Command in the Soviet Union (July 1941-May 1942) was as follows:

XXII° Gruppo autonomo Caccia: 359th, 362nd, 369th and 371st Squadrons with 51 (or 52) Macchi C.200, 3 Caproni Ca.133 and 2 SM81 transports

LXI° Gruppo autonomo Osservazione Aerea: 34th, 119th and 128th Squadrons with 32 Caproni Ca.311 and 1 SM81 (1)

245th and 246th Transport Squadrons with 10 and 6 SM81 respectively

(1): The 61° Gruppo OA apparently used 3 Caproni Ca 164 as liaison, as well as two German-made Fieseler Fi 156 C-3 Storch.

August 1941:

August 9, 1941: XXII° Gruppo is transferred from Tirana to Belgrade. After resupplying, the Macchi take off again in formation in the rain to arrive at Baneasa, an airport near Bucharest, at 5:00 p.m. The patrol of the 3 HQ planes opens the way for the 4 columns of 12 aircraft of each Squadriglia.

August 12, 1941: The XXII° Gruppo is transferred to Tudora, near Odessa, on the border between Romania and Russia. Tudora is a Romanian city located in Botoșani County, Western Moldova region.

Sources: http://www.italie1935-45.com/RA/histoir ... csir1.html (offline)
https://italianaircraftwwii.blogspot.co ... front.html

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Attachments
Macchi C.200 Saetta aircraft of the 371st Squadriglia in Romania, during their transfer to the USSR....................
Macchi C.200 Saetta aircraft of the 371st Squadriglia in Romania, during their transfer to the USSR....................
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Re: The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke »

Hello Raul,
Very good post Thanks to you
Kindly regards
Prosper :wink: :wink:
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Re: The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; Thanks for your encouraging words Prosper :wink:; more..............................

The XXII° Gruppo Autonomo Caccia, July 25, 1941 - May 7, 1942.

Chronology and marching diary.

August 16, 1941: arrival of the 61st Gruppo OA at Tudora.

August 26, 1941: transfer to the Krivoj Rog base, in Russia, of the 22º Gruppo CT and the 34a Squadriglia of the 61º Gruppo. The rest of the 61º Gruppo landed there 5 days later.

August 27, 1941: first operational mission (and engagement) of the 22º Gruppo CT in Russia.

The Macchis of this Gruppo, during air cover by the Italian Pasubio division of the CSIR, engaged Soviet fighters and bombers over Dnepropetrovsk at 5:15 p.m. Six SB-2s and two I-16s are claimed to have been shot down, and two more SB-2s and two more I-16s are claimed as probably destroyed.

August 28, 1941: the 22º Gruppo CT suffers its first casualty. Sottotenente Mario Longoni of the 362a Squadriglia, returning from an operation over the Dnieper, was accidentally killed while trying to make a forced landing with his damaged aircraft.

The first Italian aviator to fall on Russian soil in 1941, during World War II, is buried in the Carate cemetery. On his tombstone it is written: "Lieutenant pilot Mario Longoni, heroically fallen on the Russian front." The lieutenant was born in Verano Brianza in May 1914. Mario Longoni from Verona, flew a Macchi C.200 and was part of the 362a Squadriglia of the 22º Gruppo stationed in Treviso in peacetime. In August 1941, after a risky war action, he returned to his air base located in Kriwoj-rog, Ukraine, on the Russian front. The officer crashed when he was near the landing strip and ended up in the Dnieper River. A few days earlier, his fighter group had shot down six Russian Tupolev twin-engine aircraft and two Russian Polikarpov I-16s, without suffering losses.

His first burial, which was celebrated with great honors, took place in the Chencea cemetery, near Bucharest. Only in 2009, thanks to the interest of General Umberto Razza, his body was brought back to Italy and buried in the Carate Brianza cemetery, where he and his family lived.

Sources:http://www.italie1935-45.com/RA/histoir ... csir1.html (offline)
https://italianaircraftwwii.blogspot.co ... front.html
https://giovannitrovatotro.wixsite.com/ ... omi-pilota

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Attachments
Mario Longoni, Second Lieutenant, flew a Macchi C.200 and formed part of the 362a Squadriglia.........................
Mario Longoni, Second Lieutenant, flew a Macchi C.200 and formed part of the 362a Squadriglia.........................
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Macchi C.200 of the 362a Squadriglia in Krivoj Rog, in August 1941..............................................
Macchi C.200 of the 362a Squadriglia in Krivoj Rog, in August 1941..............................................
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Re: The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..............................

The XXII° Gruppo Autonomo Caccia, July 25, 1941 - May 7, 1942.

Chronology and marching diary.

September 1941:

September 2, 1941: around 9 Macchis belonging, among others, to the 362nd and 371st Squadriglia, machine-gun Soviet troops on the Novomoskowsk - Dniepropetrovsk road. Very quickly, two Macchis C 200 are shot down by the AA defense of the column, that of Ten. Loris Nannini (*) of the 371st Squadriglia who is captured, and that of Sottotenente Carlo Marchetto of the 362nd Squadriglia who is killed. Shortly after, over the same area, the remaining Macchis were attacked by two Zveno of Soviet fighters, that is, 8 aircraft. (I do not know the results of this fight).

(*) September 2, epilogue of Carlo Marchetto's short career. The action in which Marchetto lost his life is recounted by Lieutenant Loris Nannini, who participated in the fatal operation, was also shot down by anti-aircraft fire but escaped death and was taken prisoner: "Coffee, milk and a slice of bread were breakfast on that morning of September 2, 1941, when the alarm sounded. Suddenly a non-commissioned officer ran in to warn us of the presence of a large formation of Soviet bombers, escorted by fighter planes, heading towards Dnepropetrovsk. With the other 8 pilots on duty in the alarm group, we ran out of the cabin towards the planes arranged in a row at one side of the field. The air was already resonating with the roar of the engines; in fact, by order of the commander of the Squadriglia, Captain Enrico Meille, the mechanics had rushed towards the machines and had begun to put them into operation... The squadron leader, Captain Meille, stood at the starting line on the track, immediately followed by the two numerals: me on the right and 2nd Lieutenant Carlo Marchetto on the left. At the same time as Marchetto, I bring the wing of my plane close to Meille's, which immediately accelerates the engine for takeoff...

The three units, each consisting of three planes arranged in a wedge, assume squadron formation on the right wing. There are not clouds; The morning air is calm, with the mist typical of that latitude. The altimeter reads 5,000 meters; The thin air muffles the engine noise. The orange rays of the morning sun rotate in the cabin and reflect at intervals on the instruments. We are in the Dnepropetrovsk vertical. Below us, the Dnieper River stretches majestically across a black land, moved in a succession of modest heights with rare trees and combed crops. Then the city, a large inhabited center of half a million inhabitants, all on the right bank of the river, with its shipyards, sawmills and metallurgical industries fed by the Donez coalfield. We have been patrolling for more than five minutes, without detecting any enemy aircraft..... The squadron leader interrupts the observation; We turn northeast towards Kharkov, descending to 3,000 meters above sea level. We cross the river leaving Dnepropetrovsk behind. We follow the road that goes from Dnepropetrovsk to Novomoskovsk.... We are still at 3,000 meters; The anemometer indicates a speed of 420 km/h. We flew in a squadron over the city of Novomoskovsk. Suddenly we see a column of armored vehicles on the main road. Meille flaps his wings to attract the attention of the other two patrols; These advance to receive the orders of the squad leader.

Through the plexiglass of his ceiling, Meille dictates orders using the usual conventional mimicry. ...Meille, signals with his hand to the other sections to remain high for our protection; Following it, Marchetto and I, in single file, dived into the wake. At that moment, Soviet anti-aircraft shells began to explode around us. Marchetto is behind me, a little distanced. I see the Macchi de Meille "parading" in front of me. .... In a moment we are at the tail of the armored column; We immediately fired the machine gun at a very low altitude, along the entire length of that military convoy. Only at that moment do I see at the front of the column a series of anti-aircraft positions that raise a dense barrier of fire. Meille manages to pass unharmed.

Instinctively, to avoid the barrier, I tried to turn, flat, to the right to decrease the target area. Suddenly the plane no longer responds to orders: I am 200 meters from the ground, launched at high speed.... I have to jump..... I had started the first movement with the parachute when I realized that the Russians were coming from the ground and they shot me. I looked up, as if seeking impossible help. Dazed, I saw a plane coming towards me with its engine on fire, it was Marchetto's Macchi; He had just bailed out himself: our eyes crossed: Marchetto barely had time to raise his arm in a brotherly salute when a machine gun burst hit him in the abdomen. He immediately doubled over, now lifeless, still dangling for a moment from his white parachute. He was awarded the Silver Medal for Military Valor.

Sources: http://www.italie1935-45.com/RA/histoir ... csir1.html (offline)
https://italianaircraftwwii.blogspot.co ... front.html
http://www.quellidel72.it/storie/aviatori/marchetto.htm

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Attachments
Carlo Marchetto, Sottotenente, flew a Macchi C.200 and was part of the 362a Squadriglia......
Carlo Marchetto, Sottotenente, flew a Macchi C.200 and was part of the 362a Squadriglia......
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Trajectory of the mission of September 2................................................
Trajectory of the mission of September 2................................................
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Re: The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..............................

The XXII° Gruppo Autonomo Caccia, July 25, 1941 - May 7, 1942.

Chronology and marching diary.

September 1941:

September 15, 1941: 10 MC 200 fighters of the 362nd Squadriglia shot down three Russian fighters.

September 30, 1941: Sottotenente Franco Ferrari of the 371st Squadriglia was shot down and killed by German Flak in the Nowo-Petrikowka sector (or Novomoskova, or Novomoskovka, the spelling differs), despite the Italian markings on the MC 200 Saetta targeting to avoid misunderstandings.

October 1941:

October 20, 1941: the 22nd Gruppo Autonomo was transferred in its entirety to the Zaporoje/Saporoshje/Zaporoszhe airfield to follow the advance of the German-Italian troops. It is at this time that the first heavy rains of autumn occur, followed by the first frosts and snowfall in early November. The mud then the ice slows down all operations.

From October 22, 1941 to November 10, 1941, the 22nd Gruppo was directly attached to the German V Fliegerkorps of General Robert Ritter Von Greim.

November 1941:

November 2, 1941: in the evening Italian troops occupied the town of Gorlovka.

November 5, 1941: Italian troops occupy Nikitovka. Until November 9, 1941, strong Russian counterattacks surrounded an Italian regiment in this area of the front, but they were finally repelled in part thanks to numerous strafing attacks on the ground by Macchis C 200 fighters of the 371a Squadriglia. On November 5, the 8 Macchis which took off to protect the ground troops were recalled due to very bad weather: fog covered the area.

November 9, 1941: to get closer to the front line and continue its ground attacks against the Soviets, the 371st Squadriglia was detached to the advanced base of Stalino.

November 16, 1941: the 119th Squadriglia of the 61st Gruppo OA arrives at Stalino, followed shortly after by the two remaining squadriglie.

November 20, 1941: snowfall is heavy, the temperature drops significantly and the Italians begin to really suffer from the cold. Air activity is zero due to the total lack of fuel.

Sources: http://www.italie1935-45.com/RA/histoir ... csir1.html (offline)
https://italianaircraftwwii.blogspot.co ... front.html

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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Re: The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke »

:up: :up: :up: :up:
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Re: The Italian Aviation Command in the Soviet Union.

Post by tigre »

Hello to all :D; more..............................

The XXII° Gruppo Autonomo Caccia, July 25, 1941 - May 7, 1942.

Chronology and marching diary.

December 1941:

December 9, 1941: the 22nd Gruppo and all of its 34 Macchis were transferred to Stalino. However, only 8 Macchis MC 200 of the 371st Squadriglia remain permanently stationed there.

December 11, 1941: the 359th Squadriglia relieves the 371st at Stalino. The latter returns to Zaporoje.

It was during this period between November 9 and December 25 that several I-16s equipped with RS-82s from the 55th IAP, whose commander was A. Pokryshkin, reportedly clashed with a dozen Macchi, shooting down several . This fight is in no way confirmed by the Italian archives.

December 25, 1941: the Italian lines were attacked at dawn by Soviet troops who had advanced after the recapture of Rostov. The Macchis flew all day in support of the troops and strafed the Soviet columns. Some bomb Russian tanks with 50 kg bombs. At 8:50 a.m., Capitano Vittorio Minguzzi led several aircraft from the 359a Squadriglia and shot down a Soviet “I-180” above Bulowin (or Bowolin). It would be a LaGG or more likely a Yak-7. Control of the airspace remains with the Italians.

December 26, 1941: ground fighting continues as does the machine-gunning of the Italian Macchis.

December 27, 1941: 6 Macchis of the 369th Squadriglia join the 359 as reinforcements at Stalino. Three Macchis carry out strafing on the ground

December 28, 1941: during a patrol and strafing on the ground, the Macchis C 200 encountered Soviet aircraft above Timofejevska (or Timofejevskij) and Polska between 11:20 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. Nine Soviet aircraft were shot down, 6 by the 359th Squadriglia and 3 by the 369th. Capitano Vittorio Minguzzi, commander of the 359th, takes two I-16s.

December 29, 1941: three new Macchi C 200s joined the 369th Squadriglia from Zaporoje to Stalino early in the morning. They are led by Capitano Giorgio Ianicelli, appointed temporary commander of the 22nd Gruppo. A little later at the end of the morning around 11:40 a.m., three Macchi C 200s piloted by Capitano Giorgio Iannicelli, Vittorio Minguzzi and Tenente Benedetti came face to face with a Soviet SB-2 above Blaka Tolstaje. The bomber quickly went down and even if the 3 Macchis were each confirmed with a shared victory, it seems that Minguzzi was the winner of the Russian aircraft.

Shortly after, the three Italian pilots had to face a formation of around twenty Soviet aircraft made up of I-16s and MiG-3s above the Bowolin station. Capitano Giorgio Iannicelli is shot and killed. He will be awarded the Medaglia d’Oro al Valore Militare. The other two pilots apparently managed to return to base, since Capitano Minguzzi was also named temporary commander of the Gruppo after Iannicelli's death. This sortie was the last of 1941.

December 31, 1941: the recapture by Italian troops of the CSIR of the town of Novo-Orlovka marks the end of the Battle of Christmas.

The Italian fighters are reduced to the number of 4 in flying condition at the 359th Squadriglia, while the chronic lack of fuel and the difficult weather conditions have somewhat reduced the number of sorties by Italian pilots.

Sources: http://www.italie1935-45.com/RA/histoir ... csir1.html (offline)
https://italianaircraftwwii.blogspot.co ... front.html
http://www.enricopezzi.it/area_iannicel ... icelli.htm

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
Attachments
Capitano Pilota Giorgio Iannicelli in one isba on the Russian front.................
Capitano Pilota Giorgio Iannicelli in one isba on the Russian front.................
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.
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