CR 42

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Senior Airman
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
Ok, what's the worst place in the world to be?
I think to be a lone newbie in the cockpit of a CR 42, sighted by a pair of Hurricanes, piloted by a 15 kills ace and his favourite wingman that were flying 2000 ft above, is a good candidate.
That 's probably the situation in wich a priest could be a useful onboard item.
However, italians say "the ball is round". No game is decided from the beginning.

"After taking off at 15:00 on 30 January [1941], Flying Officers Ernest Mason and Thomas Patterson of 274 Squadron, arrived over an Italian airfield, which they identified as Barce [but probably was Benina] at 16:45. Here they discovered a CR.42 on the starboard beam and 2000 feet below, which they chased down to 6000 feet. The Italian pilot fought back tenaciously, hitting Patterson's Hurricane (P3765), who was forced to retreat with shrapnel wound in his left arm and was taken to hospital the next day. The Italian then started a series of head on attacks on Mason (P3723), who recalled:

This CR 42 was very tough. We kept doing head on attacks where we rush at each other head-on until point-blank range and then shoot past each other. Usually very successful. But this fellow wouldn't go down. On the fourth attack we were rushing each other, each firing. But this time he didn't pull out but came straight on. I pulled up instinctively and as he passed underneath my wing I felt a crash and a bump. I thought we had collided. I had a glimpse of him going straight on and burning.
I now realised that I had been hit and not collided (…)

Mason had to turn back, he was slightly wounded in the side, his plane had been badly shot about, but he was able to return to Gazala and land at 17:45. Back at base, he claimed this CR 42 as confirmed.
The RAF duo had run into Sgt. Mario Turchi of the 368a Squadriglia. The young Sergeant had taken off for a standing patrol over Benina when at 16:20 he was attacked by two Hurricanes. Under the eyes of his Squadriglia mates and of his temporary CO (Lt. Giuseppe Zuffi), Turchi was able to quickly disengage from the first Hawker [Patterson] and then attacked the second one, finally colliding with it [Mason was right in his first impression] loosing the wingtip of the upper wing and suffering some airscrew cuts in the lower wing. His last opponent was seen to abandon the fight, leaving a track of smoke and claimed damaged. The Italian pilot landed his Fiat (MM6255), which was classified RS, being welcomed like a hero by his Squadriglia comrades that had witnessed his successful combat.
Turchi was awarded with a Medaglia d'argento al Valor Militare for this combat."
It was a most excellent aircraft!



By the by Mason was nicknames 'Imshi', due to his habit of dressing as an Arab. He even flew wearing arab garb. A very colourful fellow. :)

He was later shot down and killed on 15 February 1942 while commanding 94 Squadron in the Desert. His victor was 51 kill Experten Otto Schulz, who accounted for many aces over the Desert.

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