Italian Ace and rumors

Haztoys

Senior Airman
428
2
Dec 1, 2005
Prescott Arizona USA
I have often hear how Italian fighter pilots were not good "fighters" :oops: .... This could not be true?.... Why and were did this come about ?

Who were the top Aces.?

Thanks

David

Hazardous Toys inc :twisted:
 

Dogwalker

Senior Airman
448
4
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
There is not an official list of italian aces of WWII, since the Regia Aeronautica, up to 1942, don't put importance on individual scores, rather than the scores of the squadrons, and Aeronautica Militare Italiana, in the post-war years, had problems to confront the datas of Regia Aeronautica, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and Italian Co-Belligerant Air force.
Different lists that you can find on the net, are the results of the work of different private appassionates and experts, that had to confront the documents (often incomplete, due to the war events) of the different squadrons, groups and even air forces.
this is the most complete list I ever found.
http://math.fce.vutbr.cz/safarik/ACES/aces1/italy-ww2.pdf
25 of them were "biplane aces" (having shot down 5 or more enemies flying with a biplane)

DogW
 

rebel8303

Airman 1st Class
154
0
Nov 21, 2004
Patras
I haven't search particularly for Italian achievments but I 've been reading for swordfish action over the Mediterannean. It is mentioned cases were swordfish escaped italian fighters by throwing flares at them.. I think that Italian pilots did not have the guts that British and German pilots did have...
 

rebel8303

Airman 1st Class
154
0
Nov 21, 2004
Patras
There were a bunch of aircraft shot down however during the invasion in Greece. There, there weren't far larger formations of enemy more advanced fighters but some gloster gladiators and some PZL P.24
 

Magister

Airman 1st Class
183
2
Dec 11, 2005
Cupertino, CA
I have read in several places over the years that Italian pilots were no less brave than Germans. I understand that their skill was impressive on an acrobatic level.

Most of their aircraft were significantly inferior to the allies in terms of overall performance. (Macchi Mc 200's and Fiat G.50's not to mention all the biplanes that were still seeing frontline service in 1942and 1943)

Also, their armament was generally quite pitiful. (Some Macchi Mc 202's just had two .50's and two 7.7mm guns)

In 1943, they began to churn out some truly impressive aircraft (Series 5 fighters) that on a dogfighting level were superior to anything the allies had with the possible exception of the latest model Spitfires. Even then, they were probably equals.

I heve never heard of Swordfish pilots "scaring away" Italian fighter pilots by throwing flares. Frankly, it sounds like a bunch of BS to me but that's just one man's opinion.

Here is a quote from George Buerling from a book by Miles Constable entitled "George Beurling, Canadian Ace" With 32 confirmed planes shot down, George Beurling was one of the top Allied aces of WWII.

"The Eyeties are comparatively easy to shoot down. Oh, they're brave enough. In fact, I think the Eyeties have more courage than the Germans, but their tactics aren't so good. They are very good gliders, but they try to do clever acrobatics and looping. But they will stick with it even if things are going against them, whereas the Jerries will run."
 

rebel8303

Airman 1st Class
154
0
Nov 21, 2004
Patras
The fact is that late in the war Italy had some serious gear.
Italian pilots were quiet good acrobats.
But I think that they were not good in dogfighting
By the way Dogwalker I didn't want to insult you.
Sorry if I did
 

Dogwalker

Senior Airman
448
4
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
rebel8303 said:
The fact is that late in the war Italy had some serious gear.
Italian pilots were quiet good acrobats.
But I think that they were not good in dogfighting
By the way Dogwalker I didn't want to insult you.
Sorry if I did
I'm not an italian pilot of WWII
Since I was born in 1972, You did not insult me.
Thinking that italian pilots were not good in dogfighting is one thing. Why would have I to disagree with the respectable opinion of someone who haven't search particularly for Italian achievments?
Saying that italian (or French, or Poles or whichever other nationality) pilots are cowards that usually escaped, scared of the shadows, is another thing. And yeah, it's insulting, but of peoples that usually passed away some years ago, often doing their job at the best.
Or at least that's my opinion

DogW
 

rebel8303

Airman 1st Class
154
0
Nov 21, 2004
Patras
I don't think that Italian pillots ran away from battle. I just think that allthough Italy was in the Axis side Italians never actually wanted that war (as Germans did). British pilots on the other hand had no choise because they needed to defend their island.
Anyway as far for the guts comment I made I must apologize because I generalised the swordfish incident (were the Italian fighter pilot abandonded the chase of the swordfish because of a flare - the rear machinegun ammo was depleted)
 

Magister

Airman 1st Class
183
2
Dec 11, 2005
Cupertino, CA
Again, I cut and paste from my post above:

Here is a quote from George Buerling from a book by Miles Constable entitled "George Beurling, Canadian Ace" With 32 confirmed planes shot down, George Beurling was one of the top Allied aces of WWII.

"The Eyeties are comparatively easy to shoot down. Oh, they're brave enough. In fact, I think the Eyeties have more courage than the Germans, but their tactics aren't so good. They are very good gliders, but they try to do clever acrobatics and looping. But they will stick with it even if things are going against them, whereas the Jerries will run."

As for that flare story, is it possible that the Italian broke off because of low fuel or some other reason? Why in the world would having flares thrown scare any pilot?
 

rebel8303

Airman 1st Class
154
0
Nov 21, 2004
Patras
I found the exact incident:

On September 2 1940 the aircraft carrier Illustrious launched No. 813 Squadron's aircraft in a strike on the Italian-held Greek island of Rhodes. Defending fighters shot down 4 attacking Stingbags from the squadron and almost claimed a fifth. Pilot John Wellham recalled how his observer warned him that two Fiat C.R.42s were on their tale adding:"So I dived down to the sea flying at about 40 ft above the water." When the gunner was out of ammo radioman-observer P.Humphreys seized a Very pistol and fired flares as fast as he could reload the single-shot device."This might seem rather pointless," noted Wellham," but was based on the fact that we knew that the Italians had heard some rumor about a 'Churchill Secret Weapon' and we thought that they might mistake this for it." [...] One of the fighters flew into the sea and exploded in a ball of flames when its pilot misjudged his altitude in pursuing the Englishmen. The remaining Fiat gave up the chase and departed homeward.

:oops: Seems like I did not remembererd the fact as I thought I did :oops:
I must apologize once more to Dogwalker
 

cheddar cheese

Major General
20,265
18
Jan 9, 2004
WSM, England
I have read about that before somewhere...

But theres no way Italian pilots were cowards. They done the best they could with the equipment and resources they had...
 

KraziKanuK

Banned
792
4
Jan 26, 2005
If you want to know about Italian aces get the Osprey Aces book # 34.

Don't take it as gospel for the Osprey Aces books have errors but will give you an insight.

osprey_italian_aces.jpg
 

Hunter368

Tech Sergeant
2,145
14
Nov 5, 2005
Winnipeg
Here how I rate them after reading a fair bit about them:

1-Great pilots
2-Brave
3-Not great planes, for the most part. (later in the war they got better)
4-Poor tatics
5-Great pilots
6-Very brave

Just my opinion.
 

rebel8303

Airman 1st Class
154
0
Nov 21, 2004
Patras
When it goes to war I don't think that you can name someone coward anyways. One might not do a heroic act but it sure tha he'll be more courageous and brave than when in peaceful times. After all it is a matter of life and death.
Finally I don't think I can judge of one's act on a situation I have never been myself.
 

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