Italian co- belligerent air force

Discussion in 'Aircraft Requests' started by maxs75, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Hi,
    I'm looking for the order of battle of the Italian co- belligerent air force. I know that this force got some allied planes, but I don't have much info about it.
    How much strong was it? How many squadrons were commissioned?

    Thanks in advance

    Max
     
  2. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    I've not complete informations.
    At the time of the maximum deployment the co-belligerent Air Force was formed of 5 fighter groups (two of them equipped with 149 Bell P-39N, one with 53 Spitfire mkV, the other two with 37 "old" + 29 "new" Macchi C-205, 16 Re-2002, 18 Re-2001 and a not well known number of Macchi C-202. However, those aircrafts were not all deployed at the same time), two bomber groups of 27 Martin Baltimore, 40 Cant Z-1007, and a not well known number of SM-79, a transport group and four groups of floatplanes formed with several dozens of transport aircrafts and floatplanes (various Caproni models, Cant Z-501 and Z-506, Fiat RS-14, SM-82 ecc... I've the precise numbers of some of them), plus several trainers (and 40 Macchi C-200 and 23 Fiat CR-42, used as trainers).

    An incomplete list of the units (only those that were based in the region of Puglia) is:

    239^ Squadriglia, 102° Gruppo, 5° Stormo (Reggiane RE 2002) - Palata Airport.

    84^, 90^ e 91^ Squadriglia, 10° Gruppo, 4° Stormo (Macchi MC 202/205) - Palata Airport.

    351^, 352^, 353^ e 360^ Squadriglia, 20° Gruppo, 51° Stormo (Spitfire MK V c) - Palata Airport.

    155° Gruppo Caccia Terrestre, (Macchi MC 202-205) - Palata Airport.

    386^ Squadriglia, 21° Gruppo Caccia (Macchi MC 202) - Palata Airport.

    97^ Squadriglia, 9° Gruppo, 4° Stormo (Macchi MC 205) - Nuova Airport.

    238^ Squadriglia, 101° Gruppo, 5° Stormo, (Reggiane RE 2001/2002) -Nuova Airport.

    149^ Squadriglia, 82° Gruppo Idrovolanti (Cant Z 506 “Airone”) - Idroscalo San Nicola Varano.

    The Co-Belligerent Air Force fight missions were done always over the Balkans, to avoid any possible encounter between Italian-manned aircrafts fighting on opposed sides. It flew up to 11.000 missions in transport, escort, reconnaissance, sea rescue and tactical ground support role.

    [​IMG]
    A co-belligerent fighter squadron of Macchi C-205, www.museoscienza.org
     
  3. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Thanks Dogwalker,
    I have some other questions about it.
    Do you know about approximately how many M. C-202 were on hand of co-belligerent AF?

    From a brief web search I found that Spit V, P-39 and Baltimores were in combat only from late 1944, and I guess that they substituted the older Italian types. So I don't understand yet what was the strength of the ICBAF. Were some italian built fighters still in service at war's end?

    And how does it relate with Balkan air Force?

    Max
     
  4. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    For the number of C-202, you can count from a minimum of 100 to a maximum of 150 aircrafts (not all operative at the same time). The precise number it's very hard to say since many of them were not "original" planes. Fuselages and engines were completely reconstructed starting from spare parts, scrapped fuselages and destroyed aircrafts lying in the airfields, battelfields and warehouses of Nort-Africa and South-Italy.
    Naturally, many of them had a brief and glorious life.
    Even the C-205 exposed at the Vigna Di Valle Museum is one of those reconstructed aircrafts, and the markings of the fuselage show that it was originally a C-202.

    As I said, the aircrafts I listed were not all operative at the same time, the less common models, like the Reggiane fighters, had only a brief operational life, due to the losses and the shortage of spare parts.
    The Co-Belligerent Air Force used only italian Aircrafts until the middle of september 1944.
    At the beginning of 1945 the Co-Belligerent Air Force were formed of three "stormi", the 4th (two groups) equipped with P-39, the 51th (one group) equipped with the Spitfire Vc and one or two squadrons of Macchi, and the 5th (one group) equipped with Macchi C-202/205 (the 5th Stormo received the still usable machines from the two others when they recieved the foreign aircrafts and absorbed the 155° Gruppo Caccia Terrestre).
    At the end of the war, there were about 50 Macchi Fighter still operative (even if they were no more used intensively) in the Co-Belligerent Air Force. The Aeronautica Nazionale used C-202 as trainer until 1948.

    The Co-Belligerent Air Force was part of the Balkan air Force.
     
  5. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Thanks Dogwalker,

    Was it the same for the 29 "new" M.C 205?

    So (january 1945):
    4th Stormo (10, 12 gruppo) with P-39N/Q (9 gruppo reduced to cadre)
    5th Stormo (155 gruppo only?) Mc-202/205
    51st Stormo (20 Gr) with Spitfire V, (21 gruppo? or just two squadriglie?) Mc-202/205

    What about Gruppi no. 101,102 and 8? Disbanded?

    Thanks very much again?
    Max
     
  6. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    Yes. Normally they aren't included in the total number of the C-205 produced.

    Yes.

    [​IMG]

    I'm sorry for the previous misinformation, the 155th gruppo was really absorbed by the 51st stormo.
    The 5th stormo, previous than 8 september 1943 was composed of dive bombers ("5° stormo tuffatori"), for this were equipped with Reggiane 2001/2002, used as dive bombers by the RA, but more as fighter-bomers by the Co-Belligerent Air Force. The designation of "5° stormo caccia terrestre" ("5th stormo fighters") was of the 15.06.1944, when the stormo absorbed the 8th fighters group. Nominally, the three groups of fighters of the stormo (8, 101 and 102) where all active at the beginning of 1945, but the strenght of the unit was reduced to less than 50 usable Macchi fighters

    [​IMG]

    20th gr. with Spitfire and 155th gr. (361st and 378th squadron) with Macchi 205, the 21st gruppo was no more operative and was equipped with the spitfires only after the war.

    [​IMG]

    Excuse me again ;)
     
  7. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Fine!

    Dogwalker, Your help is great!
    Do you have info about when 155° was assigned to 51° stormo?

    Again, do you know when 21° was disbanded?
    And were the squadriglie still in existence also under allies control?
    Was there a difference between 20° gruppo strength (351^, 352^, 353^ e 360^ Squadriglia, 20° Gruppo, 51° Stormo (Spitfire MK V c) - Palata Airport. ----> 4 squadriglie), and 155° (361st and 378th squadron)? I mean on paper strength.

    Thanks again

    Max
     
  8. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    In january 1944. From 4 july 1944 the unit was equipped only with C-205 as stated in the site of AMI (Aeronautica Militare Italiana)

    [​IMG]

    on 15 september 1944, it was not disbanded, but it was no more operative due to the shortage of aircrafts, the few residual aircrafts were transferred to the 155th gruppo (the C-205) and to 5th stormo (the C-202) and the 21st was put "in posizione quadro".

    [​IMG]

    I don't know precisely. The 21st had all the 53 Spitfire Vc (not all airworthy at the same time, they were very used machines) delivered to the Co-Belligerent Air force, and they were the only usable machines of the unit, but I don't know the strenght of the 155th. In july 1946 however the 155th transferred his residual C-205 to the 5th stormo and began to be reequipped with Spitfire IX. The 155th Group had still 30 usable C-205 at that time.

    [​IMG]

    The rebuilding of two Macchi fighers at Galatina (Lecce) Airport in 1944
    [​IMG]
    N.Sgarlato collection
     
  9. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Thanks Dogwalker!

    Was 155 Gruppo a MC 205-only unit? And 5° stormo a C-202-only unit?

    Thanks very much again

    Max
     
  10. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    For the 155th gruppo, it was surely equipped only with C-205 starting from 4/07/1944. For the 5th stormo, it seems logical that it was equipped only with C-202, since I never read of C-205 transferred to the 5th Stormo and, in the site of AMI, the C-205 is not listed among the aircrafts used by the unit during the war (on the contrary of C-202).
     
  11. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Thanks!
    Now the fighter matter is quite well claryfied.
    But I have some questions about bombers as well.
    Were the italian types used as bombers after the introduction of Baltimores?

    Max
     
  12. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    Not more.
    In the late '44 the bombing force of Co-belligerent Air force was organized in two Stormi of "Bombardamento Terrestre" (land bombing): "Baltimora" (with the Baltimores) and "Notturno" (with Sm-82 and Sm 79), but only the Baltimora was effectively used for bombing missions. the Notturno was used for night unescorted missions to refurnish Jugoslavian partisans and the Italian Garibaldi Division, that otperated in Jugoslavia.
    A third Stormo ("Trasporti") was formed with the remaining heavy machines, but it operate only for transports in friendly theaters.
     
  13. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Thanks very much Dogwalker.

    Do you have any idea about the composition of Balkan Air force? I know that it was composed by units from Yugoslavia, RAF, SAAF and so on.

    Thanks

    Max
     
  14. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Dogwalker,

    Do You know where the Italian air units were based in late 1944? I know that many or all were in Puglia and Molise regions, but do you know the exact locations?
    The Baltimore wing was at Campomarino.
    20° and 155° Gp. were at Galatina.
    Other bases were Palata, Leverano, Canne. Do you have more precise info?

    Max
     
  15. EAF51_Bear

    EAF51_Bear Member

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    Hi all.

    I am a new member of this forum, located in Italy.
    You can find really A LOT of information about Italian co-Belligerant Air Force at our website: www.eaf51.org

    The whole website is in double language (Italian/English)
    When you are on the homepage, please check the toolbar on the left.
    Click on "History Pages"
    There you can find for sections:
    - History pic page, divided by argument
    - History tales, download .PDF files. Some of them are in English (scroll down the page!)

    Please take the freedom to explore the website, and if you like tell me what you think writing to the webmaster.


    @ Dogwalker: as far as I know, after arminstice (Sept. 8th, 1943) all Italian bombers (S.79 and S.81) where turned on transport units. The only bomber unit ICAF had was the so called "Gruppo Baltimore", composed by 28Th Bomber group (Streghe, callsign "Strega") and 132st Bomber Group ("Sempre i soliti", callsign "Grappa").

    I am not sure about the issue of C.205 only in 4°Stormo. I read a book (Paolo Voltan - Un Pilota del Cavallino rampante - Ed. La Galiverna Flaviana - 1990 - Pag. 85-111) where he tells about B-17 intercept with C.205 just a few days before Septh 8th. The 9th Gruppo of 4° Stormo, based at Gioia Del Colle, since August 1943 got nearly exclusively C.205. This means that 4° Stormo, at least before armistice, already got C.205. I do not know actually if they still kept them after the armnistice, or if all remainig C.205 were moved to 20°Gruppo, while C.202 were transferred to 4° Stormo. I will further investigate.

    About S.79: the information I found in my books say that it is not sure the number of S.79 on service with the ICAF after Sept. 8th. Maybe 42 to 59. Out of them, only 39 were still flying on May 8th, 1945.

    By the way: do you only live in Italy, or R U Italian?


    @ Maxs75: 155° Gruppo was not the only Macchi equipped unit within ICAF. Initially both 4°Stormo and 51° Stormo ICAF were using Macchis. Later on 4° Stormo was equipped with P-39, and 20° Gruppo/51° Stormo with Spitfires Vb/Trop and VC, while all remaining Macchi were assigned to 155° Gruppo/51° Stormo.
    I will look at my files, because somewhere I have the full order of battle of ICAF. I will come to you as soon as I would find the requested infos.
     
  16. loomaluftwaffe

    loomaluftwaffe Active Member

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    awesome stuff DogW
     
  17. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    Thanks EAF51.
    I'm looking forward for your ICAF OOB.
    Yes I'm italian (Bologna).


    I have the MC 205 (I think you refer to MC 205 only saying Macchi) at armistice date:
    few with 3° Stormo CT (mainly equipped with MC 202, and few Bf 109)
    special variant with 310° Sq. Ric. Fot.
    some with 51° Stormo.
    Main equipment of 4° Stormo (9° and 10° gruppo CT)
    Main equipment of 21° Gruppo autonomo

    Max
     
  18. EAF51_Bear

    EAF51_Bear Member

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    Fammi sapere cosa ne pensi del sito! :!:

    Translation: let me know what U think about the website. Any contribution in news, pics etc. is welcome. Contributor will be mentioned in clear.
     
  19. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    I'm italian.
    The complete order of battle would be great!
     
  20. EAF51_Bear

    EAF51_Bear Member

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    Still searching in my paper. I have probably to put together more sources from ny books. Be patient pls.

    In the man time I found at least ONE of the answer to your requests.
    Herewith following is a map of all ICAF (co-belligerant) and ANR (northeern) Italian Air Forces after September 8th, 1943

    [​IMG]

    I hope this can answer to your question. Still seraching for the rest
     
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