Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

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UncleBourbon
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Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by UncleBourbon » 13 May 2020 03:11

I recently acquired a May 1937 edition of the Cavalcade Magazine, which features a story by Vincent Patriarca; an Italian-American who took up the opportunity for free flight classes for Italian diaspora in Mussolini's Italy.
He not only flew in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War; where his most notable action was taking out an Ethiopian anti-aircraft gun on Christmas Day 1935, but the Spanish Civil War as well.
He apparently used his own savings to buy himself a Fiat plane for the war, and scored a total of five kills against Republican aircraft; with himself being downed alongside the fifth one.

Very interesting individual and I was curious if there are any other known Americans who fought for the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War? Much more attention is given to the Republican Lincoln Battalion and the like.
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Ironmachine
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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by Ironmachine » 13 May 2020 06:29

He apparently used his own savings to buy himself a Fiat plane for the war,
That part is not true, though perhaps it was told by Patriarca himself who, after being captured, lied again and again until he was again in the United States. He came to Spain with the first group of fighter pilots sent by Italy, with planes provided by the Italian Air Force.
and scored a total of five kills against Republican aircraft
Another of his lies? AFAIK, he only scored two kills during the SCW, a pair of Ni-H.52 shot down on 11 and 13 September 1936 respectively (the last one was destroyed in the collision that also destroyed Patriarca's plane, leading to his capture).

Here you have two links (one in Spanish, one in English) with Patriarca's story. There are some differences between both versions, but the main facts are clear:
https://guerraenmadrid.net/2019/03/02/e ... -a-franco/
http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_patriarca.htm

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 May 2020 17:11

Hi UncleBourbon,

From memory, several thousand overseas Italians served in Italian Somaliland against Ethiopia. Most came from Latin America, especially Argentina and Brazil. They were largely a propaganda tool and their units, which were part of the Blackshirt militia, only took part in the final advance. They did little fighting.

Somthing under 800 US Italian-Americans volunteered, but the main contribution seems to have been fund raising for the Italian Red Cross.

One incentive for service in Ethiopia was the prospect of acquiring land. However, colonization proved a disappointment and very few Italians from Latin America or the USA stayed on.

By contrast, intervention in Spain was not popular. Many of the metropolitan Italian Blackshirt "volunteers" had actually enlisted to work in Ethiopia and were stunned to find themselves serving as combat troops in Spain. There was no repetition of the volunteerism amongst overseas Italians for Ethiopia.

So, thousands over overseas Italian volunteers in Ethiopia, but almost none in Spain, or, indeed, for WWII.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by Kurt_Steiner » 16 May 2020 20:45

Vincent Patriarca departed on August 5, 1936, from La Spezia in the cargoship Nereide with 12 pilots (Captains Vincenzo Dequal -aka Limonesi-, Vittor Ugo Ceccherelli –Vaccarese-, Ernesto Monico –Preti-, Giuseppe Cenni –Stella-, Giuseppe Avvico –Nannini-, Bruno Castellani –Ribaudi-, Sirio Salvadori –Salvo-, Angelo Boetti –Ilacqua-, Adamo Giuglietti –Guglielmotti-, Giovanni Magistrini –Marietti-, Vicenzo Patriarca –Boccolari-, Guido Presel –Sanmartano-). They arrived to Melilla on August 14.

He was shot down (September 13) and lied saying that he was a FIAT pilot, not from the Reggia. IMHO, he could claim two victories, not five.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by Ironmachine » 17 May 2020 07:21

Patriarca's story from 1931 to 1959, written by himself (in Italian, but a web translator should work fine), can be found here: http://www.asso4stormo.it/arc_01/Pubbli ... iarca1.htm
http://www.asso4stormo.it/arc_01/Pubbli ... iarca2.htm

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Ironmachine
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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by Ironmachine » 17 May 2020 07:25

And some photos from his times in the Italian air forces:
http://www.asso4stormo.it/arc_02/04Stor ... riarca.htm

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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by UncleBourbon » 07 Jun 2020 12:44

Sorry for the late reply.
Ironmachine wrote:
13 May 2020 06:29
He apparently used his own savings to buy himself a Fiat plane for the war,
That part is not true, though perhaps it was told by Patriarca himself who, after being captured, lied again and again until he was again in the United States. He came to Spain with the first group of fighter pilots sent by Italy, with planes provided by the Italian Air Force.
and scored a total of five kills against Republican aircraft
Another of his lies? AFAIK, he only scored two kills during the SCW, a pair of Ni-H.52 shot down on 11 and 13 September 1936 respectively (the last one was destroyed in the collision that also destroyed Patriarca's plane, leading to his capture).

Here you have two links (one in Spanish, one in English) with Patriarca's story. There are some differences between both versions, but the main facts are clear:
https://guerraenmadrid.net/2019/03/02/e ... -a-franco/
http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_patriarca.htm
Everything I wrote was mentioned in Vincent Patriarca's "Two Wars in One Year" from May 1937 Cavalcade Magazine.
Thank you for these links and the ones you posted further down the thread.

You seem to be critical of Patriarca, is the reason only his conflicting statements or something else? Just curious.
Also would you say Patriarca was telling the truth about strafing Ethiopian AA on Christmas 1935, or was that a mistruth to make the Ethiopian segment of "Two Wars" seem interesting?
Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 May 2020 17:11
Hi UncleBourbon,

From memory, several thousand overseas Italians served in Italian Somaliland against Ethiopia. Most came from Latin America, especially Argentina and Brazil. They were largely a propaganda tool and their units, which were part of the Blackshirt militia, only took part in the final advance. They did little fighting.

Somthing under 800 US Italian-Americans volunteered, but the main contribution seems to have been fund raising for the Italian Red Cross.

One incentive for service in Ethiopia was the prospect of acquiring land. However, colonization proved a disappointment and very few Italians from Latin America or the USA stayed on.

By contrast, intervention in Spain was not popular. Many of the metropolitan Italian Blackshirt "volunteers" had actually enlisted to work in Ethiopia and were stunned to find themselves serving as combat troops in Spain. There was no repetition of the volunteerism amongst overseas Italians for Ethiopia.

So, thousands over overseas Italian volunteers in Ethiopia, but almost none in Spain, or, indeed, for WWII.

Cheers,

Sid.
Thank you for the information, Sid.
I recently found and read "Italian-Americans and the Ethiopian Crisis" by Fiorello B. Ventresco, and he mentioned that while figures of 800 were cited, only around six were actually named; five of whom were from Hartford, Connecticut named in the "La Stampa Libera" Sept. 22, 1935, which I sadly cannot find online.
I've also found "Pro-Fascist Activities in Western Pennsylvania During the Ethiopian War" by John Norman, which I'll look into.

Any other known individuals or sources for this subject would be of great interest! There's something alien and fantastical about American citizens in an African colonial campaign.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Vincent Patriarca / Americans who served under Franco/Mussolini

Post by Ironmachine » 07 Jun 2020 15:36

UncleBourbon wrote:You seem to be critical of Patriarca, is the reason only his conflicting statements or something else? Just curious.
I'm not critical of Patriarca, I'm critical of the statements about Patriarca made in the Cavalcade Magazine. I don't even know if those manifestly false claims were made by Patriarca himself or were fabrications of the reporter.
UncleBourbon wrote:Also would you say Patriarca was telling the truth about strafing Ethiopian AA on Christmas 1935, or was that a mistruth to make the Ethiopian segment of "Two Wars" seem interesting?
Well, IIRC the Ethiopians did have some AA capacity in 1935, so the possibility is certainly there.

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