Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

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tigre
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Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 23 Feb 2019 18:24

Hello to all :D; following an article in an old periodical magazine.......................................

Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

The losses of the Regia Aeronautica were illustrated significantly by a recent statement of the Italian Air Ministry. The Italian torpedo planes formation which took part in the attack on a British convoy on 27 September 1941, was given the name of "Lo Stormo del Sacrificio" [Sacrifice Wing) because of the great losses it had suffered during the attack. Thirty four airmen, including the Commanding Officer and three squadron leaders were killed in action. After Italy',s entry into the War, the unit had lost 37 per cent of its operational strength, amounting to 12 aeroplanes. This figure includes those machines which were shot down by the enemy, but not those which were lost on the way home, or were destroyed while landing or on the ground.

This famous (for such unpleasant circumstances) wing of torpedo planes was nothing more and nothing less than the 36th Stormo and here goes the story about it.

The allocation of SM.84 to 36th Stormo.

Discarded the opportunity to send "at least 20" SM.84 to the Italian East Africa as requested by Amedeo Duca d'Aosta and the Chief of Staff of the Aeronautica in the AOI General Pietro Pinna March 10 and 23, 1941 , the first 3 aircraft arrive at 36º Stormo (108º Gruppo, 256 ^ and 257 ^ squadriglia, 109º Gruppo, 258 ^ and 259 ^ squadriglia) of Bologna Borgo Panigale as of May 7, 1941. The wing was commanded from July 1941 by col. Riccardo Hellmuth Seidl. Finally, on September 3, 1941, 14 SM.84 of the 108th Gruppo were transferred to Decimomannu, followed on September 20, 1941 by 15 aircraft of the 109th Gruppo: on the eve of operational use, 7 SM.84 were out of service for failure and half still did not have the device for launching the torpedo.

"With the wing extended to glory or death": the sacrifice of the 36th Stormo against English ships.

On September 25, 1941, the departure from Gibraltar of important English naval forces composed of 2 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers, 12 escort destroyers with 9 vapors was reported. It was the naval formation prepared for Operation Halberd, intended for the supply of Malta. After the contacts made the following day, the Supreme Command gives categorical orders to the Superaereo so that the airplanes attack exclusively to the warships to reduce their power in view of the intervention of the naval forces that would be in charge of the merchant ships.

On the 27th, in the morning, gathered in the Stormo's HQ were maggiore Gastaldi, commander of the 109th Gruppo, and maggiore Buri, commander of the 108th, also present was the Principal Assistant cap. Profumi. Caused surprise that in the order of operations of the Air Force Command of Sardinia, take part in the action the 130th Gruppo with SM.79 that will take off from Elmas a few minutes before the 109th and 108th, given the difference in cruise speed of the SM .79 with respect to the SM.84. It was also known that there will be a fighter escort. The orders foresee that it will be flown to the African coast, and from here it will go towards the naval formation. Attacking the formation from its right side is expected to make better use of the surprise factor. The number of revolutions of the engine for cruise speed is established and it is agreed that the 108th Group will start moving when the 109th has begun to warm the engines.

Sources: Catalog of Selected Periodical Articles. Vol. XXII Nro 85.
http://www.alieuomini.it/AJAX/catalogo/ ... alogo/104/

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 03 Mar 2019 13:36

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

Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

"With the wing extended to glory or death": the sacrifice of the 36th Stormo against English ships.

At 11:35 hours the mass attack order is transmitted. The leaders of the groups gather the crews to inform them about the route to follow. The tactic is this: if the 109th attacks the battle ships, the 108th will face the aircraft carriers, or vice versa, depending on how the groups would be at the time of the attack. The order of «Superaereo» is to throw on the ships of greater tonnage. The torpedoes are therefore regulated to six meters deep. At the time of the start-up, it is observed that a machine collects Col. Riccardo Seidl, Commander of the 36 Stormo, who is near the plane, in the direction of the HQ. After a few minutes, Seidl returns and puts the 109th in motion, followed by the 108th. The airplanes are in the "paraschegge" (splinter guard) and they are get out "by hand", in order not to remove the camouflaged grass. The 109th moves to the right of the field, 108º to the left.

12:15 hours the 109th takes off, followed by the 108th with the 256th and 257th squadrons that deploys to the left to prevent the path from bothering it. The right wingman of the 256th (Capitano Casali) makes a left yaw, while the 257th takes off. The 109th disappears from sight because it passes over the clouds: the turn must have been to the left; it can be seen turning in a clearing. The 108th in turn passes through the clouds, leaves and turns left to go to Elmas, meeting point with the escort fighters. The 109th is out of sight; the place of the right wingman of the first patrol is occupied by a plane of the 259th (Sottoten. Morelli). Arriving in Cagliari we see a SM.84, which tries to close rows with the 108th turning to the left.

The first ones to take off at 12:15 are the 6 planes led by Seidl (109º). Followed by the 6 aircraft led by the Magg. Arduino Buri (108) who has to the right Cap. Mario Casali, commander of the 256th Squadron, that during the takeoff turns to the right damaging itself.

12:30 hours, in Cape Spartivento eight Cr.42, join the 108th, while the 109th is going with a direct route to the "Force H". It is observed that the engine speed is higher than that established in the meeting, and that the route that is different now becomes a collision. It is thought that something must have changed at the last moment, which is when Col. Seidl returned to the HQ because he was called on the telephone. The two patrols fly in a column, that of the 257th a little higher; since the right wingman of the 259th is separated, the motor is reduced so that it can approach, but the latter is always separate. The group navigate above the clouds and can not see the sea. Meanwhile, the 109th gradually moves away, but 108th can not increase the speed of the engine, so as not to lose the protection of the escort that was ready to ascend. The navigation level is 700 meters.

Sources: Catalog of Selected Periodical Articles. Vol. XXII Nro 85.
http://www.alieuomini.it/AJAX/catalogo/ ... alogo/104/

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 09 Mar 2019 16:58

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

Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

"With the wing extended to glory or death": the sacrifice of the 36th Stormo against English ships.

12:59 hours - The 109th dives slightly, moving to the left. The mechanic Gallinotti, who was in the rotating turret, suddenly shouts: "Fighters". Five Fulmars (it was later learned that they were of this type, whereas at the beginning, due to the experience acquired in Malta they had been confused with Hurricanes), they quickly launched in our search; the patrol of the 257th moves to the right, placing itself almost in line with that of the 256th. The extreme plane of the right wing of the 259th, which, as usual, was left behind, was shot down. The smell of gunpowder can be felt in the cabin and the crackle of weapons. The 109th, which can be glimpsed, now plunges through a patch of clouds; In our turn, since the clouds are thinning, we see first of all the "Nelson" (or Nelson type), because we see the flashes of the beginning of antiaircraft fire. The head of the formation "flaps its wings" warning that they prepare for the convergent attack maneuver, and goes into a dive. The left wingman immediately turn on its left; Capitano Rotolo, head of the 257th, "waves his wings" alternately, his wingman on the right opens on the right, the left delays the maneuver, but a beam of projectiles centers the left wing of his aircraft that flips over the wingman and together they rush into the sea. The Fulmar who had knocked down the Sotto Ten. Morelli (wingman on the right of the 256th) while trying to get close to Rotolo's plane is hit by the same salvos and falls as well.

13:02 hours - Magg. Buri dives the plane, passes under the layer of clouds, not very thick, keeps turning slightly to the right to execute the "S" and can make the simultaneous launch with the wingmen (Ten. Amante and Ten. Rossi); nearby observes the 109th with six SM.84 heading towards six CT [cacciatorpediniere - destroyer] and a light IN [incrociatore - cruiser] that are arranged in an arc in the anti-submarine protection 5-6 miles in front of the NB [battleship] ] Nelson type; A few columns of water are observed due to torpedo launches. Note, at the same time, other flashes from the Nelson, the cruiser and the other ship that he thought were P.A. [Aircraft carrier]; Now, start and turn left to look for the wingman on the left that should converge towards Nelson, but do not distinguish him. The CTs in antisubmarine protection meanwhile began an attack to the left, to escape the launch of the alleged 109th. (There is a doubt, since the 109th according to the orders should go on the ships with the highest tonnage). The second salvo of the Naval Force explodes behind Buri's plane. Other initial flashes are observed, and the plane almost touches the water; columns of water rise to the right; Buri's plane approaches to the right and calculates the speed of the battleship at 15-16 miles; prepares the "primordial" pointing device, gives the whole engine and retakes the elevation, while in front of the plane the water "boils" due to the "pon-pon" bursts of 20 guns. At 100 meters above sea level, and the approximate distance of 1,500 m, making careful aiming, then the aircraft is given the required 10º incline, re-check the aiming device by moving the bow to the left, and at 900 -1,000 m launches. Then he tries to escape to the left, but he sees other flashes of the Nelson, it dives and goes towards the ship, jumps almost to the water and gives the impression of wanting to crush it. Finally, check that there are no steel cables of any antiaircraft barrier in the bow, and at 50 meters, level the plane and go through the 402 of the bow turret at the height of the bridge. Our machine guns fire and the sailors look at each other running away. After passing the ship, turn again to the right, remembering that the anti-aircraft shooting sectors in the battleship are 4; after a few seconds it straightens up, regains the level, but has to turn left, because he sees from the convoy, appeared by surprise, threatening flashes and some columns of water rise in front of the plane. Pull to the left and observe how the six escort destroyers sail in a row, with a course contrary to that they were attacked by the alleged 109th. Then he dives against a CT, quickly puts the bow on him, so she thinks of a launch, and Buri, has the opportunity to observe a sailor pulling the wire of the cannon on the left flank, while the machine guns of the plane fire on the left side of the ship. The plane always at low altitude, flies for a few seconds on the surface of the water, then suddenly turns to enter a low cloud. Released from the cloud, the crew thinks that everything is finished and the mechanic in the turret leaves the machine gun to carry out the evasion maneuver. But at the same time, the second pilot shows with his finger towards the top three Fulmar that are diving in the direction of the SM.84. It can see the tracers, and Buri again dives at full speed, almost putting the plane "red-hot". The direct discharge on the bow instead hits the tail (after landing, three holes will be detected). Then put the plane back on the water. The mechanic Gallinotti shouts that the weapon in the turret has been stuck for a long time, like the one on the right side, and gives the "more than a hundred" to the three engines.

13:10 hours - Three fighters are counted, which, due to the altitude, approach from behind after a quick turn. The motorist tries to disarm the gun in the turret and shouts: "I can not take out the casing". On the left there are small bursts of adjustment. Buri gives right foot and left wing, doing a great skid: the burst falls to the left in the front; Gallinotti shouts "we have them in the queue". Buri pisses off like in a "roller coaster". With the weapon in depression, the gunner Merlini knocks down the attacking Fulmar. Go back to the water; another burst of adjustment of the second fighter, this time to the right as reported by the second pilot; a skid is made to the left, then another "roller coaster". In this phase it is observed that, at the water level, the difference in speed between the SM.84 and the Fulmar, once they can no longer exploit the speed of the dive, is not much. Making a change in altitude also gives the weapon on the left the chance to fire some shots.

13:25 hours - The two fighters abandon the pursuit. The "over one hundred" is eliminated and the plane returns to its altitude. At the top left, after two or three minutes, we noticed the close formation of the escort of CR.42, directed towards Sardinia. Buri reaches it, and our fighters flank it, continuing together to the point of recognition to carry out the signal of the day with the colorful rockets. On the coast, the CR.42, beat their wings in greeting and go to Monserrato.

Sources: Catalog of Selected Periodical Articles. Vol. XXII Nro 85.
http://www.alieuomini.it/AJAX/catalogo/ ... alogo/104/
http://www.qattara.it/Documents/la%20galite.pdf

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 16 Mar 2019 14:51

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

Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

"With the wing extended to glory or death": the sacrifice of the 36th Stormo against English ships.

13:45 hours - The head of formation of the 108º lands first on Decimomannu. When the crew descends, Buri asks the ground crew if the 109º had landed; They respond negatively. The Maresciallo pilota Giovannetti (second pilot), who gets off the plane, says to the Maresciallo strumentista Alfieri: "Buri is crazy, I do not go with him anymore: when he saw the ship, he shouted: Nelson, Nelson, and he sent himself headlong down ". The crew claims to have noticed a column of water rising in the bow from the left side of the ship. The plane was in such a position that the pilots could not notice it. The shooting down of an English fighter was taken for granted.

13:55 hours - Landed ten. Rossi and all the staff come to meet him to find out what happened. During the interrogation phase, before communicating the results to the Command, he affirms that the formation, at the moment in which it began to converge, saw the main patrol disappear in the salvo launched by the Nelson, and made a turn, resuming later the direction of the attack; the Nelson no longer fired, and it seemed to him that he was still, so much so that he had launched with "beta zero" (that's why the torpedo had passed aft). He is told that the naval force sailed at 12-16 knots, so in the report he will write, he will better say that he has launched with a beta version at his discretion, but different from zero.

14:10 hours - Landed ten. Amanta. We went to the place of deconcentration (the 257th was displaced a few hundred meters from the 256th, near the place where the Command of the 108º was) for interrogation. He confirm that he noticed the fall of cap. Rotolo on the numeral on the left, and says that, faced a light IN (crociatore - cruiser), on the left side of the Naval Force, which was between the Nelson and the other unit, supposedly a PA (aircraft carrier) and had launched against it. It was noted later, at the time of the report, that it had the torpedo regulated at 6 m depth, and that, therefore, it had lost a torpedo, while the order was to launch against large units. (At his request, after a few days, he was transferred to the 109th Gruppo).

14:15 hours - The Wing Command informs the Air Force Command of Sardinia about what the surviving 108th crews reported verbally. Confirm the presence of a convoy heavily escorted behind the warships. Unfortunately, he receives a negative response regarding the landing of Col. Seidl with the 109th in another possible alternative base.

14:25 hours - Landing of magg. Gastaldi, (Commander of the 109th Gruppo that was with the second Section with two planes) and after 5 minutes of ten. Paccarié, who informs the Aeronautical Command by phone.

While revealing the only photographs taken that concerned the action of the attack with torpedoes (the other photographers have been shot down with their respective planes), comes the Capitano di Corvetta Marazio, liaison officer with the Air Force of Sardinia, to verify if in the Negative it was possible to see the convoy reported. Having confirmed this, the officer also informed the Sardinian Command about the strong escort of the convoy that had not been reported by the scouts (at 08:10 and 10:45 they gave a NB (battleship) and a PA (aircraft carrier) with several IN (cruisers) and CT (destroyers).

Sources: Catalog of Selected Periodical Articles. Vol. XXII Nro 85.
http://www.alieuomini.it/AJAX/catalogo/ ... alogo/104/
http://www.academia.edu/34682676/LA_BAT ... ZZO_GIUGNO

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 08 Apr 2019 23:10

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

Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

The HMS Nelson, as well explained in Vice Admiral Somerville's report, was hit by an airplane, which reached 450 yards (411 meters) away at 13:30 hours, at the time of the attack of the 109th Gruppo began. The battleship was almost certainly hit by the torpedo of Colonel Seidl, before his S.84 had been shot down by the stern of the Nelson, after flying over it, by the crossfire of the cruiser Sheffield and the battleship Prince of Wales; or, but it is less likely, it could be that the battleship has been hit by the torpedo of his wingman, Captain Bartolomeo Tomasino, who was also shot down by the screen destroyers. Despite not knowing what was the maneuver of the two pilots, in favor of the success of Seidl is the fact that the Commander of the 36th Stormo guided the attack, so he had to precede Captain Tomasino, and that Nelson was hit for the first torpedo launched against the ship.

According to what the Head of the Aerosiluranti Department, Colonel Antonino Serra wrote, Colonel Seidl would have assured him, before heading to the attack: "Dear Serra, I will throw myself head down, one way or another and my pilots will do the same". The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Francesco Pricolo, who had spoken by telephone with Seidl on 25 September, also said that he had asked permission to travel to Taormina by plane to meet his girlfriend, assuring him that he would return on the 26, in time to prepare for the attack on the British ships, scheduled for the next day. "Poor Seidl - said Pricolo" One would say that he had the sad feeling of his disappearance ".

Sources: L'OPERATION " HALBERD " (ALABARDA) 24 – 30 Settembre 1941 UNA MANCATA BATTAGLIA NAVALE E I RETROSCENA DEL SILURAMENTO DELLA CORAZZATA NELSON

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Dili
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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by Dili » 13 Apr 2019 20:11

Raul that last aircraft image is of a SM.79.

Thanks for the history.

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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 15 Apr 2019 10:40

Ok, taken. Thank you Dili :wink:. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Post by tigre » 26 May 2019 02:58

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

Lo Stormo del Sacrificio

Sources: L'OPERATION " HALBERD " (ALABARDA) 24 – 30 Settembre 1941 UNA MANCATA BATTAGLIA NAVALE E I RETROSCENA DEL SILURAMENTO DELLA CORAZZATA NELSON

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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