12 December 1940

12 December 1940

Northern Front

As on 13 October, 412 Squadriglia attack the advanced airfield of Goz Regeb where the B Flight of No.237 (Rhodesia) Squadron is based. Five Fiat CR.42 take off with a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 (Tenente Colonnello Liberati). They arrived above the target at around 06h10. The Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 dropped its bombs, while the three fighters immediately attacked (Capitano Antonio Raffi, Tenente Carlo Canella and Mario Visintini), while two others remain on the cover (Tenente Luciano Cacciavillani and Sottotenente Giovanni Levi). Four Hawker Hardy are destroyed on the ground (K4053, K4308, K4055 and K4307).[1]

However at the same time Capitano Antonio Raffi’s aircraft is hit by shots from the ground. He immediately return, but his engine failed in the vicinity of Aroma (north of Kassala, in Sudanese territory). Forced into a forced landing, he received assistance from Tenente Mario Visintini. The latter decides to land to recover him. Due to the small interior of the Fiat CR.42, he has to sit on Antonio Raffi’s lap to be able to take off. It is also necessary to leave the parachutes on site. In a somewhat complicated position, however, he manages to bring the plane back to Barentu.

Tenente Mario Visintini, Luciano Cacciavillani and Sottotenente Giovanni Levi quickly took off in order to destroy the abandoned aircraft. They took the opportunity to claim, on the spot, the destruction of three armored cars.[2]

No.14 (RAF) Squadron sent two Bristol Blenheim Mk IVs to the forward field of Wadi Gazuza, with five Vickers Wellesley from No.223 (RAF) Squadron. All the aircraft took off, between 5 and 5:30 p.m., to target the airfields of Asamara, Gura and Mai Edaga. A different method is used, since the bombers are supposed to drop time bombs (with a delay of twelve hours) in order to prevent the deployment of the Italian planes.


[1] No.237 (Rhodesia) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/1450.

[2] GUSTAVSSON, Håkan. Capitano Antonio Raffi. Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War : http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_raffi.htm ; EUSEBI, Eugenio, LAZZARO, Stefano et SLONGO Ludovico. Le vittorie aeree di Mario Visintini in Africa Orientale, in Storia Militare, n°246, 2014, p. 63.

One Response

  1. a gray says:

    Excellent details on a little explored theater of World War II. Thank you.

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