In the spring of 1937, the well known black St. Andrew's cross appeared on the rudder. It was reduced in size compared to other units operating CR 32s. The cross was painted directly on aluminium fabric and lacking the white background.  Other insignia remained unchanged. In the same period, individual numbers doubled in size to 50 cm as well as a slight change in style that occured.
Camouflage and Insignia of FIAT CR 32s in the Balearic Islands, 1936 to 1939 - PART II
By Stefano Lazzaro
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Img 14 – Serg. Tiberio Amica flies on no. 2 now with the enlarged digit and St. Andrew's cross
Five more FIATs arrived during this time resulting in a total of eleven CR 32s. The blue bat was painted again on some aircraft, for instance nos. 9 and 11. But this time, apparently, the bat’s wing membrane was left unpainted, instead of being medium blue previously.
Img 15 - The bat is back!
In May, the Squadriglia Mussolini became the 101ª Squadriglia. Likely during this period, Nationalist insignia changed to their definitive form. A black 60 cm disk replaced the fuselage bands. Beneath the top wing appeared another 100 cm black disk, and above the top wing a black St. Andrew cross was painted whose extremities reached the 11th-12th and the 15th-16th wing ribs; two black bands were in 18th-19th and 20th-21st wing rib space; area between the 22nd rib and the wingtip was painted white on some aircraft (for instance nos. 2 and 5) and aluminium on others (for instance nos. 4 and 11), but outlined by a fine black line just over the 22nd rib (see img 16 & 17).
Img 16 - S.Ten. Aurelio Vedovi “Velati” flying above Palma in 1938. Note upper wing Nationalist insignia
Under wing black and white bands were deleted and three smaller black bands, about 15 cm-wide, 8th to 9th, 10th to 11th and 12th to 13th wing ribs were painted on an aluminium background.
Img 17 - D'Agostinis' aircraft wearing the new Nationalist insignia. Note the black disks and the fine black line near upper wingtip (red arrow)
Img 18 - New under wing stripes for no. 2
This situation remained unchanged at least until July when the 101ª Squadriglia joined the newly arrived 102ª Squadriglia to form the X Gruppo Caccia “Baleari”.
The CR 32ters of the 102ª Squadriglia were painted with the new three colour band camouflage which was the new finish for RA fighters from the summer of 1937.  Below (img 19) is the typical pattern as drawn in “Colori e Schemi Mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1945”, first (and out of print) edition of 1977. This pattern was applied with some variations. The spinner and the front side of the propeller blades were left in a natural metal.
Img 19 - The band camo pattern. The triangular brown area on port lower wing is absent in most, if not all, photos; it could be a shadow effect misinterpreted by the artist. The brown area in front of the windscreen is doubtful for the same reason.
Img 20 – Example of band camo on a
Regia Aeronautica CR 32ter
Img 21 - Band scheme on starboard side
The under surfaces and wing struts were most probably painted in Grigio Mimetico, as suggested by the non-reflective underside finish of this somerset FIAT.
Img 22 - "White 9" after a landing accident
Nationalist insignia remained the same as 101ª’s, only the upper side top wing St. Andrew cross was white, and the cross on the rudder had a white background. The individual numbers were white.
Img 23 - White numbers for 102ª Squadriglia
A band camouflaged aircraft (“black 7”) was also assigned to 101ª Squadriglia, likely a replacement plane.
Img 24 – Unique in its kind: a band camouflaged '32 in 101ª Squadriglia
Shortly after their arrival, the aircraft of 102ª Squadriglia received their own unit insignia, a bulldog painted on the fuselage black disk. The bulldog was applied on both sides, facing forward on the port side, and rear on the starboard side. Although often depicted in pink in several artists’ profiles, its more logical colours were grey or, more likely, light tan, as depicted in the badge of the current 651ª Squadriglia Collegamenti of the Aeronautica Militare.
Img 25 - The 102ª's bulldog. Actual colour is still uncertain. Three of the four teeth are barely visible
Img 26 – The 651ª Squadriglia Collegamenti inherited the badge of 102ª Squadriglia, but the colour seems darker than in the original 1938 b/w photos.
This bulldog was present at least in band-camouflaged nos. 3, 5, 8 and 9 but this does not imply that it wasn’t applied to other aircraft.
Img 27 - Ten. Amedeo Guidi, a future ace in WWII with six kills
In 1938, the 101ª Squadriglia changed its unit insignia, a red snatching devil with pitchfork, inscribed in a yellow disk, on both sides. Sadly, no detailed images of this badge are known.
Img 28 – The devil on "black 5"...
Img 29 - ... and on "black 8". Note the unusual shape of the digit
During 1938 and 1939 several aircraft were replaced, due to loss in accidents. The new aircraft came either from other units or from Italy and had a mottled camouflage. In fact, in operational use, the band camo had been proved to be ineffective and was replaced by the mottle scheme, first to units in continental Spain (VI, XVI, XXIII Gruppi and Squadriglia Mitragliamento “Frecce”), and then directly at the FIAT factory. The band scheme survived only in the Balearic Islands because of the low threat of enemy attacks. It seems that the patterns that were field-applied in Spain mainly consisted of only two colours (probably green over yellow, whose actual hues/shades are still controversial), and that the aircraft coming from the factory had either a three-tone or a two-tone (green over yellow) scheme, depending on the period. The colours used by FIAT were: Giallo Mimetico 1, Verde Mimetico 1 and Marrone Mimetico 1 with undersides in Alluminio or Grigio Mimetico until 1938 and the same colours (except Alluminio) plus Giallo Mimetico 3, Marrone Mimetico 2, Verde Mimetico 3 and Verde Mimetico 53192 in 1939. Noteworthy, aircraft painted in Spain had often the camouflage extended also to wing struts, spinner and even the front face of the propeller blades.
Img 30 - "White 3" had probably a three-tone mottle scheme. Probable colours: Marrone M. 2 (darker) and Verde M. 53192 over Giallo M. 3, undersides Alluminio
Img 31 - Other examples, this time of 101ª Squadriglia, of mottle pattern. Probable colours: Verde M. 3 over Giallo M. 3
In 1939, the 101ª’s devil was moved to the black disk.
Img 32 – Ten. Evaristo Reccardini “Recco” beside his “black 2”, which wears the devil and a two-tone camo. This scheme is typical for CR 32quaters produced between January and March 1938. Probable colours seem to be Verde M. 3 over Giallo M. 3, although these hues were not officially adopted at that time. On “white 2” in the background, probably transferred from 101ª Squadriglia, the devil had been roughly overpainted.
The construction numbers, usually applied on the tail fin of other unit CR 32s were never applied to the Balearic fighters.

About the commanders’ insignia, it seems that the FIATs of X Gruppo never carried any type of pennant or symbol to identify CO’s aircraft throughout the war.

This study is obviously far from definitive, and any comments, additions or deletions are welcome.
Alessandro Santarelli (ed.), I caccia delle Baleari, in: Aerofan no. 70, Jul-Sep 1999, Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan

Andrea Degl’Innocenti & Umberto Postiglioni, Colori e Schemi Mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943, 1st edition, CMPR, Ravenna, 1977

Andrea Degl’Innocenti & Umberto Postiglioni, Colori e Schemi Mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943, 2nd edition, CMPR-GAVS-GMT, Trento, 1994

Ferdinando Pedriali, Guerra di Spagna e Aviazione Italiana, 2nd edition, USSMA, Rome, 1992
Photo Credits
Giorgio Apostolo, Ali d’Italia no. 4 - FIAT CR 32, La Bancarella Aeronautica, Turin, 1996: Img 14, 20, 29

CD-ROM FIAT CR.32, also published by Ufficio Storico Stato Maggiore Aeronautica Militare: Img 17

Angelo Emiliani & Emilio Ghergo, Ali in Spagna (also published in English as: Wings over Spain), Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milan, 1997: Img 18, 22, 31

Tuttomodellismo no. 50, Feb 1998, Hobby & Work Italiana Editrice, Bresso (Milan): Img 23, 28

Antonio Duma, Quelli del Cavallino Rampante, Edizioni dell’Ateneo, Rome, 1981: Img 15

Replic no. 84, Aug 1998, Editions DTU, Clichy: Img 16, 24

Andrea Degl’Innocenti & Umberto Postiglioni, Colori e Schemi Mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943, 1st edition, CMPR, Ravenna, 1977: Img 19

Angelo Emiliani, Giuseppe F. Ghergo & Achille Vigna, Spagna 1936-39 – L’Aviazione Legionaria, 2nd edition, Intergest, Milan, 1976: 21, 25, 27, 30 : Img 26

Andrea Degl’Innocenti & Umberto Postiglioni, Colori e Schemi Mimetici della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943, 2nd edition, CMPR-GAVS-GMT, Trento, 1994: Img 32
STORMO! © 2005 9 (2005) 1-2
Copyright: Stefano Lazzaro, 2005