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First day of Greece Operations

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:33 am
by eleven_west
Dear friends

I am working on my ancestor's war memoir of the Greco-Italian War. Here's a challenge for you, which I hope you will enjoy looking into.

There's an eyewitness account of a squadron of 10-12 Italian fighters flying along the coast outside Filiatra in the Peloponnese around 10 am on the day the war was declared 28/10/1940.

My questions and observations are :

- Is it reasonable to believe that the squadron was fighters? Due to the range of the raid from the airports I assume nearest aircraft that could fly comfortably there would be SM81 out of Lecce or RO37 BiS from Valona based on this resource ... -orbat.htm . Any other suggestions?

- Is the number of aircraft significant ? Is a cluster of 10-12 aircraft flying together an indication of the type of unit etc

- Can this particular sighting be verified by any available Unit Operational records ?

I know that this is an extremely obscure question, but I'm just counting on the expertise of the members and some good fortune.

Thank you for any insight you may be able to share,

Re: First day of Greece Operations

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:15 pm
by Editor
Welcome to Stormo! And thank you for posting your query on Stormo.

Here's an article that might help or fill-in some of the gaps:
Aerial Operations in the Greek Campaign October 1940 - April 1941 Giulio Gobbi June, 2005

Its unlikely that a squadron of C.200, G.50, CR.42 or CR.32 were flying that far south (Filiatra ) from airbases in Puglia and Albania, given their limited range. The range of all these planes was under 500 miles and the distance from airbases in Italy and Albania to Filiatra was about 300 miles. You should look into why RA planes would have operated near Filiatra (e.g., to attack Greek airbases - a likely mission at that point of the war; were there other strategic military objectives in the area) that would have affected the battles on the Greek-Albanian border. The planes "spotted" at Filiatra were also unlikely to have been an entire squadron of Ro.37s (observation planes/Recce), there were only 25 available at the beginning of the campaign and half them would have probably represented the total operational strength at that point in time.

Other aircraft that could have operated in the area of Filiatra at the beginning of the Greek campaign would have been S.79s from Tirana (104o Gr. and 105o Gr.), CANT Z.1007bis (41o Gr. and 47o St.) at Grottaglie (Italy), CANT.Z.506Bs (35o St.) at Brindisi (Italy), FIAT BR.20s at Lecce (Italy).

10-12 RA planes would compose a squadron.

I asked Stefano Lazzaro if he has anything else to add here.