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The Italian Expeditionary Airforce in the Battle of Britain, 1940-41 (a short resume)
During the summer of 1940, eager to claim a share of the spoils once Great Britain capitulated, Mussolini decided to take part in the Battle of Britain. Germany granted permission and the ‘Corpo Aereo Italiano’, C.A.I. for shorts, arrived in Belgium in late October 1940, after the critical daytime stage of the battle had come to an end.
The Corps was composed by 2 Stormi and one group of CR.42 biplane fighters, one group of G.50bis monoplane fighters, one group of BR.20 medium bombers plus one squadron of Z.1007bis reconnaissance aircraft.
After an unimpressive performance in which the Corps didn’t manage to shoot down one single British aircraft (despite pilot’s claims: on one sortie alone (November 11) they claimed 10 Hurricanes shot down plus 9 probable) most of the C.A.I. returned home on January 1941 being shortly afterwards dispatched to Libya. Some G.50s remained in Belgium until April 15th, flying shipping escorts along the coast during that time. Despite their extended service, the G.50bis never encountered the enemy during their service in Belgium.
From what I could find, in total, the C.A.I. lost 5 BR.20 bombers and 5 CR.42 fighters to enemy action plus several other fighters due to force-landings, not counting the numerous damaged bombers that managed to return home with a cargo of dead and wounded crewmen (a CR.42 that landed in British soil due to engine’s problems is today on display at the RAF Museum in London). In this photo, two of the 48 Fiat G.50bis fighters that composed the ‘20º Gruppo Caccia Terrestre’ undergo maintenance at (most probably) Maldegem, Belgium, late 1940. The one in the background is the mount of the Gruppo’s Commander: Maggiore Mario Bonzano (as shown by the blue/red pennant on the fuselage). #italiainunoscatto#italiainunoscatto_bnw#italiainunoscatto_splash#italiainunoscatto_hdr#italia_inunoscatto#italiainunoscatto_hdr_sunset#instagram#italia#italy#italian#igersitalia#kings_villages#top_italia_photo#ig_italia#ig_italy#igglobalclub#ig_europe#igworldclub#ig_worldclub#igersitaly#instagramitalia#beautifuldestination