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Italian Fighter Aces on the Eastern Front

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by MikeF » Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:08 am
Hello, I am currently researching the achievements of Italian fighter aces while serving on the Eastern Front. My research has brought me to two individuals: Ettore Foschini and Giuseppe Biron. Can anyone provide any information on these two pilots? I believe Foschini scored two victories while in Russia while Biron had four victories. Can anyone provide any data on these two pilots or any other pilots who I might not know of who served with distinction while deployed on the Eastern Front?

Thank you in advance.

MikeF

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by Gian » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:42 am
During the Italian war in Soviet Union, the leading Italian fighter pilot on the Eastern Front was 1st Lieutenant (Sottotenente) Giuseppe “Bepi” Biron of 369a Squadriglia of the Aviation Command attached to the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR). Biron shot down at least four Soviet aircraft and scored at least eight total kills during World War II.
Warning: information comes from Wikipedia and is not checked. I hope someone has further sources at hand, for instance, Malizia's book Ali sulla Steppa.

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by rudeone4life » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:54 am
Hello Mike,
My name is Paul Perron, I live and work in Italy. I've been interviewing Italian veterans for the past several years because I'm working on a future book. I've also collected information from pilots, one of them being Biron. After reviewing what I've obtained from him, he almost entirely speaks of sharted victories with other pilots he flew with. During his time in Africa in the mid 30's, he flew Ro.37. During the Spanish Civil War Biron claims 3 kills, with 2 probables, the rest shared. During his time in Russia, he claims 3 kills and others as shared. While defending southern Italy he claims 4 kills and others as shared or probable. Nothing during his time with the ANR except what is mentioned in books by Nino Arena. Add it up what I have, and it = 10 aerial victories.

I've three very detailed books by Nino Arena: L'Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, La Guerra Aerea in Italia 1943-45 and Battaglie nei Cieli d'Italia 43-45 and L'Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana 43-45. In each book, I find Biron mentioned by name, credited with a B-17 kill on 29 March 1944, the same day his dear friend and commander Bonet was KIA. But in the documents I have from Biron there is no mention of the B-17 kill.

Regarding Russia, I read through Ali Sulla Steppa by Nicola Malizia and you can find a few things written about Biron in that book but there is no mention of any of his kills. Also, I've read through a book from the Stato Maggiore Aeronautic, Uffico Storico that details the 22 Gruppo Caccia unit history. There is no mention in the book about any of his kills.

And finally, I have some scans of the 1 Gruppo Caccia unit history (handwritten) that I received from a pilot. There is a table and in that table, you can find all the particulars about each pilot's combat history. For Biron, it shows 10 victories with 2 probables.

So for me, I will stick with the 10 victories because of the information that I've received from Biron. I would like to speak with him again but he does not want to talk anymore; he will be 94 this year. Hope this helps you a bit. All the best in your research. Tanti Saluti!
Paul Perron

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by MikeF » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:08 pm
Mr. Perron,

Thank you so much for sharing your unique information - it must be amazing to interview such pilots. I am hoping to travel to Europe next summer to assist in my research. My plans have not yet been finalized but I am hoping to visit Rome. Thanks again - such information is next to impossible to find in any book - that is until you publish yours!

MikeF

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Giuseppe Biron's posting with 22° Gruppo Autonomo to the Russian Front is also mentioned in the book "Italian Aces of World War 2" by Giovanni Massimello and Giorgio Apostolo published by Osprey. I particularly like the emblem adopted by the 22° Gruppo - "La Cucaracha" shown on the attachment sourced from

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:22%C2%B0_gruppo_-_Spauracchio.svg

The emblem was adopted for good luck as the initial enemy fighters (I-16s) were identical to those opposed in the Spanish Civil War. Worn by the gruppo's C.200s, the marking survived the war to be carried by starfighters of the Italian Air force. The starfighter to this day is my favorite fighter aircraft - basically a rocket with short wings designed initially to go as quickly as possible in a straight line to shoot down enemy bombers (coincidentally the Russians again during the Cold War).
gruppo_Spauracchio.svg.jpg
 

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by JulioMoc » Wed May 13, 2009 6:04 am
Massimo_Stefani wrote:Giuseppe Biron's posting with 22° Gruppo Autonomo to the Russian Front is also mentioned in the book "Italian Aces of World War 2" by Giovanni Massimello and Giorgio Apostolo published by Osprey. I particularly like the emblem adopted by the 22° Gruppo - "La Cucaracha" shown on the attachment sourced from

The emblem was adopted for good luck as the initial enemy fighters (I-16s) were identical to those opposed in the Spanish Civil War. Worn by the gruppo's C.200s, the marking survived the war to be carried by starfighters of the Italian Air force. The starfighter to this day is my favourite fighter aircraft - basically a rocket with short wings designed initinally to go as quckly as possible in a straight line to shoot down enemy bombers (coincidentally the Russians again during the Cold War).
"La Cucaracha" (meaning "The Cockroach") is different from the scarecrow (Spauracchio) symbol adopted by 22º Gruppo:

cos106.jpg
 
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