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Italian Stuka Pilots


Staff member
by Metatron » Sat May 13, 2006 6:16 am

I know that the Italians used Stuka dive bombers but I don't know the names of any of their pilots. Can anyone give some names?

Truly, Thanks!


by Håkan » Sun May 14, 2006 4:24 am


One famous example of Italian Ju87 pilots are Ennio 'Banana' Tarantola (see my site at: http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_tarantola.htm).
Another ace flying the Ju87 is Giuseppe Cenni ( http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_cenni.htm ).

Best wishes/Håkan Gustavsson


by PipsPriller » Thu May 18, 2006 8:54 pm

The first batch of Stuka's delivered for use by the Regia Aeronautica arrived at Comiso airfield in Sicily on 21 August 1940. The delivery consisted of a mixed batch of Bertha 2's and Bertha 2/Tropicals, 52 in all. They were used to establish '96 Gruppo' under Capitano Ercolani, with 13 Stuka's allocated to 236 Squadriglia (Tenente E. Malvezzi) and 237 Squadriglia (Tenente G. Santinoni). The Italians nicknamed the Stuka 'Picchiatelli'.

A further delivery of fifty Ju 87's were supplied late in 1940, these consisting of the longer-range 'Richard's'. Final delivery of fifty-four 'Dora-2's and Dora-3's were supplied in 1942.

Six Gruppo's in total were formed with the Ju 87, namely:
96 Gruppo (August '40) with Capitano Ercolani commanding, with 236 Squadriglia (Tenente Malvezzi) and 237 Squadriglia (Tenente Santinoni)

97 Gruppo (November '40) with Capitano Moscatelli commanding, with 238 Squadriglia (Tenente Bertuzzi) and 239 Squadriglia (Tenente Cenni).

101 Gruppo (March '41) with Maggiore Donadio commanding, with 208 Squadriglia (Capt. Bertuzzi) and 209 (Capt. Romanese).

102 Gruppo (May '41) with Capitano Cenni commanding, with 209 Squadriglia (Capt. Stringa) and 239 Squadriglia.

103 Gruppo (February '43) with Tenant Colonel Savarino commanding, with 207 Squadriglia (Capt. Zanazzo).

121 Gruppo (July '43) with Maggiore Orlandini commanding, with 206 Squadriglia (Capt. Zucca) and 216 Squadriglia (Capt. Pergoli).

One of the better known Italian Stuka 'aces' was Giuseppe Cenni. Born in 1915 he joined the Regia Aeronautica in 1935 and was commissioned in June 1936. He served two spells in Spain as an Assalto pilot, scoring three kills. He returned to Italy in 1938 and was posted to 354 Squadriglia flying G.50 fighters in late 1939. He was part of the first group of pilots sent to Germany to train on the Ju87 and served throughout the Mediterranean war. His notable kills included the Greek freighter Ioanna (1,102 tons), the British tanker Helka (3,741 tons), the Australian destroyer Waterhen (1,090 tons), the British gunboat Cricket (645 tons) and the British minelaying submarine Cachalot (1,520 tons). Following a short spell as an instructor in Italy in late 1941/early 1942 he returned to 102 Gruppo as commanding officer in March, seeing heavy action over Malta and several convoy battles, including that of Operation Pedestal.

Cenni brought the exhausted 102 Gruppo back to Italy in October 1942. After re-equipping the Gruppo moved to Alghero for anti-shipping duties. From December through to March 1943 the gruppo converted firstly to G.50bis, then Re.2001 and then the Re.2002 fighter bombers. Cenni at the head of 102 Gruppo was heavily involved in the battle for Sicily in June and July 1943, scoring hits on the transport Talamba (8.018 tons) which was sunk and the monitor HMS Erebus (8,450 tons). By August he was flying fighter-bomber missions over the Italian mainland in opposition to the invasion.

His final sortie took place on 4 September 1943 when he led twelve Re.2002's of 5 Stormo against the beaches of Villa San Giovanni and Reggio Callabria. Four LCTs were sunk and the beaches straffed, but then the gruppo was bounced by 30 Spitfires. Three Re.2002's were shot down, one of them being Giuseppe Cenni.

Cenni's nickname was 'The Little Dancer', so beautiful was his flying skill.