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What did the Italians make of the RAF's attempted raid on the Fiat Works in Turin on 11/12 June?

Sid Guttridge

New Member
The RAF launched 36 Whitley Vs to attack the Fiat Works in Turin on the night of 11/12 June.
Even by British estimates, the raid was not a success. They believed only 13 aircraft found the target in bad weather. However, as at least two of them bombed Switzerland by mistake, it is clear that even this was an overestimate.
Did any of the Whitley's even find Turin, let alone the Fiat Works?
Were any other parts of Italy hit? Genoa, Milan, Savona and Maggiore were the alternative targets.
Did the Italians even notice the attacks?
Many thanks,


Staff member
I am away from home, so I hope someone can answer. if not, I will see what I have next week.

Pista! Jeff


I have looked Ciano’s diaries for the relevant time period and he makes no mention of the bombing of Turin which surprises me as he mentions the French bombardment of Genova a few days later. I have a Time Life book on Italy at war which mentions that 30 civilians were killed in a bombing raid on Turin the day after war was declared. It doesn’t mention Fiat factory. Unfortunately there is no citation.


Staff member
This what the R.A. official history La Regia Aeronautica (vol. 1, p.204) states about the raid. Note it is a machine translation (not mine), but it reads pretty clean.

Unlike Italian cautious and prudent attitude was the English one, because, from the first day of the war, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill took the decision to attack and strike hard at Italy. In this regard there were some arrangements for a technical collaboration with the French authorities about the supply of RAF bombers and use of airports of Provence as a springboard, but the English proposals collided against some hostility by the French Prime Minister Reynaud and the War Minister Gen. Weygand. Less hostile the Marina Nationale had planned with the F.A.A. a raid against Genoa with the cruisers squadron of Admiral Duplat backed by "Swordfish" aircraft, perplexed and opposed in principle was also the Chief of Staff of the Armee d’Air Gen. Vuellemin who feared Italian retaliation. He shared, however, French fears and indecision Winston Churchill, who has always personal advocate of "the worse the better”, had long prepared the necessary measures to involve, like it or not, France to compete in Italy, to support certain events and give a concrete practical significance to the military alliance that bound her to England.

In the afternoon of 11 June, in deference to the political offensive of Churchill, they arrived in Salon de Provence the first "Wellington" bombers intended to attack Italy. The twin-engine came from Newmarket and belonged to the 99"" Bomber Squadron. Their task was to attack the workshops Caproni Aeronautical Taliedo near Milan. Because in the day were not recorded by the Italian air attacks and episodes of offensive and hostile policy against France, the French they drew the belief that the general situation could keep a policy of prudent caution which Italians had apparently established and that those responsible for the French no wish to alter. In the evening of the 11"" when British bombers were preparing to take off for their first mission of attack on Italy, the French suddenly blocked the runways and put armed soldiers near the twin-engine "Wellington" to prevent takeoff.

In this difficult situation and visas unnecessary attempts to obtain British diplomatic go-ahead, was advised of the situation created by the Bomber Command of York and Churchill personally ordered to work around the problem by starting directly from England other bombers to hit Italy. 36 "Withley" bombers were chosen from five Squadrons (10", 51“, 58", 77 and 102"), which took off from the fields of Yorkshire headed to the airport of Guernsey, one of the British Channel islands of the Gulf of St. Malo, for a technical stop. The targets of the attack were this time the FIAT factories of Turin.

The bomb load was deliberately reduced to favor a greater quantity of fuel considering that the mission to be carried out was at the limits of operational range. The bad weather conditions encountered along the route and the crews' lack of experience in night navigation led to the return to England of around twenty bombers. The others reached Turin and its surroundings one by one and dropped the bombs without excessive concerns about aiming, causing around fifteen deaths and around thirty injuries. Winston Churchill's goal had been achieved and the die was now cast!

Pista! Jeff