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One of the SM. All of the bombers successfully returned to base, although one had been hit by 27 bullets, many of which having struck fuel tanks. Several other interceptions occurred during the conflict without any SM. Combat experience gained during the war had revealed some deficiencies present in the SM. General Valle , in an attempt to answer some of the criticisms about the ability of the aircraft to operate at night, took off from Guidonia and bombed Barcelona , a journey of six hours and 15 minutes.

Hundreds of missions were performed in a wide range of roles against Republican targets. No Fiat CR. That day, Sparviero M. Over Sliema and Valletta Burges attacked the Sparviero from superior height, shooting off the port engine. A Sparviero had the dubious honour of being the first aircraft to fall on Maltese soil during the Second World War: on 10 July , an estimated twenty SM.

The air victory was credited to Flying Officer Frederick Taylor. At least one Italian bailed out, but his parachute was on fire and he did not survive. A small number of SM. Italy also had six SM. Serafini managed to land at Assab , but his aircraft was a write-off; another Savoia Marchetti was damaged, but landed at the same base. They could not, however, do much to help Italian forces in Ethiopia, which were forced to surrender in spring The same period saw the five Iraqi SM.

The Lost Sparrow Hawk

During the North African campaign , around SM. The British offensive in December hit the Regia Aeronautica hard and many wings a total of nine by May were phased out because of losses caused by enemy aircraft and ground fire. At the beginning of only around 40 SM. In the Second Battle of El Alamein , many Sparvieros were used for defensive tasks, such as countering SAS teams in the desert, and in anti-ship roles. From autumn , SM. They continued to be hampered in their operations by the Royal Air Force , but also by poor weather conditions.

Over the Mediterranean, the Sparvieros were used in reconnaissance missions and anti-ship attacks. On 25 July , the Sparviero formally commenced service as a torpedo bomber Aerosilurante in Italian as a new operational unit, the "Special Aerotorpedoes Unit" headed by Colonel Moioli , was established following several years of experiments involving the type. After having ordered the first 50 torpedoes from Whitehead Torpedo Works, on 10 August , the first aircraft landed at T5 airfield, near Tobruk.

Despite the lack of an aiming system and a specific doctrine for tactics, an attack on shipping in Alexandria was quickly organized. There had been experiments for many years but still, no service, no gear except hardpoints and no tactics were developed for the new role. This was despite previous Italian experiments into the practice of aerial torpedoing in , 26 years earlier.

On 15 August , the type's first combat sortie saw five SM. Among their pilots were Buscaglia, Dequal and other pilots destined to become "aces.


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Only Buscaglia and Dequal returned, both aircraft damaged by anti-aircraft fire. Buscaglia landed on only one wheel, with some other damage. The other three SM. However, all three ran out of fuel and were forced to jettison the torpedoes which exploded in the desert, and then force-landed three hours after the attack. Two crews were rescued later, but the third Fusco's was still in Egypt when they force-landed.

The crew set light to their aircraft the next morning, which alerted the British who then captured them. Many missions followed, on 22—23 August Alexandria , 26 August against ships never found , and 27 August Buscaglia against a cruiser. The special unit became known as the a Squadriglia , and from September carried out many shipping attacks, including on 4 September when Buscaglia had his aircraft damaged by fighters and 10 September, when Robone claimed a merchant ship sunk. On 17 September, after an unsuccessful day attack, Buscaglia and Robone returned at night, attacking the British ships that shelled Bardia.

After almost a month of attacks, this was the first success officially acknowledged and proven. After several months, and despite the losses and the first unfortunate mission, the core of the a was still operating the same four aircraft. The aircraft continued in service until a British bomb struck them, setting off a torpedo and a "chain reaction" which destroyed them all.

The year was one of intense activity for the Italian torpedo bombers.

Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79

However, one SM. On 24 October, they sank the merchant vessels Empire Pelican and Empire Defender , on 23 November they sank the merchant vessels Glenearn and Xhakdina , and on 11 December they heavily damaged Jackal. The year ended with a total of nine Allied ships sunk and 30 damaged. The daring Italian pilots however lost 14 torpedo bombers and another 46 were damaged in action. Overall, these numbers meant little in the war, and almost no other results were recorded by Italian bombers. Horizontal bombing proved to be a failure and only dive bombers and torpedo-bombers achieved some results.

After the Raid on Alexandria by Italian frogmen of the Decima MAS , the British fleet was left without major ships in their Mediterranean fleet, leaving the Axis better situated to control the sea. The Axis' fortunes started to decline steadily during Over SM. In addition to its wide-scale deployment in its intended bomber-torpedo bomber role, the Sparviero was also used for close support , reconnaissance and transport missions. In the first six months of , all the Italo-German efforts to hit Allied ships had only resulted in the sinking of the merchant ship Thermopilae by an aircraft flown by Carlo Faggioni.

The Allies aimed to provide Malta with vital supplies and fuel through major convoy operations at all costs. Almost all Axis air potential was used against the first Allied convoy, code-named Operation Harpoon. Regardless of where the torpedo struck, amidships in the case of Liverpool , aft as for Kent , or forward as happened to Glasgow the cruisers remained highly vulnerable to torpedoes, but no Italian air attack managed to hit them with more than one torpedo at once. On the same day the merchant ship Tanimbar was sunk by SM. Aichner, also of nd Gruppo.

For years this victory was contested by the Italian Navy, who claimed to have sunk Bedouin with gunfire. August saw heavy attacks on the 14 merchant ships and 44 major warships of the Operation Pedestal convoy, the second Allied attempt to resupply Malta past Axis bombers, minefields and U-boats. The risks of attempting to overcome the effective defences of allied ships were too great to expect much chance of long-term survival, but he was later rescued from the water, badly wounded. Despite the increased activity in , the results were considerably poorer than those of the previous year; the efforts made by the bombers were subject to heavy criticism and widely deemed to have been insufficient.


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Many debated the possibilities of torpedo manufacturing defects or even sabotage: the first 30 used in had excellent reliability, but a number of later torpedoes were found to be defective, especially those made at the Naples factory. During Operation Harpoon, over torpedoes were launched, but only three of these had hit their targets. Prior to , the survival chances of the Aerosiluranti had diminished steadily: on average, a SM.

During July, the Allies invaded Sicily with an immense fleet. The Sparvieri were already obsolete and phased out of service in bomber Wings and its intended successors, the SM. As a consequence, the latest version of the Sparviero was retained for performing torpedo attacks, being considerably faster than its predecessors.

Savoia Marchetti S in Action - Aircraft No. 71 | eBay

Before the invasion, there was a large force of torpedo aircraft: 7 Gruppi groups , 41, 89, , , , and nd equipped with dozens of aircraft, but this was nevertheless a weak force. Except for the th, based around the Aegean Sea , the other six Gruppi comprised just 61 aircraft, with only 22 serviceable. Almost all the available machines were sent to the Raggruppamento Aerosiluranti , but of the 44 aircraft, only a third were considered flight-worthy by 9 July Production of new SM. They were too large to allow them to evade detection by enemy defences, and their large aircrew requirement resulted in heavy losses of personnel.

In the first five days SM. During September , the last offensive operation involving the type was conducted, and resulted in the damaging of the LST , on 7 September But only 15 more Sparvieri were built after the armistice, while five were overhauled by the Reggiane factories. They were mostly SM. This version featured strengthened armament and had no ventral "bathtub" turret. They were based mostly in Venegono. Two secondary bases were Merna di Gorizia and Perugia , in Umbria.

The first missions attempted to oppose the Anzio landings , [48] where the British and American forces had landed on 22 January On the night of 13—14 March five SM. Capitano Faggioni's aircraft was hit by AA fire and crashed into the sea; only one Sparviero was able to return to base.

Immediately thereafter, Capitano Marino Marini took command of the torpedo-bomber group; [44] early on, Marini set about planning a mission over Gibraltar.

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For this mission, 12 SM. Of the 12 aircraft that departed from Istres on 5 June , 10 reached their target according to other sources, ten SM. The defenders were taken by surprise, and all the aircraft successfully launched their torpedoes, but three SM. Regardless, this was the largest enemy incursion over Gibraltar in four years of war [48] and this operation demonstrated the flying skill of the Republican torpedo airmen.

During July , several SM. Their crews achieved some successes then and came back to Lonate Pozzolo on 12 August. In October, this formation was renamed Gruppo O. Carlo Faggioni. On 25 December they attacked a convoy in Adriatic sea off Ancona , and Capitano Bertuzzi hit a 7,ton freighter with a torpedo. The only two serviceable SM. Throughout the conflict, SM. Additionally, several more Allied warships were torpedoed and suffered serious damage as a result of attacks by the SM. Chat now. Password confirmation. Forgotten Password.

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