Autore Topic: Il Fiat CR42 Falco in fase di restauro a Duxford (11 ottobre 2009)  (Letto 4046 volte)

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Re:Il Fiat CR42 Falco in fase di restauro a Duxford (11 ottobre 2009)
« Risposta #15 il: 22 Mar 2018, 08:46:15 »
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75 years ago today, Lowestoft had one of the strangest visitations of the second world war. Just before 2.30 pm, an odd-looking biplane aircraft flew low past the cliffs at Pakefield, over the main street in Lowestoft, and then crashed to the ground in a ploughed field at Corton, just north of the LNER Station. The fixed undercarriage was torn off and the aircraft was badly damaged, but the pilot was unhurt.

Such was the arrival of 23 year-old Sergente Majori (Flt Sgt) Antonio Lazzari from Milan. His Fiat CR 42 fighter with its bright Mediterranean colour scheme marked the arrival in Britain of the very first Tuscan invaders to land here since Roman times. Mussolini's Corpo Aero Italiano were based in Belgium, and their one and only large-scale daylight attack took place on this date. 12 Fiat BR 20 bombers escorted by 22 CR 42s set out for Harwich but they were met off the coast by Hurricanes and in the resulting melee (dubbed 'the spaghetti party') by the RAF, three BR 20s and three CR 42s were lost.

Lazzari had already been involved in a dogfight with three Hurricanes which scored hits on the tail of his fighter, and one of which he claimed to have shot down (none were in fact lost) before he became lost and headed up the coast searching for landmarks. But it was not enemy action which brought his fighter down. The variable pitch mechanism on the propeller of his aircraft left one blade at a different angle to the others and threatened to tear the propeller apart, forcing him down. The CR 42 careered over a railway embankment and finished in a muddy sugar beet field. Farmer Bob Wright, also a Captain in the Corton Home Guard and several farm labourers surrounded the badly shaken Italian and relieved him of his sidearm. "Is this Germany?" he is alleged to have asked.

A bullet-riddled BR 20 bomber crash-landed at Bromeswell, near Woodbridge, with two of the six crew fatally wounded. Another CR 42 finished up on its nose on Orfordness Beach. This Fiat was repaired and test-flown by the RAF, and can now be seen in the RAF Museum at Hendon.

Lazzari was brought to Lowestoft Police Station in Regent Road. It was recorded that when the Duty Sgt ordered a PC to make up a bed in the prisoner's cell, the reply was to the effect that "Any German or Italian pilot who wants a bed made up can (expletive) well make it up himself" The poor state of morale among the Italian crews was summarized by the RAF Intelligence Officer who interrogated them. He reported that they were dissatisfied with their officers, did not like the Belgian climate, the food - or the Germans. With special thanks to Pip Denwood for the fantastic 'hybrid' images here.