Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Italian Aircraft in East Africa II

410/411 Squadriglia Claims

410 Squadriglia C.T.
This unit arrived in Ethiopia by sea in 1938 as 155 Sq, being renumbered in August 1939. There were nine fighters on strength at the start of the war, and these moved to Giggiga in July in preparation for the offensive against British Somaliland.

On 7 August 1940 two CR32s were sent to Hargeisa in British Somaliland for fighter patrols in that area. They were given bomb-racks for two 50 kg bombs and began assault duties during the offensive, operating with 411 and 413 Sq as a Gruppo. Two more aircraft joined them on 10 August. The detachment moved to Aauax in September and two CR 32s returned to home base on 27 September when British Somaliland was occupied.

On 16 December two CR 32s downed a Free French Martin 167F from Aden, over their own base. In February 1941 two fighters were detached to Makale, returning in mid-March. On 9 March three fighters forced down one out of six Blenheims over their base. The fighters were only now given radios. On 28 March two CR32s were sent to Gauani for operations against Giggiga.

By April some aircraft had been lost at Addis Abeba, so the unit left for Gimma. On 9April two were destroyed on the ground and two were shot down, leaving only two operational at that base. By 5 June they had evacuated to Gondar but it is unlikely they had any aircraft left by then.

411 Squadriglia C.T.
This unit had nine fighters on strength at the start of hostilities. Three were sent to Javello on 19 June, fighting that same day against three Ju 86s and two Hurricanes of the SAAF. One fighter from each side was lost. The next day more Fiats were flown in. On 30 June two were detached from Javello to Neghelli followed by two more on 1 July. The five survivors all returned to Addis Abeba on 18 July.

On the 30th, nine CR32s moved to Dire Daua where three were passed to 410 Sq, and together with 413 Sq, the three squadriglie formed a fighter gruppo for operations during the offensive against British Somaliland. Giggiga was used as a staging base.

Returning to Addis Abeba in August, the unit sent three fighters back to Dire Daua on the 16th in case of a British counter-offensive. They returned on the 22nd as the threat receded.

On 27 September two CR 32s flew from Dessie to Sciasciamanna via Addis Abeba. The unit used both Dessie and Asmara during operations over the Cheren area. By March or April the unit had moved to Gimma then on to Gondar where they probably ran out of aircraft.

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