Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

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Vincent Biondi
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Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by Vincent Biondi » Fri Oct 28, 2022 10:05 am

Hello all,
I picked up this book a long time ago while I was visiting in Italy, SIAI Pagine Di Storia (The history of the Savoia Marchetti Co.)
As I was going through different pages I came upon the story of Italian Aerosiluranti Ace Giuseppe Cimicchi!
He was quite successful as a torpedo bomber Ace.
There’s also a picture of an airman painting various ship silhouettes on the tail of an SM 79.
Any thoughts on who’s personal plane this was?
The silhouettes are: a battleship, an aircraft carrier, two cruisers and three merchant ships.

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D520
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Re: Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by D520 » Fri Oct 28, 2022 11:58 am

Hello Vince. i am not sure this is the tallies of an ace, it seems like the "score board" of the unit during the Pedestal operation. My two cents. Baci.

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Re: Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by Editor » Fri Oct 28, 2022 12:33 pm

The carrier is the Argus. Its a well known photo and a striking image and would make a great subject for a decal sheet. Below a photo 253-8 S.79 from Gentilli's book S.79 in Action, Squadron Signal No.71 w/ the fin silhouettes and a profile of this plane from Marco Mattioli's book S.79 Torpedo-Bomber units #106 Osprey Pub. I think Stefano might know more about who crewed the plane in the photo you posted.

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Re: Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by Editor » Fri Oct 28, 2022 1:08 pm

D520 wrote:
Fri Oct 28, 2022 11:58 am
Hello Vince. i am not sure this is the tallies of an ace, it seems like the "score board" of the unit during the Pedestal operation. My two cents. Baci.
Jean here's a photo of 253 Sq. S.79-IIs, 253-6 and 253-10, not all the unit's planes carried the fin silhouettes, but you're right 104° Gruppo did paint silhouettes of British warships and merchantmen hit by this unit on the fin of some of its aircraft:

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The other thing to note is the camo scheme of 253-8, in Mattioili's profile above its C1/C10B and in the photo above (in this post) the camo schemes of 253-6 and 253-10 are clearly E8 although the photo from Gentilli's book does in fact suggest the C10B (253-8).

Here's a clearer image of the photo that Vince posted:

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Re: Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by Stefano » Sat Oct 29, 2022 1:44 am

Jean is right. Not a single ace score, but shapes of ships which were claimed hit or sunk by the whole 104° Gruppo (252^ and 253^ Squadriglia) during the big aero-naval battle of 14 June 1942. Some of the surviving aircraft (four were shot down) wore the score, but just on port side of the fin. The following first pilots of the Gruppo participated to the battle: Cap. Casini (252-9), Ten. Michelotti (252-1), Ten. Bresciani (252-4), Ten. Miranda (252-5), Magg. Reniero (253-8), Ten. Marescalchi (253-1 MM 24227), Ten. Vivarelli Colonna (253, KiA), Ten. Taverna (253), Ten. Cattaneo (252), Ten. Giacomello (252, PoW), S.Ten. Ingrellini (253, KiA), S.Ten. Babini (252-8), S.Ten. Menini (253) and S.Ten. Fagian. The fin in the picture belonged to S.79 252-7, camouflaged with spots of Grigio Azzurro Chiaro 1 over standard Verde Oliva Scuro 2. In other pictures it appears that an ind. no. 4 was overpainted grey, so it should have been the mount of Ten. Bresciani during the battle in June. Location is Gadurrà (Rhodes). It seems that 104° S.79s went in action with standard VOS2 livery, and were later oversprayed with GAC1 mottles either at Decimomannu (action base) or better at Pisa (home base) before being transferred at Rhodes on early July.
Stefano

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Re: Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by D520 » Sat Oct 29, 2022 4:45 am

Grazie mille Stefano! And that's exactly what I did with my model on this forum!
https://www.stormomagazine.com/ModelArt ... JB_1a.html
It pays sometimes to search on what's in there!
Baci.

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Re: Mystery SM 79 with Tail “Kills” Markings

Post by davenport49 » Mon Oct 31, 2022 7:53 am

Wonderful information! I passed by the Squadron "In Action" photo, the detail not being very good and not knowing the significance. Finding new information about Operation Pedestal continue to make it a fascinating topic.

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