FIAT CR.42 "Falco" ("Falcon")

Nino flew the FIAT CR.42 Falco in the 75a Squadriglia and later in the 380a. The CR.42 Falco biplane fighter was a considerable improvement over the CR.32, with a more modern airframe and more engine power. In the hands of a good pilot the Falco could sometimes outfight Hurricanes. But the day of the biplane fighter was over, and CR.42s were shot out of the sky in huge numbers. When the Kingdom of Italy declared war on the Allies, on June 10, 1940, Nino was dispatched to Comiso airport in Sicily. There he took part in several operations, from intercepting enemy aircraft over Sicily to escorting bombers bound for Malta.
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Nino with a 75a Squadriglia CR.42 Falco behind him. Camouflage colours for this and other CR.42s shown here are probably the same as those used for CR.32 s.


This photo was taken in March 1940 at Mirafiori (Turin), when Nino was with the 75a Squadriglia.


A CR.42 Falco of the 75a Squadriglia at Mirafiori airport. The date is May 1940.


Nino poses near his warbird. Note the presence of war markings: the white "House of Savoia" cross has replaced the Italian tricolour on the rudder and a white band has been painted around the fuselage.


Nino liked to take photos.


A blanket protects a 379a Squadriglia CR.42's engine from the cold and dampness of the night. This image is an enlargement so its quality is rather poor.


Nino is ready to take off.


Nino and another pilot wearing funny life jackets.


A line of CR.42 Falcos, probably at Comiso airport.


Mechanics in front of a CR.42 Falco, probably in Sicily. Another poor image unfortunately.


Another photo with the same mechanics.


A CR.42 Falco in night camouflage, again in Sicily. The airport is not Palermo-Boccadifalco, as I previously thought, but Trapani-Milo (thanks to Mr. Cesare Calcara for correcting my mistake). The sooty appearance suggests that the finish may have been applied on the field. Note the emblem of the 377a night-fighter Squadriglia--an owl perched upon a horn of the moon.


A crashed CR.42 Falco. I used to think that German insignia had been applied to the lower wings. I was pointed out by Mr. Patrick Tobin that they are actually on the uppersurfaces of a German bomber's wing, either a Dornier Do.17 or a Dornier Do.217.


Another crashed CR.42 Falco.


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