Nino's aunt remembers that on March 28, 1944, four "long-tailed"
aircraft (Lockheed P-38s, I presume)
were chasing one Veltro in the sky over Dogato. Later she was told
that Nino had been shot down and killed.
The actual circumstances surrounding Nino's last flight were the following.
On March 28, 1944, the C.205s of the 1o Gruppo Caccia and the Bf.109s
of the I./JG 53 and I./JG 77 of the Luftwaffe intercepted a
bombing mission of the 15th Air Force with target Verona. The USAAF
bombers were escorted at high altitude by the P-47s of the 325th Fighter Group
and at middle altitude by the P-38s of the 96th and 97th Squadron of the
82nd Fighter Group. They were intercepted at 30Km NW of Ferrara and
the first to get involved were the German Messerschmitts, which engaged
the P-47s. Later the C.205s and some Bf.109s were attacked
by the P-38s.
From USAAF documents it appears that Lt. Arthur Larkin
(96th FS) claimed a "C.202" shot down at low altitude and
declared to have seen the pilot bailing out.
Besides Nino, on that day
Ten. Pittini was also shot down, he was gravely injured in
his leg but actually managed to bail out.
Also Lt. Merrill Adelson (96th FS) claimed he had damaged and probably
shot down a "C.202", which was later identified as the same shot down
by Larkin. However, it is very likely that the two pilots attacked two
different C.205s and confusion arouse because Adelson could not follow
the fall of his enemy. This was almost certainly Nino.
Nino is buried in the Capatti family's tomb at Dogato.
Mar. 28, 1944, was the 21st anniversary of the Regia
Aeronautica, of which the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana
claimed to be the rightful heir. On that day
the first issue of Ali (Wings), the propaganda magazine of
the ANR, appeared. The front cover features
Nino and his comrades of the 2a Squadriglia (Nino is third from
Nino crashed in this desolate countryside spot.
It is situated in the
``Bonifica del Mantello''--reclaimed land in the municipality of
Argenta, province of Ferrara.
Approximate coordinates are 44 degrees 40' N, 11 degrees 45' E.
To get there go from
Argenta to La Fiorana, which is just a group of a few houses.
Then turn left onto Via Argine Pioppa. Take the
first road on your left (Via Rosolo). After a while you will have to
turn right. When you see a small bridge on your left,
The land there is divided into small units separated by shallow ditches.
Nino crashed in the fifth or sixth unit from the bridge. Walk for
about 100 meters in the direction shown by the photo to reach the spot,
which is at the boundary of the units, close to a canal.
Nino's wings. They were returned to the Capatti family after his fatal
A propeller blade of Nino's Macchi C.205V Veltro
is preserved in the Capatti
The propeller tip is green (similar to Federal
Standard 595b 34151), but note also that there are yellow streaks.
a chemical reaction turned the yellow into green.
The propeller base shows the Macchi factory brand and
On October 2, 2004 the Romagna
Air Finders, an association devoted to recovering WWII aircraft,
excavated the crash site and recovered parts of
Nino's aircraft and his mortal remains. May he finally rest in peace.
Back to Nino's Page
Next chapter: Acknoledgements and
Roberto Lionello's Leisure Home Page / email@example.com