View Full Version : Interview with the Italian ace Luigi Gorrini

04-14-2005, 02:30 PM
I am translating for all guys of this forum this long interview with Luigi Gorrini, Italian World War II Ace and gold medal of the Italian Air Force. The interview has been done by A. Benzi, a journalist from the newspaper "Corriere della Sera" (one of the most important in Italy).

The occasion generating this interview was the following event: on Sunday 17 September 2000, the mortal remains of an hero of the National Republican Air Force, Lt. Vittorio Satta, and the wreck his Macchi MC.205, have been exhumed after 56 years they lied buried into the earth. He fell from the sky over the city of Parma (Northern Italy) on May 25th, 1944, while trying to contrast a formation of one hundred antifascist Liberators escorted by a myriad of fighters. Fearless, he attacked all of them. No more than 10 Italian and German fighters took off that day, including the one of Gorrini, who participated himself to the exhumation.

Here is the interview with Luigi Gorrini, the highest scoring Italian ace who survived the war, along with Franco Bordoni Bisleri: each had 19 victories.

Part I

Q. Where were you on June 10th, 1940? (i.e., the day when Mussolini declared war to France and Great Britain)
A. On June 10th, 1940, there was the feeling that something was going on. I was based at the airport of Mondov with the 18th Group of the 3rd Fighter Wing that was at Mirafiori (near Turin), where we get back to arm the airplanes. From there, my Squadron flew to Novi Ligure, then to Albenga (both in Liguria) in order to be set against French. That was one of the best airports since its stripe was made by concrete, while the other airports were just grass. I was in Albenga when Mussolini made that famous speech and just after it there was an air alarm over Genova.
Q. Which kind aircraft had you?
A. We had the FIAT CR.42, at that time an already obsolete machine, super-obsolete. A fabric covered biplane, without armor, without radio, with malfunctioning oxygen plants. It was a very good airplane in terms of maneuverability, armed with two effective 12.7 mm machine guns, but if you just think to the eight 7.7 millimeters of the Spits and Hurricanes...
There were some combats: we went to strafe their airports, near Toulon. The first strafing went wrong: it was weird, since we managed to reach the objective, find all their aircraft, strafe them, but nobody could confirm that we could set any fire on. We thought our bullets were defective and, once back, we did a test: with an airplane we shot a gasoline can, which immediately took fore. Then the reckon certified that we had just shot some fake aircrafts, they had us. But the day after we had them: we pounced another airport at 12 pm o'clock, two Squadrons up to cover us while strafing. There was a tough combat, luckily only three or four of their Dewoitine 520 could take off: they shot down two of us, two wingmen of the group commander, Major Mossilla, already a commander of the strafing squadrons during Spain's War [those bearing the symbol with three white arrows on a black "fascio" and the writing "Ocio che te copo" ("Watch out, I'm killing you" in Venetian dialect)].
Q. What was the general feeling, how was morale when entering the war?
A. Morale was very high. We also believed our planes were good, but when we saw what our enemy had, I mean those French Dewoitine and Morane, we had to change our mind. Later on I could better know those machines, when I went to France to get some of their airplanes that remained to the Vichy Government (we ran short of ours and we needed everything). It was like comparing a tricycle to a Ferrari€¦
Q. In which condition was the Regia Aeronautica (the Italian Royal Air Force)?
A. At the beginning of the war we had two kinds of airplanes: the CR.42 by FIAT, a biplane, and the Macchi MC.200, a boring nose-airplane (**), on the first models if you tightened (your turn) too much you started a spin; but it was a good monoplane that could adapt very well. However, we knew and we were told that the 200 and the 202, also by Macchi, were available. FIAT had a big order for CR42 production€¦ I believe they keep producing it until the end of the war€¦ Macchi could do better.
Q. And the FIAT G.50?
A. The FIAT G.50 was a monoplane, another nose-airplane (**)€¦ it made many victims and when it came out it was already obsolete. A strange machine, you had to be very careful on landing and take-off. However, we believed we were going to win the war€¦ instead, later on€¦ Look, the only competitive aircraft we had was the Macchi MC.202 and in particular the 205: with this one we could stand Spitfires, Hurricanes and even the Americans with their Mustang, during the time of the Repubblica Sociale. Of course the Mustang was superior, since already at 10,000 meters the controls on the 205 became insensitive. Maybe the best one of ours was the FIAT G.55, with this one you could also climb to 10,000 meters, but they produced really little numbers of that one.
Q. Let's go back to the first impact with French aircraft. What did you feel?
A. I have to say that France was really disbanded€¦ but I was a rookie, I joined the air force in 1937 and I arrived at my group on the first months of 1939. I was the last arrived of my squadron, thus green in war matters. However, there were with me some pilots who did the Spanish war, and that was pretty lucky since the squadron commander assigned me to two of these veterans; each squadron had its own acrobatic group. And that was the reason why Sen. Sgt. Tullio Bortolotti was assigned to me as acrobatic instructor and Sen. Sgt. Rozzi, today a General, as war instructor. We simulated flight pursuits. I own to him, a Spain veteran and a member of the famous Cucaracha squadron, a lot of precious teaching.
Q. But what did you think of the enemy you had in front of you?
A. During the first combats in France€¦ I just could not fire. To me, that guy who was in front of me did nothing bad; all along the war I always tried not to shoot to the cockpit where the pilot was, but I rather tried to shot the airplane, the machine. Of course I had to wake up, since nobody was playing there: have a look at those pictures€¦ a cannon shot on the 205 almost got me in the head, luckily that there was a defensive armor, it was a 20 mm cannon€¦ Well, in France, the first time I had the aircraft in front of me I couldn€t make myself open fire. At a certain point the commander, Major Ussilla, get beside me and did what I was supposed to do. Then, once we landed, he shouted at me: €œWhat the **** you were waiting for? If you have to make war that way, you€d better stay on ground!€ However, to shot another person€¦
But I can say I witnessed some terrible episodes by our enemies: strafing on our shot down pilots while they were descending by parachute. In these cases I went down, I followed the enemies while they were descending, I even dropped them my water bottle€¦ they were men like myself. However, for me everything was new, while the veterans from the Spanish war were much smarter.
Q. War goes on and becomes harsh. What happened after France campaign?
A. When we finished in France we went back to Mirafiori; there were strange news coming from Africa. Because, you see, if we were on ground on national territory, there in Africa they were litteraly underground: they had some CR.42, still those of the Spanish war, some AB1, some Breda 64 and 65, they were doing some strafing€¦ to support the situation in Africa, a group of 50 airplanes of our wing was sent to Libya. The transfer was uneventful and we could immediately go back to Italy where we were delivered some new FIAT CR.42: brand new, but still identical to the old ones, that is without armor. We, the pilots, we had to arrange some little devices: one of them was to fill the luggage compartment that was behind our head, that one for our personal belongings, with a sandbag that could stop the bullets. Warrant Off. Sozzi saved my life in the sky over England. I had that Spit behind and I didn€t see it and he throw himself between me and the Spit€¦ and he took all the shots.
A bullet perforated his lungs, but he managed to cross, wounded, the English Channel and to land at Calais€¦ the Germans recovered him immediately. Sozzi was proposed for the gold medal by General Fusi, the head of the expedition. I saw him some time later and asked him about that. €œAnd so?€ €¦ €œEh, I got the medal, but a silver one. You know, my ranks are here€ (showing his shoulder where non-commissioned officers had their ranks). There was a bias for attributing medals to non-commissioned officers: they needed at least two witnesses during the flight. Conversely, officers came back, told their story€¦ and were believed on their honor. But for myself, even if I was a non-commissioned officer, everything id OK: reports, proofs, prisoners. I have shot down 24 aircrafts by myself! No counting those which I have contributed to shot down with other people or those destroyed on ground€¦ An officer could go back to his base, affirm that he shot down an airplane and that was a silver medal. I shot down 19 airplanes before September 8th, I had the right to get 3 silver medals that were transformed in a golden one.
Q. Did you also participate to the Battle of Britain?
A. As I was telling you, after coming back from our transfer in Africa, we got our new CR.42: no armor, malfunctioning oxygen plants, navy life jackets that were too big and impaired our movements. We departed from Turin and landed in Munich were we refueled. I remember it was snowing. From there we went to Frankfurt and then to Belgium, at Ursell, something incredible and absurd, we couldn€t see the airport, even the commander was astonished.
At a certain moment we saw some pine trees moving, and some cows. It was all so well concealed that the English never managed to find that airport. There was even a big farm made of cardboard with doors and windows, inflatable rubber cows and movable pine trees that were used to hide the aircraft shelters that were also covered by nets. We were under equipped, just think that we had no heating on our aircraft, which by the way were open. We flew even when there were €"30?C on ground! If we had to take-off at 11am, those poor mechanics had to hang to the propellers that couldn€t make them turn, the oil being hard. Food was bad at the beginning, but then the logistic of our group arrived and things changed.
Mud everywhere. The operations were decided by the Germans, we had to escort our bombers: it was a disaster. A lot of pilots came there, some of them were just rich spoilt kids seeking for war emotions€¦ there was such a phenomenon in Spain already. But that was not a money war, that was a lead war and English guys were not joking, they shoot for real.
We escorted bombers, but to keep them together was almost impossible: some went down because engines wouldn€t work. They were BR.20, fabric covered machines too, conceived to fly light and take off from dry ground. Instead, here they were overloaded of bombs and landing stripes were muddy, and pilots lacked training. The first two mission were a disaster: Germans stopped us when they realized which kind of aircraft we had€¦ oxygen stuck, no radio, fabric airplanes, and as the first thing they gave us some catalytic heaters to heat the engines and then, in just 48 hours, they installed additional armor. They gave us their flying suits, gloves and helmets (we still had the light ones). Honestly, all we had was just our eyes to cry with, we made war in these conditions; we even had no maps, even in Italy we carried on using the Touring Club road maps. Can you imagine with such fog? After a fight, we came back in 25, landing in 4 different nations, we couldn€t see a thing but some bell towers.
I landed when I saw a landing stripe, except that it wasn€t that, it was a motorway, and before me already 4 guys did the same mistake: one landed in a square in Amsterdam, Saddini and others among the trees. Two were shot down, or at least they said so, but afterwards we ascertained that they just had technical failures. The poor Salvadori, and Lazzari. One had the inward oil temperature at 120 (?C) and was scared to come back by crossing the Channel, thus he tried to land on British ground but the aircraft hit a hole and set itself vertical (there€s its picture in English archives) and he was taken as a prisoner.
The other one got his compass mad. One of these aircrafts, the one of Salvadori, is in the Imperial War Museum. Giuntella, Rozzin, Lolli, Guglielmetti. Grillo, Mazza, we lost all of them, plus some others, but not Lazzari and Salvadori. In the middle of the winter we were ordered to go back, and meanwhile the FIAT G.50 arrived, but did not take part to any action there, since their range was not long enough and as soon they crossed the Channel they had to go back. Thus they were deployed for airport night defense, in single night flights. Look, the English expedition was something we should forget: wrong bombardments, useless machines. However, the combat of November 11th was a great one! Consider that years later I had the opportunity to meet those who participated on the opposite side, in Munich (or Monaco? In Italian both cities are called Monaco), during a meeting of veterans from all nations that took part in WWII except Russia. I was looking for the French Clostermann, who wrote some books, the first very interesting, but the second full of those stereotypes about Italians, except that he admitted he never met us in flight. Then a guy approaches and asks me: €œAre you Gorrini?€ €œYes, I am€ I answer. He was Peter Townsend, the British fighter ace, who spook perfectly Italian since he studied in Florence. €œIt was you on that CR.42 who shot me and hit me on the heel!€ €œSo, if it was me, then you were that Hurricane who shot me and the bullets passed through my legs!€ We became friends and each time he came to Italy I went to pick him at the airport. Since he was passionate by cars and I knew Eng. Ferrari, I brought him in Maranello where he could drive a €œmuletto€ (€œlittle mule€, the Italian way to call a €œspare car€ in Formula 1)€¦ he was like he was dreaming!
Q. And what happened after the Battle of Britain?
A. We went back, but before we had to remove the wheel fairings since there was so much snow (that the wheels got stuck). We went back because things were going bad in Africa. There was the Gen. Graziani€s retreat and in a couple of days we were in Sirti, landing in very bad weather. But consider that during a transfer we never, I said never, lost a single airplane. From Mirafiori we landed in Pisa, then in Reggio Calabria, then in Pantelleria, Zuare (?), Castelbenito and finally Sirte, very near to the frontline. We cold see endless lines of disbanded soldiers, they were fleeing, nobody would stop them; we immediately set in the air to strafe English columns, in particular around Agedabia and we managed to keep them at bay. I remember that our Major with some other officers took position over Balbia (?), pistols in their hands, trying to stop and regroup these disbanded, while we kept on going and going, again and again (we went back only when we were out of ammos). I think that our participation was really important, and also that of the VIII group and others. We stayed there for some months. Conditions were disastrous, we ate only €œgallette€ (disgusting army dry biscuits, believe me, I tried them!) and cans, the galletta used to swell into the stomach at high altitude causing pain and swellings€¦ we lack water, it was full of flies and scorpions. At the end they sent us back to have some rest and we left the aircrafts to the group of Vizzotto or Balio, I can€t remember. We went back homeland, we had 20 days out and the they brought us to Caselle where we had some flights on the FIAT G.50, to end up with the Macchi MC.200, the €œSaetta€ (Lightning), a radial engine monoplane. Then from there we went to Greece at Araxos in 1941, near to the see. We did soeme protection cruises. I remember that Argostoli and Cefalonia were no-flight zones, by order of the HQ. I remember seeing one day, together with one wingman, a dark airplane flying towards Argostoli. I followed it and I was going to shoot it, when I saw the German crosses, but my wingman, a young Sergeant, thought that I missed it and he shot. The airplane was full of gasoline and went down.
There was a trial and, fortunately, the young guy was acquitted since the airplane fell on the ground (?? I believe the crew survived€¦).
We did many naval escorts, down to the Aegean sea.
At a certain point they called us back: our group, the XVIII, was autonomous and could be engaged everywhere. The other group, the XXIII, was over Malta. They sent us again in Northern Africa, this time with the Macchi 200.


(**) = Talking with some Italian friends and aviators, and according to a book written by an Italian WWII fighter pilot, I maybe have extrapolated the meaning "nose-airplane" (aereo da naso) referred to both the Macchi MC 200 and the FIAT G.50.
It should be an aircraft that flies badly, prone to yaw, that is too heavy for its power, it's badly balanced with its gravity center backwards that makes it prone to spin. In 2 words: a cr@p airplane!

Poor Italian pilots!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/cry.gif

This is the first part of the interview. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
If you like it and if you wish, I can go on and translate the rest (the text above is about 1/3 of the whole interview!!)

04-14-2005, 02:49 PM
Very good read. Thanks.
About the translation, must say that you did excellent job. About the rest of the interview it would be nice, but it is obvious that it's very long, so it would take much of your time. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

04-14-2005, 02:55 PM
I would love to read more if you could be so kind to translate...........


Marco aka Vittorio1

04-14-2005, 03:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Vittorio1:
I would love to read more if you could be so kind to translate...........


Marco aka Vittorio1 <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I also agree.http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif I like to read good WW2 stories.

04-14-2005, 03:10 PM
Nice read, I enjoyed it!

So, please translate the next part!
Stories told first hand are so very valuable!
(Even if translated! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif )

04-14-2005, 03:32 PM
Thanks for appreciating! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

You'll have the second half in a few days!


04-14-2005, 03:38 PM
Thanks Cippacometa,

excellent work and a really interesting read.



04-14-2005, 03:47 PM
Great read! I always enjoy reading the stories of fighter aces. If anyone knows any more stories, we can make add them here and make a sticky.

04-14-2005, 03:51 PM
cool http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif
thanks for postin, lookin forward to more http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

04-14-2005, 04:09 PM
the Regia Aeronautica at the BoB


and other biplane stuff http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

04-14-2005, 04:20 PM
Good stuff, keep em coming http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

04-14-2005, 10:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>the Regia Aeronautica at the BoB <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif Was just opening that same site up to post here, then saw it was already the same one! lol

Thats a real good site btw

04-14-2005, 11:37 PM
Cippacometa... This is a Excellent Story!
Few books cover the Italian side of the war.
Thank You for the time you must have spent translating this for us... I'd love to read the rest of the interview.
Again Thank's

04-15-2005, 12:23 AM
Yes, please post more before Patch ... we are Desperate. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

After Patch, we will (hopefully) be too busy flying Oleg's MC~200 to read translation. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

We should see more Italian stuff linked to and posted about "very soon" .. "2 weeks" ..etc...when Italy joins Russia, Germany, Ussia, Britain, and Japan over the FBP.

04-15-2005, 03:20 AM
Please translate the rest as well.

04-15-2005, 04:34 AM

And thank you Cippa!


04-15-2005, 10:53 PM
Grendel-B... Mint Link's!

04-16-2005, 02:22 AM
A little info about Luigi Gorrini...

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Sergente Maggiore Luigi Gorrini Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Giuseppe Ruzzin while serving with the C.A.I.. </span>


<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Fiat CR.42s of Corpo Aereo Italiano based in Belgium. </span>


<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Corpo Aereo Italiano€s SM.75 on its way to Belgium. Here it€s seen outside a hangar at Novi Ligure in September 1940. It was used as the personal aircraft of Generale sa Rino Corso-Fougier. </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Fiat CR.42 of Corpo Aereo Italiano in Belgium. Archive D'Amico-Valentini </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">A 20o Gruppo G.50 taxiing at Maldegem in November 1940. </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Fiat CR.42 MM6976 flown by Sergente Antonio Lazzari and shot down 11 November 1940 near Corton Railway Station. </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">MM5701 on the beach at Orfordness. </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Fiat CR.42 of Corpo Aero Italiano based in Belgium. Right image Archive D'Amico-Valentini. </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Visiting Luftwaffe personnel watch with interest as the pilot of a Fiat CR.42 of the CAI climbs into his fighter on a cold day in late 1940. Location is probably Ursel, although it could be Vlissingen, where two of the fighters were detached for reconnaissance and night interception duties. </span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Historical Artist Jerry Crandall
Sergente Maggiore LUIGI GORRINI flies his Macchi MC.202 "Vespa 2 85" over a column of Tiger I tanks in the Tunisian desert in this remarkable, historically accurate print.</span>

<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Luigi Gorrini after the War ... besides a F84F.</span>


<span class="ev_code_YELLOW">Luigi Gorrini In Flight Gear </span>

04-18-2005, 01:37 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by woofiedog:
A little info about Luigi Gorrini...

Very nice pics, thanks for posting! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Besides, I couldn't work on the translation this WE, sorry! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif
For Part II you'll need to wait little bit more...

04-18-2005, 02:50 AM
Excellent - i would love to see the rest of this. Many thanks for your time. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

04-18-2005, 08:38 AM
Cippacometa... As I posted before this is a Great Thread and Story. I'm glad you took the time too translate and shared this with us.
But I have one Quesion for you... Did you say Two Week's before the Next Chapter??? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif
Again Thank's

04-18-2005, 08:53 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by woofiedog:
Cippacometa... Did you say _Two Week's before the Next Chapter??? _ http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

04-18-2005, 10:04 AM
Two weeks and we will have the full translation...first version of it, that is.
Then there will be some reports on syntax/spelling/errors, resulting in a patch...etc...

04-18-2005, 10:48 AM
Thanks a lot for your effort. Really interesting interview. Of course I'd like to read the rest of it, though I know what a job translating may be.


04-19-2005, 03:09 PM
Here is Part II of the interview.

A. Was the Macchi MC.200 any better than the CR.42?
Q. Yes, it was better, but still obsolete compared to English machines. It still had an open cockpit, that anyway in Africa was not the worst thing€¦ We landed near Benghazi, where I had previously shot down, with the CR.42, two Blenheim that were going to bomb the port and afterwards I shot down another one. I saw many of them passing by in front of my nose, for a very simple reason: they were faster than us. If we were at high altitude we could catch them, otherwise it was impossible. The Blenheim was a light bomber and was escorted by the Beaufighter, a heavy fighter: two very beautiful machines.
From Benghazi we went to Ouadi-Tamed (?) and there, since we kept eating those dry biscuits and cans, one day I had a great idea. I took a CR.42 and flew over the Ouadi. There were many gazelles there drinking and hiding in the bush, but with the noise of the airplane they fled in the open field and I shot three or four of them. A truck got them and then there was meat for everybody. Another time we were in the Bomba (?) gulf and I said to the weapon smith: €œToday we€re going to have fish, take out the fuses from the 50 kg bombs€. He did it and after the bobs went into the water, we had half a meter fishes coming up! I could even provide our group with some cars, because during a pursuit fly, or I€d better say a night recognition to intercept commandoes that attacked our airports by night, I saw a lot of abandoned cars in the middle of the desert. Once back I told this to our commander, Capt. Giuntella, and he gave me some specialists and a truck. We hadn€t cars. With just got a SPA 38 truck, a barrel of gasoline and a barrel of water, a machine gun from a crashed aircraft installed on the roof. We went like this. We found the cars, there was no sign of bullets, no corpses, all those cars were English, and some from the Gaullist army. We even found some weapons. We were rather excited and we could salvage a lot of stuff. Some of the cars worked, others we had to pull them with the SPA. We were about to depart when we heard a single rifle shot, we couldn€t tell from where it came and we returned fire with the MG, shooting it the air. We saw a man coming out from the bush, dirty and with torn clothes, with a red long beard and the hands in the air. He was the gunner of a Blenheim who bailed out after it was hit during a bombing over Tobruk. He wandered in the desert until he arrived there and there he staid for almost thirty days drinking the water of the radiators. We also understood why these cars were abandoned: they were in the middle of a minefield. My companions were worried, but little by little we managed to get out undamaged. We got back with our aircraft searching for us, we brought back some trucks and a French Peugeot that we offered to our commander. I found a V-engine Guzzi with the plate of Turin (TO). These cars were very useful later on, during the 5,000 km retreat when they got El-Alamein.
We were in Abu-Agad (?) when in the meanwhile they installed on our airplanes racks for special bombs, the €œMazzolino€ bombs, that were very powerful bombs but with an aluminum body. It was said that with such bombs the Germans took the Maginot line. The problem was that if one got back with these bombs still attached to the racks, he could easily explode, and unfortunately that happened twice. Thus, they took off those racks and installed those for a couple of 50 kg bombs. So we also had to work as bombers, in particular when we advanced up to Marsa-Matruh where we joined the other group of ours euipped with the new Macchi 202. The fact that we were acting as fighter-bombers explain our badge: an angry wasp holding a dagger in one hand, which represents the fighter-interceptor, and the other hand in a boxing glove, which means fighter-bomber.
Q. Was the Macchi 202 a definitely better airplane?
A. It was already a competitive aircraft for sure. Anyway, when it was confronted to swarms of P-40 and Spitfires, even this machine couldn€t do much.
Q. Was the Spitfire a tough one?
A. The Spit was a very tough one€¦ it had lot of machine guns, plus two 20 mm cannons and it was faster. The 202 was significantly inferior in terms of speed and weapons. At a certain point the 4th Wing, which seemed the better Italian wing (later on, its commanders became Chief of the Air Force) and thus was always provided with the best aircraft, was called back when the situation started to deteriorate and it left us, the XVIII Group, its Macchi 202 and we gave our 200 to those poor guys of the VIII Wing who still had the CR.42. Finally, once we had a competitive airplane, it was a nightmare, since swarms of enemy fighter started to come against us.
Q. When did you realize what was happening, I mean the defeat of El-Alamein?
A. Quite late, even if we worried by the bombings that became progressively more frequent, by day and by night. And from far away we saw the first line that was hammered by their artillery. But until that time our place was left in peace, we were in Abu-Agad (?), near the seaside. Even when we kept some lights on by night their airplanes wouldn€t touch us. But one night, instead€¦ one of their bombers made a couple of tours and dropped two shattering bombs, in order to kill our people rather than destroy the aircrafts. They were not bombs conceived to explode deep, they killed a lot of pilots. That night I was in my bed in the tent, some ones were awake playing cards. Lights on inside and outside, and there were no shelters, the only protection was a line of empty petrol cans near the see, with some barbed wire and a heavy machine gun to protect us from sea incursions. I was sleeping on my camp bed, the tent was closed, I can€t remember who opened it but I just ran out half naked. Me first, followed by Sandini and Scocchetti and the bomb fell among us. I jumped in the hole we used as a latrine, which was already full of people. I heard shouts, people calling for help, I was naked because the little dress I had was torn off by the explosion. I found Scocchetti keeping his belly while his intestine was coming out€¦
Lambertini was mortally wounded on his back and died beside me; another, who seemed to have nothing, was killed just by the air blast. We lost 12 among pilots and specialists. Another guy amputated his leg himself with his knife, poor Leo, while we were bringing him to the hospital. Then, the retreat began. An indescribable scene, it was difficult to believe what happened, what I€ve seen. We moved with our airplanes that were left, from base to base, or anywere we could land, we waited for Germans bringing us the gasoline during the night, sometimes the dropped it without looking were it went. We refueled the airplanes, armed them and waited the enemies to approach with their tanks and when they were almost arrived at the airfield we took off to meet them. Strafe, then fly back to another airport: we did like this 4,000 km. At the end we arrive in Tripoli at the Melaca (?) where there was a car circuit where they were running a car race, we had nothing to eat, nothing to drink. Uniforms and trousers were kept together with some brass wire, dirty. We had to move to Zuara, but four pilots were ordered to stay there with the Lt. Speicher and, once everybody was gone, to roll some gasoline cans into the warehouses. Inside there was just anything. Mountains of coffee, the, uniforms, desert gears. We had to pour gasoline and then shoot inside in order to make everything burn. There were mountains of bottled water from Ciampino, mountains of dresses, we had some fun opening a lot of crates, we were curious. We broke everything, I found a crate full of Leica cameras and put four of them around my neck, but I lost them on the way. We shot inside and burned everything. Then we arrived in Sfax and then Medelin and then Korba. By now, we were in Tunisia. I remember I stole the sheets of Maj. Camarda and I had the opportunity to participate to the battle of Kesserine, where the Americans were badly beaten by the Germans, and we were escorting German tanks, as it has been depicted on a painting made by an association of American air force aces directing two important museums. I know that in Arizona, in Mesa, there is a big picture of myself, together with one of Maj. Visconti, they invited me in America several times, but I don€t feel to go there. They also invited me in London, and also in Munich (Monaco?), at the end they came here and made me sign a lot of pictures made by a painter showing myself, as a member of the Italian fighter air force, while I am escorting German Tigers in Tunisia. That painting is exposed near other paintings depicting the actions of Clostermann, the French, of Adolf Galland, the German, of Townsend, for England: the greatest air aces. I signed 600 of them and then they sold them for more than half a million! (of Liras, about 250 "). A friend of mine saw this, a guy who, after the war, had to go in America for fear, there were many of ours who went to America and there became civilian pilots.
Q. Now it€s 1943: Tunisia, Sicily, war turns badly. What did you feel?
A. I was not sent to Sicily€¦ however, we understood that war was lost after El-Alamein. We saw what resources they had, we shot down ten and, the day after, the double were attacking us. Instead, we couldn€t anymore replace the losses and we begun lacking airplanes; we retired and left the airplanes to who was staying.
Q. In the summer of 1943 massive bombing of Italian cities begun: almost every city was hit and in particular the bigger ones, Naples, Genoa, Turin, Milan and, finally, Rome. What did you do to defend?
A. The II Wing came back to Italy, in Milan, and we were equipped with Macchi 202 and some Messerschmitts thet the Germans gave us. Since we were a very compact group, thy deployed us for the defense of Rome. We were in Ciampino, and we were leaded by Falconi, a very good guy but who was envied and hated until he became world champion of inverted flight; he was an independent man doing in his own manner, ignoring the bureaucrats of the Ministry. We were all deployed in south Ciampino, the whole wing, and although we were supposed to defend Rome we were often called to help over Naples that was just weakly protected by some autonomous squadron. Our Wing consisted in six Squadrons, more than sixty airplanes. One night, our bombers were taking off from north Ciampino in single actions, the SM. 79, one every five minutes. A Beaufighter had gotten on the tail of a SM.79 and had followed it to find out from where it had departed. When ours shot the signaling rocket to land, also the English aircraft was spotted and it was shot down by German flak.
Comm. Falconi said: €œIf that guy has communicated by radio our take-off position, tomorrow they will destroy our airport.€ By now they attacked their targets with at least two hundred four-engine bombers, massive formations.
Falconi didn€t wait for the Ministry€s order but at dawn ordered all efficient aircrafts to take off and head to Cerveteri, in the north of Rome. We went there.


Part III in two weeks... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Sorry, I mean in a few days!!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

04-19-2005, 07:03 PM
good read, thanks http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

04-20-2005, 07:19 AM
Well done Cippa, thank a lot!

04-20-2005, 07:35 PM

Thanks!!! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

04-21-2005, 08:18 AM
I saved part 1 of this fine interview, and had a good little time with it.
Then came part 2, which I was looking forward to a lot. It is also a good read.

Now I understand that an even better read is in store for me if I merge the two, part 1 and 2. But I am afraid to do something wrong which will mess up the whole thing. So if anybody could give me some pointers, I would be grateful.

(Looking forward to part 3, by the way. I hope my rig can handle it.)

04-22-2005, 04:27 PM
Here is Part III.

Have a good read!

Q. So, there were just sixty airplanes to defend Rome?
A. Yes, there were just us and some other night fighter at Centocelle, only this little. There was Rotondi who flew with a Lightning captured from the American and I almost shot him down, this idiot€¦ At Cerveteri we had to wait the order from the Ministry before taking-off, but Falconi, as soon as he knew there was a bomber formation flying towards Rome, gave us the order to go. I had the 202, and we headed towards Ostia. That was the day of the famous bombardment of Rome, the 18 July 1943 and it was said that to the famous star Clark Gable was participating to the operation: I tried in vain to spot the figure characterizing his aircraft.
Q. Is there any combat in particular that you want to speak about?
A. Well€¦ one day, just after the bombing of Rome, came the news that a new airplane was going to be delivered to our group, it was a Macchi MC. 205. We had a sort of meeting to decide who was going to pilot that new machine and, due to the number of air victories I already had, I got it. They gave me a travel permission and I went to the North to get this new aircraft; when I saw it, I asked for information and explanations. €œWhat do I have to tell you?€ said the test pilot, a Roman, €œthis is still the 202. Only one thing: if you have to shoot, don€t fire all weapons at the same time, otherwise the recoil is too strong. Either you fire the 20 mm cannons, either you fire the 12.7 mm machine guns.€ However, I never followed that advice and I always shot all the weapons together: if it goes, it goes€¦ €œThis is the 202, come on, go!€€¦ Instead, as soon as I was up I realized that the engine was more powerful. I arrive in Cerveteri and Maj. Camarga (?) says: €œGorrini, tomorrow you€ll be resting€. And I: €œAs long as I haven€t done a combat with this one, I€ll be in full alert every single day€. That aircraft lasted 48 hours!
The commander ordered me to take-off after all the others, since I had the most powerful and better armed aircraft and I was supposed to be his left wingman, while all the others were on the left wing. He was Capt. Giuntella, today a General. They leave and the I leave too, at last, in the middle of a big dust cloud; we arrive offshore Ostia and we spot a huge formation of enemy bombers. We had no clue about where they were directed, we believed over Rome again, but later we learnt that the objective was Sulmona where there was, hidden in the forest, the armored division of Herman G¶ring. A big formation, just there before my eyes: the commander signaled me to keep calm, since we were on radio silence, but at the end Capt. Giuntella, since I was insisting, let me go. I went up, and while climbing I attacked the last on left, aiming between the wing and the fuselage: it was a B-17, a €œflying fortress€. I did a looping and came back, just in time to see the wing literally torn off, with the two engines still turning and her (the fortress) spinning down. The airplane fell on the airport of Nettuno: I was at 7,000 m, but I could feel the air blast and I saw two or three parachutes opening and I did the same old stupid mistake who all pilots do when they shot down an enemy aircraft, that is turning to look where the aircraft falls. An escorting fighter, a P-38 Lightning, bounced me, I saw its bullets passing over my head, it just missed me by one inch and then it did a stupid thing coming into may line of fire: I hit it squarely, it exploded and if I didn€t hold the stick I would have passed inside the explosion. I saw the pilot who had the time to bail. Then I go back to pursuit the formation, crossing all Italy and intercepting it on the objective, where I attacked the last B-17. I did several attacks and after a while I saw 9 parachutes descending, but the airplane kept flying normally on his course. I attacked it again and I did something that I€ve done only few times, that is shooting the cabin, but there was nobody, they activated the autopilot. The airplane started to lose altitude and, once again, I followed it to see where it was going to fall. Twelve Lightning attacked me, 6 on one side, 6 on the other. I kept the aircraft turning and, since I was continuously shooting long bursts, the weapons were overheated and the left cannon exploded perforating my wing. I was trying to escape, I was horribly scared, around 3,000 m the canopy fled off and broke the antenna and damaged the tail section. In such conditions, with my only map that had been blown away by the wind, I kept pulling the stick to the point I even bent it. I descended to 1,500 m and I saw he sea, I tried the radio. I called, I called€¦ no way. Finally I got an answer. I was over Pescara, I remember the port; they gave me advices to orientate myself, but I was running short of gasoline. Moreover, they told me not to land in Cerveteri since the airstrip had been destroyed by a bombing. The first formation we intercepted had been followed by a second one that attacked Cerveteri. They told me to land at the Strisce (literally, €œthe stripes€), near Ostia, close to the tower where, later on, Salvo d€Acquisto was fusilladed. Fuel kept decreasing, I couldn€t see Cerveteri coming, I couldn€t see the Strisce coming: finally I was over them, but suddenly the propeller got stuck, there was not a drop of gasoline left. I remember the high voltage cables of the railway, and that I pointed the ground to try to make some speed and pass them, it was the force of despair that saved me, also the landing gear didn€t work properly. I landed and the Major came to me, furious, I was afraid he was going to eat me alive. The aircraft was a wreck. €œCommander, I€ve got two 4-engines and a fighter!€ €œDon€t tell me bull****!€ was his answer. €œThat€s no bull****, they didn€t fall in the sea, they fell behind our lines. I€m not a commissioned officer, let€s go and check€. We had a Fieseler Storch, a German reckon airplane. We left, even if I had never piloted it before, and we arrived in Nettuno. There was a huge crater, the flak guys told us that the two pilots could bail out and were captured by the Carabinieri (Italian MPs) together with the Germans.
€œThat€s the first!€ We went to look for them (the 2 B-17 pilots) and they told us they€d been attacked by a single airplane, extremely fast and without insignias. €œOk, let€s go on€ and we went searching for the Lightning over the Nemi lake€¦ Finally we landed on a grass field and two kids told us that they€d seen an engine in the surroundings and that the pilot had been captured by the Carabinieri. We went to see him, the pilot was French and he told us that he had a fight against an aircraft without insignia. Then we had to go to Sulmona, and the major hesitated since we had to cross the Apennines and we got inside a thunderstorm that shook us for forty minutes. He wanted to go back, but back was darker than forward, water was entering the cockpit. Then we arrived in Sulmona and we went to the German HQ where there were some prisoners, among who stood a huge guy. He was the flying fortress commander, an Australian. He told the same thing the others did: fast fighter, no insignias, isolated. €œI€d like to met the pilot€, he added, and the major pointed me. The guy offered his hand and he held mine so hard that I was almost going to kick him. Then he wanted to give me a gift, he opened one of his boot, took a 7.65 mm pistol that offered me.
Some days later they shot me down over Frascati, after I had shot down a Spit and I was attacked by four of them.
Q. The 25 of July Mussolini fell, did people realize what was going to happen later on?
A. Look, our morale always stayed very high. We were good, we lived I the Hotel Margerita of Ladispoli, near Cerveteri. There were many cinema artists from Cinecitt , escaped from Rome: many actresses. In the evenings, after dinner, we went to take a coffee in the only bar of the town, where we could be with all of them.
And who had shot down an airplane had a bottle of spumante offered (sort of Italian Champagne), it was fun, can you imagine?
What happened on June 25th didn€t affect us. We went on like nothing happened. We knew that in Fregene, close to us, there was Ettore Muti, if he had came with us he would maybe have his life saved and instead they killed him.
One day they sent us to defend Naples, we did already many times and we arrived that the bombing was already done. We started to pursuit the enemy formation and we got attacked by Spits. I was hit by a cannon shot, I was over the Volturno (river) and luckily I was over 8,500 m; my group kept following me, but the engine was still running and by radio they told me to keep calm. I had been hit in the radiator and, keeping a low speed, I managed not to burn the engine. I not even hoped to arrive to Cerveteri, which had been repaired, but at least to Ciampino: but I couldn€t do this also because I was scared to crash on the Colli Albani (hills East of Rome). Radio kept telling me to be calm and, finally, I saw on my left an airport, that was the one of Pratica di Mare, where Germans were. I started to loose altitude and I lowered the landing gear: the engine suddenly stopped and I had to raise the wheels in order to pass over the fencing. Then, the landing gear didn€t want to go down again since it was connected with the engine, thus I had to work the emergency hand pump. I landed on a wing, I got a tremendous shock and the only thing I remember is that the Germans were very quick to rescue me and avoid the airplane to get upside-down. They transported me to the Celio (a military hospital in Rome) that was completely full and refused me; so they transported me to the Littorio hospital, where also Lt. Cavatore was, since was shot by a cannon shell of a Lightning who met face-to-face, he had been hit on the left hand, the controls torn off from his hands, he was piloting a Messerschmitt and he managed to land at the third try holding the stick with his legs and the throttle with the good hand, and I saved his life by shooting down that Lightning. Cavatore saw me on the stretcher held by two Germans who just dropped me on the first free spot. He gave no sign of life and nobody knew if I was Italian, German or even English: my suit was covered with oil and I had no personal ID tag. It was Cavatore who recognized me: €œThat€s Gorrini€, he said, €œhe saved my life ten days ago€¦€ And, since after the shooting down over Sulmona I became famous, I had been cited on the war bulletin and on the cover of the Domenica del Corriere (a famous newspaper) designed by Beltrame, other people recognized me. They cured me and I was attended by Susanna Agnelli who was a nurse in the Littorio hospital (she is the sister of Giovanni Agnelli, son of the guy who founded FIAT). There even was some tender between us and€¦ we had to get married, but I told her €œYou are the FIAT, I€m just a little sergeant€¦€
We€re still good friends, and we're still in touch.

04-22-2005, 05:22 PM
thanks! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

04-23-2005, 12:37 PM
very nice story, Cippacometa .
thank you for your work.

04-29-2005, 06:11 AM
Hi guys, sorry but this last week I was too busy and I couldn't work on the rest of the translation. However, I've maybe "discovered" what Gorrini meant by calling both the Macchi MC 200 and the FIAT G.50 as "nose-airplanes" (aerei da naso, in Italian) in the first part of the interview.

According to some Italian friends and aviators, and to a book written by an Italian WWII fighter pilot, a "nose-airplane" (aereo da naso) should be an aircraft that flies badly, prone to yaw, that is too heavy for its power, it's badly balanced with its gravity center backwards that makes it prone to spin.
In 2 words: a crappy airplane!

Poor Italian pilots!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/cry.gif

04-29-2005, 11:29 AM
A great read; thank you very much!

04-29-2005, 12:43 PM

04-29-2005, 01:18 PM
Cippacometa, mi manderesti l'articolo in italiano? (ammesso che tu ce l'abbia in formato digitale, naturalmente!)
Ciao e grazie!

04-30-2005, 02:00 AM
Originally posted by Orfson:
Cippacometa, mi manderesti l'articolo in italiano? (ammesso che tu ce l'abbia in formato digitale, naturalmente!)
Ciao e grazie!
l'intervista integrale di Gorrini la trovi su questa webpage:

L'articolo sul recupero del MC.205 di Satta lo trovi qui:


04-30-2005, 05:41 AM
Grazie mille!

P.S. Ottimo il nickname!!!

04-30-2005, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by Orfson:
Grazie mille!
Prego, figurati!

Originally posted by Orfson:
P.S. Ottimo il nickname!!!

04-30-2005, 10:32 AM
Those are great stories and I thank you for the effort it must have taken to translate all of that to English.

05-11-2005, 05:40 PM
Hi guys!
Here's Part IV and last one of the interview with Luigi Gorrini.

At the end, he does some political comments on the Italian situation in '43-'45 and at the time of the interview (year 2000). I am aware that it is quite OT here, but I wanted to keep the interview it its integrity.
However, I kindly ask you not to use Gorrini's statements as a pretext to start political discussions and/or flames!

Have a good read!

Q. What about September 8th? (it was in 1943, the date of the armistice)
A. When September 8th came, Susanna, who had already managed to get me a new uniform, proposed me to go with her to Rocca di Papa (a small town near Rome). But I wanted to go home, even if she insisted. At the end, sad and resigned, even moved, she accompanied me to the train. We said goodbye and just in my compartment two German officers came and took place: I wore a German decoration, a 2nd class Iron Cross and they really didn€t know how to behave with me with all that was happening, and I didn€t know too. Talking and trying to understand each other, by using some French words, we managed to keep a conversation until Orvieto, where, thank God, they got off the train. There in Orvieto a young lady got on the train, and when we managed to arrive in Bologna, that had been bombed, I helped her to carry her luggage while crossing the town to take the train going to Milan. Once on the train, we got stuck in Reggio Emilia by some German soldiers giving orders: they told to the men to get off the train, all the males. €œYou stay here with me€ said the lady €œI am Bulgarian€. When the guys with that plate, the Feldgendarmerie, she put her coat over me and they just passed by laughing. That€s how I could be saved. In Fidenza she also got off, we drunk something in a bar and she told me she lived in Piazza Piemonte in Milan and gave me the address. At the station I asked for someone that could bring me home and I found a guy with a car working with coal; it was since some months that my family had no news from me. The guy with the car was scared by the Germans, but I managed to convince him.
Q. How did you choose to keep fighting with the RSI (Repubblica Sociale Italiana)
A. I was home since a couple of weeks, when Commander Falconi invited by radio all his pilots, the III Wing, to go back in Milan. It was already a problem to arrive in Torino, since nothing did work€¦ Falconi remained in the III Wing and after September 8th, after giving the order to destroy all airplanes to not let them be salvaged by the Germans, managed to obtain from Kesserling a series of bilingual written documents and guarantees. He gathered the pilots and asked them if they wanted to keep fighting and, if yes, to be ready to transfer in Turin. Everybody accepted, except Lt. Melis who preferred to go to Sardinia with a 133 together with all the other Sardinians. I went to Turin by bike, I departed in the morning and at five in the afternoon I arrived. He was waiting for me, I was still chalked, so he called a driver and he accompanied me to the Molinette.
There they made sure I was ok and they took off the chalk; it was there that he introduced me to a captain who I didn€t know: €œThis is the first squadron commander of the of the first group of the National Republican Air Force (Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana). He was Capt. Visconti. Falconi wanted to put me in the second squadron, but that captain wanted me in the first at all cost. Thus, all pilots of the III Wing went in the second squadron, the Wasp (la Vespa), but I ended up in the firs, the Ace of Clubs(Asso di Bastoni). The only two pilots of the III Wing who didn€t go in the second were the poor Cavatore and myself.
We started all again: Visconti was an extraordinary man€¦ I made with him the best combats. He was from Tripoli.
He was not married€¦ we were trying to bring him away from Musacco, but Aniasi didn€t want, it was he who killed him, together with two others€¦ who is surely blaming for that now. The group of partisans named Redi controlled the barracks where was Visconti after he accepted to surrender to the partisans, once he assured the life of all his men and the mediation of Eng. Vismara. We were in Gallarate and we were fully armed, we still had some airplane that we put in a circle ready to fire. The partisans couldn€t do anything, they could have harmed us only if they had some tanks. Although some other officers and the squadron commanders told him not to trust the partisans, to surrender only to Americans, Visconti trusted them. The mediators went away once the surrender was put on paper, and he remained in the barracks, the now Called Montello ex-Savoia-Cavalleria, where I am fighting to put a commemorative stone to remember the sacrifice of Viconti and Stefanini. We all gather every year, the 29 of April, in Musacco to honor his memory. However, it went like this: in that Montello barracks, Visconti and some other officers were disarmed, and then they told Visconti to go somewhere to be questioned and Stefanini, whowas his attendant, went with him. As soon as they were in the courtyard they shot them in the back, he just had the time to shout €œCowards!€
Stefanini tried to protect him with his body and died immediately, but for him they needed the final shot€¦ the killed the coolest guy who existed, as a man and as a pilot. The best combats were with him, we never got them above€¦ we could do 11,000 m with the 205. Imagine that he was one of the last to keep on fighting, on the Garda lake, maybe it was April 20th 1945 when it had a head-on with a Mustang.
The one with the RSI was the best period. We had a commander who knew what he wanted. We had few airplanes and the enemies arrived with such formations€¦ we had two operative groups, the whole Republic had three fighter groups, a transport group and the torpedo bomber group ***ioni. Look: the Americans were happy that we were just a few, because even if we were a few we were not a joke in terms of the damages we inflicted them. Our group shot down 112 airplanes and the second group did the same. Of course, we lost two hundred pilots€¦ but we sold our skin for dear.
The first group was trained in Turin and then, under the surveillance of the Germans who didn€t trust us, we got the first fights. I remember the very first times we got some kills when the Americans bombed Villar Perosa. Then we moved in Campoformido, near Udine. And there it was incredible, we were always up, always in the sky, night and day, up to four fights a day. We attacked even formations of five hundred four-engines airplanes that were going to bomb Germany: first, we attacked them and their escort fighters were forced to drop their tanks, thus the bombers crossed the Alps but remained without escort and also in Germany they were attacked by the German airplanes. Once they were coming back, again we attacked them, to the point that they had to change their tactics: they started from Foggia, bombed Germany and landed in England.
Cimicchi, gold medal of the Southern Air Force (the one fighting with the Allies), said me: €œGigi (nickname for Luigi), I was in the South, but my hearth was with you, and many of us felt the same! You don€t really know how many airplanes you shot down, I counted them when they took off and when they came back, I was working with a major who commanded a group of Lightnings. When he knew that they were going against Germans he would show himself, but when they know that they were going agains you, many of them just kept their bottom on their chair€¦€
They considered us like ferocious animals, ready to do anything: look, we were really very determined and motivated. On the way back he could see wounded and dead people getting off the airplanes. Every year, the first Sunday of June, there is a meeting of the Republican Air Force on the Garda Lake, I am organizing it since almost twenty years. Several hundred people come, also the Germans. Neumann used to come, who now is dead, Gallad came, Steinmann comes, he gave me a cigarette box as a gift, I saved his life in the sky over Udine€¦ his Messerschmitt was already burning and the had two Thunderbolts attacking him: I could dogfight them and burn one of them and make the other flee. He was terribly wounded, he was all burned€¦ then, he became the Luftwaffe commander in the Federal Republic of Germany: he honored me with the first class Iron Cross.
Q. Which was your last fight?
A. My last fight was when I was shot down on my 205, it was the fifth time, near Reggio Emilia. I always had the 205 when I was in the RSI, sometimes the FIAT G.55. They alerted us very late and we took off, but we couldn€t manage to climb enough so they attacked us, they shot me down at Fogliano. I opened the parachute, but on touchdown I hit my back hard (it still hurts) and I lost consciousness. There were some peasants around me that maybe believed I was an Englishman or an American. Maj. Visconti arrived with his car and brought me to our doctor, who visited me and sent me to the Reggio Emilia hospital. The doctor of the hospital gave me a leave: I was in bad shape, close to a nervous breakdown, and I went home. When I got back, everything was about to end.
Q. How did you live the end of the war? Where were you on April 25th?
A. I was in Milano and I had the time to see Mussolini hung€¦ I was renting a room with some other pilots in Leoncavallo street€¦ it was on the corner with Sire Raul square (where Mussolini was hung).
Q. Did you ever met the partisans?
A. Yes, I met them already when I was in Reggio Emilia€¦ I met them one evening I was in my car, a FIAT Balilla Coppa d€Oro that was owned by Villoresi, a pilot of the Mille Miglia. I bought it for 40,000 liras (19 "), it was in perfect conditions and full-optional. When Visconti saw it he thought I had stolen or requisitioned it€¦ and then, he also used it to go to see Gianna, his girlfriend, to avoid using the military car. However, it went like this: the poor Magnaghi was shot down while he was doing an engine test over Reggio Emilia and there was even a troupe from the Istituto Luce (a very famous company doing a lot of films and documentaries at that time). They wanted him to perform some aerobatics€¦ Magnaghi went up but he forgot to plug his radio; when he was about to land, he got 4 Lightnings on his back who shot him and hit his leg. He was very bad, and one night the doctor comes to me and says: €œGorrini, the oxygen cylinder is empty, you should go to the pharmacy in Reggio Emilia and get a new one€¦€ I take the car and go, and when I am near the madhouse I see a red light, it was very late, 2 or 3 am€¦
€œWhere are you going?€ says a harsh voice.
I was in uniform, I answered €œI€m going to the pharmacy to get an oxygen cylinder€.
€œIs it for the guy who has been shot down?€
They let me go, and the same happened three days later.
Unfortunately, even if they cut Magnani€s leg because it was rotting, there was nothing to do and he died€¦ You see, the partisans knew the group of Visconti, they knew what we were doing and they left us alone.
It was that brigade, the one who killed Visconti, that obeyed to orders coming from up, from the CLN (Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, the National Liberation Committee), in particular from Pertini and probably also Cadorna. Visconti scared them: it was a man with an incredible charisma, a man who could be a problem€¦ Once back in Milan, the problems begun, the Liberation days. We went back home and found two bad looking guys€¦ two policemen. €œFollow us€, they said, and we went to the police station and from there to Bresso, in a sort of concentration camp: I saw unbelievable things there. We had to live all the day with just a small piece of bread. Our uniform saved us, because by night, those poor guys of the GNR and the X MAS (GNR = Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana, Republican National Guard. X MAS = Decima Flottiglia MAS, 10th MAS Fleet; MAS means Motobarca Armata SVAN, i.e. SVAN Armored Motorboat, where SVAN is the name of the factory near Venice where they were build)€¦ ten partisan on one side, ten on the other, they made them pass in between and hit them on the head with the rifle butts, some of them died after the very first hits. Sometimes they waited for someone to go in the field to do his needs, and they shot him down with some excuse€¦ I saved myself because I managed to make a letter go out, and a car with a tank came to take me and three others. They made me fill a form and, two weeks later, again two policemen came home, and this time they brought me in S. Vittore (a prison in Milan), I spent four months there.
I got out that I was skinny, denounced to the military tribunal and degraded€¦ they did me anything€¦ Finally I had to go to the judge, it was said it was Jewish€¦ I said goodbye to everybody home€¦ I had no money for an attorney and I went in Milan by bike, I remember that I left it by the wall of the Palace of Justice. One of the employees scared me saying the judge would hate me since he was Jewish€¦ I knocked at his door. He let me sit down and I presented myself as a not-graded pilot, since I had been degraded. He corrected me: €œYou are Senior Sergeant Gorrini€ then he opens my file€¦ €œAh, so you€re the guy who wrote down this big bunch of paper€¦€ I just had filled the questionnaire who they gave me, but I also enclosed a sort of diary: I wanted to tell everything I had done, really everything. He doubted my statements: €œEven the Chief of the ANR couldn€t have done all this!€
€œI confirm everything, that€s the thruth!€ I answered.
Then he closes the file, put it back in the cabinet and stares at me in the eyes €œGo, go, we would need more men like you!€
I went out running and trampling that employee with all his papers: I descended the big stair and cycled so fast that even Coppi or Bartali couldn€t catch me! I got back home, and then I rejoined military service in Lecce, first as an aerobatic instructor and then as a flight assistant, but it was all different and maybe not interesting.
Q. Can you make some evaluation on the present situation?
A. I just tell you this: to give me the gold medal they needed 13 years, the one for the flights made before September 8th! They stopped it three times, dismissing the commissions. A the end, the presidents of these commissions should have wondered if it was because of some idiot general that something that was decided was then stopped. It didn€t count I was in the RSI, since the medal was for things I did before. The Chief of the Air Force then said to General Via, the guy who kept stopping that medal: €œIf Gorrini deserves the golden medal, then just give him. If he deserves to be fusilladed for what he has done after September 8th, the just fusillade him€. Taviani studied all the papers and finally wrote the confirmation by his hand. Regarding the promotion, I should have had it in 1942, but since I had been in the RSI I got it in 1972! I should have retired has a Lt. Colonel, as all guys of my course, but I went back home as a Marshall. I get a retirement salary of 2,100,000 liras (a bit less than 1,100 ") per month, just this for 40 years flying, most of them while putting my own life at risk in war! I am not interested in money, it€s just a matter of ethics. I have no children and I€m here in my house with my wife, and the Americans want to buy all my €œsouvenirs€. But I want them to stay in Italy.
However, what I€ve done at that time, with the RSI, I€m ready to do it again, because I was convinced to be on the right side. We had no political party, we just defended the Italian towns, our homes and our honor from the bombing of the liberators. We all knew the war was lost in El-Alamein, and I€ve lost it twice: on September 8th and on April 25th. But, I repeat, all I€ve done at that time€¦ all those tons of bombs we avoided to fall on our cities, this is an undeniable historic merit. I don€t lower my eyes face to anyone, I did it and I€d do it again.
I thought that after all that happened, Italy would be held by honest people.
Q. How do you see the future for Italy?
A. There€s the risk that we end up like Yugoslavia or Albania. I pray God that I€m wrong, but as long as we see those guys around. The cleanest one has scabies€¦

05-11-2005, 11:30 PM
Cippacometa... I can't say enough on how much I enjoyed the interview with Luigi Gorrini.
Again Thank You for all the time you have spent working on the translation for us.

05-12-2005, 02:13 AM
Originally posted by woofiedog:
Cippacometa... I can't say enough on how much I enjoyed the interview with Luigi Gorrini.
Again Thank You for all the time you have spent working on the translation for us.
You're welcome! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Thanks to everybody for appreciating!

05-12-2005, 03:05 AM


Major ADRIANO VISCONTI: ace of Italian fighter pilots with 26 victories
of wich 15 shot down with the obsolete MACCHI 200 until 1st January
1944! and 11 after this date flying the more modern MACCHI 205 and from
1st January 1945 with the Me 109 G-10 (white 6) to the end of war
defending the northern Italy against bombers.

Wounded a lot of times with a lot of incredible adventures he was the
example of the classic romantic fighter pilot, great commander, loved by
his pilots.

To tell you the kind of man: diving during an attack to B-24, Mustangs
and Thunderbolts over Lombardia (northern Italy) his guns suddenly
jammed, so, to not embarrass his wing man, Major Visconti, unarmed,
went on with the attack heading the chosen bomber and then crossing
the big formation in a storm of enemy fire!

In the last months of war some pilots of his squadron went to Germany at
Rangsdorf, Brandenburg and Brandis (JG 400) for passing to Me 163. They
made the complete training on the gliders HABICHT-8 but when at
Brandis were going to begin the flights on the KOMET, the sovietic tanks
interrupt any program.

The last mission of first squadron was on April 19, 1945, when four 109s
shot down the B-24 of the Captain Walter Sutton. He and his crew
survived and was taken to the fighters airfield. Sutton admiring the
courage of the fighter pilots, wanted to participate to the funeral of
Leutnant Morandi shot down with his 109 by the 12.7 of the bomber.

At 2 p.m. of April 29 Major Visconti and his pilots were imprisoned by
communist partisans near Malpensa airfield (Milan). Major Visconti was
taken away to be interrogated: walking along the way, the red partisans
shot him on the back. They had not even the courage to look him in the
eyes. I like to think that Major Visconti should be happy to fly finally
on a modern plane like the 207!

Daniele Sabatini

05-12-2005, 03:45 AM
Originally posted by woofiedog:
Major ADRIANO VISCONTI: ace of Italian fighter pilots with 26 victories of wich 15 with the obsolete MACCHI 200
No doubt: those Breda-Safat 12.7mm machine guns were overmodeled! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/mockface.gif

05-12-2005, 06:17 AM
Quote... Cippacometa
posted May 12, 5:45 AM
Originally posted by woofiedog:
Major ADRIANO VISCONTI: ace of Italian fighter pilots with 26 victories of wich 15 with the obsolete MACCHI 200

No doubt: those Breda-Safat 12.7mm machine guns were overmodeled!

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif Just maybe a little Over stated! Although much better than the Ki-43's 7.7mm's Pop-Gun's. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

05-13-2005, 02:55 AM

The Macchi 200 Saetta (Arrow) was designed by Dr. Mario Castoldi. Castoldi had designed seaplanes for the Schneider Trophy races and in 1934, his MC.72 captured two world speed records, including one for seaplanes with a top speed of 440.68 mph that lasted until 1984.

Dr. Castoldi started design of the MC.200 in the mid 1930's after Italy's East Africa campaign. The resulting prototype flew on 12/24/37 and was a low wing monoplane of all metal construction except for fabric tail control surfaces. The MC.200 had a retractable tail wheel landing gear, semi-enclosed cockpit and featured an advanced wing design in completely hinged trailing edges and having hydraulically actuated flaps being interconnected with the ailerons so that when the flaps were lowered, the ailerons were drooped simultaneously. Power was provided by the Fiat A.74 RC.38 radial engine of 870 hp providing a top speed of 313mph, a range of 355 miles and a service ceiling of 29,200 ft. The prototype beat the Caproni Vizzola F/5, Reggiane Re.2000 and Fiat G.50 with a production contract in 1938. 1,153 were eventually built, including the AS tropical subversion as well as the CB fighter-bomber which could take 705lbs of bombs.

The MC.200 entered service with Italian squadrons in 1939 and was armed with 2 12.7mm Breda machine guns in the cowling firing through the propeller. Some later versions added 2 wing-mounted 7.7mm machine guns. The MC.200 saw extensive service over Malta, Greece, Yugoslavia the Western Desert, Sicily, Italy and Russia. Over Russia, MC.200s shot down 88 Russian planes for the loss of only 15. In 1943, some 23 MC.200's were flown to allied airfields after the armistice and used by the pro-allied Italian air force. One example of this aircraft can be found at the USAF Museum (photo above). It originally had been found abandoned at Benghazi and is in the markings of the 372 Squadriglia.

05-13-2005, 06:08 AM
Great read, thanks for translating!


05-14-2005, 03:40 PM
wow, thanx for sharing this. Some really great cmpn material here. Ive got a couple of the squadron/signal books on the italian air force(s) of ww2, and its fascinating what those guys accomplished.

05-03-2006, 03:36 PM
BUMP... Very very interesting interview, finally from the Italian point of view.

Someone might be interested.
I just found this in the middle of the forums...


05-03-2006, 06:19 PM
WOW exellent read! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

05-03-2006, 08:51 PM
i just read this again, a yr after the first time, and i just realized that the german pilot he assisted in the 109, who was badly burned later and became a NATO general, was Macky Stienhoff. He crashed in a 262, and i got to see him speak in 83.

Lots of history here.

05-04-2006, 12:41 AM
I'm glad that this thread comes out again! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
And just 1 year after!

05-04-2006, 11:34 AM
Thank you Cippacometa,

This must have taken you a long while, your translation is very understandable and also preserves the feeling of Italian grammar and phraseology..very well done, thank you again !!!. It is great to read experiences like this from the men that lived them....and it is getting harder to source information like this, and especially from Italian pilots.

I have tried very hard to find information about the Gruppo's and pilots of the Regia Aeronautica over the last months whilst doing :-

The Battle of Malta 1940-42 (IT) campaign:-


A 62 mission campaign, just released, which I hope captures some of the feel of life for a pilot in the Regia Aeronautica, although in a differant theatre to Gorrini (although I think 13o Gruppo spent a little time there).

Hope some of you that are interested in the fine details of history may like to try it out.


05-04-2006, 12:09 PM
Awww...great stuff!

Thanks for taking the time to translate and post.