ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 192677
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Narrative:The first air battle over Malta in 1941 took place in the morning of 9 January 1941. Since the start of the year Wellingtons of 148 Sqn RAF based in Malta gad undertaken four raids on the ports of Naples, Palermo and Brindisi. Sixteen Mc 200s of 6° Gruppo (7 of 79a Sqa, 7 of 81a and two 88a) led by Magg. Mezzetti attacked Luqa airfield while nine Ju 87s of 96° Gruppo escorted by ten CR 42s of 23° Gruppo bombed Kalafrana.
|Thursday 9 January 1941
|6° Gruppo, Regia Aeronautica
|Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
|off Malta -
Six of the Mc 200s strafed Luqa at 1100 hrs, claiming five aircraft damaged on the ground and in fact damaging three Wellingtons of 148 Sqn. But they were then attacked by five Hurricanes of 261 Sqn that claimed three Macchi shot down (two by Flt Lt MacLachlan and one by Flg Off Taylor) and one badly damaged (by Flt Lt Waters).
In fact two Italian pilots were shot down. Mar Ettori Zanandrea in MM5787 was killed, and Capitano Luigi Armanino of 88a Sqa baled out of MM4586 into the sea, wounded in the arm and thight. MacLachlan pursued his second victim many miles out to sea before shooting it down, and it was obviously Armanino. The Italian pilot was found by Maltese fishermen coming to save British crews, and they beat him hard to prevent him to climb their boat, but he was finally rescued and survived, but lost an arm due to his injuries and the beating. The next month, MacLachlan was wounded and found himself in the next bed to his victim.
The fourteen other Macchis returned to Sicily claiming a Hurricane probably shot down, but there was no RAF loss.
"Malta: the Hurricane Years 1940-41", by Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia. ISBN 0-948817-06-2 http://website.lineone.net/~remosliema/Italian%20Prisoners.htm https://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/showthread.php?224-The-Defence-of-Malta
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