Teresio Vittorio Martinoli
|Born||26 March 1917|
|Died||25 August 1944(aged 27)|
|Service/||Regia Aeronautica |
Aeronautica Militare Italiana
|Years of service||1938 – 1944|
|Unit||366ª Squadriglia, 151° Gruppo, 53° Stormo (RA); 384ª Squadriglia, 157° Gruppo; 78ª Squadriglia, 13° Gruppo, 2° Stormo; 9° Gruppo, 4° Stormo|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
|Awards||Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare|
Medaglia d’Argento al Valor Militare
German Iron Cross second class
Teresio Vittorio Martinoli, MOVM, (26 March 1917 – 25 August 1944) was an Italian World War II fighter pilot in the Regia Aeronautica and in the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (ICBAF). During the war, he fought over Libya and Tunisia, in North Africa, on Malta, and was involved in the defence of the Italian mainland. Martinoli has been credited with 22 air victories and 14 shared destroyed in 276 sorties. Flying the Fiat C.R.42 biplane and Macchi C.202 and C.205 monoplanes, he shot down: a Gloster Gladiator, Bristol Blenheims, Hawker Hurricanes, Curtiss P-40s, Spitfires, and a Junkers Ju 52, the last after the Armistice of Cassibile.
Before World War II
Martinoli gained a glider pilot's licence in 1937. The following year, he was enlisted in the Regia Aeronautica, and after a military flying course at Ghedi, was assigned to 366ª Squadriglia of 151° Gruppo (53°Stormo) with the rank of Sergente Pilota. Subsequently he was posted to the 384ª Squadriglia, 157° Gruppo.
North Africa and Malta
He claimed his first air victory, just three days after Italy entered war, on 13 June 1940. His first victim was a bomber, most probably a French Potez 630, shot down over Tunis, while flying his Fiat CR.42. Then he was posted to 78ª Squadriglia, 13° Gruppo of 2° Stormo and on 13 October he claimed a Gloster Gladiator (most probably from No. 112 Squadron RAF), while escorting a Savoia-Marchetti S.79, on Mersa Matruh, Egypt. After he had transferred to 4° Stormo (that became his permanent unit), in autumn 1941, he flew fighter sweeps over Malta, from Comiso in Sicily. Flying the Macchi C.202, in just two months, he claimed three Hurricanes (two on 19 October 1941) and a Blenheim. Still over Malta, he was credited with the destruction of three Spitfires (plus one probable) between 4 and 16 May 1942. Back in North Africa, during the Battle of Bir Hacheim, on 9 June 1942, he shot down two P-40 and damaged a third. On 29 June, in Marsa Matruh area, along with three more 73ª Squadriglia Macchi C.202s, he attacked a formation of 12 P-40s, downing a Curtiss fighter (while his fellow pilots shot down two more).
During the summer of 1943, he took part in the defence of Sicily and Italy.
After the armistice of 8 September, he joined the Aeronautica Co-Belligerante (Co-Belligerent Air Force), fighting alongside the Allies. He flew, with other 4° Stormo pilots, sorties to Yugoslavia, attacking the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. He shot down a Junkers Ju 52/3m over Podgorica, on 1 November 1943, after a dogfight with two Messerschmitt Bf 109s. It was his last air victory.
Martinoli was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d'oro al Valor Militare (Gold Medal of Military Valor). He had been previously decorated with two Silver Medals and the German Iron Cross Second Class.
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