|Marmaduke Thomas St. John Pattle|
|Born||3 July 1914
Butterworth, Cape Province
|Died||20 April 1941 (age 26)
Near Athens, Greece
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1936–1941|
|Unit||No. 80 Squadron RAF
No. 33 Squadron RAF
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar|
Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle DFC & Bar (3 July 1914—20 April 1941) was a South African-born Second World War fighter pilot and flying ace—an aviator credited with the destruction of five or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat—of the Royal Air Force (RAF). Pattle is believed to be the most successful Western Allied fighter pilot of the war.
Born in 1914 in South Africa, Pattle was academically intelligent. He considered a degree and career in Mining engineering before developing an interest in aviation. He applied to join the South African Air Force at 18 and was rejected but opted for military service. He soon travelled to the United Kingdom and transferred to the RAF in 1936 on a Short Service Commission (SSC). Pattle negotiated the training programs with ease and qualified as a pilot in the spring, 1937. Assigned to No. 80 Squadron RAF, he was sent to Egypt before the war in 1938. He remained there upon the outbreak of war in September 1939. In June 1940 Italy entered the war on the side of the Axis Powers and he began combat operations against the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) gaining his first successes during the Italian invasion of Egypt. By November 1940 had gained four aerial victories but had been shot down once himself.
In November 1940 his Squadron was redeployed to Greece after the Italian invasion. Pattle achieved most of his success in the campaign. In subsequent operations he claimed around 20 Italian aircraft shot down. In April 1941 he faced German opposition after their intervention. During the 14 days of operations against the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Pattle claimed his 24—50th aerial victories; all but three were German. Pattle claimed five or more aircraft destroyed in one day on three occasions, which qualified him for "Ace in a day" status. Pattle achieved his greatest success on 19 April 1941, claiming six air victories. The very next day, having claimed more aerial victories than any other Western Allied pilot, he took off against orders, and suffering from a high temperature to engage German aircraft near the Greek capital Athens. He was last seen battling Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighters. His fighter crashed into the sea during this dogfight, killing Pattle.
Pattle was a fighter ace with a very high score, and is sometimes noted as being the highest-scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of the war. If all claims made for him were in fact correct, his total could be in excess of 51. It can be stated with confidence that his final total was at least 40 and could exceed this value. Log-books and semi-official records suggest this figure while personnel attached to his Squadron suspect the figure to be closer to 60. A total of 26 of Pattle's victims were Italian; 15 were downed with Gloster Gladiators, the rest with Hawker Hurricanes. He is considered to be the highest-scoring ace on both Gladiator (15 victories) and Hurricane (35 victories) fighters.
Childhood and education
Pattle was born in Butterworth, Cape Province, South Africa, on 3 July 1914, the son of South African-born parents of English descent, Sergeant-Major Cecil William John "Jack" Pattle (b. 5 September 1884) and Edith Brailsford (1881–1962). Marmaduke was named after his maternal grandfather, Captain Thomas Marmaduke Pattle, who resigned his commission in the Royal Horse Artillery and emigrated to South Africa from England in 1875. Thomas became the first military magistrate of Butterworth. Jack Pattle followed in his father into the British Army at the age of 15. He fought in the Boer War and Natal Rebellion. Afterwards he studied law and became a civilian attorney. Jack Pattle met Edith Beresford in 1909. Beresford was an English nurse who had lived in South Africa since the age of five. Jack Pattle and Edith Beresford married in 1912. Within two years two sons had been born, Cecil and Marmaduke.
Marmaduke attended Keetmanshoop Secondary School, South West Africa for boys. Pattle was enamored with Boxing and long-distance swimming but did not pursue a career as a sportsman as he soon took a keen interest in mechanical things, particularly combustion engines. He built Meccano models of aircraft and other vehicles by the age of 12. In his early teens he became an avid amateur mechanic, fixing the family motor car and learning to drive. In 1929 he passed the Junior Certificate Exam which qualified him for Victoria Boy's High School. He graduated in 1931. He sent in an application to join the South African Air Force in 1932 and while waiting for a response was employed in menial jobs. For several months he worked at a petrol station owned by an uncle.
On 22 March 1933 he was invited for an interview for a commission in the Air Force in Pretoria. One of 30 applicants vying for three places he was rejected for lack of flying experiences. Determined to rectify this weakness he went to Johannesburg and began taking flying lessons. To fund his new ambition he worked for a Mining company, Sheba Gold Mine. He enjoyed the work so much he considered studying a degree in mining engineering. His passion for flying subsided but an impromptu visit by a transport aircraft gave Pattle a close glimpse of it, which rekindled his interest. At around the same time, the Ministry of Defence created the Special Service Battalion to employ South African youth who were struggling to find work because of the Great Depression. He joined in 1936 hoping it would lead to a career in the Air Force. He undertook basic training and national service on the understanding that he would be given an opportunity to enter the Air Force as an instructor at the end of his four year service.
Pattle worked toward this goal for some time until in late 1935, by chance, he picked up a copy of the Johannesburg Star newspaper. The paper contained an advert by the Royal Air Force (RAF) which was offering five-year Short Service Commissions for cadets throughout the British Empire. The RAF Expansion Schemes required a great flux of capable personnel into the organisation as re-armament and the need for fighting men heightened. Pattle decided that a career in the RAF offered better prospects than an instructor in South Africa and applied. Early in 1936 he was invited to Britain as an applicant. He flew to London at his own expense to attend the selection processes and was offered a commission by the selection board. He immediately returned to South Africa to arrange his migration to Britain and left aboard the SS. Llandovery Castle on 30 April 1936.
He was assigned to a Civil Flying School at RAF Prestwick which was run by Scottish Aviation Limited. He formally began his training on 29 June 1936. He progressed well in his theory examinations; gaining 99 percent for gunnery and 91 percent for airmanship. He flew a Tiger Moth and gained his A License at the end of July, partly because Pattle was a capable pilot and also because the Air Ministry was anxious to produce trained pilots. He completed his training within two months and was classified as above average after passing his examination with ease.
Pattle was sent to the No. 10 Elementary Flying School at Ternhill in Shropshire. He spent three months with the Initial Training Squadron and three further months with the Advanced Training Squadron. On 24 August 1936 he became an Acting Pilot Officer. In November he passed his technical exams; achieving 98 percent in aero engine mechanics and 96 percent in Meteorology while scoring 95 percent in Applied Mechanics. The basic flight training came to an end and Pattle scored 88.5 percent. His advanced training began in November 1936 on the Gloster Gauntlet. He completed his training somewhat later than planned, in March 1937, owing to bad weather which curtailed flying. He was rated as "exceptional" on his final report.
Pattle joined No. 80 Squadron RAF. The Squadron was in the midst of reforming at RAF Kenley and he was able to fly the Gloster Gladiator fighter for the first time in May 1937. In June the unit moved to RAF Debden. Here, they practiced aerial combat against RAF Bomber Command Squadrons which staged mock raids against London. During these exercises he mastered deflection shooting. Pattle developed his own air tactics. He preferred attacking at higher altitudes than his quarry; meeting head-on, then waiting for the enemy to fly by before rolling over and diving to attack from the side and rear of the enemy. He usually held his fire until very close to the target to make sure of hitting his opponent. His qualities as an officer led to him being promoted to Squadron Adjutant. A gifted flyer and natural marksman, he took pains to improve both talents, doing exercises to improve his distance vision and sharpen his reflexes. He progressed in rank with the Squadron and was duly promoted to Pilot Officer on 27 July 1937.
On 29 April 1938, Pattle accompanied the unit to Egypt which was now tasked with the defence of the Suez Canal. While in Egypt Pattle carried out ground attack duties against Arab rebels. He fired on the enemy several times as local rebellions against British rule took shape and then died away.
Second World War
North African campaign
Following the outbreak of war, the unit moved up to the Libyan border, where in August 1940, Pattle first saw action. 80 Squadron received the order to deploy one of its Flights to Sidi Barrani. "B" Flight, commanded by Pattle moved to the forward airfield.
On 4 August 1940 Pattle claimed his first victories. While escorting a Westland Lysander, Pattle and his flight engaged first a force of six Breda Ba.65/A80s of the 159a Squadriglia and six Fiat CR-32 quarters of the 160a Squadriglia (Squadron). Pattle downed a Breda but was then attacked by the escorting Fiat CR.42s. He managed to hit one, that he saw falling spinning, but later was himself attacked by another formation of Bredas and CR.42s. The Bredas dived and delivered attacks from the quarter and beam. Pattle avoided them by turning away and opening fire on the nearest target as they dived passed to gain speed, climbed, and then engaged Pattle again. The Gladiator's guns jammed one by one, leaving him without any form of defence, other than bluff attacks. After 15 minutes of battle, while avoiding one enemy fighter, he flew into the line of sight of another and was hit. Pattle's rudder controls were shot away, so he climbed to 400 ft and bailed out.
He was shot down most probably by Italian Spanish Civil War ace Tenente Franco Lucchini of 90a Squadriglia, 10° Gruppo, 4° Stormo. He landed, winded, and played dead to avoid being strafed. He started to walk towards the Allied lines and crossed the border at around midday the following day. After two days he was rescued by a detachment from the 11th Hussars, who returned him to Sidi Barrani. Pattle was annoyed, and considered being shot down by the Italians as a slur on his reputation. He was also determined not to get lost in the desert so he flew to Alexandria and bought a compass which he never flew without.
On 8 August, Pattle claimed two more victories. While leading 14 Gladiators of 80 Squadron in a surprise attack against 16 Fiat CR.42s from 9° and 10° Gruppi of 4° Stormo, over Gabr Saleh inside the Italian territory. Sergente Rosa, Dallari and Valla baled out and Sergente Tenente Querei,Sergente Gino and Poli forced landed. One pilot, Norino Renzi a Regia Aeronautica pilot since 25 December 1930 and a pre-war member of 4° Stormo’s aerobatics group, was killed. "Shorty" Graham, Pattle's wingman that day, confirmed he saw two fall to Pattle. Within a month, Pattle was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 3 September 1940.
Three days later, the Italian invasion of Egypt began. Much to Pattle's distaste, the Squadron was heavily involved in close air support operations and ordered specifically to avoid air-to-air combat unless attacked. On occasion he chanced upon Italian aircraft, but the Gladiator's limited speed denied Pattle further success. Pattle succeeded in damaging a Savoia-Marchetti S.79 bomber which emitted black smoke but dived away and Pattle could not catch it. The speed of the Savoia-Marchetti S.79 enabled it to escape the RAF fighters on a consistent basis. The unit withdrew to Habbaniyah to re-equip with Mark II machines but was then ordered to Greece after the Italian attack.
In November, the squadron was transferred to the Balkans to help the Greek Air Force against the Italian invasion on the Albanian Front. Here Pattle was to enjoy significant success. On 19 November 1940, Pattle with eight other pilots from 80 Squadron attacked Fiat CR.42s and Fiat G.50bis near the Italian airfield at Korçë. In this combat, the RAF claimed nine and two probably destroyed while 160o Gruppo Autonomo C.T. lost three Fiat CR.42s and one was damaged while 355a Squadriglia, 24o Gruppo Autonomo C.T., lost one G.50 and four pilots killed, while the RAF lost a Gladiator. Pattle claimed two CR.42s that day.
On 2 December, in the Gjirokastër area, Pattle shot down an IMAM Ro.37bis from 42a Squadriglia, 72o Gruppo O.A., and Sergente Luigi Del Manno and his observer, Tenente Michele Milano, were both killed. In the afternoon Pattle shot down another Ro.37bis from 72oGruppo O.A. near Premet, killing Capitano Gardella and his observer, Capitano Fuchs. On 4 December 1940, the RAF claimed nine Fiat CR.42s destroyed and two probables. Pattle—whose own aircraft was hit in the main fuel tank and a wing strut—claimed three CR.42s plus another and a Fiat CR.32 as probable victories. Combat records show 150° Gruppo C.T., involved in that combat, lost just two CR.42s. Tenente Alberto Triolo and Sottotenente Paolo Penna were killed in action. In view of his actions, Pattle was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 11 February 1941.
No 80 Squadron was re-equipped with new model Hawker Hurricane Mk I's on 20 February 1941. That day, Flight Lieutenant Pattle, flying Hurricane Mk I V7724, was leading a group of six Hurricanes of No. 80 Sqdn to escort 16 Blenheims light bombers (eight of No. 84 Squadron, six of No. 211 Squadron and three of No. 30 Squadron) to Berat. Fiat G.50bis from the 361a and 395a Squadriglie, 154° Autonomo Gruppo C.T. were scrambled from Berat airfield, but they were attacked by the higher performance Hurricanes. Pattle led his section straight towards four Fiat G.50s and selected the leading aircraft as his own target. It was the first time he had fired the eight guns of the Hurricane, and the G.50 exploded. The Fiat G.50 was from 154° Gruppo and it was the first of his Hurricane victories that Pattle would claim.
On the 27 (or 28 February), British pilots in Greece celebrated their biggest day of combat. No. 80 Squadron claimed 27 Italian aircraft in 90 minutes of air combat, without loss. Pattle himself claimed three Fiat CR.42s shot down in less than three minutes. Actually, Regia Aeronautica that day lost just one CR.42 (as confirmed by Italian pilot Corrado Ricci, a participant in those battles), plus four Fiat BR.20s and two G.50bis. Regia Aeronautica claimed 6 Gladiators and one Spitfire while in fact only one Gladiator of No. 112 Squadron was lost, while two Blenheims, attacked by CR.42s had to crash-land returning to base. In a previous fight south of Valona, Pattle had to return to base with the windscreen covered by oil from a shot down enemy bomber.
Pattle received a bar to his DFC on 18 March 1941, for which the citation read:
Air Ministry, 18th March, 1941.
ROYAL AIR FORCE.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy: —
Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross.
Flight Lieutenant Marmaduke Thomas St. John Pattle, D.F.C. (39029), No. 80 Squadron.
This citation referred to an action on 4 March 1941, when Pattle claimed three enemy Fiat G.50bis fighters of 24oGruppo C.T. He claimed the first, while he was flying with his No 2, on this occasion, Flying Officer Nigel Cullen. He reported that a lone G.50bis attacked him and Cullen but that he shot this down and watched it spiral into a mountainside just north of Himare (at this moment a second Fiat "jumped" Cullen (Hurricane V7288) and he was not seen again; his aircraft crashed near Himare, and the Australian ace was killed).
Pattle claimed that another lone G.50bis attacked him while flying towards Valona. After a brief combat he shot down the Fiat, that went into the sea southwest of Valona harbour. He then became involved with a third such fighter over Valona harbour and claimed to have shot this down into the sea in flames on the west side of the promontory.[N 1]
Battle for Greece
Pattle later served with 33 Squadron as Commanding officer during March and April 1941. On his first encounter with the Luftwaffe on 6 April 1941, Pattle claimed two victories over the Bf 109E over the Rupel Pass. Thereafter, details vary as to his score as all records were destroyed. According to a diary kept by one of his ground crew, he claimed eight more victories by 12 April, and destroyed two more Bf 109s on the ground, subsequently claiming five in a day on the 14th and six on the 19 April.[N 2]
Pattle claimed five victories during five sorties on 14 April becoming an Ace in a day: a Bf 109, two Junkers Ju 88s and Bf 110 were claimed as destroyed. His final victory was an Italian SM.79 in the afternoon. Actually three of these victories are not confirmed: the only Bf 109 lost was hit in the engine while strafing targets on the ground, no Bf 110 was downed that day and the only Italian trimotor bomber was shot down by AA fire over Preveza harbour. On 19 April, Pattle claimed six victories—three Ju 88s and three Bf 109s—plus one Henschel Hs 126 shared and two probables (a Ju 88 and a Bf 109). Still, at least three of this claims (two Ju 88s and a Bf 109) are not confirmed by German records and some of the other solo victories, actually, were shared with other fellow pilots. However, by this time Pattle was suffering from influenza, and his condition had worsened to a point where he was ordered him to reduce his flying and to only take off only when the air raid alarm was sounded.
Death over Piraeus Harbour
On his last combat operation, a formation of 15 Hawker Hurricanes, the entire Allied air presence in Greece at the time, participated in a prestige mission over Athens to bolster morale for the Greeks. Pattle had flown several missions that morning and was suffering from a high temperature and fever. He was seen, just before an air raid alarm, in the mess, lying on couch, shivering under the blankets. He was detailed to take a patrol over the lines at 06:00 but at 05:00, during the mission briefing, around 100 German bombers with fighter escort attacked the capital, seeking to attack Allied shipping in the harbour. He ran for the door toward a Hurricane. His Adjutant, George Rumsey, tried to stop him but Pattle was determined to fly. On the way to his fighter he narrowly avoided being killed in a strafing attack by a low-flying Bf 110. He took to the skies minutes later. He climbed and headed to Piraeus Harbour at 20,000 feet.
At this time, other Hurricanes were already in action with Bf 110s from Zerstörergeschwader (ZG 26). The Irish ace Timber Woods attacked a formation of Bf 110s positioned above him. One of the Bf 110s detached itself and dived on the RAF pilot. Pattle, instinctively knowing that the German had the advantage and the Hurricane pilot had acted foolishly, dived toward the Bf 110. He engaged the Bf 110, knowing he too would likely be followed and attacked from behind. He succeeded in shooting it down in flames, but not before it had fired at point-blank range into the Hurricane, with the same effect. Woods died when his fighter crashed into the Harbour.
Pattle avoided a German counter-attack and climbed instead of attempting a dive, since the Bf 110s could out-dive the Hurricane. He dispatched another Bf 110 and avoided a collision with a third. No RAF pilot saw Marmaduke Pattle die for certain. Jimmy Kettle, one of Pattle's unit, arrived on the scene moments after Pattle had scored his second victory. He saw a lone Hurricane diving towards the sea, its pilot slumped forward over the controls and flames engulfing the engine compartment. Two Bf 110s were still firing at it. Seizing an opportunity he engaged and shot one of them down watching it and the Hurricane hit the sea simultaneously. Kettle did not specify the fate of the German crew—the victory was his fifth, making him an ace.
Surviving records show among the German claimants were Staffelkapitän Hauptmann Theodor Rossiwall and Oberleutnant Sophus Baagoe who were credited with kills against Hurricanes, taking their scores to 12 and 14 respectively. Baagoe, would be killed in action within a month, on 14 May 1941. It cannot be known for certain which one shot down Pattle. One of Pattle's Squadron, Roald Dahl, records five Hurricanes were downed, with four pilots dying; one of those was Pattle.
Pattle is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial at El Alamein together with 3,000 other Commonwealth airmen who lost their lives in the Middle Eastern Theatre during the Second World War, and who have no known grave.
Air Marshal Sir Peter Wykeham, recalled: "Pat Pattle was a natural. Some fighter pilots did not last long because they were too kind to their aircraft; others were successful because they caned it half to death. And their victories were accompanied by burst engines, popping rivets, stretched wire, wrinkled wings. But Pat was a sensitive pilot, who considered his machine, but, somehow he got more from it than anyone else, and possibly more than it had to give."
Pattle is mentioned in Roald Dahl's second autobiography, Going Solo. Dahl was a prolific and well-known writer of children's books after the war. He flew with Pattle in Greece and called him "the Second World War's greatest flying ace."
List of victories
Recent research of his 50 claims has shown that at least 27 can be directly linked to specific Italian and German losses, while only six claims discounted as no Axis losses are recorded. Other researches dedicated to the history of German bomber units, some of which took part in the air battles against Pattle's unit, have drawn attention to the fact that 97–98 percent of all German primary records belonging the Luftwaffe have been lost either through Allied bombing or through Hermann Göring's order to destroy all records in the first week of May 1945. This makes any research into German losses difficult.
Pattle was provisionally credited with 50 air victories (and two shared), seven ( and one shared) probable victories, and 4 ( and 2 shared ) damaged. It is likely that his total was at least 40 enemy aircraft destroyed which biographer Edgar Baker has compiled through a list of semi-official records and log-books. Baker asserts that the true figure could be higher, and the inability of post-war researchers to identify an exact figure, owed to the loss or destruction of British records in the retreat from Greece or during the subsequent occupation.
Below is a list of Pattle's claims derived from a number of sources.
|1—2.||4 August 1940||Gladiator||1 x Breda Ba 65,
1 x Fiat CR 42
|Against six Ba 65s of 159 Squadriglia, 50 Stormo and six CR 42s and CR 32s of 160 Squadriglia, 50 Stormo. The Italians suffered four damaged Ba.65s while 80 Squadron as a whole claimed two Ba.65s, one CR.32 and one CR.42.|
|3—4.||8 August 1940||Gladiator||2 x Fiat CR 42||9 and 10 Gruppo lost 4 CR.42s and another 4 fighters damaged or force-landed . 80 Squadron claimed 9 and 6 probably destroyed.|
|15 September 1940||Gladiator||1 x SM-79 damaged||In combat with the S.79s of the 46 Gruppo, who lost 3 S.79s and 4 damaged. RAF fighters claimed 3 destroyed, 1 ‘unconfirmed’ and 4 damaged.|
|5—6.||19 November 1940||Gladiator||2 x Fiat CR 42s||Versus CR.42s of 160o Gruppo and G.50bis of 24 Gruppo, who lost 3 CR.42s and a G.50bis . 80 Squadron claimed 6 destroyed.|
|27 November 1940||Gladiator||Two SM-79s shared||shared between 11 other pilots|
|29 November 1940||Gladiator||2 shared S-79s damaged (with William Vale)||Both Z1007 bis of 47 Stormo|
|7—8.||2 December 1940||Gladiator||2 x Ro 37s||72 Gruppo lost three;. Sergente Luigi Del Manno and observer Tenente Michele Milano, Capitano Gardella & Capitano Fuchs and Sergente Leoni & Sergente Vescia were all killed.|
|9—11.||4 December 1940||Gladiator||3 x Fiat CR 42, 2 x Fiat CR 42 probable, 1 x CR 42 damaged||150 Gruppo lost two, Tenente Alberto Triolo and Sottotenente Paolo Penna killed, against RAF claims of seven downed.|
|12—13.||20 December 1940||Gladiator||1 x S-79, 1 x S-81||S.79 of 253a Squadriglia, 104 Gruppo BT shot down, Tenente Andre Berlingieri and his crew killed, and a S-81 of 38 Stormo was also lost. Pattle's victim was certainly Berlingieri.|
|14.||21 December 1940||Gladiator||1 x Fiat CR 42, 1 x BR 20 probable||80 Squadron claimed 8 destroyed; 160 Gruppo C.T. lost 2 aircraft and 1 one force-landed. A BR 20 of 47 Stormo was damaged.|
|28 January 1941||Gladiator||Third share x Z 1007 destroyed, half share x BR 20 probable||Z 1007 of 35 Stormo, (two bailed out), the ‘BR 20’ was probably another Z 1007 of 35 Stormo. 80 Sqn claimed 2 destroyed, 1 probable and 1 damaged.|
|15.||9 February 1941||Gladiator||1 x Fiat CR 42||versus 16 CR 42s of 150 Gruppo. 364a Squadriglia lost two aircraft (Sergente Romano Maionica and Sergente Danilo Barolo KIA) and two crash-landed. 80 Sqn. claimed 4 destroyed, 3 probables for one loss. Captain Edoardo Travaglini and Tenente Enzo Rovetta force-landed and were wounded.|
|10 February 1941||Gladiator||1 x Z 1007 damaged, 1 x BR 20 damaged||versus five Savoia-Marchetti S.79s of 104o Gruppo and five Cant Z.1007bis of 47o Stormo.|
|16.||20 February 1941||Hurricane||1 x Fiat G 50||Engaged eight of 154 Autonomo Gruppo C.T.; who lost two Fiat G.50s- Tenente Alfredo Fusco of 361a Squadriglia KIA (probably Pattle’s victim) and Tenente Livio Bassi (a 7 claim ace) of 395a Squadriglia (died of wounds on 2 April 1941 after being injured in a force-landing) and one G.50 damaged.|
|17.||27 February 1941||Hurricane||1 x Fiat CR 42||Engaged 13 CR 42s of 150 Gruppo. 150 Gruppo lost two - Sottotenente Egidio Faltoni WIA and Sergente Osvaldo Bertolaccini KIA. 80 (5) and 33(2) Sqns claimed 7 Fiats shot down.|
|18—21.||28 February 1941||Hurricane||2 x Fiat CR 42, 2 x Fiat BR 20, 1 x Fiat CR 42 probable||37 Stormo lost 3 BR 20s (and one force landed) against RAF claims of 5. 160 Gruppo lost two CR 42 against RAF claims of 13. RAF claimed 27 in total.|
|22—24.||4 March 1941||Hurricane||3 x Fiat G 50s, 1 x Fiat CR 42 probable.||versus the G.50bis and CR42s of 24o Gruppo C.T. RAF claimed 7 G.50bis destroyed, 4 probables and 4 damaged, 3 CR.42s and one probable, losing two Hurricanes and 2 pilots KIA. No G.50bis losses have been recorded, while 24o Gruppo CT. lost two CR.42s (Sottoten Nicolo Gigli, Sergente. Marcello De Salvia both KIA) and one damaged (Tennente Fransesco Rocca WIA).|
|25.||23 March 1941||Hurricane||1 x Fiat G 50, 1 x Fiat G 50 probable, 3 x Fiat G 50s on ground.||33 Sqn claimed 3 G.50bis shot down, 1 probable and 2 damaged. Italian records can’t verify these air claims. According to Italian records one Fiat G.50bis was destroyed (caught fire) on the ground.|
|26—27.||6 April 1941||Hurricane||2 x Bf 109s.||Versus eight Bf 109Es of 8./Jagdgeschwader 27. 33 Sqn claimed 5 without loss, 8./JG 27 lost four aircraft and a fifth crash-landed. Staffelkapitän Oberleutnant Arno Becker (Black 2) KIA, Leutnant Klaus Faber baled out POW (both by Pattle) and Ofw. G Fromming (Black 8) shot down & wounded. One other 109 was lost, the unnamed pilot baling out and returning to Axis lines.|
|28–29.||7 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Dornier Do 17, 1 x CR 42||Possibly Do 17 of Stab/Sturzkampfgeschwader 2, reported attacked & 15% damaged.|
|30.||9 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Dornier Do 17||Initially claimed as a Ju 88 damaged, it was the Do 17Z U5+BT of 9/Kampfgeschwader 2 flown by Unteroffizier Ulrich Sonnemann. Pattle inspected the wreckage.|
|31—32.||10 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Bf 110, 1 x Bf 109.||Two Bf 110s of 7./Lehrgeschwader 2 (both crews killed) were lost during the day, as was a Bf 109E of Stab./JG 27(Oberleunant Mardaas killed), but all apparently recorded as accidents.|
|33—34.||11 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Junkers Ju 88, 1 x Heinkel He 111||Both were single low-flying Ju 88s of III/Kampfgeschwader 30; 4D+JR of 7 staffel(Oberleutnant Hans Schaible and crew killed) and 4D+FS of 8./KG 30 (Leutnant ? Wimmer and crew killed).|
|35—36.||12 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Dornier Do 17, 1 x S-79, 1 x Bf 109 damaged.||Fliegerkorps VIII reported a loss of a Ju 88– possibly of I./Lehrgeschwader 1. Versus three S.79s, 33 Sqn claimed two destroyed. The Bf 109 Pattle claimed was part of their escort.|
|37—40.||14 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Junkers Ju 88, 1 x S-79, 1 x Bf 109, 1 x Bf 110||German records show/claim the sole Bf 109 loss was Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Gerlach of 6./JG 27, taken POW when his aircraft was hit during a strafing attack. One Ju 88 claimed, probably of II/Kampfgeschwader 51, which lost two (one crew baled out, other crashed at base) or could be L1+UH of I/LG piloted by Leutnant Gert Blanke.|
|41—46.||19 April 1941||Hurricane||3 x Junkers Ju 88, 1 x Junkers Ju 88 probable, third share Hs 126, 1 x S-79, 2 x Bf 109.||One of the Ju 88 claims can be corroborated. Pattle shot down Gruppenkommandeur (Group Commander) Hauptmann (Captain) Heinrich Hahn of I./KG 51. A Henschel Hs 126 6K+AH of l.(H)/23; Feldwebel H. Wilhus & observer KIA. 33 Sqn claimed 4 Bf 109s for one Hurricane shot down and 2 badly damaged . III/Jagdgeschwader 77 losing 3 109Es. Oberleutnant Armin Schmidt of 9./JG 77 KIA. Oberleutnant. Kurt Ubben of 8/JG 77 force-landed in Allied lines and picked up, while Oberleutnant Werner Patz crash-landed at Larissa. Stabsarzt Dr Stormer landed in a Fieseler Fi 156 to rescue them.|
|47—50.||20 April 1941||Hurricane||1 x Junkers Ju 88, 2 x Bf 109, 1 x Bf 110||both Bf 109Es of III/JG 77; Unteroffzier Fritz Borchert MIA and one other Bf 109 crash-landed at Larissa badly damaged. 15 Hurricanes of 33 & 80 Sqn. intercepted Ju 88s and entered combat vs. the Bf 110 escort of 5.ZG 26. Two Bf 110s were lost – 3U+EN (Oberleutnant Kurt Specka) and 3U+FN (Feldwebel Georg Leinfelder), and a third crash-landed severely damaged and written off. The RAF claimed 7 Bf 110s in total.|
|TOTALS||50(& 2 sh) kills||7(& 1 sh) probable|
- But no Fiat G.50s were actually lost by Italians that day while the RAF fighters claimed seven destroyed, four probables and four damaged plus three CR.42s and one probable. In fact, Regia Aeronautica losses were two Fiat CR.42s while Fiat G.50bis shot down Hurricane V7288 of Cullen and Hurricane V7801 of 24-year-old Warrant Officer Harry J. Goodchild DFM (RAF No. 517435) that fell down in flames.
- These claims may be a considerable overestimate, and may have indicated the claims of the squadron as a whole.
- Shores 1983, p. 82.
- Baker 1962, p. 147.
- Spick 1999, p .106.
- Thomas 2002, p. 91.
- Baker 1965, pp. 11-12.
- Baker 1965, pp. 12-14.
- Baker 1965, pp. 15-24.
- Baker 1965, pp. 25-26.
- Baker 1965, pp. 25-26.
- Baker 1965, p. 26.
- The London Gazette: . 15 September 1936. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- Baker 1965, p. 27.
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