CR-42 Falco

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47 Sqn). His 17th, and final, ‘victory’ was the Hurricane of ace Flt Lt Ken Driver, which he almost shot down on 10 February. Thus up to now it has been possible to identify 15 of Visintini’s 17 victories. The two missing ones could be Gladiators, probably over Gallabat in the afternoon of 6 November 1940. At this stage Visintini was promoted to capitano on the strength of his record in combat and recommended for the gold medal for bravery ‘a vivente’ (not posthumously). This was a rare recognition during wartime.

As recounted earlier, No. 3 Sqn RAAF and No. 1 Sqn SAAF also soldiered on with the biplane fighters that they had received from the RAF’s Egyptian aircraft depots in the summer of 1940. Despite the presence of many South African aces in the ranks of the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, the SAAF fighter force had totally disappeared in the interwar years. Indeed, it was not until 1936 that fighters were once again seen over the skies of the Union in the form of seven Hawker Fury IIs. In the meantime only a handful of South Africans had been able to participate in the SAAF’s pilot training course, most of them, like Thomas Pattle, having to move to Britain to fulfil their desire to fly.

Pilot’s seat 36. Control column and spade grip 37. Gun firing button 38. Brake lever 39. 303-in. machine guns (x 2) 40. Engine cylinder head temperature gauge 41. Ammunition feed chutes (x 2) 42. Link ejection chutes (x 2) 43. Flaps control lever 44. Signalling switch box 45. com as the moral that it was necessary to maintain continuous offensive action against the enemy. Even flying skills and marksmanship were considered of lesser importance. Training had to instil in pupils the maximum possible self-confidence and conviction of their superiority as fighting pilots.

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