Biplane italian fighter ace:
Raffaele Marzocca

<versione italiana >

Raffaele Marzocca (Barletta 21 Feb. 1916 - Rome 14 May 1997) served in the 74a Squadriglia, 23° Gruppo, 3° Stormo. This unit was equipped with Fiat CR.42s.

When the war started on 10 June 1940, the 3° Stormo was sent to the French border to take part in the attacks on southern France.

Marzocca took part in the big attack on French airfields on 15 June.

In July 1940 the 23° Gruppo moved to Sicily and took part in the attacks on Malta.
On 9 July the 23° Gruppo became Autonomo and the first escort missions over Malta was flown on 12 July.

On the early morning on 28 November 1940 British ships very sighted and six Ju87Rs of the 97° Gruppo B.a'T. (a unit which had recently replaced the 96° Gruppo in Sicily) headed out towards Malta and the ships. The dive-bombers were covered by sixteen CR.42s of the 23° Gruppo. Over the target the pilots of these fighters claimed four Hurricanes shot down, two confirmed and two probables. Six pilots of the 70a Squadriglia claimed the former jointly, while the other was claimed by Marzocca, the two probables being credited to Capitano Guido Bobba and Tenente Lorenzo Lorenzoni of the 74a Squadriglia. No British account of such an engagement has been found recorded although it is feasible there is some confusion between this action and other combats on this day.

Early in the afternoon on the same day two squadriglie of the 30° Stormo BT despatched ten S.79s over the ships near the harbours. The bombers were escorted by twelve CR.42s from the 23° Gruppo and ten MC.200s of the 6° Gruppo. For once Malta's Hurricanes were up in time and were able to dive from 5,000 feet above through the Italian fighter escort on to the bombers of which one was shoot down (by Sergeant Robertson) and another damaged. It is also believed that Flight Lieutenant John Greenhalgh claimed a CR.42 shoot down during this combat, while two more were claimed damaged by other 261 Squadron pilots, though possibly the first claim related to Sergente Maggiore Arnaldo Sala's aircraft on an earlier sortie. On this occasion only one Hurricane was claimed shot down by the 23° Gruppo, Marzocca making the claim, while a second was claimed by the gunners of the 30° Stormo's bombers. Two more Hurricanes were claimed as 'probables' by the pilots of the 23° Gruppo jointly. It seems that no British fighters were actually lost or damaged on this occasion.

After the Italy surrendered to the Allies on 8 September 1943 he joined the Italiana Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) and I o Gruppo Caccia.

In November 1944 Italian pilots were training on Bf109s. During this time Maggiore Adriano Visconti was contacted by the OKL, which proposed the training of a group of Italian pilots on the Mel63 Komet in preparation for the probable allocation of this rocket-powered interceptor to the Italians. This was an irresistible offer and Visconti asked for volunteers. Only single men were allowed since the training was so hazardous and seventeen pilots were chosen.


The pilots involved were: Capitano Giuseppe Robetto, Tenente Gian Mario Zuccarini, Tenente Lucio Stramese, Tenente Giuseppe Biron, Sottotenente Aurelio Morandi, Sottotenente Raffaele Marzocca, Sottotenente Franco Storchi, Sottotenente Roberto Di Lollo, Maresciallo Luigi Jellici, Maresciallo Silvio Girolami, Maresciallo Danilo Billi , Maresciallo Romano Spazzoli, Sergente Maggiore Gino Pizzati, Sergente Maggiore Mario Veronesi , Sergente Maggiore Giampiero Svanini, Sergente Maggiore Isonzo Baccarini and Sergente Dante Toselli.


Under the command of Capitano Giuseppe Robetto, Second-in-Command of I° Gruppo Caccia, they transferred during early December to Rangsdorf (Berlin) where they were to train on gliders between 5 to 30 December. The gliders used were the two-seater Kranich, the single-seater Grunau and the Habicht 14, 8 and 6 (the number indicates the wing-span in meters). The Habicht 6 was similar in handling to the Me163 during un-powered flight.

After almost three hours of gliding, the Italians were transferred from Rangsdorf to Liegnitz were they finally saw the Komet for the first time. However bad weather and the Russian advance didn't allow any of the Italian pilots to ever fly the Me163 and the pilots returned to Italy at the beginning of February 1945.

Marzocca ended the war with 2 biplane victories.

Claims:
Date
Number
Type
Result
Plane type
Serial no.
Locality
Unit
 
28/11/40
1
Hurricane (a)
Destroyed
Fiat CR.42
?
Malta
74a Squadriglia
28/11/40
1
Hurricane (b)
Destroyed
Fiat CR.42
?
Malta
74a Squadriglia

 

Biplane victories: 2 destroyed.

TOTAL: 2 destroyed.
(a) Regia Aeronautica claimed two destroyed and two probables on this occasion but no British account of this engagement has been found recorded although it is feasible there is some confusion between this action and others of this day.
(b) It seems that no British fighters were actually lost or damaged on this occasion.

 


Source: Håkans aviation page