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Guido Masiero
Born 24 August 1895
Died 24 November 1942
Place of birth Padova, Italy
Allegiance Italy
Service/branch Flying service
Rank Tenente
Unit 26a Squadriglia, 103a Squadriglia, 86a Squadriglia, 91a Squadriglia, 78a Squadriglia, 3a Sez SVA
Awards 3 silver and 1 bronze awards of Medal for Military Valor, Belgian Croix de Guerre

Capitano Guido Masiero was a World War I flying ace credited with five confirmed and ten unconfirmed aerial victories.[1] He was a prewar lancer who used his civilian engineering expertise to wangle a transfer to aviation duty on 1 February 1915.

Early life and serviceEdit

Guido Masiero was born in Padova, Kingdom of Italy on 24 August 1895. His was a middle-class family. He studied engineering before joining the 5th "Novara" Lancers on 4 December 1913.[2] He used his technical knowledge as grounds for a transfer to aviation.[3]

World War I aviation serviceEdit

Masiero began aviation schooling on 1 February 1915. On 1 August, he was rated a qualified pilot on the MF aircraft.[2] He completed pilot's training and was assigned as a sergente to 7a Squadriglia (later to be redesignated 26a Squadriglia)[3] reaching the front on 15 October 1915. He qualified as a Voisin pilot on 15 November.[2] In December 1915 Masiero began to fly a Voisin for 26a Squadriglia. He flew 58 reconnaissance sorties over the Carso and sometimes returned with battle damage.[3] At some point prior to February 1917, Guido Masiero was commissioned as a sottotenente.[2]

After the squadron was disbanded on 4 March 1917, Masiero was hastily reassigned to 103a Squadriglia at Brindisi.[3] He then transferred to the Nieuport training unit at Malpensa on 14 May 1917. On 29 July, he was promoted to tenente. Next, on 10 September, he was forwarded to the 86a Squadiglia[2] at Ponte San Pietro[3] for further training on the new Ansaldo SVAs. As the SVAs were still under development, Masiero was sent to 91a Squadiglia on 27 October 1917.[2] This was cut short by demands for all pilots to fight in the Battle of Caporetto; Masiero arrived on 2 November 1917 with 78a Squadriglia.[3]

On 7 November, Masiero staked his first victory claim, but it went unconfirmed.[1][2] He then joined with Mario Fucini, Razzi, and Antonio Chiri for his first official victory on the 13th. Six days later, he scored a solo win,[2][3] but his second claim on the 19th went unconfirmed, as did one submitted for the following day.[1][2] It wasn't until 10 December that he scored again,[2][3] to balance out his count of confirmed and unconfirmed wins at three each. Four days later, another claim went unconfirmed.[1][2] Finally, on 26 December 1917, in two separate fights, Masiero became an ace, sharing both victories with a number of other Allied pilots.[2][3]

Masiero was promoted to Tenente from Sottotentente on 17 January 1918.[3] He would go on to make six more victory claims during the first six months of 1918, to no avail.[1] On 29 March 1918, he would leave 78a Squadriglia for posting to 3a Sezione SVA to fly the new Ansaldo SVAs.[3] A review committee meeting immediately postwar disallowed at least six previously confirmed victories, leaving Masiero's tally at five confirmed.[2]

Post World War IEdit

In December 1918, Guido Masiero was assigned to the Experimental Directorate of the Italian Air Force. He would spend a year there before his military discharge.[2] Masiero had built a reputation for both piloting and technical expertise that saw him part of his country's postwar aviation mission to France, as well as participating in the ELTA Aeronautical Exhibition in Amsterdam. On 14 February 1920 he was one of the pilots for 11 planes taking off on a long distance flight from Rome to Tokyo. Masiero was second and last finisher to Arturo Ferrarin, through the expedient of an en route train trip from Delhi to Calcutta to pick up a spare Ansaldo SVA.[3]

On 16 July 1935, Capitaino Masiero was recalled from the air force reserve to serve in his nation's Ethiopian Campaign in the 20th Stormo. He flew both ground attack and bombing missions in Romeo Ro.1s, IMAM Ro.37s, and Caproni Ca 101s. He returned to Italy in November 1936, having served until the 18th. He won a Silver Medal for Military Valor for this campaign. After returning to Italy, he served in two ground attack units, the 5th and 50th Stormos.[2][3]

In 1937, Masiero volunteered to serve in the Spanish Civil War under the nom de guerre of "Guido Magoni".[3] He arrived in Spain in October 1937.[2] This time, he flew combat in a Breda Ba.65[3] until April 1938. Following this stint of service, which ended on 31 May 1938,[2] Masiero joined Breda as chief test pilot; he also designed two planes that were never built.[3]

When Italy entered World War II, Masiero volunteered to fly a Junkers Ju 87 in combat, but was refused. It was felt that his services as test pilot to Breda were more important to Italy's war effort. Ironically, Masiero was killed while test piloting. While flying in a heavy fog in a Macchi C.202 fighter on 24 November 1942, he collided with Francesco Agello, killing them both.[4]

Honors and AwardsEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Aerodrome [1] Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 Franks et al 1997, pp. 144-145.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 Varriale 2009, p. 61.
  4. Varriale 2009, p. 62.
  5. Note: The citation for one of the belated awards referred to seven aerial victories, including an observation balloon.

ReferencesEdit

  • Franks, Norman; Guest, Russell; Alegi, Gregory. Above the War Fronts: The British Two-seater Bomber Pilot and Observer Aces, the British Two-seater Fighter Observer Aces, and the Belgian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Fighter Aces, 1914–1918: Volume 4 of Fighting Airmen of WWI Series: Volume 4 of Air Aces of WWI. Grub Street, 1997. ISBN 1-898697-56-6, ISBN 978-1-898697-56-5.
  • Varriale, Paolo. Italian Aces of World War 1. Osprey Pub Co, 2009. ISBN 978-1-84603-426-8.

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