Print size is 12×18″
There are 750 limited edition prints in this series.
Limited Edition, Signed by Dal Corradini. $60.00
All signatures by both the Aviator and the Artist is done in soft graphic pencil.
Shipping $6.00 anywhere in the world.
Poster Print $14.95
Poster prints are autographed by the artist only.
By Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
Dalmazio Corradini joined the Italian Air Force at the age of 19 in 1938. His dreams of flying as a young boy came true as he took his first flights over the snow covered mountains of Italy and was able to view like an eagle the green valleys of his home land. He told me in our interviews that the Mediterranean was a dazzling mixture of emerald greens and shades of light and deep blues.
Corridini joined the Italian Air Force before world war two Started. After the war started Dal flew with the 228 Squadron flying the above Savoia Marchetti S. 79-II and other Italian tri-motor bombers. Their mission was to destroy English shipping in the Mediterranean. The English were sending large convoys into the Mediterranean Sea to supply their war efforts against the German and Italian Armies in North Africa. The Italian Squadrons were very effective in destroying millions of tons of shipping and war supplies.
Dal scored many times against English ships flying the SM-79 armed with torpedoes and bombs. He was even able to hit one of the escorting English battleships on one mission with little effect.
Dal and his squadron were sent to Naples for training in the SM-79. Here they trained with full size torpedoes with dummy warheads against Italian ships.
The SM-79 was easily transformed from a civilian airliner to a torpedo bomber with little conversion required. Under the fuselage two brackets were mounted that fit the torpedo about one third back from the tip of its nose then another bracket another third of its length. In the center of the torpedo a cable held the missile tightly against the brackets. This cable would also be used to release the missal. The cable at first was actually a rope that was literally cut on the inside of the aircraft by one of the crew using a small axe when the pilot would yell back to them to “cut the rope”! This caused the torpedo to drop free form the aircraft.
The use of torpedoes was more effective against the English convoys than bombs. With torpedo attacks the pilot had the opportunity to turn away after releasing his weapon avoiding gun fire from the ships, where as with bombs, you had to fly directly over the ship exposing the bottom of your aircraft to anti aircraft fire.
The English were continuously bringing supplies to their army in North Africa. Early in the African War Rommel’s German Army and the Italian Army were pushing back the English and their allies. Success would be quicker for the Axis armies if war supplies could be stopped to the Allies. This was to be Dal Corradini’s job.
The war in North Africa was a test for both the Allied and Axis armies because all war materials, fuel, food and other supplies had to be brought in on ships. The Mediterranean was the traffic routs for both warring armies.
Dal and his squadron practiced for four weeks in dropping their torpedoes from the correct height, which was 50 meters above the water at 280 to 300 kilometers per hour, and from a distance of 500 to 600 meters, or one third of a mile from the target.
The altitude and speed of the aircraft was essential for the delivery of the torpedo. If the aircraft was too high, then the torpedo would nosedive into the water and descend straight to the bottom. The rudder on the torpedo was set and would not change.
The depth of the torpedo was based on the adjustments of the aneroid valve, which controlled the depth of the torpedoes course. If the torpedo was dropped correctly from the aircraft at the correct speed, it would leave the aircraft and descend at approximately 30 degrees to the water. At this angle the torpedo would go to the depth of about 6 to 9 meters in a slow arch down and then back to the top of the water and pop out in a porpoise fashion. The torpedo would then nose back into the water and go only about 3 to 4 meters down and back up slightly and then stabilize at two meters under the water and remain level on to is destination.
The aiming of the torpedo from the cockpit of the SM-79 was a visual guestimation that was perfected with much practice. They were taught that the length of the wake of a ship could estimate the speed of the ship.
If the wake of the ship was one half the length of the ship then they could determine the ships speed to be approximately 10 knots. If the wake of the ship was twice the length of the ship, then the estimated speed was to be about 20 knots. This determined the distance to release the torpedo from the airplane to for it to intercept the ship.
The altitude and speed of the aircraft would guarantee the correct delivery of the torpedo into the water. The pilot would aim his aircraft and torpedo at the ship with a hunting technique called “leading” the target. If the eye of the pilot was good then the ship and torpedo would be at the same spot at the same time. Dal was a very good hunter.
Attacking a ship with a torpedo is much like shooting a bullet from a single shot gun. You have one shot and you have to make your shot count. Because the ship that you are attacking is certainly going to try to shoot you down.
Dal and the other pilots practiced in training their eyes to determine distance to a target. One of their methods was very basic and was done on dry land in the local village. They used the local church and its steeple as a visual guide. They would stand at the church and walk 500 and 600 meters away turn and look back and look at the church. This gave them the visual recognition of distance to the object and its size in their mind.
After doing this several times they trained their eye to get the feel for the distance and the size reduction of the building and the height of the steeple giving them strong guide lines to work with mentally. They would also have flying practice runs on their ships in the harbor. This is a successful approach to hunting. Once you have your distance and lead on your target down you have an advantage. You also must add that the hunter needs nerves of steal to remain calm as he tracks his target and gently squeezes the trigger. Remember, that shooting at a rabbit or a dear, is not like shooting at a ship that is franticly trying to shot you down.
The Italian Air Force was not ready for the war when it started and had not developed aiming devices for their torpedo bombers or their high altitude bombers. Dal and the other pilots devised their own torpedo aiming device from wood in the shape of a horse shoe and two nails. This device could be put on the dash of the console in front of the pilot before the attack and then be taken back down after the combat. The aiming system was both elementary and genius.
After six weeks of practice Corridini and the others in his squadron finished their training with a successful simulated attack on the Italian light cruiser “Masa”.
To read how Dal was finally shot down and saved the lives of his crew please consider buying one of my prints. The text of the print is in both English and Italian. Dal was truly a great aviator and warrior. For me to have met Dal and being able to work with him was a true honor. Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette.
Sadly I must add that Dal passed away on May 10, 2009.
What a great man, a good father, husband, patriot, you could never ask for more from anyone. I must add, a very brave man to have flown the S.79 in combat, save his crewmen and even keep one from drowning with the flesh almost burned off his fingers.
I am honored to have known him.
Dal signing the original.
Dal and the artist.
Another Squadron with the same color scheme.
My print was used in the March 2005 issue of Aviation History magazine.