The death of Italo Balbo
Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:40
Posted 26 January 2004 - 02:02
It was always my understanding that it was a combination of happenstance or good/bad fortune that led to Balbo's death. Mussolini and his minions certainly did not shed many tears at his death.
Posted 26 January 2004 - 18:21
Posted 26 January 2004 - 22:44
Posted 26 January 2004 - 23:16
This evening on Channel 4, I heard a Spitfire pilot describe how he was forced to crash-land having been hit by British AA fire.
Posted 26 January 2004 - 23:59
Bombers were to be flown in vast formations and were to be capable of defending themselves and outpacing available interceptors. In his trans-Atlantic flight Balbo proved that mass aircraft formation flying could be achieved over long distances - the inference being that by providing mutual self-defence such bomber formations could in future fight their way through to any target.
On June 28, 1940, as has already been described only 18 days after Mussolini took Italy into what became World War 2, Balbo was flying in a 'twin-ship' formation to Tobruk's T2 aerodrome on a morale-raising mission to inspect troops. His Savoia-Marchetti SM79 twin-engined transport/bomber apparently approached from seaward shortly after a raid by RAF Bristol Blenheim twin-engined bombers on T2 landing ground. That raid had destroyed a Fiat CR42 fighter on the ground, damaged several others - plus several CR32s and Ro37s, killed six airmen and wounded three pilots. The garrison's blood was up - and when Balbo appeared in a twin-engined aircraft, kiting in towards Tobruk harbour...well, he received the full benefit.
RAF Air Chief Marshal Longmore later wrote: "...as a mark of respect I had a suitably worded note dropped over the frontier by an aircraft on reconnaissance. In due course a reply was dropped by an Italian machine from my Italian opposite number expressing 'Deep thanks for your message of sympathy'. Perhaps it was just as well this colourful personality did not live to see the humiliation of his country in defeat...".
Only 18 days into the North African war, a sense of chivalry still survived. It would soon became another casualty...
Posted 27 January 2004 - 22:46
Posted 28 January 2004 - 09:53
Originally posted by David J Jones
What a pity todays politicians do not charge off into battle.....................
Come back Guy Fawkes, your country needs you.
Posted 28 January 2004 - 17:19
Originally posted by Doug Nye
His Savoia-Marchetti SM79 twin-engined transport/bomber apparently approached from seaward shortly after a raid by RAF Bristol Blenheim twin-engined bombers on T2 landing ground. [...] The garrison's blood was up - and when Balbo appeared in a twin-engined aircraft, kiting in towards Tobruk harbour...well, he received the full benefit.
Doug, I hope you won't blame me if I pick up a small, but still important point here - as we use to do when dealing with racing history.
The Savoia-Marchetti SM79 was a three-engined bomber.
How am I sure?
Well, those were Alfa Romeo 126 RC 32 (or RC 34 ; Piaggio engines were also used)
Anyone interested can look at: http://www.xs4all.nl...s/savosm79.html
Posted 28 January 2004 - 19:10
Posted 29 January 2004 - 13:20
Posted 29 January 2004 - 16:15
Originally posted by Patrick Italiano
The real wonder is how they actually managed to hit Balbo's aircraft!
Excuse me if I laugh less, since I admire many traits of Balbo's personality.
He was notoriously incorruptible, to say one, and had a couple "smart" guys that tried to increase their sales to government arrested in his office. Not common, in my country.
Anyway , Balbo's aircraft was on landing, so slow and low. Easy prey. Also, his personal pilot was not in the plane that day; some people that knew him told me that could have made a difference, although, with the whole of Tobruk base and Nave San Giorgio AA shooting at a single plane I personally doubt it.
Posted 30 January 2004 - 21:26
I wonder who it was I am getting confused with, but being still away from my books etc., perhaps somebody else can tell me who it was that von Ribbentrop had murdered. I'm fairly sure it was a prominent Italian political figure.
Posted 30 January 2004 - 21:55
Posted 03 October 2009 - 20:03
The quasi-Mille Miglia of 1939 - more properly known as the Litoreana Libica - was run along the tarmac coast road from Tobruk to Tripoli, which had been built on the orders of Balbo and was a part of the Italian grand plan to populate Libya with colonists. It was also, of course, a handy strategic artery in time of war: once you crossed into Tunisia it apparently became not much more than a dirt track!
This road was known as the Via Balbia (or Via Balbo), in honour of its creator. It had been officially opened by Mussolini in 1937 (when a shorter Litoreana Libica had been run) but I'm struggling to find a reference to exactly when it was so named. Comando Supremo - as referenced above by Don - claims that he "pompously" named it after himself, but was that the case? He was certainly a showman, but would Il Duce have tolerated such a piece of self-aggrandization from a man who had been effectively exiled to North Africa when his views began to diverge from official policy? Or was the name only applied after his death?
Edited by Vitesse2, 05 October 2009 - 10:18.
Posted 03 October 2009 - 21:58
Another trivia thingy - while searching a Dutch newspaper database I found http://kranten.kb.nl...3...1&ZyEntry=1 column 5 (from March 4, 1936)
Translation goes a bit like this:
One knows that relations between Mussolini and Balbo are not too good. This is illustrated by the following story that the Evening Standard heard from Rome:
Romano, Mussolini's youngest son is still in school. An inspector visits the school and the teacher takes the opportunity to show how his pupil performs.
He asks: "Romano, who is the immortal son of Italy?"
Without hesitation the pupil answers: "Marshall Balbo".
The teacher looks surprised, is silenced for a while and then asks: "Why marshall Balbo?"
The answer is swift: every time my father hears Marshall Balbo speak, my father always says: I don't think he will ever end."
Edited by scheivlak, 03 October 2009 - 22:00.
Posted 05 October 2009 - 19:19
Still haven't figured out when the road was renamed though! Early references from 1937 call it the Strada Litoranea (Coastal Highway), but I can't find out when it became known as the Via Balbo/Via Balbia.