Under the command of Major Bonzano, the 20° Gruppo was transferred from Ciampino Sud to Ursel in Belgium in September 1940. There it was incorporated into the Corpo Aereo Italiano and JG 56 of the Luftwaffe. The 20° Gruppo comprised Squadrons 351, 352 and 353 on Fiat G.50bis. For seven months, the 20° Gruppo operated over the English Channel, but without any significant incidents. In April 1941, the Gruppo was finally transferred to North Africa, together with its Fiat G.50bis, which were, however, already obsolete by then.
Heavily weathered in Belgium climate
Historical photographs show the G.50bis of the 20°Gruppo with extensively chipped paint. As far as researched, the chipping, which occurs mainly in the fuselage area behind the cockpit, was caused by tarpaulins used to protect the open cockpits. Mechanical abrasion, humidity and the low temperatures compared to Italy must have been the reason for the flaking paint.
I am not a professional historian and have neither access to first-hand sources nor to reports from witnesses. All information and data summarised in this article are based on the following sources. If any information is incorrect or misrepresented, please let me know.
Fiat G.50bis Freccia
20º Gruppo, 56º Stormo, November 1944, Ursel, Belgium
Kit: Mark 1
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