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Name: Francesco Baracca
Medal for Military Valor, 1 Gold, 3 Silver
Military Cross (MC)
Croix de Guerre with Palms
Officer's Cross of the Order of the Crown
Francesco Baracca
Country: Italy
Rank: Maggiore Baracca's Insignia
Units: 1a, 70a, 91a
Victories: 34
Born: 09 May 1888
Place of Birth: Lugo di Romagna
Killed In Action: 19 June 1918 Killed In Action
Place of Death: Near Mount Montello
 
 
The son of a nobleman, Francesco Baracca, Italy's greatest ace, entered the Scuola Militare at Modena in October 1907. Less than a year later, he was an officer in the Royal Piedmont Cavalry. In April 1912, Baracca and other cavalry officers were ordered to Reims, France for flight training. By the time the Kingdom of Italy declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 24 May 1915, Baracca was an experienced pilot and instructor. Flying Nieuport two-seaters along the Udine Front, his first attempts to shoot down enemy aircraft were frustrated by frequent machine gun jams. With a Nieuport 11, he scored the first Italian victory of the war on 7 April 1916, forcing down an Austrian Aviatik with an accurate burst of machine gun fire. His final victory, an Austrian Albatros D.III, came just three days prior to his death. Shot down and killed while strafing enemy lines, his body was recovered a few days later near the burnt out wreckage of his SPAD VII. When found, Baracca was holding a pistol in his hand and had a bullet hole in his forehead. Whether he was shot down by ground fire, chose suicide over a fiery death in the cockpit or was killed attempting to resist capture will never be known.

On the ground and in the air, Baracca's aircraft were easily recognized by the prancing black horse painted on the fuselage. In 1923, Baracca's mother, Countess Paolina, suggested Enzo Ferrari use her son's emblem on his now famous line of automobiles.
Evening World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Tuesday, 24 June 1918, page 1
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday, 2 July 1918, page 2
The Evening News, San Jose, California, Friday, 5 July 1918, page 6
 
Opponents
#11 Austria-Hungary Julius Busa
#25 Austria-Hungary Rudolf Szepessy-Sokoll
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 07 Apr 1916 1720 1a Nieuport 11 Hansa-Brandenburg C.I (FTL) Medeuzza
2 16 May 1916 1a   Lohner B.VII Gorizia
3 23 Aug 1916 1a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 1 Gorizia/Carso
4 16 Sep 1916 0930 70a   Lloyd C.III 2 Staro Stelo
5 25 Nov 1916 1125 70a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Chiarzò
6 01 Jan 1917 1600 70a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Castagnevizza
7 11 Feb 1917 abt 1200 70a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 3 Selvis Ozzano
8 26 Apr 1917 1100 70a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 4 S of Martino del Carso
9 01 May 1917 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Nebresina
10 10 May 1917 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Vertoiba
11 13 May 1917 1015 91a SPAD VII Hansa-Brandenburg C.I (129.20) Monte Corada
12 20 May 1917 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I E of Plava/Globua
13 03 Jun 1917 0930 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Plava/Monte Cucco
14 07 Jul 1917 2030 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Castagnevizza
15 31 Jul 1917 0630 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Oslavia/Peuma
16 03 Aug 1917 0950 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 5 Wochein Val di Sava
17 19 Aug 1917 0725 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I NE of Selo
18 01 Sep 1917 1940 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Ternova
19 06 Sep 1917 1830 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 6 Monte Sabotino
20 22 Oct 1917 pm 91a   DFW C.V Ravne
21 22 Oct 1917 pm 91a   DFW C.V Chiapovano
22 25 Oct 1917 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 7 Panovizza
23 26 Oct 1917 1115 91a   DFW C.V 8 Clabuzzano
24 26 Oct 1917 1200 91a   DFW C.V S of Pietro Natisone
25 06 Nov 1917 1030 91a   Albatros D.III Fossalta
26 06 Nov 1917 1100 91a   DFW C.V 8 Godega/S of Urbano
27 07 Nov 1917 1145 91a   DFW C.V 8 Near Orsago
28 15 Nov 1917 1230 91a   DFW C.V Istrana
29 23 Nov 1917 1500 91a   Albatros D.III Falzè di Piave
30 07 Dec 1917 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Monte Kaberlaba
31 03 May 1918 1100 91a   Hansa-Brandenburg C.I (369.28) 9 Grave di Papadopoli
32 22 May 1918 0950 91a   Albatros D.III Borgo Malanotte
33 15 Jun 1918 1230 91a SPAD XIII Hansa-Brandenburg C.I E of Saletto
34 15 Jun 1918 1245 91a SPAD XIII Albatros D.III S of Biagio di Collalto

1 Shared with Fulco Ruffo di Calabria
2 Shared with Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Luigi Olivari
3 Shared with Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, Gorini, Poli
4 Shared with Gorini
5 Shared with Flavio Baracchini
6 Shared with Giovanni Sabelli
7 Shared with Pier Piccio
8 Shared with Giorgio Pessi
9 Shared with Guido Nardini
 
Books
Above the War Fronts
by Norman L. R. Franks, Russell Guest, Gregory Alegi / Hardcover / Grub Street (September 1997)
 
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