S.M.Sl’s, however, were restricted to supply and night bombing. The 56° Gruppo, operating from Viterbo, deployed its S.M.Sl’s in the Balkans (Albania, Yugoslavia and Greece). In January 1942 the 18” Gruppo was transferred to Orvieto, the 247 Squadriglia being assigned to C.S.I.R. units based at Otopeni (Bucharest) airport, while the other two squadriglie were based at Stalino in Russia. The tragic (for the Axis) winter of 1942/43 saw enormous losses on both fronts and the Reggio Aeronautica managed to save only a few of its old S.M.SI’s. Before the retreat of the C.S.I.R. on the Russian front. Operation C.3 was launched against Malta and to the S.M.SI's of the 18° Stormo was assigned the task of landing on Malta’s airfields to deliver troops of “Lathe Spezia" Division. The offensive against El Alamein prevented the execution of Operation C.3 and the S.M.81's were called upon instead to transport the “Folgore” Division in Egypt and “Lathe Spezia” Division in the Sirtica region. On the North African front the S.M.81's continued to do useful work, but at the end of December 1942 a complete S.M.81 unit at Lampedusa was lost as a result of attacks by Beaufighters and Bostons. Notwithstanding their very low speed—the PipistrelU were also dubbed “Lumace” (Slugs)—the S.M.81's took part in the evacuation of Tunisia: in 1942 the aircraft of the 18° Stormo Trasporti made 4,105 flights (10,860 hours) transporting 28,613 troops and 4-5 million pounds of cargo. In Russia, the squadriglie of the Regia Aeronautica were withdrawn to Odessa airport at the end of February 1943 and the 245 returned to Italy the other units remained at Odessa until April, 1943. During this period the supply missions to Pantel- laria and Lampedusa were made almost exclusively by the S.M.8I's, as they were the only aircraft able to operate safely from the island’s airfields. Until the surrender of Sicily, the S.M.Sl’s made several night nights, being parked underground during daylight at Pantellaria. A task undertaken by the S.M.81 which has still to be mentioned was that of towing gliders in 1942 a special assault glider unit was formed, mainly equipped with Gotha and D.F.S. machines. At the Armistice, only four S.M.SI's were among the aircraft in southern Italy with co-belligerent forces. Several S.M.Sl’s were captured by the Germans, most of them belonging to the 18° Stormo at Orvieto. Two transport Groups were formed under the German command’s instructions and were based at Orio al Serio (Bergamo). In January 1944 the“ Terraciano” Group, with S.M.81’s in the transport role, was transferred by rail to Germany where a number of Pipistrelli were awaiting, completely overhauled. It is not known whether the aircraft were fitted with German armament. This unit had operated in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria in support of German troops on the Eastern front. The“ Terrac- ciano” Group was then based at Goslar alongside another Italian Group—“ Trabucchi”—now operating more modern S.M.82's. The S.M.Sl’s of Repubblica Sociale Italiana operating on the Eastern front had Luftwaffe insignia and the tricolour Italian insignia on the forward fuselage. A few other S.M.8I's remained in Italy with liaison squadrons.< Giorgio Aposlolo, 1967 SPECIF I CAT ION Data from Technical Manual C.A .205 of the Ministcro dell'Acronautica, issued 1936, applicable to the 5th production series of 36 aircraft in the serial block M M 20742— M M 20777, powered by Alfa Romeo 125 RC .35 and Alfa Romeo 126 R C .34 engines. Dimensions: Wing span, 78-74 ft. length, 60-25 ft. height, 14-33 ft. mean chord, 12 ft. 7 ins. wing area, 999 sq. ft. E n gin es:P R.X. C .35 A.R .125 R C .35 G.-R. K .14 A.R .126 R C .34 Take-off power Empty weight ...Loaded weight... Climb to: 3,280 ft. ...9,840 ft. ........................16,400 ft...................................... Max. speed at: 3,280 ft. 9,840 ft............................... 16,400 ft............................... 670 h.p. 14,850 lbs. 22,167 lbs. 2 min. 27 secs. 10 min. 25 min. 200 m.p.h. 198 m.p.h. 181 m.p.h. 680 h.p. 14,991 lbs. 23,157 lbs. 4 min. 15 secs. 11 min. 48 secs. 20 min. 36 secs. 174 m.p.h. 198 m.p.h. 202 m.p.h. 650 h.p. 16,093 lbs. 24,262 lbs. 2 min. 11 secs. 8 min. 28 secs. 14 min. 186 m.p.h. 205 m.p.h. 205 m.p.h. 780 h.p. 14,991 lbs. 23,157 lbs. 3 min. 5 secs. 9 min. 56 secs. 19 min. 16 secs. 177 m.p.h. 200 m.p.h. 209 m.p.h. Stalling speed: 52/54 m.p.h. Take-off run: 623/754 ft. Range, at 14,763 ft. with 4,400 lb. fue: :1,243 miles. PRINT DINE ENGLAND <:Profile Publications Ltd., P.O. Box 26, 1a North Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, England by George Falkner &Sons Ltd., forM cCorquodale City Printing Division, London. U.S. 2nd Class Mailing Rates applied for. 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