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Original Italian WWII Air Ministry Flight Log, Peaked Visor and Photographs for Lieutenant Bruno Vesselizza, 171st Squadron R.M. Regia Marina Navy Command

Regular price $1,895.00

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Available. Now this is something you don’t encounter often! This is a WWII Air Ministry flight log for Tenente Bruno Vesselizza. Vesselizza served as a pilot with the 171st Squadron of the Regia Marina, Royal Navy command. According to the logbook, he appears to have been serving with this command and was stationed in Taranto, a port-city on Italy’s south-east coast. This location is important to note due to the significant battle that took place there, one that served as an inspiration for the Japanese attack at the US Naval Base Pearl Harbor!

A pilot logbook is not just a record of time, it is the documentation of a pilot’s entire life in an aircraft. The Pilot Logbook is as old as the first airline. It all started with the Wright Brothers, the aviation pioneers credited with inventing, building and flying the world’s first successful motor operated airline. They kept detailed records, noting everything about their research in building and testing the very first aircraft. Their thorough and detailed notes changed the course of human history and resulted in the first flight in 1903.

Before official regulation around flight logs, pilots kept personal diaries mainly for their records. These were aircraft logs too. The limits of the aircraft and the ability to fly was being tested and recorded in the form of an aircraft logbook. The primary purpose is to show that certain requirements have been met for a certificate or rating, and for currency purposes.

This is an extremely detailed logbook with nearly all of the entries easily discernible and will be a breeze to translate! Featured with the logbook are the following items:

- Royal Italian Regia Aeronautica Air Force Officers’ Visor: The visor is in good condition with the condition reflecting signs of consistent service wear. The dark wool exterior is in excellent condition with very minor, if any moth nips present but does have staining present. The officers insignia on the front consists of a bullion Air Force insignia with laurels, eagle and crown at the top. The black visor on the front is in fair condition with cracks in the finish and the green pressed paper underside completely present.

The inside lining is a lovely age toned and minor stained cream colored padded lining with
a thin brown leather sweatband which has minor damage and thread loss present. The maker’s information is no longer visible due to the majority of the lining cutout, more than likely done by Vesselizza to allow better air flow.

- 4 Photographs: The photos are mainly of Vesselizza though we cannot fully confirm this due to know markings or indications that it is him, but we are almost certain that it is. The pictures came with the grouping and does show the pilot wearing this visor.

- Pilot Wings: This is a lovely two piece stamped golden badge depicting a stylized eagle surmounted by a crown with a functional pin arm and catch on the reverse.

All items are contained in a lovely leather pouch which is unmarked and does not have a method of securing the top flap.

A lovely set of items that come more than ready for further research and display.

Battle of Taranto
The Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11–12 November 1940 during the Second World War between British naval forces, under Admiral Andrew Cunningham, and Italian naval forces, under Admiral Inigo Campioni. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history, employing 21 Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean Sea.

The attack struck the battle fleet of the Regia Marina at anchor in the harbor of Taranto, using aerial torpedoes despite the shallowness of the water. The success of this attack augured the ascendancy of naval aviation over the big guns of battleships. According to Admiral Cunningham, "Taranto, and the night of 11–12 November 1940, should be remembered forever as having shown once and for all that in the Fleet Air Arm the Navy has its most devastating weapon."

Influence on Pearl Harbor
It is likely the Imperial Japanese Navy's staff carefully studied the Taranto raid during planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor, as both attacks faced similar issues attacking a shallow harbor. Japanese Lieutenant Commander Takeshi Naito, the assistant naval attaché to Berlin, flew to Taranto to investigate the attack firsthand. Naito subsequently had a lengthy conversation with Commander Mitsuo Fuchida about his observations in October 1941. Fuchida led the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. More significant, perhaps, was a Japanese military mission to Italy in May 1941. A group of IJN officers visited Taranto and had lengthy discussions with their Italian Navy opposite numbers. However, the Japanese had been working on shallow-water solutions since early 1939, with various shallow ports as the notional targets, including Manila, Singapore, Vladivostok, and Pearl Harbor. In the early 1930s, as their Type 91 aerial torpedo entered service, the Japanese used a breakaway wooden nose to soften its impact with the water. As early as 1936, they perfected breakaway wooden fins for added aerial stability

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a considerably larger operation than Taranto. All six Imperial Japanese fleet carriers, each one equipped with an air wing having over twice the number of planes of any British carrier, took part. It resulted in far more devastation: seven American battleships were sunk or disabled, and several other warships were destroyed or damaged. The U.S. Navy thereafter designed its fleet operations in the Pacific Ocean around its carriers instead of its battleships as capital ships. Battleships were found to be less useful in the expanses of the Pacific than in the confines of the Mediterranean; the older ships were too slow to escort the carriers and were chiefly used as fire support for amphibious operations.

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