18 February 1916 – Revenge is sour

Today, Italy attempted to get revenge for the bombing of Milan by sening a group of Caproni 300hp twin-engined biplanes to attack Ljubljana. Things did not go quite to plan as new Fokker Monoplanes had recently arrived.

The bombers crossed the lines individually, and near the Ternova Wood. Caproni 478 was attacked by the Fokkers of Bernath and Hptrn Heinrich Korstba, who emptied their machine gun belts into the target. Two of the three ltalian airmen, Maggiore Alfredo Barbieri and Capitano Luigi Bailo were killed, but the survivor, Capitano Oreste Salomone, was able to bring the aeroplane limping back to an Italian airfield.

On the way back from thetarget Caproni 703 ran into the same Austro-Hungarian fighters, which had had time to land in Ajsevica, refuel and rearm, and take off again.

Korstba, writes in his report:

I reached a height of 2700m and dived on a Caproni, which was flying at 2600m. I fired about 150 rounds from a distance of less than 80m. He turned into me and fired at me with a machine gun from in front of and below me [the ribs and covering fabric were shot throughs. l fired the rest of my ammunition at the rear of the enemy from about 40m. At this moment Oblt Hautzmaver dived on him skilfully and shot him again. I flew on the Capronils right flank and prevented his escape by changing my course. Over Prvazina the other Albatros and Fokker aircraft ovenook the Caproni. I do not wish to belittle the contribution of our other aircraft, and I emphasize that, were I alone, the Caproni would have slipped across the frontline, because I fired all of my ammunition and was now out of Fuel.”

Aboard the Italian bomber, Capitano Tullio Visconti had been killed, and his colleague Gaetarno Turilli was only able to crash land the plane in a field near Merna and was captured.

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