Saturday, July 27, 2013
General Count Pier Ruggero Piccio
After shooting down seventeen enemy aircraft he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and made Inspector of Fighter Squadrons. However, by the spring of 1918 he was back in action again, gaining more victories but also providing invaluable service by producing the first manual on air tactics for the Italian forces, devising new flying formations and generally solid regulations, based on his experience, on how to achieve victory in the air. Earning the Gold Medal for Military Valor, by the summer of 1918 the Italian air forces had gained complete dominance over Austria-Hungary in the skies, inflicting horrendous losses on the enemy and effectively breaking the air power of the Dual Monarchy for good. Italian fighters and bombers could attack Austrian ground forces at will, however, ground fire was still dangerous and in the autumn of 1918 luck ran out for Colonel Piccio. He was shot down over enemy territory and captured by the Austrians. Still, he emerged as one of the top Italian flying aces of the Great War with at least 24 victories to his name. He was never formally released by the Austrians but simply walked out in disguise as Austria-Hungary collapsed at the end of the war.