Who's Who - Fulco Ruffo di Calabria

Fulco Ruffo di Calabria Fulco Ruffo di Calabria (1884-1946) achieved 20 victories as an Italian air ace during the First World War.

Born on 12 August 1884 in Napoli di Calabria joined the 11th Foggia Light Cavalry Regiment when aged 20 and went on to serve in Africa.  In 1914 he transferred to the Italian Air Service.

Di Calabria's inaugural victory as a fighter pilot came on 23 August 1916 when he brought down an Austrian observation balloon over the Tolmino in conjunction with fellow pilots Baracca and Olivari.

With the former of these he established 91a Squadriglia, the renowned 'Squadron of Aces', assuming command of the squadron with Baracca's death in June 1918.  In recognition of his aerial talents - flying Nieuport 11, Nieuport 17 and SPAD S.VII aircraft - Di Calabria was awarded the prestigious Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militaire.

After reaching 20 'kills' from 53 aerial combats di Calabria relinquished command of 91a Squadriglia after suffering a nervous breakdown.  Deemed recovered he was handed command of 10th Gruppo on 23 October 1918 but was shot down by artillery fire within a week near Marano, bringing his war to a close.

Di Calabria died on 23 August 1946 in Ronchi de Apuania aged 62.

A howitzer is any short cannon that delivers its shells in a high trajectory. The word is derived from an old German word for "catapult".

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