Franco Lucchini was born
in Rome on the 24th December 1917. He entered into the Regia
Aeronautica as a Reserve Officer in 1935 and obtained the military pilot
licence at the Air School of Foggia in July 1936. He was assigned to the
91a Squadriglia of 4o Stormo Caccia C.T. In July 1937 he volunteered for
the Spanish Civil War, fighting for almost one year in the 19a
Squadriglia of XXIIIo Gruppo "Asso di Bastoni", flying Fiat
CR.32s. His nom de guerre in Spain was ”Lunigiano”. During his tour
he is reputed to have flown 122 missions claiming 5 victories.
During the first tour of
operations in North Africa, in seven months he flew 94 missions with 13
air combats and three strafing attacks against enemy armoured vehicles.
He claimed at least 3 victories and 15 shared victories. He was also
awarded with one Medaglia d'argento al valore militare and two Medaglie
di bronzo al valore militare. In early 1941 the 10o Gruppo moved back to
Italy to re-equip with Macchi MC.200s. And then in June 1941 10o Gruppo
moved to Trapani, Sicily to take part in the attacks on Malta. On the
27th of June 1941 he claimed one Hawker Hurricane over Malta when
10o Gruppo totally, claimed three Hurricanes and five probables over the
island> The RAF in their turn claimed four destroyed and one
damaged and Regia Aeronautica lost two MC.200s, both from 90a
From April to the 17th of June 1942 he flew 47 missions over Malta, and then on the North African front, being awarded another Medaglia d'argento al valore militare for having scored three individual victories, one probable and three shared ones. On the 5th of July Lucchini after being taken off on alarm with six pilots, intercepted a large formation of USAAF B-17s at the height of 5000 meters, escorted by 50 Spitfires; after having shot down a fighter, he launched himself against the formation of B-17s; it is the first time he faced these powerful four-engines, everyone armed with 10 machine guns, all tightened one to the other close so much to represent a real wall of fire. Lucchini with his small C 202 and his only two 12,7 guns succeeded in damaging 3 bombers, then surely stricken he fell down crashing to dead near Catania. He finished the War with 21 individual victories & 52 shared. In February 1952 he was awarded with the highest italian honour the Medaglia d'oro al valor militare (M.O.V.M.).