History of the 2º Stormo


In April 1946 the 8th Squadron, at that time within the 5º Stormo based at Lecce airport, was organizing the training courses using few worn-out Macchi MC205V; later on the Italian fighter was replaced by some Spitfire IXs, all veterans from Egypt and Italy campaign.

On January 1st, 1951 the 8º Gruppo officially left the 5º Stormo and moved to Vicenza air base with its two Squadriglie (92ª and 93ª) to become the core of the reborn 2º Stormo, again in service after eight years from its inactivation. To bring the Unit in life again were twenty-two North American P-51D Mustang wearing a badge similar to the one borne during WWII by the Co-belligerant Air Force's 8th Squadron: at the Black Knight riding on a white cloud was added a rising sun; in addition the lance was not pointed downwards, but straight ahead.

In June 1951 the Stormo moved from Vicenza to Orio al Serio (Bergamo), a base lacking even the simplest structures and accommodations and it began a hard training activity in order to catch up with other Units in combat readiness. Since August 1953 the 2º Stormo had again in its ranks the 13º Gruppo, with the 75ª and 77ª Squadriglia, thus returning to have the same physiognomy it had before the armistice, ten years before.

In March 1955 the 2º Stormo equipped with the first jet of the Air Force, the DeHavilland DH-100 Vampire, produced in Italy under licence; the 8º Gruppo received the new fighter first: it gave the P-51Ds to the 13º Gruppo and deployed to Montichiari airport (Brescia).

The training activity was going on incessantly on the two airports when the 13º Gruppo converted to the Vampire as well and a new Gruppo joined in: the 14º Gruppo, mounting the P-51D Mustang. Counting three Gruppi, the Stormo was redesignated 2ª Brigata Aerea, making this transformation official on July 1st, 1956: it was the most demanding period since the end of the war and the Unit achieved all its aims making itself a name in many national and international exercises.

In October 1956 the 8º Gruppo converted to the F-86E Sabre, and by the end of the year twenty-six fighter were assigned to the Unit; by March-April 1957, the remaining two Gruppi moved to Montichiari as well.

In order to improve the efficiency of the Unit, a new and modern air base was set up in Cameri (Novara): the 2ª Brigata Aerea moved there in July 1957, except for the 8º Gruppo that remained in Montichiari. In addition to the usual training activity, the Brigata Aerea took part in several air shows, the most important of which was the "Baracca Air Show", held in Milan Linate in 1957: for its participation the Unit was awarded, at the end of the year, with the Trophy of the 56th Tactical Air Force, a NATO organization the 2ª Brigata Aerea belonged to (later on replaced by the 5th ATAF).

The flying activity was very intense in 1958 and the 2ª Brigata Aerea flew a monthly average of 2000 hours: the same year the Unit was tasked to form a new acrobatic team as a reserve for the "Diavoli Rossi" Acrobatic Team, the official Team formed by the 6ª Brigata Aerea based at Ghedi (Brescia). The new formation was called "I Lanceri Neri" (the Black Lancers) and was trained by the Brigade's Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Pezzè, that same Pezzè who was involved in training all the preceding notorious acrobatic teams from the 5º Stormo.

Lt. Col. Pezzè personally selected the aircrew and studied all the aerobatics and the result was an outstanding success: the "Lanceri Neri" emblem decorated the Sabres overall painted gloss black for the occasion. The "Lanceri Neri" was the official demonstration team of the Italian Air Force in 1959 and flew in Italy as well as abroad achieving a gratifying success.

The 14º Gruppo moved to Rimini air base in January 1959, the 8º Gruppo remained in Montichiari and the 13º in Cameri. Then, in 1960 began a radical change with the conversion of the 14º Gruppo to the new Fiat G-91 while the other two Squadron kept flying the F-86E up to September 1962, taking part in several joint exercise with German, French, English, American and Canadian Units; then the 8º Gruppo was inactivated on September 1st, 1962 due to the scarce efficiency of the old fighter.

On 24 September 1962 the 2ª Brigata Aerea was awarded with the Silver Medal for its feats in North Africa during WWII: this was the last appreciation before this glorious Unit would be inactivated on October 1st, 1962. The remaining Gruppi, 13º and 14º, remained autonomous.

After the Armistice (1943-1945)
A second birth (1964-1990)