In 1939 the 51 Wing was created, intended for the defense of Rome, by merging two aeronautical groups. Shortly after Italy’s entry into the war alongside Germany, the Wing was divided again and part of it was sent to Belgium together with the Italian Air Force (CAI) to support German air operations over England. The rest of the Wing remained in Italy, and with the armistice of 8 September it was reinstated in the departments of the Italian Cobelligerent Air Force, carrying out missions in the Balkans until the end of the conflict. The 51 Wing is still active with some of the most modern fighter and reconnaissance aircraft available.
The Coats of arms
The Stormo’s coat of arms is unique in that it represents a black cat attacking three green mice. The origins of the coat of arms date back to the late 1930s. In those years a strong dispute arose between bomber and fighter pilots, as the former said they were capable of defending themselves against enemy attacks. It was decided to do some flight tests to resolve the issue: pilots from the 205th Squadron were chosen for the supporters of the pro-bomber thesis and pilots from the 20th Group for the supporters of the pro-fighter thesis. the pilots of the 20th Group won and ironically decided to paint as their coat of arms a black cat pouncing on green mice, which were the symbol of the 205th Squadron. To avoid irritation of the latter, the mice were painted grey, but shortly after the start of the Second World War fighter pilots decided to repaint the mice green.
Pictures and drawnings: