When the Fiat CR.42s of 1./NSG 9 first deployed to the battle area, on 10 March 1944, they did so in two stages. A new source gives a more detailed breakdown of their movements.
Aircraft Movement Control at Caselle signalled Bologna that CR.42s E8+AH, EH, FH, GH, JH, SH and VH had taken off at 14.32 hours. The message said that six aircraft were involved but seven codes were given.
Bologna Control later confirmed that JH, AH, CH, SH, VH and two more (whose codes British Signals Intelligence did not hear clearly) had arrived between 15.45 and16.00 hours.
At 15.30 hours next day, Bologna advised Piavono Control that CR 42s E8+EH, FH, JH, CH, SH, VH and AH had left between 13.38 and 14.15 hrs.
The fact that CH appears in two of the messages and GH in only one suggests that the latter was singalled in error and that CH was the true marking of the aircraft concerned. If this inference is correct, the reference to GH in the book should read CH.
The code "EH+FH" recorded on CR.42 MM. 90843 can now be confirmed as a transcription error. The typed draft of MAAF Field Intelligence Unit's Technical Intelligence Report No. 18 gives the code as E8+FH, showing it was an aircraft of 1./NSG 9. The mistake seems to have crept in when the final printed version of the report was prepared.
The Ju 87 had been pressed into the night harassment role before, in North Africa. On 28 October 1942 for example, 24 sorties had been made by St.G 3 against Eighth Army artillery positions, tanks and vehicle concentrations near El Alamein. On 15 November a request had been made for “20 flame dampers for night Stukas” to be sent to Nofilia-Nord (An Nawfaliyah, Libya).