Dogliani, 31 July 1944 (Page 65)

At about 18.00 hours on 31 July 1944, an aircraft identified by townspeople and partisans as a "Stuka" carrying German crosses dropped three bombs in the centre of Dogliani (Cuneo Province). Twenty-eight people were killed and there was much property damage. Witnesses reported that the aircraft returned and opened fire on the crowd as they ran for cover.

All three Staffeln of NSG 9 were at their forward airfields on this date, grounded by bad weather. This does not rule out an anti-partisan sortie by a reserve aircraft from Caselle (a 75km flight from Dogliani) but there is no information that would confirm this either.

Allied Signals Intelligence sources revealed only one set of movements by Axis aircraft that evening: four Fiat CR 42s flew from Caselle to Bergamo, landing at 18.38 GMT (20.38 local time). They took off from Bergamo at 20.16 GMT (22.16 local time) and landed back in Caselle 39 minutes later.

The air situation report of Flughafenbereich 18/XI (Airfield Regional Command) compiled on 3 August 1944, records only one Allied raid on the evening of 31 July: a low-level attack by nine single-engined aircraft on Lagnasco Aerodrome at 19.25 in which which a Savoia SM 82 and a Caproni Ca. 309 were burned out. Lagnasco is about 33km from Dogliani.

There is no mention in the situation report of an attack on Dogliani that evening, although loss of civilian life at other places, on other dates is recorded. Both Allied and Axis machines were flying within range that evening and could conceivably have bombed the village (albeit at times later than witnesses recall the raid) but so far I have not been able to confirm who did.

Sources: letter from Liliana Peirano, 26 March 2002; Air War Italy 1944-45; Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv file RL20/231.

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