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ALICAP - Operational Italian Assault Glider?

Apophenia

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aliante modello ALICAP - Project or Built and Used Operationally?

In Et Silenter Deleo: Gli Aliantisti Militari Italiani Durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale by Gabriele Taddei, a sketch appears of a small glider with reference to an "aliante modello ALICAP" ("glider model ALICAP"). The acronym is not explained but, going out on a limb, I'm going to suggest ALIante di Combattimento per Assalto di Paracadutisti or Combat Glider for Parachutist Assault.

Cryptic mention is made in the article of a sole operational mission of Italian military gliders landing near the Faenza and Senio River Line in March or April 1945. This op involving "Btg. N.P." (Nuotatori Paracadutisti or Swimming Parachutists, a battalion of the by-then notorious Xª MAS, MNR).

ALICAP is depicted as a braced high-wing troop glider with a span of 15-20 m. The empennage consists of a large central vertical fin and rudder with two endplate fins. The fuselage was covered in front (for the single pilot), below, and aft to the tail. The ALICAP glider is mentioned in a number of contemporay RSI sources but neither its existence nor its actual operational use has been confirmed.
 

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Jemiba

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Is it just me, or are there sitting two soldiers outside of, or better, on the fuselage ?
If so, probably two on each side ?
Ok, why not ? It's the way, special ops troops are still carried with the Loach and
in the mediterranean climate even the flight to the landing zone may have been
acceptable.
 

Tophe

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from http://www.postfrontal.com/PDF/et_silenter_deleo.pdf (wonderful source about military Italian gliders WW2), translated by Google:

7 Finally (maybe) an operational mission: ALICAP the NP and the Battalion of the Xa MAS
Although the core Capes had little to aggressive military, the only act of war carried out during the Second World War by Italian military gliders was performed using (although this can not be sure) just in the armed forces of CSR. The archival information about this company are almost non-existent and the literature about it is reduced, or so the writer of this brief note considers a mere hint contained in the volume of N. Arena sull'ANR15 A small illustration to the stroke, which is contained in the above opera16, libratore is a strange, high-wing braced, presumably with an opening between 15 and 20 feet, tail with three fins arranged at a center and two end of the horizontal plane, fuselage minimalist, reduced to a big tower, houses, exposed in the open air, in addition to the pilot, four soldiers sitting in pairs, shoulder to shoulder, across the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. The caption of the illustration that strange aircraft called "glider model ALICAP" and ensure that it was operationally tested in a mission carried out in an unspecified date by members of the Battalion. N.P. on the front of the river Senio. Terse comment on what should be the only action gliders made by Italians during the Second World War! Now N.P. is the acronym for Airborne Swimmers, strong battalion of 1,400 men at the controls of the cap. Nino Buttazzoni, framed after the Sept. 8, in the aforementioned Xa MAS Flotilla that, with the controls. Junio ​​Valerio Borghese, had continued in the mass and seamless fighting alongside the Germans. In fact, only after the establishment of CSR, ie after three months of fighting conducted autonomously, the department would be merged Borghese in the Armed Forces of the State Infantry Division as a virtually nonexistent Republican National Marina. Just the fading Republican Navy and its charismatic commander allowed him to remain at the Xa actuality an independent department in a personalized and managed personally by Borghese. As he has been able to train some of his men use the means gliders, where the Xa has found funds and technical capacity to create even a simple means such as ALICAP remains a mystery to this writer. The literature on the Xa is virtually limitless and largely consists of books published by small publishing reality and have very little visibility: therefore difficult to exclude the possibility that some of the many diaries of Fascists Republicans all'ALICAP and does not contain references to its use. What is certain is that the same memories Buttazzoni17 Nino, commander of the department NP that should have led the mission and gliders that was actually used on the front of the Senio in March-April 1945, do not mention any of this event, as well as text on departments Italian paratroopers of G. Lunari18 and that of M. Setti19, gliders an interesting overview of the missions conducted during the second world war by the various warring parties in the introduction of which is also the same arena to exclude categorically that Italy might have been able to organize a post of war "without an engine." It 'obvious that the small department Buttazzoni, as established by swimmers giustappunto paratroopers had to have some confidence with both the NRA as the Luftwaffe, but from here to understand all things as a mission as complex as that allegedly conducted on 'Tuscan-Emilian Apennines could have been organized and carried out remains a mystery. Of course we could easily infer from the illustration dell'ALICAP that an airplane so basic to give up some of the main advantages offered by most large and complex glider assault: first the low efficiency, resulting in a highly uncertain aerodynamics, has forced the ' air transported from the tug to conduct in the immediate vicinity of the landing site negating the surprise resulting from the noise of the glider, and secondly the low number of soldiers housed dall'ALICAP have drastically reduced the power concentrated heat developed by teams of 15-20 men carried assault gliders by the canons. The high-firepower immediately available to another can be considered as the true advantage compared to parachute glider, where the launch of the paratroopers, even if done in bulk, necessarily involve a wide dispersion of troops on the battlefield. The need for a sensitive approach of the train and plane of the lens, even more, very little consistency of the troops transported to the writer suggests that the ALICAP were allocated almost exclusively to the infiltration of very small groups of saboteurs behind enemy lines and that if operation along the Senio was actually executed, it had to have this type and purpose.
 

Jemiba

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Thanks for the clarification, Tophe !
This seating arrangement already could explain the mentioned "uncertain
aerodynamics" . For an unpowered, light glider even a racked leg or
motions of the head by one of the occupants could be like an unintentional
contol input, I think.
 

Apophenia

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Yes, thanks Tophe. I had meant to explain the troop seating arrangement but somehow it got omitted.

Those outward facing seats are what made me speculated about P-for-Paracadutisti in the acronym. My guess is that ALICAP could be used as a miniature assault glider or a silent platform for paratroops.
 

Nico

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Hi Apophenia, Jemiba, Tophe and all,
about the Alicap assault glider, there is an interesting letter from Italian aviation history researcher Bernardo (Dino) Sclerandi on "Ali antiche" #47 (December 1997). In the letter Dino wrote that the Alinap (not Alicap) was probably a fake. The glider was mentioned first time on 'Cielo' #12/54 in an article by Berto Ferro; tha same information and pictures were referred later on a book about RSI aviation (the Italian aviation allied of Luftwaffe after September 8, 1943) by Nino Arena.
Dino, together with Giorgio Evangelisti, researched Italian gliders for over thirty years, never founding any information about Alinap or Alicap. So he think that was purely invention; for record only he enclosed a 3-view drawing extracted from the 1954 article.
Moreover, Dino explained that the indicated data for loaded weight (1,300 kg) and wing surface (about 35 square meters) would produce a wing loading inconsistent with performance of a glider.
Hoping this post is useful, I truly appreciate your interest in the rather unknown Italian military gliders
Nico
 

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Apophenia

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Many thanks Nico! The design intrigued in part because it seemed so improbable.

Even if probably a fake, do you know if Alinap was a designation or an acronym?
 

Nico

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Hi Apophenia,
unfortunately the letter from Dino avoid any interpretation of the Alinap name. It could be a sort of code name, formed from 'ali' (wings) or 'aliante' (glider) and something like Nucleo Aliantisti Paracadutisti (something like Nucleus Glider-troops Parachute troops), but is only an educated guess

Nico
 

Apophenia

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Thanks Nico. That sounds like a very plausible explanation of an ALINAP acronym. Of course, if this was an entirely fictional project, perhaps the 'inventor' saw no need to explain his/her acronym ;D
 
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