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Biography[ edit ] Baracca was born in Lugo di Romagna. He was the son of a wealthy landowner. The younger Baracca initially studied at a private school in Florence before entering the Military Academy of Modena in October 1907. As he had become a passionate equestrian as an antidote to classroom boredom, he became a cavalryman with the prestigious Piemonte Reale Cavalleria Regiment upon his commissioning in 1910. His first duty station allowed him to attend concerts and opera in Rome, as well as pursuing hunting and equestrian competitions; he gained some fame in the latter.
This little idyll was spoiled by orders to a small town in central Italy. Baracca remained aloofly neutral, but ready to serve his nation. Upon his return in July, he was assigned to the 8a Squadriglia Nieuport. The Nieuport 10s that equipped this squadron were almost useless against Austro-Hungarian raids; they were too slow, with too slow a rate of climb, to bring the intruders to battle with any regularity.
The frustrated Italian pilots even resorted to leaving their observers ground-bound in attempts to improve performance, to little avail. Renaming the unit to 1a Squadriglia Caccia on 1 December 1915 did nothing to solve the problems. I and wounding its two-man crew. After his third victory, he transferred to 70a Squadriglia. By that time, his ever-increasing list of victories had made him nationally famous. While he initially dodged the responsibilities and paperwork that went with command, he finally settled into heading the squadron.
Ruffo di Calabria burst out of a cloud firing in a head-on pass at an enemy airplane, and barely missed Baracca. Later, on the ground, Baracca assured his companion, "Dear Fulco, next time, if you want to shoot me down, aim a couple of meters to the right.
That night he wrote: Provided you are a good fighter, a single gun is just enough. He would try to visit his victims in hospital afterwards, to pay his respects, or he would place a wreath on the grave of those he killed. It was March 1918 before Baracca convinced his superiors that he belonged back at the front.
He was not long back before he found himself in a situation similar to the previous late October: It was about this time that he adopted the griffin as an insignia for the planes in his unit. Most of his pilots adopted it, though some still flaunted the prancing stallion as a gesture of respect for their commander.
In the 0630 troop support mission, Baracca and rookie pilot Tenente Franco Osnago were hit by ground fire and split from one another. Osnago lost sight of his commander, then he saw something burning in a nearby valley. Osnago, Ferruccio Ranza , and a journalist named Garinei retrieved his body for the large funeral that was held in his home town of Lugo. His body, when found, reportedly bore the marks of a bullet to the head.
His pistol was out of its holster, but away from his body, leading to suspicions that he elected to take his own life rather than die in a crash or be taken prisoner. This claim is supported by evidence, but due to war time propaganda the most accepted version is that Baracca was hit by ground-fire.
The prancing horse has been the official symbol of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team since 1929, and of Ferrari automobiles since they began being manufactured.