The most famous air-air combat of the Italian invasion of Greece.
On 2nd November 1940, 15 Italian CANT Z.1007bis bombers of 210 Squadriglia escorted by CR.42 biplane fighters conducted a bombing raid on Thessaloniki in Greece from bases in Albania. The Italian force was intercepted by Greek P.24 fighters from 22 Mira. In heavy combat 3 bombers were shot down, while the Greeks engaged until their ammunition was exhausted. Even at that stage F/Lt Marinos Metralexes refused to disengage, and rammed the nose of his aircraft into the tail of another bomber.
With his propeller and engine disabled, F/Lt Metralexes aircraft was no more than a glider, and the damage to the Z.1007bis was just as crippling as the bomber was now no longer able to hold formation. The Italian pilot, F/O Omero Matteuzzi, performed a skillful emergency landing, while the Greek fighter was nursed to its own forced landing near to the wrecked bomber. Jumping from his aircraft F/Lt Metralexes then captured the downed Italians.
This story was a massive morale boost for the Greeks, and F/Lt Metraxeles was awarded Greece's highest award for bravery, the Gold of Cross of Valour.
However all was ultimately in vain, as even though the Italians were beaten back, the Germans and Bulgarians soon entered the conflict and Greece fell. Metraxeles and the surviving Hellenic Air Force aircraft and personnel escaped to North Africa and joined the Allied forces there to continue the war. Metraxeles survived the war, being killed in an air force training accident in 1948.