Background on the Macchi C.202 Folgore
During the s, the Italian military authorities chose to adopt only radial engines to power their aircraft; consequently, during the second half of the s, the Italian aeronautical industry had been sufficiently de-incentivised to the point of completely avoiding the development of more powerful engines based on streamlined liquid-cooled designs, which would become popular abroad.
However, by , the C. While waiting for domestic production of the engine by Alfa Romeo to ramp up, Aeronautica Macchi decided to import a single DB Aa engine; this was initially performed as a private venture without any state support. Castoldi, whose background included working on Schneider Trophy racers design, followed Celestino Rosatelli as the main designer of new fighters for the RA. On 10 August , less than seven months following the start of design work and two months after Italy's entry into the Second World War , the sole prototype conducted its maiden flight.
The square-sectioned supercharger air intake was replaced by an elongated round sectioned fairing, which was later redesigned to incorporate a dust filter. From the onset of flying trials, it was evident that the C.
Following its initial flights, the prototype was flown to the Regia Aeronautica ' s main test airfield at Guidonia , where it reportedly met with an enthusiastic response from test pilots. As a result of the favourable flight test reports, the C. Both the wing and fuselage structures were of a conventional metal design, having a single vertical tail with two elevators , and a wing of relatively conventional design with two main spars and 23 ribs.
The ailerons, elevators and rudder were metal structures with fabric covering. Apart from the ailerons, the entire trailing edge of the wing was dominated by a pair of all metal split flaps. The fuselage of the C. The forward section housed both the main armament and the Alfa Romeo RA. The wing was a bi-longeron structure, which was attached to the fuselage center section via steel forgings; it was fitted with flaps that were both statically and dynamically balanced. The main coolant radiator was housed in a rectangular fairing under the fuselage beneath the cockpit, and the oil cooler was placed under the nose within a streamlined, rectangular housing.
The canopy was hinged on the starboard base and opened sideways. Behind the canopy, the pilot's headrest was fixed to a triangular turn-over pylon which was covered by a streamlined, tapered fairing. The unpressurised cockpit had an armor plate fitted behind the armored seat for protection.
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While early C. Situated behind the engine and under the Initially, all the armament was fitted within the nose of the Macchi. Ammunition carried was up to rounds standard: rounds. Australian air ace Clive Caldwell felt the Folgore would have been superior to the Messerschmitt Bf had it been better armed. The Breda design was as heavy as the Browning M2 , the model from which it was derived.
The Breda fired Ingegner Mario Castoldi , the designer of the questioned whether Reiner had properly flown the test. In fact, during the vertical dive, Reiner had to face very strong vibrations throughout the airframe and in the control stick, while the flying controls were locked and the propeller blades were jammed at maximum pitch. The clean aerodynamics offered by the inline engine permitted dive speeds high enough for pilots to encounter the then-unknown phenomenon of compressibility.
The empty weight of the new C. According to military history author Antonio Duma, some of the defects present on the new fighter could have been easily resolved, such as a tendency for the landing gear to inadvertently lower when pulling out of a steep dive, a machine gun bonnet that often broke, frequent jamming of the ammunition belts and, caused by vibrations generated by the engine, the rapid crystallizing and eventual shearing of the air cleaner intake. Other defects, like the unreliability of the radio sets and of the oxygen systems, and the limited armament, could not be addressed with such ease.
Macchi C Folgore History and Specifications | Comando Supremo
During , the Folgore was put into production using imported DB Aa engines, while Alfa Romeo set up production of the engine under license as the RA. Due to initial delays in engine production, Macchi resorted to completing some C. Nevertheless, by late , Folgores outnumbered all other fighter aircraft in the Regia Aeronautica. The first units selected to be equipped with the C. Some defects appeared similar to those on the early C. The Folgore first saw service during the Siege of Malta on 29 or 30 September ; their first mission was the interception of British Hurricanes over Sicily.
From early October , the Italian units commenced extensive operations over Malta, which provided many opportunities for encounters with RAF fighters. From its initial combat missions, the C. Among the pilots who flew recce C. The presence of the Folgores in Maltese skies was to last only until the end of November, when most of the unit was transferred to the deteriorating North Africa front.
V in ever-increasing quantities. Their performance had also suffered due to the lack of radar , which the RAF were making extensive use of to successfully vector their fighters against their aerial opposition. Nevertheless, the C. On 29 July , the three first operational C.
Their aircraft was superior to ours on all counts. In the desert war, incursions by the SAS behind enemy lines were often aimed at destroying aircraft on the ground. In a month of combat, the latter lost a total of eight fighters to raids. On the night of 28 December the SAS managed to destroy a further nine aircraft. After this attack the Italians were forced to move their remaining aircraft well away from the front lines to avoid incurring further losses to such raids.
This, coupled with the 32 Cant Z. During the Battle of Bir Hakeim the C. By early , Regia Aeronautica had only 54 serviceable C. Although these forces were insufficient they nevertheless achieved notable successes. On 6—7 March , C. The Macchis continued fighting while retreating to Tunisia and then in the defence of Sicily, Sardinia and Italy against an increasingly stronger opponent.
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The Macchis of two groups at Korba were forced to concentrate 40 C. Because no transport aircraft were available every surviving fighter had two men inside, a pilot and a mechanic. At least one was destroyed and the two crewmen wounded after crash-landing on a beach near Reggio Calabria. During the Tunisian operation the Regia Aeronautica lost a total of 22 C. When they were able to conduct combat operations, the C.
During one such mission, on 11 December , which involved the escorting of several Junkers Ju 52s en route to Stalingrad , Tenente Pilota Gino Lionello was shot down and forced to bail out from his Folgore. After the abandonment of advanced airfields between December — January at Voroshilovgrad , Stalino and Tscerkow, the Italian air units were operated in a series of defensive actions against a more potent Soviet air offensive, consisting mainly of Ilyushin IL-2s Shturmoviks and Petlyakov Pe-2s.
By the signing of the Armistice with Italy , there were only Folgores remaining, of which roughly aircraft were still considered to be in a serviceable condition. On 25 August , Martinoli was killed during a training flight with the P Airacobra. On 5 July , Lucchini was killed in his C.
About 20—22 Macchi C. At Macchi, the new engine was immediately mated to the planned C. As had been done with the earlier C.
Production of the Folgore began in , and it first entered combat in Northern Africa in And a crippling problem immediately became apparent. The British Hurricanes had eight.
In early , two more. But the Folgore was always hampered by its relative lack of firepower.
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In later years, the Italians modified a small number of planes to add two underwing hardpoints to attach external fuel tanks, or light bombs for ground attack. To increase production, the Regia Aeronautica assigned the C. Around Folgores were produced during the war. Four of Italy's top five scoring aces during the war flew the Folgore. By , the Folgore was beginning to be outclassed by Allied fighters, especially the new model Spitfires and the American P By the time Sicily was invaded in July , only Folgores remained in flying shape.
A new version of the C. A new airplane, the C. When the Italian government surrendered to the Allies in September , the Italian Regia Aeronautica became split into two; the air bases in the southern part of Italy, occupied by the Allies, became the Co-Belligerent Air Force, and the air bases in northern Italy occupied by the Nazis became the Italian Social Republic Air Force. Neither of them flew Folgores in combat: the Allied forces replaced them with Spitfires, and the Fascists used the C. Very well used, but complete and useable. May have flaws such as tears, pen marks or highlighting, large creases, stains, marks, a loose map, etc.
Extremely well used and has major flaws, which may be too numerous to mention. Item is complete unless noted. If you have any questions or comments regarding grading or anything else, please send e-mail to nobleknight nobleknight. Macchi C. Sold Out.
Category: Historical Miniatures. Genre: CMG - Historical. Home Back to Results. SW Shrink Wrapped.