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 Post subject: Macchi C-202 Folgore
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:14 pm 
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Location: Montana USA
I think the Italians are feeling a little left out of the WWII collection. I suggest this to remedy that:

The Macchi C.202 Folgore (Italian: Lightning) was a World War II Italian fighter aircraft built by Macchi Aeronautica. The C.202 was a development of the earlier C.200 Saetta with a more powerful German Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine. Considered one of the "most beautiful fighters to fly with wartime Axis forces" [1] it was also an effective and deadly dogfighter [1] [2].

Contents [hide]
1 Design and development
2 Technical features
3 Operational history
3.1 Combat
4 Variants
5 Operators
6 Survivors
7 Specifications (C.202CB Serie IV-VIII)
8 References
9 External links
10 Related content



[edit] Design and development
The preference of the Italian military authorities for radial engines had led to the failure of the Italian aeronautical industry to develop more powerful and streamlined liquid-cooled engines during the second half of the 1930s [3]. This forced Macchi Aeronautica to rely on the aging Fiat A.74 radial engine for its C.200 fighter. By 1941, the C.200, armed with two 12.7 mm machine guns and with a maximum speed of 504 km/h (270 knots, 315 mph), was obsolescent.


First Folgore prototype.In July 1939, the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) requested Reggiane to build a prototype Re.2000 equipped with a German Daimler-Benz DB 601A liquid-cooled supercharged inverted V-12 engine rated at 1,175 hp (815 kW). At the time, the most powerful reliable Italian inline engine was the 960 hp (715 kW) Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI RC.40, which was designed in 1936. Consequently, in November 1939, Alfa Romeo acquired the license to produce the DB 601A.

Meanwhile, waiting for production at Alfa Romeo factories to start, Aeronautica Macchi imported a DB 601A engine, and Macchi chief of design Mario Castoldi began work on mating the C.200 airframe with the German powerplant. The resulting C.202 made its first flight on 10 August 1940, two months after Italy's entry into World War II. To counteract the added torque of the more powerful engine, Castoldi extended the left wing by 20 cm (8 in).


C.202AS Serie III of Regia Aeronautica
[edit] Technical features
Castoldi, whose background included working on the design of Schneider Trophy racers, followed Celestino Rosatelli as the main designer of new fighters for the Regia Aeronautica. His new project was robust and small, utilizing a conventional but complex structural arrangement based on his experience with wooden designs, and at the same time paying great attention to its aerodynamics (Castoldi designed the MC.72, the world's fastest aircraft of its time).

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. All flying surfaces, including a pair of flaps, were fabric-covered. The flaps and slats were interconnected and controlled hydraulically, and when operated gave the pilot a more efficient wing surface. When the flaps were selected "down", the ailerons also lowered.[4] The undercarriage was of a standard design; the two widely-set main gears retracting inwardly into the wing, while the tail wheel was non-retractable.

The complexity of the structure was not well suited to mass production, and resulted in a limited production rate compared to the Bf-109E (usually rated at 4,500-6,000 man-hours) while the Macchi needed 22,000 or more. The growth of the C.202 project was slower than that of the Re.2001, even though by employing both mass production techniques and less expensive advanced technologies, the production cost was slightly less than that of the Reggiane Re.2001, which was heavier but had a bigger wing and a more adaptable structure.

The empty weight of the new C.202 (approximately 2,400 kg) gradually increased throughout production, and due to the thickness of metal used it was also quite heavy for the power installed, yet this class of aircraft was still considered light-weight compared to other contemporary fighter designs. The Macchi's mass was around 400 kg higher than the comparable Bf 109E/F German fighter, consequently, the power-to-weight ratio was considerably lower while wing loading was higher. However, these relative deficiencies were compensated for by aerodynamic refinements in addition to well-balanced flight controls, so that the fighter's agility and maximum speed were not compromised. [citation needed]

Because of the C.202's modest useful weight-carrying capacity, the aircraft was armed with only two 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, as was the C.R.32, a 600 hp fighter of 1933. The Breda design was as heavy as the Browning M2, the model from which the Italian type was derived. However, the Breda fired 12.7 x 81 mm "Vickers" ammunition, not 99 mm with the result that the energy at the muzzle was 10,000 joules vs 16,000. The output was around 18 rounds/second or 0.63 kg. High-explosive (HE) ammunition was effective against light structures, although less so against armoured, heavy aircraft typical in the 1940s. (The 0.8 g of HE contained in the shell was around a tenth of a single 20 mm shell, so it was not comparable in striking force. British designers preferred HE ammunition to 20 mm- and higher- calibres, while American designers leaned towards Armour-Piercing-Incendiary (API) rounds with an incendiary load of chemicals instead of high-explosive charges.)[2]

Initially, all the armament was fitted within the nose of the Macchi, above and behind the engine. The reserve of ammunition was 700 rounds (theoretically 750). An additional pair of Breda 7.7 mm machine guns was fitted in the wings in the VII series onward, but this pair of guns , along with 1,000 rounds of ammunition, added 100 kg to the aircraft's weight. Consequently, they were usually removed by pilots to save weight, and because they were relatively ineffective against most enemy aircraft in 1942.[2] A synchronizing unit allowed the nose guns to fire through the propeller arc, but with a 25% loss in ROF (Rate of Fire). Due to the thinness of the wing, later series C.202s had cannon armament "slung" under the wings.[4] A "San Giorgio" gun sight, a reflection unit, was also fitted in the cockpit.

The mass and the volume were concentrated in the fuselage anterior which housed the main armament and the The DB-601 engine (licence-produced by Alpha Romeo) which drove a Piaggio three-blade, variable pitch, constant speed propeller.[4] The long nose combined with the cockpit set back at mid-fuselage led to difficulties in ground handling.[4] Situated behind the engine was a 270 l self-sealing fuel tank, and finally the ammunition boxes. The main radiator was under the fuselage beneath the cockpit, and two small oil coolers were placed in the nose, within a classical "dustbin"-shaped housing. From the cockpit aft, the fuselage was formed into a streamlined "elongated drop" with the cockpit resting on top of the fuselage in a characteristic "hump". The unpressurised cockpit was cramped, and afforded a poor field of vision, especially to the rear since there was no exterior mirror. For protection, a sheet of armour plate was fitted behind the seat.[4] The aft fuselage tapered into the tail and contained the radio, oxygen and flight control mechanisms, and the 80 l reserve fuel tank which together with the 40 l tanks in each inner wing and the main fuselage tank brought the total amount of fuel carried to 430 l.


Macchi C.202 c. 1943
[edit] Operational history
The Folgore was put into production using imported DB 601Aa engines, while Alfa Romeo set up production of the engine under license as the R.A.1000 R.C.41 Monsone (Monsoon). Due to initial delays in engine production, Macchi resorted to completing some C.202 airframes as C.200s with Fiat radial engines. Nevertheless, by late 1942, Folgores outnumbered all other fighter aircraft in the Regia Aeronautica.

Deliveries of the first production aircraft, C.202 Series I, to a specially formed conversion unit, 1º Stormo C.T., in Udine began in summer 1941 and, by November, the C.202s made their appearances on the Libyan front. In addition to North Africa, the aircraft saw limited service on the Eastern Front where between 1941 and 1943, together with C.200s, they achieved an 88 to 15 victory/loss ratio.[5] Following the Armistice with Italy, C.202s were used as trainers in the Italian Social Republic. After the war two examples served as trainers at Lecce until 1947.

The C.202 inherited its predecessor's durability and light, responsive flight controls. The clean aerodynamics offered by the inline engine permitted dive speeds high enough for pilots to encounter the then-unknown phenomenon of compressibility.[5] Although the C.202 could effectively fly against Hawker Hurricane, P-38 Lightning, P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-40 and even the Supermarine Spitfire at low altitudes, the aircraft's combat effectiveness was somewhat hampered by its weak armament.[5]


C.202 taxiing with mechanic on wing, c. 1942
[edit] Combat
Macchis equipped all the premier fighter wings (Stormo): 1, 4 and 51. Although deployed in mid-1941, the C.202 didn't see action until later that fall, when several Macchis fought against British Hurricanes over Malta.

In the afternoon, 30 September 1941, three Macchis of 4° Stormo intercepted one of the frequent incursions made by Hurricanes, over Comiso airfield in Sicily. Lt. Lintern from Sottotenente Frigerio, was downed and bailed out. [6]

On 26 November 1941, in Operation Crusader, 19 Macchis of 9° Gruppo, 4° Stormo were sent to Africa, in response to the British offensive. Guided by Capt. Larsimont (97ma Squadriglia) and Viglione Borghese (96ma), ten of these Italian fighters flew at 5,000 m and defeated a force of Hurricane Mk IIs of 229 and 238 Sqdns. Both the Italian leaders were hit by the Hurricanes, but returned to base in Martuba. Three British fighters were shot down and another crashed while landing. One pilot was killed, and two returned to their base at Tobruk, one of them riding an Italian tank found in the desert. The Italians claimed eight victories, and the British two (which matched Italian fighters losses). Congratulations were sent by Marshall Bastico to the Macchi pilots.

During 1942, Bf-109s and Macchi C.202s fought Allied air forces in the skies of North Africa. At the time of Rommel's offensive on Tobruk, 5 'Squadra aerea' ("aviation corps"), based in North Africa, had 3 wings of Macchi: 1° had 47 C.202s (40 serviceable), 2° had 63 C.200s (52) while 4° had 57(47). This, coupled with the 32 Z.1007s, was one of the most powerful fighter forces that the Italians fielded in the war, and comprised almost a tenth of the overall Folgore production.[2] In the meanwhile, some Macchi fighters were sent to the USSR to supplement the obsolete C.200s. Many were also employed in attacks on Malta, gaining an initial advantage (together with Bf-109s) over the Hurricanes stationed there. In spring 1942, the carrier USS Wasp delivered the first Spitfires to Malta, and the Axis' air-superiority started to shift in favour of the Allies. C.202s were also involved in Operation Harpoon, encountering Sea Hurricanes. At the end of the year, the growing strength of the Allied forces was irresistible, and after the defeat in the skies over Malta as well as El-Alamein, the last operational Axis units lost their air superiority in the Mediterranean.

The Macchis continued fighting while retreating to Tunisia, and then, in the defense of Sicily, Sardinia and Italy, against an increasingly stronger foe. One notable action was experienced by the Macchis of two groups which landed at Korba airfield from Italy. Forced to concentrate 40 C.202s (both 7imo and 16imo, 54° Stormo) on a Tunisian airfield, on 8 May 1943, almost all the C.202s were destroyed on the ground by marauding Spitfires. A contemporary photo showed over a dozen Macchi C.202s (1% of the total built in 1940-44) in an abandoned airfield, damaged beyond repair by air attacks or dismantled to support the last few operating fighters.[7] Because no transport aircraft were available, every surviving fighter taking off the day after, had two men inside, a pilot and a mechanic. Only a few aircraft (five of 7mo and six of 16mo) were repaired by 10 May 1943 and escaped to Italy. At least one, manned by Lt. Lombardo, was destroyed and the two men inside were wounded after crash-landing on a beach near Reggio Calabria.

The rest of the C.202s fought to defend Sicily, Sardinia and Naples. Results were poor, and the C.202s were replaced as soon as possible by Bf-109s, C.205s and G.55s. Several C.202s had also served with the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, and some were transformed into C.205s. Other served as trainers in the RSI and Luftwaffe. C.202s had been ordered by Switzerland, but none were delivered although several examples were delivered to the Croatia Legion. [2]

After the bombing of Macchi Industries (1944), the combat career of the C.202 and C.205 was nearly over. After the war, however, some aircraft that had survived along with newly manufactured C.205s or as C.202 transformations were sent to Egypt. In total, 42 C.205s were sent, but the 31 made from C.202s were armed with only two Breda machine guns. Some of these aircraft fought against Israel, and were in service until 1951.

The Italian aircraft industry produced around 1,200 C.202s, in 11 series between 1941 and 1943. Of these, Macchi produced 392, the rest being supplied by production lines at Breda and SAI Ambrosini.


[edit] Variants
Like its predecessor, the C.200, the C.202 saw only a few modifications during its career. Starting with the Serie VI, the fighter had a new wing with a provision for 2 x 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, and one aircraft (serial number MM 91974) was fitted with a pair of gondola-mounted 20 mm cannon.

C.202AS
Dust filters for operations in North Africa (AS - Africa Settentrionale, North Africa)
C.202CB
Underwing hardpoints for bombs or drop tanks (CB - Caccia Bombardierre, Fighter-Bomber)
C.202R
Equipped with cameras for photo-reconnaissance missions (R - Ricognizione, Reconnaissance)
C.202D (serial number MM 7768)
Prototype with a revised radiator.
C.202 with DB 605 engine
After the war, 41 C.202 airframes were fitted with license-built Daimler-Benz DB 605 engines and sold to Egypt as C.205 Veltros.

[edit] Operators
Germany
Luftwaffe
II/JG 77 operated 12 captured aircraft.
Italy
Regia Aeronautica
Italian Social Republic
Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana

[edit] Survivors
Macchi C.202 "73-7/MM9667 (serial no. 366)"
Presently on display at the Italy Air Force Museum in Vigna di Valle Airport.
Macchi C.202
Shown in the markings of the 90B0 Squadriglia, 10B0 Gruppo, 4B0 Stormo, is dramatically displayed in Gallery 205 above the World War II Aviation diorama at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, Washington, DC.

[edit] Specifications (C.202CB Serie IV-VIII)
Data from [5] and [8]

General characteristics
Crew: One
Length: 8.85 m (29 ft 0.5 in)
Wingspan: 10.58 m (34 ft 8.5 in)
Height: 3.49 m (11 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 16.82 m² (181.04 ft²)
Empty weight: 2,491 kg (5,492 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 2,930 kg (6,460 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 RC.41 liquid-cooled supercharged inverted V-12, 1,075 hp (802 kW) at 2,500 rpm for takeoff
Performance
Maximum speed: 600 km/h (324 knots, 372 mph) at 5,600 m (18,370 ft)
Range: 765 km (413 nm, 475 mi)
Service ceiling: 11,500 m (37,730 ft)
Rate of climb: 18.1 m/s (3,563 ft/min)
Armament
2x 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the engine cowling, 360 rounds/gun
2x 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in the wings, 500 rounds/gun
2x 50, 100, or 160 kg (110, 220, or 350 lb) bombs
2x 100 liter (26.4 US gallon) drop tanks

Salutiamo Duce!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:42 am
Posts: 2963
Location: Papillion, NE
Wow :shock: Somebody did their research. It is a nice plane though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:06 am 
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
A good site here with some nice wire - drawings of the 202

http://www.airwar.ru/enc/fww2/mc202.html


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