The Macchi C.200 Saetta (also variously identified as the MC.200) ("Thunderbolt") was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Aeronautica Macchi in Italy, and used in various forms throughout the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force). The MC.200 had excellent manoeuvrability and general flying characteristics left little to be desired. Stability in a high-speed dive was exceptional, but it was underpowered and underarmed for a modern fighter. From the time Italy entered war on 10 June 1940, until her surrender on 8 September 1943, the Macchi C.200 flew more operational sorties than any Italian aircraft. The Saetta ranged over Greece, North Africa, Yugoslavia, across the Mediterranean and Russia (where it obtained an excellent kill to loss ratio of 88 to 15). Its very strong all-metal construction and air-cooled engine made the aircraft ideal for ground attack and several units flew it as a fighter-bomber. Over 1,000 were built by the time the war ended. The Macchi C.202 Folgore was considered one of the most beautiful fighters to fly with wartime Axis forces, the C.202 was a development of the earlier C.200 Saetta, with a more powerful German Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine and with an extremely streamlined fuselage. Undoubtedly the best wartime fighter to serve in large numbers with the Regia Aeronautica, the Folgore operated on all fronts. The Folgore went into service with the Regia Aeronautica in July 1941 and immediately proved to be an effective and deadly dogfighter. The Australian ace Clive Caldwell, who fought a wide variety of German, Italian and Japanese fighters during 1941–45, later stated that the C.202 was "one of the best and most undervalued of fighters". Nonetheless, the C.202 had its defects: like its predecessor, the Macchi C.200, it could fall in dangerous autorotation. It was insufficiently armed, with just two machine guns that easily jammed. The radios were unreliable, forcing the pilots to communicate by waggling wings. The oxygen system was inefficient, causing 50 to 60 per cent of the pilots to break missions off, sometimes even causing fatal accidents. The Macchi C.205 Veltro ("Greyhound"), along with the Reggiane Re.2005 and Fiat G.55, was one of the three "Serie 5" Italian fighters built around the powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine. The C.205 was a development of the earlier C.202 Folgore. With a top speed of some 400 mph and equipped with a pair of 20 mm cannon as well as 12.7 mm Breda machine guns, the Macchi C.205 Veltro was highly respected by Allied and Luftwaffe pilots alike. Regarded as the best Italian aircraft of World War II , in action it proved to be extremely effective, destroying a large number of Allied bombers and capable of successfully clashing on equal terms with such renowned fighters as the North American P-51D Mustang, a capability which encouraged the Luftwaffe to use a number of these aircraft to equip one Gruppe. Info: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchi_C.200 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchi_C.202 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchi_C.205 Profiles: Fighting Aircraft of World War II Published by Salamander Books.