Fact or Fiction?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Sal Monella, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Administrative Assistant
    Location:
    Redwood City
    I was reading through past posts on this site. (There's a lot of good stuff.) I saw some posts saying that that in September of 1943 when Italy surrendered, the Series 5 Italian fighters were superior to the best contemporary American, british and German fighters.

    Hard to believe. fatc or fiction?
     
  2. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,161
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    I would say fact. The problem with Italian aircraft, wasn't that the designers couldn't design excellent aircraft. It was that the engines were so poor.
    Once the latest german engines were available they could take on the best in the world.
     
  3. JCS

    JCS Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    United States Marine
    Location:
    Nicholson, PA
    Yep. Also a lot of them were almost entirely hand built, so they werent around in large enough numbers to really have any effect.
     
  4. carpenoctem1689

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Student
    I wouldnt say they were superior, but easily the equals of anything they faced. I would say the MC.205 would be the best of the series five fighters, with a good top speed, very good manouverabilty inherited all the way from the MC.200, retained for the most part as the aircraft design progressed. The armament wasnt anything to be laughed at eithe, with 20mm cannon incorporated into it.
     
  5. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
    Japan
    To me the Italian, Damiler Benz powered warbirds have alway been some of my top picks during the war. They combine the long, graceful lines of a true dogfighter with very significant performance. The Reggiane. 2005, Macchi C. 205 and Fiat G.55 all appeared around the middle of 1943, by which time Italy was verging towards capitulation.

    The later Italian birds had the misfortune to fall victim to Italy's lack of production capacity and so weren't seen in great numbers. There were only 48 Re. 2005 made, 290 Macchi c.205s and 125 G.55s.

    The "5" serise birds are really roughly similar to an early Spitfire IX (Merlin 61) or mid-late Me-109G (DB605 in terms of performance. Probably slightly better dogfighters than either the German or British fighter, but about 10-20 mph slower in level speed and around 1000 feet per minute behind on peak climb. Obviously the Spitfire and 109 would have the advantage in a B'n'Z style engagement, but probably lose out in a horizontal dogfight.

    They all used licence built DB605As, which generated around 1475 hp. Using the same engine as a 109G2 they were some 10-15 mph faster than the German bird, lighter and more manouevrable. They were also fairly heavily armed as well, most had 3 MG151/20 and 2 Breda SAFAT 12.7 mm HMGs.

    To me the Italian fighter lose out, but just by a little. They are a touch down on power compared to contemporaries, a little down on climb and speed as well. At the point where they entered the war they were facing Merlin 66 engined Spitfire LF IXs and VIIIs as well as P-38Gs and P-47Ds. That's a TOUGH bunch of fighters to go up against.

    If you ramped up the power by a few hundered hp, then they would of been incredible. A Fiat G.55 re-engined with a DB-603 did around 420 mph, which would of made it a real threat to Allied fighter units. As they were though they were excellent birds, if just a little short of performance.
     
  6. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Campospinoso (PV), Italy
    In 30'-40 Italy aeronautical research was not behind UK, Germany and USA, in some cases was even more advanced.
    The fascism had put a very friendly eye on aviation, even if mainly for propaganda purposes, and funds for record breaking projects were always available.

    The problem was that there was no industry to backup the research, and all top level accomplisments failed to translate in mass production aircraft.
    In global economics, the regime focused more on agriculture and transportation than on industrial growth, and Italy was far beyond the other 'powers' in terms of heavy industries.
    As a fallout of this, fascism never really prepared the country for a war, the (wrong) assumption being that German Army would had been enough.

    So, on one side you had the Macchi MC 702, designed for the Schneider cup that in 1929 set the speed record for prop driven seaplanes (709 kmh at sea level, still unsurpassed today), on the other side you have biplane fighters in service as main type.

    As example, the Spitfire airframe and the Merlin engine were the practical translation of the Supermarine seaplanes for the Cup, while nothing was delivered in Italy from the airframe of the Macchi and his Fiat 2000 (and more) hp engine.

    When the war showed the need of modern aircraft, the license built DB closed the gap for the engines, but still no factory had the industrial capability to tool up for mass production, and the fine series 5 was still a matter of craftmanship.

    Given this background, it is no wonder that the Mc205, Fiat G55 and so on were equal or better than the best celebrated fighters in pure performance, but is also no wonder that when the Germans evaluated th G55 for mass production (it was better than the contemporery Bf109) they decided not to proceed because of the construction technique and related time/costs.

    Here is a link for Italian interesting projects that were stopped by the armistice
    http://worldatwar.net/chandelle/v3/v3n1/italtwin.html

    cheers
     
  7. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    20,349
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    WSM, England
    Agreed. Germany actually thought about producing the G.55 after the Italian surrender, such was its performance. The G.56, the DB-603 engined version was also to be eligible. As you said though, Parm, maintenance would have been a tough one.

    The maximum speed is a disadvantage, yes, but to be honest you aint always going to be flying at maximum speed. I dont really think they were short of performance in the air in any major way.

    Also, why just consider series 5 fighters? I think that Ambrosini produced some of the most remarkable planes. Realising that Italian engines werent powerful enough, they build a lightweight fighter with just 490hp and it does 400mph. (SAI 207) They install a 700hp engine and its doing 425-430mph. (SAI 403) Excellent performance, excellent handling and manoeverability, and pretty good armament. They would have been tough opponents in a dogfight.
     
  8. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Campospinoso (PV), Italy
    Yes CC, the SIAI 403 was a very neat project. It was conceived as an 'economic fighter' built with non-strategic material (wood)
    Performances were excellent, but to achieve it the machine was very light (nothing comes free in engineering...) and could have been too weak to sustain any battle damage. Also true that wood is a kind of 'natural composite material' and contrary to steel and alloys has an inherent capability to stop structural damage (see the Mosquito for instance)
    The plane was not tried in combat, so we will never know...

    The Piaggio 108 is another example of great plane, was more advanced than any other 4 engine bomber at his time and was the only decent heavy bomber project of the Axis. But they were able to build only about 70 machines...

    Btw there is a little legend about it : worried for the stress for the tires in landing such an heavy plane, the engineer (Corradino d'Ascanio) tested a small 2 stroke engine fitted in the wheel disc to spin the wheel before touch down. It was not applied to the P108 (tires had improved enough to survive the landings) but after the war it became the engineering solution for the Vespa scooter.

    PS : in my previous post I wrote a 'far beyond' instead of 'far behind' ; sorry!
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,771
    Likes Received:
    687
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    I would go as far to say that they were equal with advantages in some areas. I would not necessarilly say that they were superior though. The the Daimler Benz engines they deffinatly could compete with just about anything.
     
  10. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Administrative Assistant
    Location:
    Redwood City
    Parmigiano, you said that The Piaggio 108 is another example of great plane, was more advanced than any other 4 engine bomber at his time.

    How waas it more advanced than the B-17?
     
  11. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Campospinoso (PV), Italy
    In 1940-41 the P108 was a more advanced project than the B17, with the exception of the max ceiling limited to about 28.000 ft. (due to limitations of the Piaggio radials)
    As example it had higher paylod and the same range of the B17G (3600Km/3500Kg vs 3200km and 3200kg) and remote controlled barbettes for the defense (intruduced only later by Germans and Americans)

    Like most of Italian planes was built in small numbers, and was not developed like the B17 or other planes of the more 'rich' countries, actually only the very first series saw the limited production about 150 aircrafts (the 'B' often reported stays for 'Bomber', not for mark 2)

    His development (the P133) was not completed in 1943.

    In summary, the same ill fate of the fighters we discussed above!

    Here is some link with a brief description, I remember that the P108 was discussed in another thread (..but not which one) by people more documented than me.

    http://www.avalanchepress.com/P108.php (.. inaccurate about the 'little legend' of my previous post!)

    http://digilander.libero.it/avantisavoiait/Piaggio P108B.htm
    (this is in Italian but has some nice pictures)

    http://www.comandosupremo.com/P108.html
     
  12. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Campospinoso (PV), Italy
    Edit :
    - the reported payload of B17G at 3200km range is 2700Kg, not 3200: my typing mistake
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,771
    Likes Received:
    687
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    I would agree with Parmigiano. The P108 was a marvelous design and had great potential. At the time of its development I would go as far to say it was the most advanced bomber also.
     
  14. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    20,349
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    WSM, England
    Agreed, The P.108 was definately a plane wih potential.
     
  15. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Administrative Assistant
    Location:
    Redwood City
    So do you think the series five fighters could take a mustang? (all else being equal)
     
  16. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    20,349
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    WSM, England
    One on one, definately.
     
  17. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    19,980
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    but the -51 isn't the best plane to dogfight in :lol: they'd have their handsful with any form of spit, particularly the XIV......
     
  18. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    20,349
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    WSM, England
    For sure...much later plane...I wouldnt write their chances off though
     
  19. P38 Pilot

    P38 Pilot Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,814
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Student in High School
    Location:
    Auburn,Alabama; USA
    Dogfighting??? I would go with the P-51 but the Spitfire XIV was more manverable.

    The P.108 did seem like a great Italian bomber but whne compared to a B-17G, it would defintely lose.
     
  20. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Administrative Assistant
    Location:
    Redwood City
    Was the Spit XIV in frontline service in Sept. 1943?
     
Loading...

Share This Page