Heinkel He 111 or Savoia-Marchetti SM.79

Jank

Senior Airman
650
16
Mar 21, 2005
Which was a better all around, all purpose bomber for both land and maritime (torpedo bomber) operations?
 

kiwimac

Staff Sergeant
The SM 79 was considered by both Allied and Axis air-forces as being among the best torpedo-bombers ever built.

sm79-2.jpg


When Italy joined the war in 1940 its air force had nearly 1,000 bombers, of which well over half were Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 Sparviero (Hawk) medium bombers. These trimotors, were thought by many to be among the best land-based torpedo bombers of the war. They could carry 1,250 kg (2,750 lb) of bombs internally or two torpedoes. Also active as a medium bomber around the Mediterranean and on anti-ship duties was the Cant Z.1007bis Alcione (Kingfisher) ,production of which began in 1939. It also was a trimotor, powered by 1,000 hp Piaggio radials, and it carried four machine guns for self-defence as well as up to 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) of bombs or two torpedoes.

In the summer of 1942, Allied efforts to relieve beleaguered Malta culminated in 'Operation Pedestal', when 14 merchantmen with heavy Royal Navy escort left Gibraltar on August 10. Among the enemy aircraft sent against them were 74 Sparvieri (Sparrow Hawks), a number of which had already scored hits on the battleship HMS Malaya and the carrier HMS Argus. 'Pedestal' eventually got through to Malta, but at the cost of one carrier, two cruisers, a destroyer and nine merchant ships, many of them having been hit by torpedoes from the S.M.79s.

The more powerful SM.79-II served in North Africa, the Balkans, and Mediterranean during the Second World War, while other units called Aerosiluranti (aerial torpedoes) pioneered use of these large fast bombers in the anti-shipping role. When the Italians surrendered on September 8,1943, it did not end the combat record of the SM.79, and a new version, the SM.79-III torpedo-bomber, was placed in production by the RSI, the fascist government in northern Italy.

An effective torpedo bomber as well, the S.M.79 served in the air forces of Brazil, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Romania and Spain, some right up to the end of the war. The Romanians flew them on the Russian front from 1941 to 1944, an unprecedented record for an aircraft designed in the early 1930s. Though known as a tri-motor, several versions were built as twin-engined aircraft using a number of different powerplants, including Junkers Jumo 211 D 1,220 hp inlines. Regardless of the version, its handling pleased most pilots and its ability to come home with extensive damage endeared it even more. Used throughout North Africa and the Mediterranean until the Italian surrender in September 1943, the Sparviero remained flying with both the Italian cobelligerent forces fighting alongside the Allies and the surviving pro-Nazi units.

About 100 were exported to Brazil Iraq and Romania - all of the twin-engined S.M. 79B variety. Romania built the 79JR under license with two 894 kW (1,200 hp) Junkers Jumo 211Da liquid-cooled engines. These were used in numbers on the Eastern Front; initially as bombers with visual aiming position in the nose and subsequently mainly as utility transports.

Post-war surviving SM.79s were converted into various versions of utility transports during the last phases of the war and survived in that role until 1952.

Source


Specifications:

Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 Sparviero

Dimensions:
Wing span: 69 ft 6 1/2 in (21.2 m)
Length: 53 ft 1 3/4 in (16.2m)
Height: 13 ft 5.5 in (4.1 m)

Weights:
Empty: 16,755 lb (7,600 kg)
Operational: 24,192 lb (11,300 kg)

Performance:
Maximum Speed: 270 mph (434 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
Range: 1,243 miles (2,000 km)

Powerplant:
Powered by three 559 kW (750 hp) Alfa-Romeo 126 RC.34 radials. Later three Piaggio P.XI RC40 1,000 hp 14-cylinder radial. The twin-engined S.M. 79B variety. Romania built the 79JR under license with two 894 kW (1,200 hp) Junkers Jumo 211Da liquid-cooled engines.

Armament:

It carried a 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT gun firing ahead from the roof of the cockpit humpback that enabled bullets to clear the nose propeller; a second firing to the rear from the hump; a third aimed down and to the rear from the gondola under the rear fuselage; and often a 7.7 mm firing from each beam window. this needing a crew of at least five. The bombardier occupied the gondola with his legs projecting down in two retractable tubes during the bombing run. Up to 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) of bombs were carried in an internal bay; alternatively two 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedoes could be hung externally

Source
 

Dogwalker

Senior Airman
448
4
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
For the torpedo bomber role, I'll go with the SM 79, more agile, slightly smaller and capable of absorb punishment. A torpedo bomber can't avoid AA fire.
For the night bomber role, I'll go with the He 111, for the superior instrumentation and sight.
For the day bomber role, it's difficult to say. The SM 79 was not considered very succesful in that role, but the italians made the comparison not with the He 111, but with the Cant Z.1007, that, apart for agility, was superior in all respects.

An SM 79 wiewed from HMS Liverpool.
sm_79.jpg

home.swipnet.se
 

Twitch

Staff Sergeant
The He 111 was a versitle workhorse adaptable to any and every task the Luftwaffe threw at it. Had the SM 79 been used in the full length of WW 2 it too would have proven itself quite amazing in multi-role use more so than it actually was.

The 111 bombed normally but was used to launch the A-5 which was a mini V-2 as well as V-1s and the remote-guided Hs 293 anti shipping missile. The He 111 was even produced with 2 ships pliced together in the He 111Z for glider towing duties.

A lot comes down to personal preference since the pair were fairly well matched in capabilities. The SM 79 had a bit better performance. The He 111 could haul a lager bomb load. The SM 79 was probably better at torpedo attacks.

ONLY because the He 111 was active over the full span of the war I'd pick it and that's a poor reason since these planes tare tied in my view.
 

Jank

Senior Airman
650
16
Mar 21, 2005
Dogwalker said, "The SM 79 was not considered very succesful in that role, but the italians made the comparison not with the He 111, but with the Cant Z.1007, that, apart for agility, was superior in all respects."

Didn't the SM.79 carry a heavier bomb load?
 

Dogwalker

Senior Airman
448
4
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
The normal internal bomb load is similar (1200 kg), but the Z.1007 had a more efficient storage-release system. The max. total bomb load of the Z.1007 was superior of about 1000 kg to that of the SM 79.

The tandem cockpit of the Z.1007
1007%20e.jpg

digilander.libero.it/torpedoclub/sub172.htm
 

Jank

Senior Airman
650
16
Mar 21, 2005
Kiwimac's source said, "It also was a trimotor, powered by 1,000 hp Piaggio radials, and it carried four machine guns for self-defence as well as up to 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) of bombs or two torpedoes."

You are saying the Cant Z.1007 could carry another 1,000kg (2,200lbs) which is 6,400lbs total or is Kiwimac's source incorrect?
 

Dogwalker

Senior Airman
448
4
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
the source seems about correct to me. It says:
"When Italy joined the war in 1940 its air force had nearly 1,000 bombers, of which well over half were Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 Sparviero (Hawk) medium bombers. These trimotors, were thought by many to be among the best land-based torpedo bombers of the war. They could carry 1,250 kg (2,750 lb) of bombs internally or two torpedoes. Also active as a medium bomber around the Mediterranean and on anti-ship duties was the Cant Z.1007bis Alcione (Kingfisher) ,production of which began in 1939. It also was a trimotor, powered by 1,000 hp Piaggio radials, and it carried four machine guns for self-defence as well as up to 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) of bombs or two torpedoes."

So the source give a 750 kg more load to the Z.1007.
It's ever difficult to talk about the max. bomb load of a bomber, since it vary with the lenght of the mission (and the lenght of the airstrip). But the SM 79 normally carried only it's internal load (1200 kg), since the for Z.1007 is normal to carry 4 more 200 or 250 kg bombs under the wings.

see also:
http://www.aerei-italiani.net/SchedeT/aereocrda1007.htm
http://www.aerei-italiani.net/SchedeT/aereosm79.html
 

Dogwalker

Senior Airman
448
4
Dec 22, 2005
Manziana Field, near Rome
Both SM 79 and Z.1007 could carry various types of bombs, but the typical load was of 5 250 kg bombs (1250 kg internally).
Both two could carry (alternatively) two 450mm torpedoes (875 kg each 1750 kg total).
Both two had the possibility to carry bombs externally, under the wings, but only the Z.1007, operating from the same airstrips, used it extensively.
 

Gnomey

Globetrotting Surgeon General
Staff
Mod
Is that because you think it is better or because it is Italian...

Anyway both were good and I agree with Dogwalker's assessment. For torpedo operation I would take the SM-79, for night bombing the He-111 and for day bombing I would probably take the He-111 because of it's better bomb sight.
 

Sal Monella

Airman 1st Class
223
1
Apr 20, 2005
Redwood City
I have done some reading since this thread appeared and I have seen it mentioned several times that the SM.79 could absorb a lot of damage and still make it back to base.
 

Sal Monella

Airman 1st Class
223
1
Apr 20, 2005
Redwood City
I'm reading about torpedoes as well and much to my surprise, the Italians may have had the best torpedoes of the war, or at least superior to the German and American ones. I don't know about the British or Japanes ones.

The Germans apparently preferred using Italian torpedoes for aerial drops and the Americans studied the Italian torpedo design to improve theirs.

I think the Japs had good torpedos.

Anyone know anything about the British torpedos (besides the fact that when compared to the Italian ones, it was like a comparison of their crotch sausages - smaller but somehow still able to get the job done).

Picture of 2nd Lieutenant Dalmazio Corradini illustrating the supremacy of Italian torpedoes vis a vis the British.
DAL_AND_TORPEDO.jpg
 

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