Italian Bombers

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Airman 1st Class
Nov 8, 2005
I probably know less about WWII Italian bombers than any other category of aircraft. This is about the extent of what I do know:
Savoia-Marchetti SM-79. This was the famous 3 engined bomber used throughout the war, could drop torpedoes as well.
Caproni Ca-135. A nice looking twin engined bomber, maybe about the size of a B-25. Had problems?
Fiat BR-20. Widely used twin engine, larger than the Ca-135.
Piaggio P-108. Experimental 4 engine heavy, didn't see service?
Any others?
P108 Were used in several mission over Gibiltair.

Ca-135 (specifications ) had not particular problems, but it's developement was particularly slow, due to the difficulty to find the right engines for it. When the definitive powerplant was found, the Z-1007 (faster and with higher service ceiling, but with less range and payload) was already in production, so, the Ca-135 was built for export only. 100 of them were used from the Hungarian air force in the eastern front.

The infamous Breda Ba-88 "Lince". A light bomber of the same class of the Mosquito, 148 built.

Savoia Marchetti SM-85, less than satisfactory dive-bomber, 34 built.

Fiat CR 25, heavy fighter - light bomber, similar to Beaufighter, 11 built since Regia Aereonautica preferred the Ba-88 and the Caproni 311.

Fiat Cansa Fc-20, heavy fighter - light bomber, 12 built

Imam Ro 57, heavy fighter - light bomber, 53 built.

Savoia Marchetti Sm-81, medium bomber, 535 built (only 100 used in WW2)

Savoia Marchetti Sm-82, transporter - heavy bomber, 411 built

Savoia Marchetti Sm-84, medium bomber - torpedo bomber, 309 built

Cant Z-1007 "Alcione", medium bomber - torpedo bomber, 562 built

(formation photo)

Cant Z-1018 "Leone", good, fast (525 km/h, 326 mp/h), medium bomber, 18 built

Reggiane Re-2002, fighter - dive bomber, 249 built

the lancaster kicks ass said:
A light bomber of the same class of the Mosquito

that's incredibly insulting to the mosquito...........
I said class, not capability :lol:
Few times a military aircraft was so nice looking and so useless at one time.

the lancaster kicks ass said:
11 built since Regia Aereonautica preferred the Ba-88

wait a minute- you mean the italians actually thought there was a plane worse than the Ba-88, dear god :shock:
The funny thing is that the Cr-25 was a REAL capable aircraft, and the few built were intensively used as convoy escorts, when they proved to be able to engage the Beaufighters. But the Regia Aereonautica had great expectations for Ba-88, and even the political power of FIAT, that was able to impose the G-50 and CR-42 over Re-2000, wasn't able to impose a good machine over the "Lince".

Why did the Italians go with the Tri-motor set up when most country's went either with a two or four engine set up.

Was it that their engines just didn't have the HP? A B25 would look odd with an extra motor though.

BTW, Hello I'm new to this forum. My name is Clipper79 from the beautiful state of New Hampshire.

In part it was due to the success of SM79, in part to the lack of power of available engines.
In substance, it was a political decision.
In the mid '30 the italian tecnology of inline engines was quite advanced, not only in record breaker engines, but even in reliable units.
In 1933 the SM 55X floatplanes were equipped with two 18 cylinders Isotta Fraschini Asso 750, capable of 800 hp each (other sources report 820 or 880 hp), and they flew from the artic to the equator without problems.

Two years later, a Cant Z-501, equipped with a 960 Hp version of the Isotta Fraschini Asso 750 broke the world distance record for floatplanes flying no-stop from the British Somaliland to Trieste (3,080 mile, 4957 km).
In 1936 became available the enlighted (516 kg, compared to the 634 kg of the Asso 750, or the 623.7 kg of the MerlinII/III) 12 cylinders Isotta Fraschini Asso XI RC.40, in different versions from 800 to 960 hp.

And the inverted-V Isotta Fraschini Delta RC35

an air cooled inline engine capable of 900hp.

They were all good units, that could be developed in the same way of the DB or Rolls Royce engines. But in the mid '30 the Regia Aeronautica decided that the radial engines, sturdier, easier to mantain and capable to work with less expensive low octane fuel, were better for military purposes.
The first effect of this decision was to stop the developement of inline engines, the second, to force constructors to acquire the licences of foreign engines
The fact is that italian engineers were not able to design powerful radial engines, cause they had never done it before. First than the decision of Regia Aeronautica, in Italy, radials were considered "poor" engines, good only for small touring aircraft.
For this, the Fiat A 59R was a licence builded Pratt Whitney Hornet, the Fiat A 74 RC 38 (860 hp), a licence builded Pratt Whitney Twin Wasp R. 1830/43-65, and the Piaggio P XI RC 40 (1050 hp), a licence builded Gnome et Rhône 14 N-48-89. They were all quite obsolete units, but Regia Aeronautica requires radials, and there were nothing better on sale.
At the 1939 trials to choose the new italian fighters, only an eccentric genius like Sergio Stefanutti introduced an aircraft equipped with a 960 hp Isotta Fraschini Asso XI RC.40, the Ambrosini SS-4.
After, italian engineers learned to do better, and the Piaggio P. XV RC60 was rated at 1700 hp, but, at that time, too many years were wasted.

The final effect was that, at the beginning of the war, the floatplanes Cant Z 501 (used for recognition and rescue), were equipped with a more powerful and reliable unit (a 960 hp Isotta Fraschini Asso XI RC.40) than their escort fighters, and the 2000 hp, 18 cylinders, 57 litres, Isotta Fraschini Asso 1000 became the engine of the MAS (the italian torpedo boats)

Without the decision of the R.A., there would not have been the necessity to buy DB engines, and with it, buying foreign inline engines would be useless, cause R.A would not accept it.
At the time they recognize the mistake, too many years were wasted, it was impossible to develop an engine like the DB605 in few months and there were not chances but buying the production licence.
The DB601 was only slightly better than Asso XI RC.40, but DB 601 was an intermediate passage to buy the DB605 (whose negotiations requires more time). In fact, the series of fighters equipped with the DB 601 (Macchi 202 and Reggiane 2001) were named, from the beginning, the "intermediate series", expecting the "definitive series" (the "5 series" fighters equipped with the DB 605)

Good bit of info on the engines there Dogwalker! 8) I must say it has always confused me as to why pre-war Italian engines were so good, and yet their early was radials were poor. Thanks! 8)

Where do you find all this stuff Dogwalker? I search everywhere for pics and info on the RA but you always come up with little gems that I never seen before...
what is that? a thermojet thing or a pepperoni campini?

and like how many pages and searh engines do u look through 2 get that!?!?!?

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