Italian series 5/6 fighters really better?

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spicmart

Staff Sergeant
907
190
May 11, 2008
Were the Italian series 5 fighters really as good or better performing as the German Me 109 G-4 and Fw 190 A-4 with a licensed DB 605 engine with 100 PS less?
What features made them so good?
 
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Fw 190 was probably the fastest of the lot, with MC.205 and 109G-4 being close (and probably faster once the DB 605 engines were fully rated).
Lighter weight of the Italian fighters made them climb well when compared with the Fw 190. Big wings of the Re.2005 and G.55 were providing lower wing loading and thus better horizontal maneuvering, with the trade off being the increased drag that hurt the speed a bit. Bf 109(G) was in disadvantage if/when the increase in firepower was required, since the extra and/or bigger guns increased drag a lot, ant thus lowered the speed (and the RoC a bit).

So it is basically the 'battle of trade offs', with neither of the fighters having all the advantages IMO.
 
I've seen reports from pilots who flew them, and everyone who flew them liked them a lot.

I didn't see any combat flyoff comparisons, just a pilot report from MC.202, MC.205, and RE.2005.

Used to be easily available and findable online, but I've noticed things are generally harder to find these days than they were 15 years ago, and I haven't seen these pilot reports anywhere in maybe 10 years. They were generally very complementary of the Italian airplanes. That is, nothing but good things to say. If it were a combat comparison, there would be some sort of negative somewhere, so maybe the pilot reports I saw were just general impressions from a familiarization flight ... I can't really say.

Taking a nice, casual flight in a military fighter is not the same as trying to evaluate the combat potential of it, and I don't recall there being a mock dogfight in there.
 
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Fw 190 was probably the fastest of the lot, with MC.205 and 109G-4 being close (and probably faster once the DB 605 engines were fully rated).
Lighter weight of the Italian fighters made them climb well when compared with the Fw 190. Big wings of the Re.2005 and G.55 were providing lower wing loading and thus better horizontal maneuvering, with the trade off being the increased drag that hurt the speed a bit. Bf 109(G) was in disadvantage if/when the increase in firepower was required, since the extra and/or bigger guns increased drag a lot, ant thus lowered the speed (and the RoC a bit).

So it is basically the 'battle of trade offs', with neither of the fighters having all the advantages IMO.
What about range?
 
But depending on source either the G.55 or the MC.205 gets called to be the best (so which one is?) with the Re.2005 being just as good but the most difficult to manufacture.
The Me 109 was despite its size a draggy airframe for all its radiator and S/C inlets and obsolete wing profile.
Did the Italians have less draggy airfoils?
 
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The Macchi-Castoldi M.C. 72 still holds the world seaplane record at 440.681 mph, so their airfoils must not be too bad, but I confess, I don't know the Italian airfoil sections very well other than to know they fly and handle well, and have a good turn of speed for the installed power. That doesn't say much about them other than they're not bad.

I have seen maybe 100 or so WWII airplanes, but have never seen one of the Italian late fighters in person; just pictures. From the pictures, you can't tell if the workmanship is good or bad, but they're good-looking airplanes. I suspect they're well-made, just from the "finished" look they have, but I really can't say for any personal inspection.

There doesn't seem to be a definitive answer to which of the 5-series fighters was "the best." You can find claims for "the best" for all three.
 
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But depending on source either the G.55 or the MC.205 gets called to be the best (so which one is?) with the Re.2005 being just as good but the most difficult to manufacture.
There were also two different MC. 205s, The MC.205V (Veltro) which was an MC.202 with a DB 605 shoved in the nose and the MC.205N (Orione) with a longer fuselage to give an increase fineness ratio and a long span wing (about 2 ft 2in and about 24sq ft more area) Tail surfaces and undercarriage being about the same?
Since the C.205N needed new production tooling it's production had not started at the time Italy surrendered. The Production MC.205s were all the Veltro model.
640px-Macchi_205_Vigna_di_Valle.jpg

The MC.205V wasn't much different in speed from the 109. Usually credited with 399mph but might have been a bit off in service, like many other planes.
You do get the two 20mm cannon (mostly) without under wing pods. No cannon through the prop.
The 205V was probably the fastest but there wasn't 15mph between all three. The 205V was the smallest but also only had 4 guns.
 
It looks to me as if there is a void between the headrest turtledeck and the canopy. I'm sure it was "filled in" by plexi or glass, but would seem to be an unnecessary source of drag.

In real life, if that space were NOT blocked somehow, it would create a very loud noise and a lot of suction at speed. Perhaps it was a way to exit any stray air entering the nose section? Can't say for sure.
 

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