Sakhalia NetHistory of the RailwaySahara TerritoryBaykal.esAcceptance of cookiesAcceptance of cookies

You are logged off and have no access to the contents of this section!

Please log in or register. Or you may alternatively visit the articles list to search for more content.

DISCLAIMER: This website discourages its users from submitting duplicated content. If this article contains such and you, the visitor, are the creator of the original content, please report it to the administrator of this website instead of reporting the website itself. You can send a report if you are a registered user or alternatively use the e-mail address provided at the bottom of the Privacy Policy.

Macchi-Castoldi fighters


By Sakhal

The binomial Macchi-Castoldi created a family of fighters that constituted the pride and backbone of this specialty on the Regia Aeronautica. Engineer Mario Castoldi projected for Aeronautica Macchi the three excellent fighters Mc 200 "Saetta", Mc 202 "Folgore" and Mc 205 "Veltro", which were used, with the appreciation of who had to pilot them, in every front that between 1940 and 1945 saw the Italian soldier in combat. It is not possible, then, to speak about the Folgore, without making reference to the Saetta and the Veltro, for the union between the three generations of this family is very close. They were, more than three aircraft conceptually diverse among themselves, projects originating from a substantially identical base, to which successive modifications were added to obtain from the aircraft always good performances, keeping them at the level of the technical progress of the moment. Born from a project outlined in 1935, the prototype of the Macchi 200 flew for the first time in the last days of 1937. Low-winged monoplane of entirely metallic structure, it soon demonstrated magnificent maneuverability and constructive robustness. Some characteristics were truly notable: during the official trials it reached, in dive flight, 800 kilometers/hour. But this aircraft suffered from the limitations imposed by its radial engine, adopted anyway for almost every Italian aircraft of that time. In time this handicap would become more evident, specially in comparison with the more powerful enemy fighters. It was decided then to adopt a better propulsion plant, and it was chosen the optimal Daimler-Benz 601A-1, in-line engine with twelve cylinders in inverted V and developing 1175 horsepower, instead of the 870 horsepower of the engine Fiat installed in the Saetta.

So it was born, in the summer 1940, the Macchi 202, which entered production in September of the same year. The first deliveries to the fighter units were effectuated in May 1941. Soon, instead of the engine Daimler-Benz would be used the Italian version produced by Alfa Romeo under licence, denominated RA 1000 RC41. The in-line engine suppossed as well a retouch in the structure of the cell, which acquired a fusiform profile, aerodinamically superior and more polished. All of these modifications allowed an increasing of speed of 93 kilometers/hour. Regarding armament, weak point of every Italian fighter, it initially started identical to the one of the Saetta, this is, two Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns firing through the rotation plane of the propeller, until it was provided as well with two 7.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the wings. The pilot was protected by 77 kilograms of armored plates, and in the last series of the Macchi 202, also by an armored windshield. For the usage of the aircraft as fighter-bomber it was provided an offensive load of up to 320 kilograms. The electronic equipment in the Folgore, constituted in the Saetta by a simple radio receiver, comprised a radio receiver-transmitter and a radiogoniometer. For operations in desertic areas it was provided the usage of anti-sand filters. The Macchi 202, which was the true workhorse of the series, never suffered important modifications. In April 1942, with more powerful engine and increased armament, it gave origin to the Macchi 205, an excellent aircraft which, after the Italian Armistice of the 8th September 1943, was used by the aviation of the Italian Socialist Republic. It would fight very well against the Allied bombers, but it would be also the sunset of the Italian air war industry.

Mc 200

The Mc 200 entered service in October 1939, existing in service more than 150 when Italy entered the Second World War, being its first missions the escort of dive and normal bombers operating against Malta, in the autumn 1940, and later in the Balkans and the African desert, serving in this latter until the surrender in Tunisia, three years later. In the beginning it was used only as fighter, passing then to be fighter-bomber against ground and naval targets, achieving the sinking of the destroyer HMS Zulu in the vicinity of Tobruk, in September 1942. It was also used in Russia, where it equipped two Gruppi, achieving the downing of 88 Soviet aircraft in two months of permanence. In total it equipped 20 Gruppi. When the Armistice arrived only 33 exemplars of Mc 200 remained, of which nine were transferred to the aviation of the Italian Social Republic and 23 to the Italian Co-belligerent Air Force, where they were used for training.

Macchi-Castoldi fighters

Macchi Mc 200 Saetta from the 362nd Squadriglia, 22nd Gruppo Autonomo, Expeditionary Air Corps in Russia, Zaporozhe, Ukraine, August 1941; standard camouflage of the Regia Aeronautica, with distinctive in yellow (belonging to that theater of operations) in the engine, wingtips and rear part of the fuselage; additionally it presents the triangle-shaped white marks in the leading edges of the wings (only used by fighters from the Expeditionary Air Corps in Russia). Note the cross of reduced size in the tailplane and the anomalous position of the ensign from the Gruppo (Spaurachio).

Mc 202

The Mc 202, which flew for the first time in August 1940, entered service in 1941, immediately demonstrating to be the best Italian fighter in operation. It started to be used in Libya in the late 1941, serving during the entire campaign until the surrender in Tunisia. It also took part in the fight against Malta, the protection of convoys in the Mediterranean and in Russia in support of the troops before Stalingrad, in the winter 1942-43. After being retired from Africa it played an important role in the diurnal defense of Sicily and southern Italy, against the incursions of theUnited States Army Air Force (USAAF) bombers. After having equipped 19 Gruppi, only existed about 100 usable exemplars before the invasion of Italy, being reduced this number to half, despite the constant substitutuions, when the Armistice. Of the survivors, 19 served with the aviation of the Italian Social Republic and others with the Italian Co-belligerent Air Force. There was constancy of only two Mc 202 surviving the war.

Macchi-Castoldi fighters


Macchi-Castoldi fighters


Mc 205

The Mc 205, final development of the family of single-seat fighters built by Macchi, flew for the first time in April 1942, taking part in combat in July 1943, in Pantellaria. Then it was used, along with the Mc 202, in the defense of Sicily and southern Italy, remaining only 66 exemplars when the Armistice, of which only six were passed to the Italian Co-belligerent Air Force. The rest and all of the exemplars produced subsequently, raised to more than 140 the available units in the aviation of the Italian Social Republic, remaining in operation until the end of the war, mainly fighting against the bombers of the USAAF, in northern Italy. It was considered in every aspect equivalent to the Allied fighters. It equipped a Gruppe of the Luftwaffe in 1943-44. It remained in service with the Italian Air Force after the war, being sent some exemplars to Egypt in the late 1940s.

Macchi-Castoldi fighters

Macchi Mc 205V Veltro (White 17) from the II/JG 77, Viterbo, Central Italy, November 1943; this was the only Jagdgruppe of the Luftwaffe that used the Mc 205V. Standard camouflage of the Regia Aeronautica in wavy pattern; note how the German crosses have been added to the white band in the fuselage and the unusually narrow swastika. The identification bar corresponds to the II Gruppe and the spiral in the deflector of the propeller is typical of the Luftwaffe.

Macchi-Castoldi fighters

Macchi Mc 205V Veltro from the 369th Squadriglia, 22nd Gruppo.

Development record

Two prototypes were made for the monoplane interceptor Mc 200, fitted with engine Fiat A74 RC38 of 850 horsepower, closed cockpit and retractable tailwheel. The series model Mc 200 was equipped with more powerful engine; later models were built with open cockpit and the final ones with semi-closed cockpit; some of them were armed additionally with two Breda-SAFAT 7.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the wings. The Mc 200AS was the tropicalized version of the Mc 200. The Mc 200CB was the fighter-bomber version, with 320 kilograms of bombs or two auxiliary fuel tanks under the wings for escort missions. The Mc 200 was built in 25 series by Macchi, Breda and SAI-Ambrosini; 1100 units approximately. The Mc 201 was an improvement over the Mc 200, with engine Fiat A76 RC40 of 1000 horsepower and modified fuselage and cockpit; only developed as prototype, flying with engine Fiat A74 RC38 of 870 horsepower. Total production for the Mc 200 reached 1153 exemplars.

One prototype was made for the Mc 202, single-seat fighter based in the cell of the Mc 200, fitted with engine Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1 of 1175 horsepower and retractable tailwheel. The series model Mc 202 was similar to the prototype but fitted with engine Alfa Romeo built under licence, modified cockpit and fixed tailwheel; initial models were armed with two 12.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the fuselage, but from Series VI they were armed additionally with other two 7.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the wings; one exemplar was tested with two MG 151 20-millimeter cannons installed in nacelles under the wings. The Mc 202AS was the tropicalized version of the Mc 202. The Mc 202CB was the fighter-bomber version (Series XI), with 320 kilograms of bombs or two auxiliary fuel tanks under the wings for escort missions. The Mc 202D was an experimental modification of the Mc 202 with the radiator under the engine reallocated. The Mc 202 was built in 11 series by Macchi and Breda; 1100 units approximately.

One prototype was made for the Mc 205, single-seat fighter based in the cell of the Mc 202, fitted with engine Fiat RA 1050 RC58 (DB 605A built under licence) and armed with two Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns in the fuselage and other two 7.7-millimeter machine guns of similar type in the wings. The series model Mc 205V "Veltro" was similar to the prototype; the last models (Series III) were armed with MG 151 20-millimeter cannons instead of the machine guns in the wings; 262 units built. The Mc 205N-1 Orione was the version for high-altitude interception, built with larger wingspan, and armed with one MG 151 20-millimeter cannon and four Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns in the fuselage; only one exemplar was built as prototype. The version Mc 205N-2 was like the Mc 205N-1, but with two Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns in the sides of the fuselage replaced by two MG 151 20-millimeter cannons; only one exemplar was built as prototype. The versions Mc 206 and Mc 207 were like the Mc 205N-2, with engine DB 603A of 1510 horsepower and larger wingspan; the Mc 206 was armed like the Mc 205N-2 and the Mc 207 was armed with four MG 151 20-millimeter cannons installed in the wings; developed only as prototypes, not completed. Total production for the Mc 205 reached 265 exemplars.

Specifications for Macchi 200

First flight: December 1937

Wingspan: 10.58 meters

Wing area: 16.80 square meters

Length: 8.19 meters

Height: 3.51 meters

Weight (empty): 1800 kilograms

Weight (full load): 2200 kilograms

Engine: Fiat A74 RC38 of 870 horsepower

Time to reach 3000 meters of altitude: 8 minutes 24 seconds

Service ceiling: 8900 meters

Maximum speed at 4500 meters of altitude: 500 kilometers/hour

Cruising speed: 455 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 870 kilometers

Armament: Two Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the fore part of the fuselage

Offensive load: N/A



Specifications for Macchi 202

First flight: 10 August 1940

Wingspan: 10.58 meters

Wing area: 16.80 square meters

Length: 8.85 meters

Height: 3.02 meters

Weight (empty): 2357 kilograms

Weight (full load): 2937 kilograms

Engine: Alfa Romeo AR 1000 RC41 Monsone of 1175 horsepower (Daimler-Benz 601A-1 built under licence)

Time to reach 6000 meters of altitude: 5 minutes 55 seconds

Service ceiling: 11500 meters

Maximum speed at 5000 meters of altitude: 596 kilometers/hour

Cruising speed: 580 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 765 kilometers

Armament: Two Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the fore part of the fuselage, with the possibility of another two of similar type and caliber 7.7 millimeters installed in the wings

Offensive load: Two 160-kilogram bombs



Specifications for Macchi 205V

First flight: April 1942

Wingspan: 10.58 meters

Wing area: 16.80 square meters

Length: 8.85 meters

Height: 3.02 meters

Weight (empty): 2524 kilograms

Weight (full load): 3224 kilograms

Engine: Fiat RA 1050 RC58 Tifone of 1475 horsepower (Daimler-Benz 605A-1 built under licence)

Time to reach 3000 meters of altitude: 2 minutes 40 seconds

Service ceiling: 11000 meters

Maximum speed at 7200 meters of altitude: 640 kilometers/hour

Cruising speed: 500 kilometers/hour

Operational range: 1040 kilometers

Armament: Two Breda-SAFAT 12.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the fore part of the fuselage and two 7.7-millimeter machine guns installed in the wings (replaced by two MG 151 20-millimeter cannons in the last series)

Offensive load: Up to 320 kilograms of bombs





Article updated: 2015-07-07

Categories: Aircraft - World War Two - 20th Century - [General] - [General]

E-mail:

Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2015-05-31


This article has been seen/reloaded times since 2017-03-05 (or since publishing date).

This article has been voted 0 times.

You are logged off and have no access to the contents of this section!