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Breda BA.65

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Derived from the earlier ba 64 and flown for the first time in 1935, the Ba.65 was produced in both single and two seat versions. Most were two-seaters and some had a Breda L turret and 7.7 mm (0.303 cal) machine gun fitted at the rear of the cockpit, in addition to the four wing mounted weapons. The final Ba.65bis variant had an open cockpit mounted gun.

The first Ba.65, powered by Fiat engines, were supplied to the Iraqi air force in 1937. The first aircraft for the Italian air force were Gnome-Rhone powered. Other exported Ba.65 ere delivered to Chile, Hungary, Portugal and Paraguay, but plans to sell a Pratt & Whitney powered version to Nationalist China foundered.

From August 1937 the Ba.65 served in substantial numbers with the Italian legionary air force fighting alongside the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. However, it was used only for reconnaissance missions during that conflict.

By the time Italy joined World War II in June 1940, the Italian air force had 154 Ba.65 in front-line service. They were used mainly in North Africa, but their poor manoeuvrability and lack of speed made them easy prey for Allied fighters.

Despite its heavy armament, the Ba.65 was not a success in the ground attack role which it was intended.Although comparable in size, weight and power to the earliest Spitfires, it was much slower and far less manoeuvrable. In service from the late 1930s, the Ba.65 found a few export customers, but was used principally by the Regia Aeronautica assisting Nationalist forces in Spain and fighting British forces in North Africa.


Breda BA.65

Breda BA.65 the single seat ground attack aircraft Breda BA.65 engine problem in the desert Breda BA.65 at the flying gas station
Flown for the first t ime in 1935, the Ba.65 was one of a number of Italian designs that were outmoded and unsuitable for combat tasks by the time Italy entered World War II in 1940. After Italy's entry into World War II, Ba.65 were committed to the North African campaign, where they came up against British forces. Serviceability or lack of it, in the sandy dessert conditions proved to be the type's biggest problem. Portugal took delivery of 10 two seat Ba.65s, powered by Fiat radials and fitted with the Breda L turret, in November 1939.

Breda BA.65 (Technical Specification)
Role Single seat ground attack aircraft
Manufacturer Breda
Maximum Speed 430 kmh (267 mph)
Maximum Range 550 km (340 miles)
Loaded weight

2,400 kg (5,280 lbs)
2,950 kg (6,490 lbs)
Wing Area

12.10 meters (36 ft 8 in)
9.30 meters (30 ft 6 in)
3.20 meters (10 ft 6 in)
23.50 square meters (253 sq ft)
Engines One A.80 RC41 18 cylinder air-cooled radial engine providing 746-kW (1,000 hp)
Armament Two 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) and two 7.7 mm (0.303 cal) plus up to 500 kg of bombs in the internal bomb bay and on wing racks

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