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Macchi 202/205V

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The Macchi M.C.202 Folgore (Thunderbolt) was among the most beautiful fighters to fly with wartime Axis forces, reflecting the aerodynamic flair of designer Mario Castoldi - the genius behind most Macchi warplanes. Building upon the M.C.200 Saetta (Lightning) but offering cleaner lines and more power, the M.C.202 was rushed into production and fought from 1941 onwards. To many, this was the best Italian fighter of the war.

Following Italy's military campaigns in East Africa, the Regia Aeronautica re-equipped with the Saetta (recognised by its radial engine) and later the M.C.202 Folgore and M.C.205V Veltro (Greyhound). Of the trio, the Folgore was the most pleasing to the eye. It introduced a new fuselage and improved engine but retained the tail unit, landing gear and similar wings to the Saetta.

Manufactured by Macchi, Breda and SAI-Ambrosini alongside the Saetta, the graceful Folgore was propelled by a German Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1 engine until a licence built Alfa Romeo version became available. It had a dramatically better performance than its Saetta ancestor, but Italy was under bombardment and its aero industry could not produce enough engines.

MC.202 Folgores began fighting in Libya in November 1941 and on the Eastern Front in September 1942. Italian pilots regarded the Folgore as an excellent combat aircraft and many fought superbly in it. It could easily outfly Hurricanes and P-40s in the desert and was a match for the famous Spitfire.


Macchi 202/205V

Italy's finest wartime fighter Macchi 202/205V Macchi 202/205V single-seat fighter Macchi 202/205V signle-seat fighter-bomber
The M.C.205 Veltro was the ultimate Macchi fighter. With great agility, adequate speed and in its final version at least, a powerful cannon armament, the Castoldi design team had produced a fighter to match the best produced in Britain, Germany or America. Italian fighters were, like the early Soviet MiG fighters, reliant on light weight and clean lines. Fitted with neat inline engines for their speed, they emphasised agility at the expense of armament. Before the war, Macchi produced some of the world's fastest record breakers and that experience was put to good use in the company's fine series of wartime fighters.

Macchi 202/205V (Technical Specification)
Role Single-seat fighter/fighter-bomber
Manufacturer Macchi
Maximum Speed 596 kmh (370 mph)
Maximum Range 765 km (272 mph)
Ceiling 11,500 meters (37,700 feet)
Loaded weight

2,350 kg (5,170 lbs)
3,010 kg (6,620 lbs)
Wing Area

10.58 meters (34 ft 8 in)
8.85 meters (63 ft 9 in)
3.04 meters (10 ft)
16.80 square meters (181 sq ft)
Engines One Alfa Romeo RA.1000 RC 41-l Monsone inverted V-12 piston engine which provides 876-kW (1,175 hp)
Armament Two 12.7 mm (0.50 cal) machine guns in engine cowling

Photo Gallery

Macchi MC202 Folgore 73^ Sq. 4 St. Martuba (Libya)1942 Model Frog (fuselage)Supermodel... Macchi MC 205 Veltro 81^ Sq. 1 St. 1943

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