| Italy's Fiat CR.40 Bi-plane
Italy is a nation often overlooked when it comes to, well almost
anything. When there's aircraft such as the Phantasm,
Mockingbird, and Firebrands rolling off assembly lines, what attention
should be paid to an outdated bi-plane? Because of it's
sheer simplicity and capabilities of course.
Mussolini took power in Italy, it was envisioned to become a great
Roman Empire. To do that, it needed the modern day equivalent of
Legions and modern equipment to arm them. Italy struggled,
upgrading weaponry across their army, navy and air force.
Their aircraft design however was somewhat lagging, and at one
point, it purchased a group of sixty Devastators from Hughes Aviation.
The bi-planes were popular with the Italian pilots, their
agility matching their own designs, while being more durable and
packing heavier armament.
Hollywood were always on friendly terms, sharing no animosity, and
seeing an opportunity for healthy co-operation. In 1934 Mussolini
requested, and was granted a contract to use the Devastator as a base
for a domestically produced airplane. I'l Duce almost
shouldn't have bothered, as the end result shares only the barest of
essentials. Fiat produced the fighter, dubbed the Cr.40.
In some ways it was an improvement over the Devastator,
however in some ways fell flat on it's face.
consideration Fiat made was agility. A favorite of Italian
pilots, the intent was to beat the already agile Devastator.
At this it succeeded, however after that was achieved, many think
the designers took a vacation. The engine stuck in was of
decent horsepower, but an older design, unsuited to pushing to the max,
while sluggish to accelerate. Armament, while
adequate against the many older designs, and lightly armed European
designs, was light by North American standards, and against newer
aircraft. Armor protection was higher than
many Italian designs, giving it the ability to stand with fighters
while it's light armament chipped away at them.
aircraft was made smaller, a ton and a quarter less than it's
Devastator parent. The designers kept the bi-plane style,
however moved the upper wing ahead of the cockpit. This,
combined with upgraded rudders, has given the Fiat unprecedented
agility. It can match the GM Tempest, and can out-turn and
out-maneuver almost every modern fighter in existance.
downside being that it can be out-run by almost any fighter produced
after 1935. While a servicable, company produced engine provided
enough horsepower to attain 240MPH flight, it simply pegs out there and
cannot pull the fighter any faster. it is also somewhat slow on
the acceleration, many pilots simply flying the Fiat at 200MPH and
making do with somewhat larger turn radius , rather than risk another
plane getting behind them and being powerless to run.
armament consists or paired Breda-SAFAT 12.7MM machine guns, whcih
although reliable, lack the muzzle velocity of American guns.
Only having two also limits it's firepower, although it's agility
can often keep it out of danger, it also must stay in the fight longer
to do damage. Many Italian pilots load up with magnesium rounds,
intending to exploit the four hardpoints, which they often load with AP
The Fiat has proven so
popular, that there are three variants, one, a slightly less agile, but
better armed fighter version, which trades slight structural integraty
to add a single 12.7MM Breda to the aircraft's nose, and added onto
it's light trailing armor.
second is a ground attack version, trading agility for firepower, while
being so loaded down with add-on's that it's top speed is only 202 MPH.
It adds a pair of .7.7MM's to the nose, while adding four
hardpoints so it can carry a pair of 110kg (220LB) bombs under it's
The Fiat is still under production, and the latest
variant has installed a new engine, which though the same size, and
same horsepower, is easily capable of pushing itself up to three
hundred miles per hour for short periods, putting it alongside newer
aircraft in capability.
Even with those
however, the new Macchi fighters are sure to cause the Fiat's
cancellation sometime in the near future, as newer planes begin
outflying the Fiat in addition to out-running and out-gunning them.
The Fiat Cr.40 has proved
extremely popular with Italian pilots, and sees service across the
Italian Empire. Some also see service in the Spanish
conflict, while a few others see service across Eastern Europe and the
Middle East, sold to Italian allies, and to cement business agreements.
Rugged and easily repairable, they are often
used with great affect in these areas, where many opponents are Great
War surplus and lack armor of any sort.
Name: Cr-40 Falco (Falcon)
Manufacturer: Fiat, Italy.
Class: Fighter-Fighter/ground-attack Pusher.
Max Speed: 248MPH
Max Acceleration: 32.8FP/s
Max Decelleration: 69.3FPS.
Service Ceiling: 8,500 feet.
Max Range: 412 miles.
Crew: 1 Pilot
2 Breda-SAFAT 12.7X81MM machine guns. Optionally, three on
variant A, two additional 7.7MM Breda-SAFATs in the ground-attack
Base Target Number: 7
Hardpoints: 4 (Version B, 8)
Speed: 3 (Version B 2)
G-load: 5 (Version B and C 4)
Leading Starboard: 40
Trailing Starboard: 20 (version B 30) (version C 40)
Leading Port: 40
Trailing Port: 20 (version B 30) (version C 40)
Weapons: 2X.50 calibers in gun positions 6 and 7. 4 hardpoints.
Version B: 2X.30's in GP2-3 and 2X.50 in GP6-7. 8 hardpoints.
Version C: 3X.50's in GP 2-6-7. 4 hardpoints.
VERSION D: Replaces the inferior engine with a superior one.
Main version $11,903
Ground Attack: $11,372
Version C: $11,638
Version D: $13,630
About the model:
A Hughes Devastator with the wings moved forward.
Not big, maybe not worth the change ;-) but it looked more
I-talian to me.