Author Topic: Apophenia's Offerings  (Read 308655 times)

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2040 on: February 28, 2019, 05:53:42 AM »
Thanks Brian. I can't claim credit for the camo - my operational C.201 was modified from someone else's C.200 (alas, an anonymous online find) ...

Macchi C.202 Preliminare

As with the ur-Macchi C.200 and 2-seat C.201, Aer.Macchi produced a preliminary design designated C.202 as well. While the late 1935 C.200 was a stage in the design process leading to the production Saetta, the C.202 concept dating from February 1936 bore no relationship to the eventual production-model Macchi C.202. For the earlier C.202 concept, I have only a written description by Giovanni Massimello to go by.

This early C.202 was to be powered by the same Fiat A.80 engine as the preliminary C.200 and C.201 design. As described by Massimello, the early C.202 concept "was a preliminary design for a monoplane with a forward-placed cockpit, similar to that of the Breda Ba.65 but this line was not pursued." [1] What was Mario Castoldi thinking?!

Two possible scenarios present themselves. One is that this first C.202 incarnation was intended to produce a comparatively long-range fighter with a large fuel tank placed close to the centre-of-gravity. The second (albeit, less likely) scenario is that Castoldi was trying to satisfy Regia Aeronautica requirements for a superior pilot's view while still avoiding the overly humped forward fuselage which emerged with the built C.200 Saetta.

From Massimello's description, I've conjured up two possible early C.202 profiles. Although the dating for the first C.202 concept is slightly later, [2] the first sideview is based on the airframe illustrated above for the 1935 C.200 and C.201 concepts. The second sideview is based on the C.200 Saetta prototype as built later in 1937 ... although that seems rather less plausible. [3] Neither possibility presents much of a looker ;p

(Personally, I find the built Macchi C.202 to be one of the most attractive of WW2 fighter designs. So, I'm extremely grateful that the clunky, 'cab-forward' ur-C.202 never went anywhere!)

___________________________

[1] "Si trattava infatti del disegno preliminare di un monoplano col posto di pilotaggio moloto avanzato, simile al Ba.65, che non aveva avuto seguito." In Aer.Macchi C.203: un intruso tra i caccia della serie '200Ali Antiche (Torino), n║ 109, GAVS Torino, p. 29-30

http://www.avia-it.com/act/la_tecnica/la_tecnica_di_ieri/Tecnica_ieri_2016/Seg_art_apr_16/Aer_%20Macchi_C203_%20un_intruso_tra_i_caccia_della_serie_200.pdf

[2] Although the preliminary C.200/C.201 and C.202 are only separated by a few months, it's not clear whether Aeronautica Macchi or Ing. Castoldi considered this 'cab-forward' C.202 concept to be a part of the initial-phase progetto n.24 designs.

[3] Both of these sideviews are based upon an early-production C.200 profile done by the great Teodor Liviu Morosanu.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2041 on: February 28, 2019, 05:55:39 AM »
Macchi 'C.203' - What-If Macchi C.202 Derivatives

I don't know of any unbuilt developments of the Macchi C.202 other than the proposed Isotta-Fraschini L.121-powered C.204 (coming later). I have no doubt that there were unbuilt developments of the C.202 put forward, I just don't know what they were. There was, of course, the Macchi C.202bis concept. But that's different ... by the time that it was built, the C.202bis had been redesignated Macchi C.205V Veltro.

In his article, Aer.Macchi C.203: un intruso tra i caccia della serie '200 (Aer.Macchi C.203: an intruder amongst the '200 series fighters), author Giovanni Massimello unveils a little-known unbuilt project - the Macchi C.203. However, before the 'big reveal', Massimello acknowledges that some may have been speculating about this previously 'missing' C.203 designation.

"It was conceivable to expect an evolution of the C.202 to emerge. Perhaps with a new fuselage redesigned to house a 20 mm Mauser gun firing through the Daimler Benz 601A in imitation of the Messerschmitt Bf 109F series? There was a pressing insistence coming from Mussolini for a so-called "caccia-cannone". However, in contrast with the German fighter, such a cannon-fighter conversion was not readily achievable on the C.202 due to unsolvable centre of gravity issues. Accordingly, a redesign project would be needed along with new assembly lines. Difficult to accomplish in a short time, so nothing came of the push for a caccia-cannone."

As a what-if, a motore-cannone development of the Macchi C.202 seems like a comparatively simple proposition. If centre-of-gravity was the critical issue, the 'C.203' caccia-cannone could incorporate a new cannon bay which also served to extend the fuselage slightly rearward. For my 'C.203' cannon-fighter, I chose a domestic Scotti 20 mm auto-cannon rather than Massimello's German "20 mm Mauser gun". [1]

"Or, perhaps, we could imagine the '203 as the first attempt at a project to replace the DB 601A of the '202 with some more powerful powerplant?"

My first thought here was a Reggiane RE 103 'M-18' engine (as in the Reggiane Re 2004 project). But that inverted W-18 powerplant doesn't appear until 1943. So, instead, I settled on a developed version of the Isotta-Fraschini L.122. In the RW, the L.122 was an inverted development of Isotta-Fraschini's L.121 upright V-12 engine. For my whif upgraded L.122bis, I'm imagining the Ministero dell'Aeronautica assigning L.122 aspiration to Alfa Romeo - hence the Daimler Benz-style side-draught supercharger intake. [2] The tricky bit would be making the I-F L.122bis more powerful than the 1,175 hp DB 601A and licensed Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 R.C.41-I!

________________________

[1] Alfredo Scotti of Brescia did design a 20 mm aircraft gun. Like Scotti's 7.7 mm machine guns which were also used by the Regia Aeronautica, the 20 mm guns were actually produced by Isotta-Fraschini.

[2] The alternative would have been to forego fuel injection and use a down-draught carburettor with an above-cowling intake akin to that of the US Allison V-12. The DB arrangement seemed more elegant and easily accomodated a dust filter into the intake.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2042 on: February 28, 2019, 07:09:53 AM »
I'm enjoying these Macchis enormously.

Those are some superb "sand & spinach" variations. Your talent knows no bounds, apophenia!

A veritable feast for the eyes!

Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2043 on: March 01, 2019, 02:47:55 AM »
I really like the inline Macchis.  Any chance of one of these (or even a radial engined variant) in service on the Carrier Aquila?
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2044 on: March 01, 2019, 06:19:31 AM »
I really like the inline Macchis.  Any chance of one of these (or even a radial engined variant) in service on the Carrier Aquila?

I like it! May have to circle around on that one. Meanwhile ...

Ricognizione Veloce - The Macchi C.203 Floatplane Project

The Macchi C.203 was an unbuilt project for a twin-engined seaplane dating to 1937. Ing. Castoldi designed with twin-float aircraft for a 1937 Ministero dell'Aeronautica competition for a idrovolante da ricognizione veloce (fast reconnaissance seaplane) to replace the dated CRDA Cant Z.501 flying boat. The C.203 was to be a relatively sleek, tandem-seater powered by two radial engines. In general appearance, the fuselage with its twin, endplate tails, resembles a contemporary French landplane reconnaissance type - the Bloch MB.170.

As in the Bloch design, the C.203's pilot was seated well forward with underside nose glazings for observation. The C.203 canopy glazing was a lengthy affair terminating in a semi-enclosed dorsal gun position. Fixed armament consisted of three machine guns - that dorsal gun, a ventral gun firing through a hatch, and a fixed gun in the upper nose. A crew of two or three would be carried. Wingspan would be 20.90 m, total length was to be 14.34 m. According to Giovanni Massimello, power was likely to be provided by twin Fiat A.74 radials. [1]

Massimello also notes that, while Castoldi is very experienced in seaplane design, the C.203 layout doesn't compare all that well with the winning Fiat-CMASA R.S.14 submission. [2] The later featured a well-glazed nose cap and side-by-side seating for its flight crew. Defensive armament consisted of a 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT gun in a 360░ traverse Lanciani Delta turret and twin 7.7 mm machine guns. Powered by two Fiat A.74, the R.S.14 airframe was slightly smaller but - with a crew of 4 to 5 - the CMASA design was likely heavier than the C.203 would have been. That said, the Regia Aeronautica probably received the superior of the two designs.

Illustrated here is my take on the C.203 floatplane as designed by Castoldi (bottom). [3] But I've also included a completely speculative sideview of what the C.203 might have looked like had the nose been revised to better suit the fast reconnaissance role (top). Just for fun, I've added to the mix an evolutionary path parallel to that of the experimental land-based Fiat-CMASA A.S.14 attack aircraft derived from R.S.14 floatplane. Then, I've re-engined this fictional 'C.203bis' with twin 1,025 hp Piaggio XIbis R.C.40 radials as a more powerful prototype for the equally-ficticious 'C.203B'.

________________________

[1] It is equally possible that Castoldi intended the powerplants to be the larger Fiat A.80 radial - which were first considered for the C.200.

[2] This critique could also applied to the late-arriving CRDA Cant Z.515. That design shared the C.203's twin tails but featured the R.S.14's glazed nose cap, side-by-side seating, and Isotta-Fraschini Lanciani turret.

[3] I've shown the prototype C.203 with 'smooth' cowlings (as opposed to the C.200's individual rocker covers) and a Piaggio P1001 propeller hub. However, the early-production C.200s featured Fiat/Hamilton-Standard 34D-1 constant-speed propellers (on the first 24 or 32 C.200 production airframes, sources varying).
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2045 on: March 01, 2019, 10:30:32 AM »
Having once interned, once upon a time, at AerMacchi (summer of 1972), I am really enjoying these variations.  'twill be interesting to see if Macchi developed a design using the Zeta engine much as the Re.2004 and Caproni-Vizzoli F.6Z did.

Historical tidbit: Up until the new plant was built in Venegono, all Macchi land planes were built at their Varese plant, which is now in the middle of town, and had to be broken down and trucked to Venegono for re-assembly and flight testing.  Their seaplanes were built at a facility right on Lago de Varese (literally "Lake of Varese"); this facility now builds Harley-Davidsons for which Macchi holds a license (not sure if it's just for Italy or all of Europe).

Offline ericr

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2046 on: March 01, 2019, 05:05:37 PM »

Lovely floatplane !

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2047 on: March 02, 2019, 08:38:59 AM »

Lovely floatplane !

Floatplane is my favorite flavor, too!

Well done, apophenia!

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2048 on: March 03, 2019, 10:28:17 AM »
Going to extend this post-war with Merlin-powered versions of the MC.202/205V airframe or perhaps a hot-rodded one with a Griffon?

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2049 on: March 05, 2019, 05:46:15 AM »
Thanks folks! And Evan, historical tidbits are always most welcome  :smiley:

Going to extend this post-war with Merlin-powered versions of the MC.202/205V airframe or perhaps a hot-rodded one with a Griffon?

Wait for it  ;D  But first, a GTX-inspired diversion ...

Portaerei per Il Duce - Regia Marina Aircraft Carrier Development[/i]

In late 1935, the procurement staff of Italy's Regia Marina formalized their Requirement for an 'auxiliary aircraft carrier' and, in early 1936, issued a Request for Proposals. The Requirement made clear that naval staff were expecting a 'flat-top' conversion of an existing vessel. The flight deck and steam catapult would be strictly for carrier-based aircraft - there were to be no recovery cranes or stowage areas for seaplanes of any kind.

The first response came from Ansaldo shipyards of Genoa. This submission proposed a carrier modification of an Ansaldo-built ocean liner - the MS Augustus, built at the Genoa yard a decade earlier. As modified, this carrier conversion would feature a 171 metre-long flight deck, two aircraft elevators, and three below-decks aircraft hangars (one serving as a repair shop and parts stowage area). For this conversion proposal, the Regia Marina assigned the temporary re-naming - RM Falco. In its submission, Ansaldo noted that, if the Regia Marina were to desire a second aircraft carrier, a sister ship - the SS Roma - could also be made available for conversion.

The second RfP reponse came from the Cantiere Navale Triestino (CNT) of Monfalcone. An ocean liner built by that yard - MS Saturnia - had just completed trooping duties for the Abyssinian campaign. At the end of December 1935, the nine-year-old Saturnia had been returned to her builder's yard for re-engining. CNT proposed that she be rebuilt along the lines of Japan's updated Hosho aircraft carrier - complete with full-length flight deck and folding funnels. [1] A tentative technical assistance agreement had already been arranged with Asano Shipbuilding - the Japanese makers of the Hosho - and the Imperial Japanese Navy's Yokosuka Naval Arsenal. If a second vessel was required by the Regia Marina, a sister-ship - MS Vulcania - was available for conversion. [2]

Weighing the comparative advantages was fairly straightforward. The MS Augustus was a comparatively large ship with an overall length of 215.25 m and a beam of 25.2 m while MS Saturnia was only 181.58 m long with a beam of 24.31 m. Because the CNT conversion was to feature a full-length flight deck, that surface would actually be more than 11 metres longer that the flight deck proposed for the Ansaldo project. [3] On the deficit side, the CNT flight deck would be one metre narrower than that proposed by Ansaldo. Ansaldo appealed to national prestige with an all-Italian approach to design and construction. By contrast, the CNT plan was to source catapults and other specialized carrier gear from Japan.

The Regia Marina regarded CNT's scheme to import the catapult, transverse arresting gear, aircraft lifts, etc., from Japan very favourably - in part because it freed Italian naval architects to concentrate on the design of cruisers and other capital ships. The Ministero dell'Aeronautica assessment also favoured the CNT bid. A longer flight deck was valued and CNT's slightly narrower deck did not represent a problem for the planned shipboard aircraft - 'hooked' biplanes in the form of the Fiat C.R.32N fighter and IMAM Ro.43bis reconnaissance-bomber. Accordingly, the CNT proposal was given official approval in August 1936 and a conversion contract was issued in October 1936.

Under Regia Marina nomenclature rules, the MS Augustus hull would be re-named. CNT recommended an 'unsinkable island' name and RM Sicilia was tentatively accepted. However, the ship continued to be referred to as the Augustus as conversion work began. In 1938, reflecting changes in official naming policy, the conversion would be re-named again - this time as the RM Garibaldi.

CNT had allowed for six months to refurbish and re-engine MS Saturnia as a liner. She was scheduled to receive two, new Sulzer diesel engines which had already been delivered to the CNT yard at Monfalcone. These double-ended diesels would develop a total power of 41,000 bhp intended to give the liner a 22 knots top speed. However, inevitable weight gains in the carrier converted process reduced top speed to 20 knots (although this remained at least as fast as the proposed Ansaldo conversion). Beyond re-engining, the entire superstructure had to be removed along with the original funnels. A girder-work structure was erected to support the wooden flight deck. Two new folding funnels were mounted on the starboard side outboard of the flight deck. [4]  Two elevators pierced the flight deck at either end of a new below-decks hangar for the ship's aircraft. Beneath the aircraft levels, aviation fuel storage tanks and ammunition magazines were fitted. [5] This work progressed rather slower than expected and, as a result, the re-named RM Garibaldi was not finally delivered to the Regia Marina until March 1939.

On her maiden cruise, RM Garibaldi carried an aircraft complement of 12 C.R.32N fighters and 9 Ro.43bis reconnaissance-bombers. Both the Regia Marina and Ministero dell'Aeronautica regarding these docile biplanes as interim equipment for the new aircraft carrier. In 1939, two competitions were announced for replacement aircraft. These future fighters and recce-bombers were both to be higher-performance monoplanes. (No shipboard torpedo-bomber was planned since the Regia Aeronautica was very satisfied with its land-based Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 bombers carrying 450mm Whitehead torpedoes.)

(To be continued ...)

_________________________________

[1] An obvious difference was that the Italian carrier retained a raised superstructure for its wheel house.

[2] Although assigned to military support, both CNT-built liners technically remained property of the Cosulich - SocietÓ Triestina di Navigazione line.

[3] Ansaldo's plans called for the flight deck to end 45 m short of the upper bow to facilitate gun emplacements.

[4] The twin folding-funnels became a recognition-book feature for the Garibaldi, readily distinguishing its profile from that of the Japanese Hosho with its triple folding-funnels. (A more subtle distinction was that the wheel house/control tower of the RM Garibaldi was set further aft than that of the Hosho.)

[5] Conversion work included installing defensive gun positions (including side-slung 'gondoli' for light anti-aircraft cannons) but the RM-provided weapons themselves would not be installed until final fitting-out and work-up in March 1939.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2050 on: March 05, 2019, 05:49:00 AM »
Aerei Moderni - Updating Italy's Shipboard Carrier Aircraft

Most pressing for equipping Italy's new aircraft carrier was a modern, high-performance monoplane fighter. Accordingly, the Ministero dell'Aeronautica had launched a Caccia (Navale) contest before the carrier conversion had even left the ways. Although this C(N) competition was open only to current Regia Aeronautica fighter types, there were several 'non-compliant' submissions. The CMASA-modified Fiat C.R.42N (Navale) was rejected as a biplane; the Caproni-Vizzola F.5RM and AUSA T.18N as then non-service types; the Nardi FN.531 as unflown, and others for then-unavailable engine types. [1] The accepted line-up of candidates consisted of the long-span Fiat G.50bis A/N (Navale), the Macchi C.202C (Catapultabile), and the Reggiane Re.2000 OG (Organizzazione Garibaldi). [2] Essentially 'hooked' versions of land-based fighters, prototypes of all three naval fighters were all run through mock carrier landings on a simulated flight deck.

The Fiat submission - a modified pre-series G.50A with 'short' wings - lost its arrestor hook in a simulated landing-on and was returned to CMASA for repairs. Official favour rested with the Reggiane fighter - despite its awkward fuel tank arrangement and slightly inferior view from the cockpit. Aeronautica Macchi responded with a refined C.200Pa (Portaerei) with full naval equipment and the option of introducing wing-folding in future (anticipating that potential in the rival, long-span Fiat G.50bis A/N. Those features and the greater reliability of the C.200's A.74 engine over the Reggiane's Piaggio P.IX won the day. In May 1940, Aeronautica Macchi was awarded a contract for 24 C.200Pa shipboard fighters. [3]

The seconded aviation re-equipment contest was for a replacement for the IMAM (Meridionali) Ro.43bis. This Ricognizione (Navale) competition proved more troublesome. The R(N) winner, announced in late February 1940, was the Breda Ba.68 - a two-seater based upon Breda's land-based Ba.65 P.XI attack aircraft.

(To be continued ...)

_________________________________

[1] The Nardi FN.531 was a 'navalized' FN.530 caccia leggero powered by a French Gnome-Rhone 14M Mars radial engine. However, the Regia Marina saw no need for a 'light fighter'. Two other types were rejected for their then-unproven Alfa Romeo 135 engines - the AVIS CO.2 gull-wing monoplane and the Breda Ba.100N monoplane.

[2] The inclusion of Reggiane resulted in official protests from Caproni-Vizzola and AUSA - none of which had fighters which were operational with the Regia Aeronautica, as demanded by the Specificiation.

[3] Unlike the prototype C.200C, all C.200Pa fighters (MM.5163-5186) would be constructed by Breda.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2051 on: March 05, 2019, 07:47:03 AM »
I never considered a Macchi for carrier service! What a great concept and yet more killer Italian color schemes too!

Brian da Basher

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2052 on: March 05, 2019, 10:07:10 AM »
I should add to that historical tidbit.  The plant nearly downtown in Varese is the same facility they started in back in 1912.  At the time, it was outside the city which has now grown to quite surround it.

I loved the bits on the Italian carriers and the development of aircraft for them.

I'm looking forward to see what comes next.  I know the MC.204 was a MC.202 with a lower-rated engine for training (I have the SEM conversion in 1/72 for this unbuilt, in our world, version).  I'm rather hoping your development will see a MC.202/205V variant with the Zeta engine fitted to the Caproni-Vizzola F.6Z and the unbuilt Caproni-Reggiane Re.2004.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 03:07:44 AM by elmayerle »

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2053 on: March 06, 2019, 12:38:55 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2054 on: March 06, 2019, 03:32:55 AM »
Thanks folks. And thank Evan for the historical tidbits. I noted that the Breda plant location - now an urban park - is now completely surrounded by city growth as well.

I have one more bit about the Italian carrier, then back of track with Castoldi's historical Macchi projects and a few whiffier derivatives. The C.204 is next up but a 'C.205Z' is also in the works - thanks for the inspiration

______________________

The original carrier-borne reconnaissance-bomber was the IMAM Ro.43bis biplane. The Ro.43bis was simply the Ro.43 ship-borne catapult floatplane fitted with the fixed undercarriage of the land-based IMAM Ro.37. The Ro.43bis was fitted with the Ro.43's 700 hp Piaggio P.X R radial (rather than the Ro.37's 560 hp Piaggio P.IX RC.40) giving a top speed of 225 mph. [1] While that was a useful advance on the Ro.37 (which could manage only 205 mph), the performance of the Ro.43bis was quickly seen to be out-performed by almost all potentially-opposing monoplanes. A replacement for the Ro.43bis - outlined in the Ricognizione (Navale) competition - was clearly needed.

The outcome of the 1939 Caccia (Navale) contest resulted in the Macchi C.200Pa (Portaerei) being ordered in May 1940. The Ricognizione (Navale) competition proved more troublesome. The R(N) winner, announced in late February 1940, was the Breda Ba.68 - a two-seater based upon Breda's land-based Ba.65 P.XI attack aircraft. By way of a demonstrator, the Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda fitted a Ba.65 with naval equipment at Sesto San Giovanni. On loan from the Regia Aeronautica, this aircraft was re-designated  Ba.65R(N) and delivered to the Regia Aeronautica for mock deck landing trials.

Top Breda Ba.65R(N) demonstrator redeployed on Regia Marina camouflage trials. Note that this aircraft is marked as a 'Breda 68'. The Ba.65R(N) has been refinished in Azzurra top surfaces over Grigio Mimetico undersides. The original yellow cowling has been overpainted as has the fuselage recognition band.

The production version of the Breda Ba.68 was structurally very similar to the Regia Aeronautica's Ba.65 P.XI attack bomber. However, externally, the two types could quickly be distinguished by the Ba.68's twin tails (adopted to improve stability on approach for carrier landings). Less obvious was a revised, cooler-running cowling (adapted from that of the Ba.88 Lince bomber. Offensive armament was four fixed, forward-firing machine guns - two 12.7 mm and two 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT guns - and up to 550 kg of bombs. Defensive armament comprised a flexible 7.7 mm gun in the observer's cockpit and another 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT on a 'wobble-mount' in the extreme tail-cone. In service, the 'wobble-mount' and fixed 7.7 mm wing guns were often removed to reduce the Ba.68's loaded weight.

Bottom The fourth production Breda Ba.68 aboard the RM Garibaldi in November 1940.

The Ba.68 proved to be a poor match for carrier operations. The Piaggio P.XI engine was less reliable than the admittedly less-powerful Fiat A.74 in the Macchi fighter. By the end of 1940, the Regia Marina was already looking to speed up development of a successor. A two-seat derivative of the Fiat G.50bis A/N was favoured for its engine commonality with the Macchi fighter but the Fiat's performance proved disappointing. In the end, the Reggiane Re.2002 OG - a two-seat development of the Re.2000 OG was adopted as the Regia Marina's new Ricognizione Veloce (Navale). Ironically, due to delays with the new Piaggio P.XIX radial, the Re.2002 OGs were delivered with the same troublesome Piaggio P.XI engines as had powered the Ba.68s. The Re.2002 OG's first combat engagement was unauspicious - three Reggiane's were shot down by anti-aircraft fire from HMS Carlisle on 22 March 1942 during the Second Battle of Sirte.

______________________

[1] For comparison sake, the float-equipped Ro.43 could only manage 186 mph on its 700 hp Piaggio P.X R engine.
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