Fiat CR.42 Falco
National origin:- Italy Role:- Fighter Manufacturer:- Fiat Designed by Celestino Rosatelli First flight:- 23rd May 1938 Introduction:- 1939 Retired:- 1948 Spanish Air Force Primary users:- Regia Aeronautica, Spanish Air Force Produced between 1945:- 1,817-1,819 Developed from Fiat CR.32
The Fiat CR.42 Falco ('Falcon', plural: Falchi) was a single-seat sesquiplane fighter that served primarily in Italy's Regia Aeronautica before and during World War II. The aircraft was produced by Fiat Aviazione, and entered service, in smaller numbers, with the air forces of Belgium, Sweden and Hungary. With more than 1,800 built, it was the most numerous Italian aircraft in World War II. The CR.42 was the last of the Fiat biplane fighters to enter front line service, and represented the epitome of the type, along with the Gloster Gladiator.
RAF Intelligence praised its exceptional manoeuvrability, further noting that 'the plane was immensely strong', though it stood little chance against faster, more heavily armed monoplanes. It performed at its best with the Hungarian Air Force on the Eastern Front, where it had a kill to loss ratio of 12 to 1.
The Fiat CR.42 entered service in May 1939, with the 53Â° Stormo, based at Turin Caselle Airport. By the time Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940, about 300 aircraft had been delivered. The Falchi defended airfields, cities, and Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) bases until the Italian armistice with the Allies of 8 September 1943. The Falchi also fought against the British Gloster Gladiator over Malta, and later against the British Hawker Hurricane, sometimes with unexpected success. The manoeuvrability of the Falchi concerned the British. 'A RAF Intelligence report in late October 1940 circulated to all pilots and their squadrons, with copies to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and the War Cabinet, declared: 'The manoeuvrability of the CR.42s, in particular their capacity to execute an extremely tight half roll, has caused considerable surprise to other pilots and undoubtedly saved many Italian fighters from destruction.'
When production was stopped in 1942, a total of 1,784 CR.42s had been built. By 8 September 1943, when Italy surrendered to the Allies, only around 60 of the aircraft were in flying condition. Battle of France
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