Fiat CR-42 J11 used by Sweden RSWAF F9.1Sqn Red 9 Säve Sweden 1941.
Kadett Svante Nordquist in J11 no. 2543 (c/n 921) of Kungliga Göta Flygflottilj F9 at Säve in 1941-42.
J11 Fiat CR.42 Falco in Sweden
Shortly after the beginning of the Second World War the US decided to stop the delivery of 264 ordered fighters to Sweden. The fighters were the Seversky-Repubplic EP-1-106 (Swedish designation: J9)(J=Jaktplan which means fighter) and the Vultee Vanguard (Swedish designation: J10). These fighters was to be delivered to F8, F9, F10 (F=Flottilj, approx. Wing), but only 60 was delivered. The problem was now what to do, because new (and hopefully modern) equipment was urgently needed.
Earlier there had already been contacts with governments around Europe for possible purchase of aeroplanes. These contacts had been coldly meet even though Sweden was allowed to buy Junkers Ju86 bombers (Swedish designation: B3)(B=Bombplan which means bomber) from Germany. But more machines were hard to get. There was a war going on! Italy showed some interest. Sweden had recently bought four destroyers to its navy and managed to order 120 fighters of the types Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I and Fiat CR.42 Falco. The order for the Fiat fighters was for 72 aircraft and was the third and largest export order for the CR.42. They Italian aircraft got the Swedish designation J20 (Re.2000) respectively J11 (CR.42).
The J11s were delivered between February 1940 and September 1941, bearing the serials 2501-2572. They were powered by Fiat A74R.1C.38 engines providing a maximum 870 hp. The first dozen machines were flown to Sweden, the initial five leaving Italy on 29 February 1940, and the remaining seven on 15 March. The twelve first plane to arrive in Sweden was used as reconnaissance planes at F3 during the first summer were they were popular substitutes for the old Fokkers. The remainder were crated and delivered to CVM (Centrala Flygverkstäderna Malmslätt) for assembly, these arriving in Sweden five at a time from 20 December 1940 until 11 June 1941, and then in somewhat desultory fashion until the final three were despatched from Italy on 3 September 1941. By November 1941 all the Falcos were in service and they bore the designation of J11 and were assigned to F9 (F=Flottilj approx. Wing) at Säve, Gothenburg. Modifications included 20-mm armour plate behind the pilot, radio equipment and skis for winter service.
The CR.42 was declared obsolete in 1945 and the remaining aircraft were purchased by AB Svensk Flygtjänst.
Civil use of the Fiat CR.42 Falco in Sweden
J11 was a biplane and the last of it kind to be manufactured at the Fiat factory. This meant that the plane was already obsolete when it left the assembly line. Unfortunately was the quality in the Italian war production very bad but the purchase was seen as a short sighted emergency solution before expected domestic production could begin. In spite of this the "Caccia Rosatell" (the Rosatelli fighter) or "Caccia Rapide" (fast fighter) was to do some years of good service in the Swedish Airforce in times of hard military preparedness for Sweden. The plane was nice to fly and was well liked by the pilots. Unfortunately was the armament bad - only two 12.7mm machineguns - and the speed werent much to brag about. But the turning performance was good which many superior opponents were to learn.
The factory claims of a speed of 430 km/h and a service ceiling of 10000m is numbers that in real life was regarded with suspiciousness.
Sources: En flykt genom tiderna - Staten Försvarshistoriska Museer Att flyga är att leva The Fiat CR.42 - Gianni Cattaneo, 1971
Enjoy! WFGR/Stefan Wikstrom aka Hynkel Lulea, Sweden 2008-04-18
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Editor for Asisbiz: Matthew Laird Acred
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