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Italy's Fiat BR.20; Fiat B.R.20 medium bomber
Nickname: Cicogna (stork), Cigona

Photos

  • Fiat BR.20 Cicogna bomber
  • Fiat BR.20 Cicogna bomber

Design

The Fiat B.R.20 was designed by Celestino Rosatelli to meet the requirements for a two engine bomber that could carry 2,640 lbs of bombs 600 miles at a speed of 240 mph.3

The B.R.20 had stressed skin duralumin and fabric.2,3 It also had retractable undercarriage into the engine housings.2,3

The BR.20M had a cleaner nose and a stronger wing.1

Prototype

The prototype of the Fiat BR.20 Cicogna first flew on February 10, 1936.1,2,5

The prototype of the Fiat BR.20M was flown at the end of 1939.1

The first B.R.20bis flew in December 1941 / 19416.2

Production

The BR.20II entered production in 1943.1

  • Fiat B.R.20: 2756, 3202
  • Fiat B.R.20A: 22
  • Fiat B.R.20L: 12
  • Fiat B.R.20M: 2642
  • Fiat B.R.20bis: 152,3
    • Production: 1942 - ?3
  • Fiat BR.20M and BR.20bis: ~2506
  • Total: >5003, 6022, 6061
    • Manufacturer: Fiat S.A.3
    • Production: 7 years3

Variants

  • Fiat BR.20:
  • Fiat B.R.20A: Civilian model.2,6 Took part in civilian distance races.3
  • Fiat BR.20L: Civilian model.6
  • Fiat BR.20M: New nose and stronger wing.1,6 Added additional armament.2 Included more armor.2 Nose was redesigned.2,3
  • Fiat BR.20II / Fiat BR.20bis: Had Fiat A.82 RC 32 radial engines (1,250 HP).1 Nose was redesigned.2,3 Additional armor added.3 Did not see combat.3
  • Fiat Nichii Type C8 Mikado, TB-98: Exported version to Japan.4

Usage

Italy, Japan, Spain, and Venezuela used the B.R.20.2

The 13° Stormo BT received the first BR.20s in September of 1936.1,5

In March of 1937 the 7° Stormo BT received its first BR.20s.1

Units:

  • Stormi: 7°, 13°, 37°, 38°, 43°6
  • Gruppi: 25°, 71°, 99°6
  • Squadrilglie: 51a, 69a6

Long Distance Races

In 1937 two BR.20As were used in the Istres-Damascus-Paris race.6

In 1939, piloted by Maner Lualdi, Giuseppe Mazzochi, and E. Valente flew a specially built BR.20L almost 3,000 miles from Rome to Addis Ababa.3,6 His average speed was over 250 mph which was a world record for its category.3

Spain

The 7° and 13° Stormo BTs / 35° Gruppo Autonomo da Bombardamento6 took their BR.20s to Spain in 1937.1 They were there for about a year and a half.3

Japan

Japan ordered 100 BR.20s.6

In 1938-1939 85 BR.20s were shipped to Japan.1,2 Japan used these BR.20s in China.1,2

The Japanese paid for them with soya beans.2,6

Venezuela

One BR.20 was shipped to Venezuela in 1938.1,6

Entry into War

In June 1940 there were four stormi that flew 148 BR.20s, the 7°, 13°, 18°, and 43°.1

Battle of Britain

In Belgium there were 80 BR.20s that were used in raids against England in October6 and November 1940.1,3,4,6 They were members of the 13° and 43° Stormi.6 They suffered heavy casualties.1 Within 300 hours 20 of the 80 were shot down.3

North Africa

The Fiat engines were unsuitable in the desert conditions of North Africa.1

Italian Armistice

There were only 67 BR.20s in service at the time of the Italian Armistice.1,6

Specifications

  Fiat BR.20 Cicogna
Type Bomber3,4, Medium bomber1,2
Crew 53, 5 - 61,2
Engine (Type) 2: Fiat A.80 RC 411,2,3,4,6
Cylinders Radial1,4, Radial 182,3,6
HP 1,000 each1,2,3,4,6
Cooling Air3
Propeller blades 3 each2, 3 metal each3
Dimensions  
Span 70' 8"4, 70' 8.75"1,6, 70' 9"3
21.56 m1
Length 52'4, 52' 9.75"1,6, 52' 10"3
16.1 m1
Height 14' 1"3,4, 14' 1.25"1,6
4.3 m1
Wing area 796.5 sq ft6, 796.6 sq ft1
74 sq m1
Weight  
Empty 14,300 lb6, 14,330 lb1
6,500 kg1
Loaded 21,850 lb3, 22,220 lb6, 22,266 lb1, 22,500 lb4
10,100 kg1
Performance  
Speed 267 mph6, 268 mph4
Speed @ 13,125' /
4,000 m
267 mph1
430 kph1
Speed @ 16,400' 268 mph3
Cruising speed 217 mph6
Climb to 6,560' 6 minutes 30 seconds6
Climb to 13,120' 14 minutes6
Climb to 13,125' /
4,000 m
13.55 minutes1
Climb to 19,680' 22 minutes 30 seconds6
Service ceiling 23,616'6, 24,935'1, 29,500'3
7,600 m1
Range 1,193 miles1, 1,800 miles4, 1,860 miles3, 1,863 miles6
1,920 km1
Armament 3: MG3
Nose 1: 7.7 mm MG1,2
1: 12.7 mm MG6
Dorsal 1: 7.7 mm MG1,2
Turret - Dorsal 1: 12.7 mm MG6
Ventral 1: 7.7 mm MG1
2: 7.7 mm MG2
1: 12.7 mm MG6
Bombs 2,200 lb4,6, 3,527 lb1,2,3
1,600 kg1,2
  Fiat BR.20A
Type Civil Transport2,6
Weight  
Empty 14,080 lb6
Loaded 28,149 lb6
Performance  
Speed 270 mph6
Service ceiling 18,040'6
Range 3,850 miles6
  Fiat BR.20L
Type Civilian Racer6
Weight  
Empty 13,706 lb6
Loaded 24,376 lb6
Performance  
Speed 276 mph6
Service ceiling 21,320'6
  Fiat B.R. 20M Cicogna
Type Medium Bomber5
Crew 55
Engine (Type) 2: Fiat A.80 RC412,5
OR 2: Fiat A.80 RC202
Cylinders RC41: Radial5, Radial 182
HP RC41: 1,000 each2,5
RC20: 1,100 each2
Propeller blades 3 each2
Dimensions  
Span 70' 8.5"2, 70' 8.75"5,6
21.55 m2, 21.56 m5
Length 54' 8"2,5, 55' 0.75"6
16.66 m2, 16.68 m5
Height 14' 1.25"6, 15' 7"2,5
4.75 m2,5
Wing area 796.5 sq ft5,6
74 sq m5
Weight  
Empty 14,330 lb2,5, 15,070 lb6
6,500 kg2,5
Loaded 22,270 lb5, 22,990 lb6, 23,038 lb2
10,100 kg5, 10,450 kg2
Performance  
Speed at Sea Level 273 mph5
440 kph5
Speed 267 mph6
Speed at 13,450' / 4,100 m 255 mph2
410 kph2
Cruising Speed 211 mph2,5,6
340 kph2,5
Climb 900'/minute2
275 m/minute2
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 25 minutes2,5
Service Ceiling 22,140'6, 23,600'2, 26,245'5
7,193 m2, 8,000 m5
Range 1,242 miles6, 1,709 miles2,5
2,750 km2,5
Armament  
Nose 1: 12.7 mm MG2
1: 0.5" / 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG5
Turret - Dorsal 1: 0.5" / 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG5
Ventral 1: 0.5" / 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG5
Bomb Load 3,528 lb5
1,600 kg5
  Fiat B.R. 20bis Cicogna
Engine (Type) 2: Fiat A.82 RC322,3
2: Fiat A.82 R.C.42S6
Cylinders Radial 182
HP 1,250 each2,3,6
Propeller blades 3 each2
Dimensions  
Span 71' 8.25"6
Length 57' 3"6
Height 14' 1.75"6
Wing area 807.3 sq ft6
Weight  
Empty 16,500 lb6
Loaded 25,300 lb6
Performance  
Speed at 16,400' 286 mph6
Cruising speed 230 mph6
Climb to 13,120' 10 minutes 10 seconds6
Climb to 19,680' 15 minutes 30 seconds6
Service ceiling 30,176'6
Range 1,242 miles6
Armament 2: 7.7 mm MG6
3: 12.7 mm MG6

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Jonathan Thompson, 1963
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site