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Italy's Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79; SIAI Marchetti S.M. 79; medium bomber
Nickname: Sparviero (hawk, sparrow, sparrow hawk), Gobbo Maledetto (hunchback)

Photos

  • Savoia Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero bomber
  • Savoia Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero bomber
  • Savoia Marchetti SM.79 torpedo bomber
  • Savoia Marchetti SM.79 torpedo bomber
  • Savoia Marchetti SM.79 torpedo bomber

Design

The Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79 was designed by Alessandro Marchetti to be a high speed passenger aircraft for a race from England to Australia.1,4,8 The S.M.79 started out to be a transport (with eight seats) but later became a bomber.3,4,5,8 The S.M. 79 also was a torpedo bomber at which it excelled.4

The S.M.79 was made from steel tube, light alloys, wood, and fabric.3,4

Fuselage

The fuselage had a welded steel tube frame.6 Duralumin sheets covered the front parts.6 Duralumin and plywood covered the top with fabric on the sides and bottom.6

Landing Gear

The landing gear retracted into the engine housing.4,6

Cabin

The radio operator was also the rear gunner.1 There was armor protecting the crew.1

Bomb / Torpedo load

The bombs were stored in the bomb bay and the torpedo was mounted on the outside of the fuselage.1

Ventral Gondola

The bombardier was located in the front of the ventral gondola.1 After the prototype a rear facing MG was added to the gondola.1

Tail

The tail was made from a steel tube frame with a fabric cover.1,6

Wing

The wing was made from a wood structure with fabric covering.1,6

Prototype

The prototype S.M.79 first flew in October 1934 / late 19343.1,3,4 The flight to place at the Cameri Airport in Novara.4

Production

Deliveries of S.M.79-Is started in 1936.3

  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-I, Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-II, Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-III: 1,2303
  • Total: 1,2174, 1,3301,2,8, 1,3703
    • Manufacturer: SIAI Marchetti4
    • Production: October 1936 - June 19434
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79B: 313
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79JR: 403, 1134
    • IAR built 16 of these3,4
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.83: 233

Romania constructed about 80 S.M.79s.1

Variants

  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.79P: Civilian transport.8
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-I:
  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-II: Torpedo Bomber.8
  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-III, S.579: Developed for the Germans by Aviazione della RSI.8 No gondola.8
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79bis / Savoia-Marchetti S.M.84: Had three Alfa Romeo 128 (850 HP)3 or three Piaggio P.XI radial engine (1,000 HP).2,3 Fuselage was longer.3 Twin fins and rudders were used.3 Very few built starting in 1940.3
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79ter / Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-III: some constructed in 1944.2
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79B: Export model.3,4,8 Had two engines.3,4,8
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79C: VIP transport.3 16 converted from S.M.79-Is.3,8 Corsa (race).8 All armament removed.8
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-JR: Built for Romania.8 Also built under license by Industria Aeronautica Romana (I.A.R.).8
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79T: Transatlantic.4,8
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.83: Civilian transport that carried 10 passengers.3

Usage

The countries that used the S.M. 79 were:

  • Brazil3,4,8
    • S.M.79B: 33,8
      • Engines: Alfa Romeo 128 R.C.188
  • Croatia3
  • Germany3
  • Iraq3,4,8
    • S.M.79B: 43,8
      • Engines: FIAT A.80 R.C.418
  • Italy3
  • Romania3,4,8
    • S.M.79B: 243,8
      • Engines: Gnôme-Rhône K.14 Mistral-Major8
    • S.M.79JR: 243,8
      • IAR built 163,4
  • Spain3
  • Yugoslavia3,4,8
    • S.M.79-I: 453,4,8
    • Exported in 1938.3

The S.M.79 was nicknamed the Il Gobbo (the hunchback) due to the gun bulge above the cockpit.1

Record Breaking

The first S.M.79 made a record breaking flight from Milan to Rome in June 1935.1

In September 1935 the S.M. 79 broke six records flying distances of 625 and 1,250 miles while carrying loads from 1,100 lb to 4,400 lb.4

Five S.M. 79 Cs flew from Istres to Damascus to Paris on August 20 - 21, 1937 and took 1st through 5th place.4,8 The distance was over 4,000 miles at an average speed of 220 mph.4

In January 1938 three S.M. 79 Ts flew from Guidonia, Italy, to Dakar and then to Rio de Janeiro, over 6,000 miles / 6,116 miles8, at an average speed of 250 mph / 251 mph.4,8 The three aircraft were flown by:

  • I-Bise: Colonel Attilio Biso, Major Amedeo Paradisi8
  • I-Moni: Major Nino Moscatelli, Captain Gori Castellani8
  • I-Brun: Lieutenant Bruno Mussolini, and Lieutenant Renato Mancinelli8

Spanish Civil War

The Italians used the S.M.79s in the Aviazione Legionara that fought in the Spanish Civil War.1,8 It was first used in February 1937.4 The 8° and 11° Stormi Bombardamento Veloce were equipped with the SM.79s.8

Regia Aeronautica

In 1937 the S.M.79-I joined the Regia Aeronautica.2 It was used as a medium bomber and then a torpedo bomber.2

Eleven Stormi were equipped with 389 of the S.M.79-I by 1939.2

By June 1940 there were 594 (403 operational8) S.M.79-Is with 14 Stomi.2,4,8 They were deployed as follows:

  • Italy: 32, 58
    • Stormi: 9°, 11°, 12°, 41°, 46°8
  • Sardinia: 22,8
    • Stormi: 8°, 32°8
  • Libya: 38, 42
    • Stormi: 10°, 15°, 33°8
  • Sicily: 28, 52
    • Stormi: 30°, 36°8

Royal Navy Loses

The Royal Navy lost four destroyers and had one battleship (HMS Malaya) and three aircraft carriers (Indomitable, Argus, and Victorious) damaged by S.M.79 attacks.1

Italy Surrenders

When Italy surrendered there were only 36 airworthy S.M.79s at Capodichino, Littoria, Pisa, and Siena.1 34 joined the Allied Co-Belligerent Air Force.8

Lebanon

In 1950 three were sold to Lebanon as transports.1

Specifications

  SM.79P
Type Civilian Transport8
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio Stella8
OR 3: Alfa Romeo 125 R.C.358
Cylinders Radial 98
HP Piaggio: 6108
Alfa: 7508
Performance  
Speed 267 mph8
Service ceiling 25,912'8
Range 932 miles8
  SIAI Marchetti S.M. 79
Type Bomber6, Bomber torpedo4, Reconnaissance6
Crew 64
Pilot, co-pilot, engineer, radio operator6
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa Romeo 126 RC 344,5,6
OR 3: Piaggio P. XI RC/405
Cylinders Alfa: Radial 94,6
HP Alfa: 750 each4,6
Piaggio: 1,000 each5
Cooling Alfa: Air4,6
Propeller blades Two position variable pitch6
Dimensions  
Span 66' 3"5,6, 69' 6.625"8, 69' 7"4
21.2 m6
Length 51' 2"4, 53' 1.75"8, 53' 2"5,6
16.2 m6
Height 13' 5.5"8, 13' 6"5,6, 15' 1"4
4.1 m6
Wing area 656.3 sq ft6, 656.6 sq ft8
61 sq m6
Weight  
Empty - Alfa Engines 14,960 lb6
6,800 kg6
Loaded 23,100 lb6, 23,180 lb4, 24,850 lb5
10,500 kg6
Performance  
Speed 295 mph5
Speed at 11,500' / 3,500 m 260 mph6
416 kph6
Speed at 13,120' / 4,000 m 267 mph4
Climb to 3,280' / 1,000 m 3 minutes 10 seconds6
Climb to 16,400' / 5,000 m 19 minutes 45 seconds6
Service ceiling 22,960'6, 23,000'4
7,000 m6
Range 1,000 miles6, 1,150 miles5, 1,180 miles4
1,600 km6
Endurance 4.5 hours6
Armament 4: MG5
4 - 5: MG4
Forward Firing 1: MG6
Fuselage - Behind Wings 2: MG6
Ventral 1: MG6
Bombs 2,200 lb5,6, 2,756 lb4
1,000 kg6
OR  
Torpedoes 26
  SIAI Marchetti SM.79B
Type Bomber8
Engine (Type) 2: FIAT A.80 R.C.414,8
OR 2: Gnome-Rhône K.144, Gnôme-Rhône K.14 Mistral-Major8
OR 2: Alfa Romeo 128 R.C.188
Cylinders Radial 188
HP Alfa Romeo: 930 each8
FIAT: 1,000 each4, 1,030 each8
Gnome-Rhône: 950 each4
Performance  
Speed 255 mph8
Speed - Cruising 224 mph8
Range with 1,320 lb bombs 1,400 miles8
Range with 2,640 lb bombs 995 miles8
Armament  
Nose 1: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT8
  SIAI Marchetti SM.79C Corsa (race)
Type Racing8
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio P.XI R.C.408
Cylinders Radial 148
HP 1,000 each8
Armament None8
  SIAI Marchetti SM.79-JR
Type Bomber8
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 211 Da3,8
OR 2: Junkers Jumo 211D4
Cooling Liquid8
Cylinders V 123,8
HP 1,120 each3, 1,220 each4,8
Weight  
Empty 15,840 lb8
Loaded 23,760 lb8
Performance  
Speed at 16,400' 276 mph8
Speed - Cruising 234 mph8
Service Ceiling 24,260'8
Climb to 9,840' 8 minutes 36 seconds8
  Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-I Sparviero
Type Bomber2, Medium bomber1, Medium reconnaissance bomber3, Torpedo bomber1
Crew 4 - 51,2,3
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa Romeo 126 RC.34 piston1,2,3,8
OR 3: Alfa Romeo 135 R.C.328
Cylinders 126: Radial2,8, Radial 91,3
135: Radial 188
HP 126: 780 each1,2,3
135: 1,350 each8
Cooling Air1
Propeller blades 3 each1
Dimensions  
Span 69' 6"1, 69' 6 2/3"2, 69' 6.75"3
21.2 m1,2,3
Length 51' 2"1, 51' 10"3, 53' 1.75"2
15.6 m1, 15.8 m3, 16.2 m2
Height 13' 5 1/8"2, 14' 1.5"3, 15'1
4.1 m2, 4.3 m3, 4.6 m1
Wing area 664 ft2 1, 664.2 ft2 2
61.7 m2 1,2
Weight  
Empty 14,960 lb1, 14,991 lb3, 15,322 lb2
6,800 kg1,3, 6,950 kg2
Loaded 23,100 lb1, 23,104 lb3, 23,644 lb2
10,480 kg3, 10,500 kg1, 10,750 kg2
Performance  
Speed at 13,000' / 4,000 m 267 mph1
430 kph1
Speed 13,120' / 4,000 m 267 mph3,8
430 kph3
Speed 13,125' / 4,000 m 267 mph2
430 kph2
Cruising Speed 233 mph8
Climb 1,100'/minute3
335 m/minute3
Climb to 3,280' 3 minutes 28 seconds
Climb to 13,125' / 4,000 m 13.25 minutes2
Climb to 16,400' 19 minutes 45 seconds8
Service ceiling 21,000'1, 21,320'8, 21,325'2,3
6,500 m1,2,3
Range 1,178 miles1, 1,180 miles3, 1,180 - 2,050 miles8, 2,051 miles2
1,900 km1,3, 3,300 km2
Armament  
Over cabin roof firing forward 1: 12.7 mm MG3
1: 12.7 mm Breda MG1
1: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG2,8
Dorsal and ventral 2: 12.7 mm MG3
2: 12.7 mm Breda MG1
2: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG2,8
Beam 1: 7.7 mm MG1
1: 7.7 mm Lewis MG2,8
2: 7.7 mm MG3
Bombs 5: 550 lb1, 5: 551 lb2, 2,750 lb8, 2,755 lb3
5: 250 kg1,2, 1,250 kg3
OR  
Torpedo 2: 17.7" torpedos3
1: 18" naval torpedo1
2: 45 cm torpedos3
1: 45 cm naval torpedo1
  Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79-II Sparviero
Type Medium reconnaissance bomber3, Torpedo Bomber7,8
Crew 4 - 53, 57
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio P.XI RC 403,7,8
OR 3: Fiat A.80 RC 413,8
Cylinders Piaggio: Radial7, Radial 143,8
Fiat: Radial3,8
HP Piaggio: 1,000 each3,8
Fiat: 1,030 each3,8
Cooling Air7
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span 69' 6.66"7
21.2 m7
Length 53' 1.75"3,7
16.2 m3,7
Height 13' 1.5"7
4.1 m7
Wing area 664.14 sq ft7
61.7 sq m7
Weight  
Empty 16,750 lb8, 16,755 lb3,7
7,600 kg3,7
Loaded 24,912 lb3,7,8
11,300 kg3,7
Performance  
Speed at 11,975' / 3,650 m 270 mph7
435 kph7
Speed at 13,120' 270 mph8
Speed - Cruising 255 mph8
Climb to 13,120' 10 minutes 25 seconds8
Climb to 16,400' 14 minutes 30 seconds8
Service ceiling 22,960'8, 22,966'7
7,000 m7
Range 1,243 miles7
2,000 km7
Armament  
Over cabin roof firing forward 1: 12.7 mm MG3
Dorsal and ventral 2: 12.7 mm MG3
Dorsal 2: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT7
Ventral 1: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT7
Beam 1: 7.7 mm Lewis7
2: 7.7 mm MG3
Bombs 2,755 lb3, 2,756 lb7
1,250 kg3,7
OR  
Torpedo 2: 17.7" torpedos3,7,8, 440 lb8
2: 45 cm torpedos3,7
  Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79-III Sparviero, SIAI Marchetti S.M. 79 III
Type Bomber torpedo4, Medium reconnaissance bomber3
Crew 4 - 53, 64
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio P.XI RC 403,4
OR 3: Fiat A.80 RC 413
Cylinders Piaggio: Radial 143,4
Fiat: Radial3
HP Piaggio: 1,000 each3,4
Fiat: 1,030 each3
Cooling Piaggio: Air4
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span 70'4
Length 51' 6"4
Height 15' 3"4
Weight  
Loaded 23,100 lb4
Performance  
Speed 297 mph4
Service ceiling 23,000'4
Range 1,200 miles4
Armament 4: MG4
1: 20 mm4
Torpedo 1: torpedo4

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  7. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  8. Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Jonathan Thompson, 1963
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site