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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. The S.M.79 started out to be a transport (with eight seats) but later became a bomber. The S.M. 79 also was a torpedo bomber at which it excelled.

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

Fuselage

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

Landing Gear

The landing gear retracted into the engine housing.

Cabin

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

Bomb / Torpedo load

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

Ventral Gondola

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

Tail

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

Wing

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

Prototype

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

Production

Deliveries of S.M.79-Is started in 1936.

  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-I, Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-II, Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-III: 1,230
  • Total: 1,217, 1,330, 1,370
    • Manufacturer: SIAI Marchetti
    • Production: October 1936 - June 1943
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79B: 31
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79JR: 40, 113
    • IAR built 16 of these
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.83: 23

Romania constructed about 80 S.M.79s.

Variants

  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.79P: Civilian transport.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-I:
  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-II: Torpedo Bomber.
  • Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-III, S.579: Developed for the Germans by Aviazione della RSI. No gondola.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79bis / Savoia-Marchetti S.M.84: Had three Alfa Romeo 128 (850 HP) or three Piaggio P.XI radial engine (1,000 HP). Fuselage was longer. Twin fins and rudders were used. Very few built starting in 1940.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79ter / Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-III: some constructed in 1944.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79B: Export model. Had two engines.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79C: VIP transport. 16 converted from S.M.79-Is. Corsa (race). All armament removed.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-JR: Built for Romania. Also built under license by Industria Aeronautica Romana (I.A.R.).
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79T: Transatlantic.
  • Savoia-Marchetti S.M.83: Civilian transport that carried 10 passengers.

Usage

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

  • Brazil
    • S.M.79B: 3
      • Engines: Alfa Romeo 128 R.C.18
  • Croatia
  • Germany
  • Iraq
    • S.M.79B: 4
      • Engines: FIAT A.80 R.C.41
  • Italy
  • Romania
    • S.M.79B: 24
      • Engines: Gnôme-Rhône K.14 Mistral-Major
    • S.M.79JR: 24
      • IAR built 16
  • Spain
  • Yugoslavia
    • S.M.79-I: 45
    • Exported in 1938.

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

Record Breaking

The first S.M.79 made a record breaking flight from Milan to Rome in June 1935.

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.

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

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 miles, at an average speed of 250 mph / 251 mph. The three aircraft were flown by:

  • I-Bise: Colonel Attilio Biso, Major Amedeo Paradisi
  • I-Moni: Major Nino Moscatelli, Captain Gori Castellani
  • I-Brun: Lieutenant Bruno Mussolini, and Lieutenant Renato Mancinelli

Spanish Civil War

The Italians used the S.M.79s in the Aviazione Legionara that fought in the Spanish Civil War. It was first used in February 1937. The 8° and 11° Stormi Bombardamento Veloce were equipped with the SM.79s.

Regia Aeronautica

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

Eleven Stormi were equipped with 389 of the S.M.79-I by 1939.

By June 1940 there were 594 (403 operational) S.M.79-Is with 14 Stomi. They were deployed as follows:

  • Italy: 3, 5
    • Stormi: 9°, 11°, 12°, 41°, 46°
  • Sardinia: 2
    • Stormi: 8°, 32°
  • Libya: 3, 4
    • Stormi: 10°, 15°, 33°
  • Sicily: 2, 5
    • Stormi: 30°, 36°

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.

Italy Surrenders

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

Lebanon

In 1950 three were sold to Lebanon as transports.

Specifications

  SM.79P
Type Civilian Transport
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio Stella
OR 3: Alfa Romeo 125 R.C.35
Cylinders Radial 9
HP Piaggio: 610
Alfa: 750
Performance  
Speed 267 mph
Service ceiling 25,912'
Range 932 miles
  SIAI Marchetti S.M. 79
Type Bomber, Bomber torpedo, Reconnaissance
Crew 6
Pilot, co-pilot, engineer, radio operator
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa Romeo 126 RC 34
OR 3: Piaggio P. XI RC/40
Cylinders Alfa: Radial 9
HP Alfa: 750 each
Piaggio: 1,000 each
Cooling Alfa: Air
Propeller blades Two position variable pitch
Dimensions  
Span 66' 3", 69' 6.625", 69' 7"
21.2 m
Length 51' 2", 53' 1.75", 53' 2"
16.2 m
Height 13' 5.5", 13' 6", 15' 1"
4.1 m
Wing area 656.3 sq ft, 656.6 sq ft
61 sq m
Weight  
Empty - Alfa Engines 14,960 lb
6,800 kg
Loaded 23,100 lb, 23,180 lb, 24,850 lb
10,500 kg
Performance  
Speed 295 mph
Speed at 11,500' / 3,500 m 260 mph
416 kph
Speed at 13,120' / 4,000 m 267 mph
Climb to 3,280' / 1,000 m 3 minutes 10 seconds
Climb to 16,400' / 5,000 m 19 minutes 45 seconds
Service ceiling 22,960', 23,000'
7,000 m
Range 1,000 miles, 1,150 miles, 1,180 miles
1,600 km
Endurance 4.5 hours
Armament 4: MG
4 - 5: MG
Forward Firing 1: MG
Fuselage - Behind Wings 2: MG
Ventral 1: MG
Bombs 2,200 lb, 2,756 lb
1,000 kg
OR  
Torpedoes 2
  SIAI Marchetti SM.79B
Type Bomber
Engine (Type) 2: FIAT A.80 R.C.41
OR 2: Gnome-Rhône K.14, Gnôme-Rhône K.14 Mistral-Major
OR 2: Alfa Romeo 128 R.C.18
Cylinders Radial 18
HP Alfa Romeo: 930 each
FIAT: 1,000 each, 1,030 each
Gnome-Rhône: 950 each
Performance  
Speed 255 mph
Speed - Cruising 224 mph
Range with 1,320 lb bombs 1,400 miles
Range with 2,640 lb bombs 995 miles
Armament  
Nose 1: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT
  SIAI Marchetti SM.79C Corsa (race)
Type Racing
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio P.XI R.C.40
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,000 each
Armament None
  SIAI Marchetti SM.79-JR
Type Bomber
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 211 Da
OR 2: Junkers Jumo 211D
Cooling Liquid
Cylinders V 12
HP 1,120 each, 1,220 each
Weight  
Empty 15,840 lb
Loaded 23,760 lb
Performance  
Speed at 16,400' 276 mph
Speed - Cruising 234 mph
Service Ceiling 24,260'
Climb to 9,840' 8 minutes 36 seconds
  Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79-I Sparviero
Type Bomber, Medium bomber, Medium reconnaissance bomber, Torpedo bomber
Crew 4 - 5
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa Romeo 126 RC.34 piston
OR 3: Alfa Romeo 135 R.C.32
Cylinders 126: Radial, Radial 9
135: Radial 18
HP 126: 780 each
135: 1,350 each
Cooling Air
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 69' 6", 69' 6 2/3", 69' 6.75"
21.2 m
Length 51' 2", 51' 10", 53' 1.75"
15.6 m, 15.8 m, 16.2 m
Height 13' 5 1/8", 14' 1.5", 15'
4.1 m, 4.3 m, 4.6 m
Wing area 664 ft2 , 664.2 ft2
61.7 m2
Weight  
Empty 14,960 lb, 14,991 lb, 15,322 lb
6,800 kg, 6,950 kg
Loaded 23,100 lb, 23,104 lb, 23,644 lb
10,480 kg, 10,500 kg, 10,750 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,000' / 4,000 m 267 mph
430 kph
Speed 13,120' / 4,000 m 267 mph
430 kph
Speed 13,125' / 4,000 m 267 mph
430 kph
Cruising Speed 233 mph
Climb 1,100'/minute
335 m/minute
Climb to 3,280' 3 minutes 28 seconds
Climb to 13,125' / 4,000 m 13.25 minutes
Climb to 16,400' 19 minutes 45 seconds
Service ceiling 21,000', 21,320', 21,325'
6,500 m
Range 1,178 miles, 1,180 miles, 1,180 - 2,050 miles, 2,051 miles
1,900 km, 3,300 km
Armament  
Over cabin roof firing forward 1: 12.7 mm MG
1: 12.7 mm Breda MG
1: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG
Dorsal and ventral 2: 12.7 mm MG
2: 12.7 mm Breda MG
2: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG
Beam 1: 7.7 mm MG
1: 7.7 mm Lewis MG
2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs 5: 550 lb, 5: 551 lb, 2,750 lb, 2,755 lb
5: 250 kg, 1,250 kg
OR  
Torpedo 2: 17.7" torpedos
1: 18" naval torpedo
2: 45 cm torpedos
1: 45 cm naval torpedo
  Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79-II Sparviero
Type Medium reconnaissance bomber, Torpedo Bomber
Crew 4 - 5, 5
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio P.XI RC 40
OR 3: Fiat A.80 RC 41
Cylinders Piaggio: Radial, Radial 14
Fiat: Radial
HP Piaggio: 1,000 each
Fiat: 1,030 each
Cooling Air
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 69' 6.66"
21.2 m
Length 53' 1.75"
16.2 m
Height 13' 1.5"
4.1 m
Wing area 664.14 sq ft
61.7 sq m
Weight  
Empty 16,750 lb, 16,755 lb
7,600 kg
Loaded 24,912 lb
11,300 kg
Performance  
Speed at 11,975' / 3,650 m 270 mph
435 kph
Speed at 13,120' 270 mph
Speed - Cruising 255 mph
Climb to 13,120' 10 minutes 25 seconds
Climb to 16,400' 14 minutes 30 seconds
Service ceiling 22,960', 22,966'
7,000 m
Range 1,243 miles
2,000 km
Armament  
Over cabin roof firing forward 1: 12.7 mm MG
Dorsal and ventral 2: 12.7 mm MG
Dorsal 2: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT
Ventral 1: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT
Beam 1: 7.7 mm Lewis
2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs 2,755 lb, 2,756 lb
1,250 kg
OR  
Torpedo 2: 17.7" torpedos, 440 lb
2: 45 cm torpedos
  Savoia-Marchetti S.M. 79-III Sparviero, SIAI Marchetti S.M. 79 III
Type Bomber torpedo, Medium reconnaissance bomber
Crew 4 - 5, 6
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio P.XI RC 40
OR 3: Fiat A.80 RC 41
Cylinders Piaggio: Radial 14
Fiat: Radial
HP Piaggio: 1,000 each
Fiat: 1,030 each
Cooling Piaggio: Air
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 70'
Length 51' 6"
Height 15' 3"
Weight  
Loaded 23,100 lb
Performance  
Speed 297 mph
Service ceiling 23,000'
Range 1,200 miles
Armament 4: MG
1: 20 mm
Torpedo 1: torpedo

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