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Italy's Fiat CR.32 fighter

Photos

  • Fiat C.R. 32 bis fighter
  • Fiat C.R. 32 bis fighter

Design

The Fiat C.R.32 was based on the Fiat C.R.30.

Construction

The C.R.32 was of metal construction covered in fabric.

Prototype

The first C.R.32 flew on April 28, 1933.

The CR.33 prototype first flew in 1937.

Production

Fiat produced the C.R.32 until 1939.

  • C.R.32: 291, ~350
  • C.R.32bis: >300, 380
    • Production: 1935- ?
  • C.R.32ter: ~100, 150
    • Production: 1937 - ?
  • C.R.32quater: ~450, 451
    • Manufacturer:
      • Fiat: 351
      • Hispano-Suiza (HA-132-L): 100
  • Total: 1,272

Variants

  • C.R.32: Two machine guns.
  • C.R.32bis: Four machine guns.
  • C.R.32ter: Only two machine guns in nose.
  • C.R.32quater: Lighter weight.
  • HA-132-L Chirri ("chirper"): The Hispano-Suiza version of the C.R.32quater. 40 later converted to two seater.
  • CR.33:

Usage

Units

  • Squadriglia: 163a
  • Stormo: 1°, 52°
  • Gruppo: 2°, 8°, 9°, 10°, 13°, 160°

Exports

Austria, China, Hungary, Italy, Paraguay (5 C.R.32ter), Spain, and Venezuela used the C.R.32.

International American Aviation Congress

In September 1937 eleven CR.32s went to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay and performed impressive aerobatic displays.

Spanish Civil War

The C.R.32bis was used in the Spanish Civil War with the Squadriglia La Cucaracha of the Aviazione Legionaria.

The success of the CR.32bis' against the Russian fighters may have given the Italians a false sense of having superior aircraft which slowed the development of better monoplane fighters.

Regia Aeronautica

The Regia Aeronautica had ~400 C.R.32s at the end of 1939.

The Fiat C.R.32 was used in the Greek and East African campaigns as close support and night fighters. Afterwards they were used primarily in training.

In June 1940 there were 294 CR.32s in the Regia Aeronautica.

Spain

Hispano-Suiza license built the C.R.32quarter from 1940 to 1943.

Specifications

  Fiat C.R.32
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 1: Fiat A 30 RA
Cylinders V 12
HP 600
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 31' 2"
9.5 m
Length 24' 5.5"
7.45 m
Height 8' 11"
2.72 m
Weight  
Empty 3,042 lb
1,380 kg
Loaded 4,200 lb
1,905 kg
Performance  
Speed 233 mph
Speed at Sea Level 205 mph
330 kph
Speed at 9,840' / 3,000 m 221 mph
357 kph
Speed - Cruising 196 mph
315 kph
Climb 2,000'/minute
610 m/minute
Climb to 9,840' / 3,000 m 5.2 minutes
Service Ceiling 25,750'
7,850 m
Range 485 miles
780 km
Endurance 2 hours
Armament  
Nose 2: 12.7 mm MG, 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT
  Fiat C.R.32 bis
Type Fighter
Engine (Type) 1: Fiat A3OR
1: Fiat A 30 RAbis
HP 550, 600
Cooling Liquid
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 31' 2"
Length 24' 6"
Height 8' 10"
Weight  
Empty 3,080 lb, 3,210 lb
1,380 kg
Loaded 4,300 lb, 4,334 lb, 4,350 lb
1,973 kg
Performance  
Speed 217 mph, 230 mph
Service ceiling 26,240'
Range 465 miles
Endurance 2 hours 30 minutes
Armament  
Nose 2: MG, 7.7 mm MG
2: 12.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs 1: 220 lb
1: 100 kg
OR 2: 110 lb
2: 50 kg
  Fiat CR.32ter
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Dimensions  
Span - Upper Wing 31' 2"
Span - Lower Wing 20' 6.25"
Length 24' 5 3/8"
Height 8' 11"
Wing area 237.8 sq ft
Weight  
Empty 3,058 lb
Loaded 4,213 lb
Performance  
Speed 218 mph
Service Ceiling 26,110'
Range 481 miles
  Fiat CR.32quarter
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Dimensions  
Span - Upper Wing 31' 2"
Span - Lower Wing 20' 6.25"
Length 24' 5 3/8"
Height 8' 11"
Wing area 237.8 sq ft
Weight  
Empty 3,036 lb
Loaded 4,191 lb
Performance  
Speed at 9,840' 221 mph
Speed - Cruising 196 mph
Climb to 3,280' 1 minute 30 seconds
Climb to 9,840' 5 minutes 10 seconds
Climb to 16,400' 10 minutes
Service Ceiling 24,764'
Range 484 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 12.7 mm
  CR.33
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) FIAT A.33 R.C.35
Cylinders V 12
HP 700
Cooling Water
Propeller blades 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 31'
Wing Area 241 sq ft
Weight  
Empty 2,992 lb
Loaded 4,202 lb
Performance  
Speed 262 mph
Service Ceiling 34,440'
Range 435 miles

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  3. Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Jonathan Thompson, 1963
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site