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Italy's Fiat G.50 fighter
Nickname: Freccia (Arrow), Falcho (Falcon)

Photos

Fiat G.50 Freccia fighter:
Italy's Fiat G.50 Freccia fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Fiat G.50 Freccia fighter:
Italy's Fiat G.50 Freccia fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Fiat G.50 Freccia fighter and a Messerschmitt Bf 110:
Italy's Fiat G.50 Freccia fighter
Bundesarchiv 101I-425-0338-16A-01

Design

In 1935-1936 Giuseppi Barielli designed the G.50 Freccia.1,2,4 It was the first monoplane with all-metal construction, retracting landing gear, and a constant speed propeller to be used by the Regia Aeronautica.1,2,3,4 It was designed at the same time the C.R. 42 biplane.4

The G.50bis had better armor for the pilot, and there was additional fuel.1

Pilot Reception

Initially pilots weren't enamored with the G.50 as they were used to the lighter and more maneuverable biplanes fighters.4

Armament

Initially the G.50 was to have a 12.7 mm MG above the engine, one 12.7 mm MG in the left wing, and a 20 mm in the right wing.4

Prototype

The G.50 prototype flew on February 26, 1937.1,2,3 A batch of 45 were ordered.3

The G.50bis prototype flew in September 1940.1,2,3

The G.50V first flew in August 1941.3

Production

CMASA, a subsidiary of Fiat, started production on the G.50 and the first twelve were sent to Spain for evaluation.1,2,3

Even though the MC.200 was better, an order for 200 was placed.1,2

  • Prototypes: 44
  • Fiat G.50: 2451,2, 2463
  • Fiat G.50bis: 4211,2,3
  • Fiat G.50bis/A: 13
  • Fiat G.50B: 1081,2,3
  • Fiat G.50V: 13
  • Total: 7773, 7784
    • Manufacturer: Fiat S.A.4

Variants

  • Fiat G.50: The first 45 had canopies.3 Next 200 had open cockpits.3
  • Fiat G.50bis: Had more armor in the cockpit.2,3 It carried more fuel.2 Had self sealing fuel tanks.3 The fin and rudder were redesigned.3 The fuselage was changed to improve pilot visability.3 Appeared in 1940.4
  • Fiat G.50bis/A: Two seat carrier based fighter bomber.3
  • Fiat G.50B: Two seat plane with dual controls for training.1,2,3
  • Fiat G.50ter: Had Fiat A 76 engine (1,000 HP).3
  • Fiat G.50V: Had Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine (1,050 HP).3 Top speed was 360 mph / 579 kph.3

Usage

Spain

In Spain a stormo and a gruppo were outfitted with the G.50.1,3

Often the pilot would fly the G.50 with the cockpit canopy open as they felt it restricted their view.3

World War II

In November 1939 the 51° Stormo received the first batches.1,2 Soon after the 52° Stormo received them.1

By the time of Italy's entry in World War II in June 1940, there were 118 G.50s in service.1,2,4

Belgium

The 51° Stormo moved to Belgium in November 1940 with 48 G.50s.1,2 The G.50s suffered losses against the better performing Allied fighters.4

North Africa

Five gruppi used the G.50bis in North Africa.1,2

Croatia

Croatia received ten G.50bis.1,2,3

Finland

Finland received 35 G.50s in 1940.1,2,3,4 These took part in the 1941 - 1944 Continuation War.3,4 Some were also used until 1947.3

Specifications

  Fiat G.50 Freccia, Falcho
Type Fighter1,2,3,4,5
Crew 11,2,3,4
Engine (Type) Fiat5
Fiat A.74 RC 38 piston1,2,4
Fiat A 74 RC383
Cylinders Radial1,2,5, Radial 143,4
HP 8401,2,3,4,5
Cooling Air4,5
Propeller blades 33, 3 metal variable pitch4
Dimensions  
Span 35' 9"5, 36'4, 36' 0.5"1, 36' 1"3, 36' 1.1"2
11 m1,2,3
Length 25' 7"1,4,5, 25' 7.1"2, 26' 4"3
7.8 m1,2, 8.02 m3
Height 9' 8"4, 9' 9"5, 10' 9"3, 10' 9.1"2, 10' 9.25"1
3.28 m1,2,3
Wing area 196.45 ft2 1,2
18.25 m2 1,2
Weight  
Empty 4,328 lb3, 4,332 lb2
1,963 kg3, 1,965 kg2
Loaded 5,100 lb5, 5,280 lb4, 5,291 lb2,3
2,400 kg2,3
Performance  
Speed 300 mph5
Speed @ 13,125' /
4,000 m
286 mph1,2
460 kph1,2
Speed @ 19,685' 294 mph4
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Climb to 13,125' /
4,000 m
4.6 minutes1,2
Service ceiling 35,200'4, 35,2692, 35,270'1
10,750 m1,2
Range 360 miles1,2, 420 miles4, 435 miles5
580 km1,2
Maximum range 420 miles4
Armament 2: MG4
Nose 2: MG5
2: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MGs1,2
2: 12.7 mm MG3
Wing 2: MG5
Bombs 275 lb5
  Fiat G.50bis Freccia
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
HP  
Cooling  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length 27' 2"3
8.28 m3
Height 9' 9"3
2.97 m3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,443 lb3
2,015 kg3
Loaded 5,560 lb3
2,522 kg3
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 16,400' /
5,000 m
293 mph3
472 kph3
Cruising speed 258 mph3
415 kph3
Climb 2,400'/minute3
731 m/minute3
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
7.8 minutes3
Service ceiling 32,480'3
9,900 m3
Range 420 miles3
676 km3
Maximum range 620 miles3
998 km3
Armament  

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, General Editor Chris Bishop, 1998
  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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site