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Italy's Macchi MC.200, Macchi M.C.200 fighter
Nickname: Saetta "Lightning"

Photos

Macchi MC.200 Saetta fighter:
Italy's Macchi MC.200 Saetta fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Macchi MC.200 Saetta fighter:
Italy's Macchi MC.200 Saetta fighter
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Macchi MC.200AS Saetta fighter and MC.202 fighter:
Italy's Macchi MC.200AS <em>Saetta</em> fighter and MC.202 fighter

Design

The Macchi MC.200 was designed in 1936 / 1937 by Mario Castoldi. This was Mario Castoldi's first fighter plane design as he had been a designer of racing aircraft up until then.

The Macchi MC.200 was all metal except for the fabric covered control surfaces. The M.C.200 was very aerodynamic for its time.

The Macchi MC.200 was well liked for its maneuverability.

Cockpit

Pilots initially disliked the enclosed cockpit so Macchi changed it to be semi-closed. Some pilots even removed the side panels to improve their visibility.

Armament

The two 12.7 mm machine guns were synchronized to fire through the propellar.

Prototype

The Macchi MC.200 first flew on December 24, 1937 by Giuseppe Burei.

The MC.200 showed good flying characteristics and manoeuverability. It's climbing ability was inhibited by its weak engine.

Production

  • Total: 1,151, 1,153, ~1,200
    • Manufacturer: Aeronautica Macchi S.p.A, Macchi, Breda, SAI Ambrosini
    • Production: June 1939 - July 1942

Variants

  • Macchi MC.200:
  • Macchi MC.200AS: Tropicalized model for service in Africa.
  • Macchi MC.200bis: Had a Piaggio P.XIX engine (1,180 HP).
  • Macchi MC.200CB: Field modified MC.200. Fitted with bomb shackles. Carried a maximum of 705 lb / 320 kg of bombs under the wings.
  • Macchi MC.201: One prototype was constructed. It had a new engine and fuselage. The engine was a Fiat A.76 (1,000 HP).

Usage

First entered service in October 1939 / 1939. There were 144 / 150 / 156 in Italian service by June 1940.

MC.200 Exchanged

The 4° Stormo was the first unit to receive the MC.200s. However, the unit did not like the MC.200 and was reverted back to the CR.42 biplane in 1940.

First Units

The 1°, 2°, 3°, 4°, and 54° Stormi and the 8°, 12°, 13°, 21°, and 22°, Gruppi were equipped with the MC.200.

Denmark

Denmark originally ordered twelve MC.200s from the Italians but the order was cancelled when the Germans invaded.

Malta

In September 1940 two of the Italian based Stormi participated in raids on Malta.

In 1940 Macchi MC.200s escorted Luftwaffe Ju 97s in their attacks against Malta.

Destroyer Sunk

The HMS Zulu was sunk by MC.200s off of Tobruk in September 1942.

Eastern Front

On the Eastern Front the Macchi MC.200s flew over 6,300 sorties and shot down 88 Soviet aircraft.

The 21° and 22° Gruppos used 51 MC.200s on the Easter Front from August 1941 to the spring of 1942.
Fifty one MC.200s were used by the 22° Gruppo near Odessa starting in August 1941.

Surrender

When the Italians surrendered in September 1943 there were only 33 operational MC.200s left.

Italian Co-belligerent Air Force

Some Macchi MC.200s were used as trainers by the allied Italian air force.

With the Allies

In September 1943 around 52 M.C.200s joined the Allies.

Post World War II

After World War II some MC.200s were used as trainers until 1947.

Specifications

  Macchi MC.200 Saetta, Macchi M.C.200
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Fiat
Fiat A.74 RC.38 piston
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 840, 870
Propeller blades 3, 3 variable pitch metal
Dimensions  
Span 34' 8", 34' 8.5", 34' 9", 35' 1"
10.58 m
Length 26' 9", 26' 10", 26' 10.5", 26' 11"
8.19 m
Height 11' 6"
3.5 m
Wing area 181 ft2
16.8 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,178 lb, 4,451 lb
1,895 kg, 2,019 kg
Loaded 4,800 lb, 4,874 lb, 5,710 lb
2,590 kg
Performance  
Speed 315 mph
Speed @ 14,765' /
4,500 m
312 mph
502 kph
Speed @ 14,800' /
4,500 m
312 mph
502 kph
Speed @ 16,400' 316 mph
Cruising speed 283 mph
455 kph
Climb 3,215'/minute
980 m/minute
Climb to 9,840' /
3,000 m
3.4 minutes
Service ceiling 28,700', 29,200'
8,900 m
Range 354 miles, 435 miles, 540 miles
570 km
Range with auxiliary fuel 540 miles, 541 miles
870 km
Armament  
Nose 2: MG
2: 12.7 mm MG
2: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG
Wings 2: 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG
Wings - later production 2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs under wing 648 lb
294 kg
  Macchi C.200 Saetta (Breda built Series 6)
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Fiat A.74 RC 38 piston
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
HP 870
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 34' 8.5"
10.58 m
Length 27' 0.75", 27' 0.8"
8.25 m
Height 10' 0.1", 10' 1/8"
3.05 m
Wing area 180.8 ft2
16.8 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,321 lb
1,960 kg
Loaded 5,280 lb
2,395 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 14,764' /
4,500 m
313 mph
504 kph
Speed @ 14,765' /
4,500 m
313 mph
504 kph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Climb to 13,123' /
4,000 m
4.55 minutes
Climb to 13,125' /
4,000 m
4.55 minutes
Service ceiling 29,199', 29,200'
8,900 m
Range 354 miles
570 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG
Bombs under wing 2: 331 lb
2: 150 kg

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. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site