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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 / 19374 by Mario Castoldi.3,4 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.1,4 The M.C.200 was very aerodynamic for its time.4

The Macchi MC.200 was well liked for its maneuverability.6

Cockpit

Pilots initially disliked the enclosed cockpit so Macchi changed it to be semi-closed.1 Some pilots even removed the side panels to improve their visibility.1

Armament

The two 12.7 mm machine guns were synchronized to fire through the propellar.4

Prototype

The Macchi MC.200 first flew on December 24, 1937 by Giuseppe Burei.1,2,3,4,5

The MC.200 showed good flying characteristics and manoeuverability.3 It's climbing ability was inhibited by its weak engine.3

Production

  • Total: 1,1514, 1,1533, ~1,2002,5
    • Manufacturer: Aeronautica Macchi S.p.A4, Macchi2,3,5, Breda2,3,5, SAI Ambrosini2,3,5
    • Production: June 1939 - July 19424

Variants

  • Macchi MC.200:
  • Macchi MC.200AS: Tropicalized model for service in Africa.3
  • Macchi MC.200bis: Had a Piaggio P.XIX engine (1,180 HP).3
  • Macchi MC.200CB: Field modified MC.200.3 Fitted with bomb shackles.1 Carried a maximum of 705 lb / 320 kg of bombs under the wings.3
  • Macchi MC.201: One prototype was constructed.1,3 It had a new engine and fuselage.1,3 The engine was a Fiat A.76 (1,000 HP).3

Usage

First entered service in October 1939 / 19395.1,3 There were 1444 / 150 / 1563 in Italian service by June 1940.1

MC.200 Exchanged

The 4° Stormo was the first unit to receive the MC.200s.2,5 However, the unit did not like the MC.200 and was reverted back to the CR.42 biplane in 1940.2,5

First Units

The 1°, 2°, 3°, 4°, and 54° Stormi and the 8°, 12°, 13°, 21°, and 22°, Gruppi were equipped with the MC.200.2,5

Denmark

Denmark originally ordered twelve MC.200s from the Italians but the order was cancelled when the Germans invaded.1

Malta

In September 1940 two of the Italian based Stormi participated in raids on Malta.5

In 1940 Macchi MC.200s escorted Luftwaffe Ju 97s in their attacks against Malta.1

Destroyer Sunk

The HMS Zulu was sunk by MC.200s off of Tobruk in September 1942.3

Eastern Front

On the Eastern Front the Macchi MC.200s flew over 6,300 sorties and shot down 88 Soviet aircraft.1

The 21° and 22° Gruppos used 51 MC.200s on the Easter Front from August 1941 to the spring of 1942.1
Fifty one MC.200s were used by the 22° Gruppo near Odessa starting in August 1941.5

Surrender

When the Italians surrendered in September 1943 there were only 33 operational MC.200s left.5

Italian Co-belligerent Air Force

Some Macchi MC.200s were used as trainers by the allied Italian air force.1

With the Allies

In September 1943 around 52 M.C.200s joined the Allies.4

Post World War II

After World War II some MC.200s were used as trainers until 1947.3

Specifications

  Macchi MC.200 Saetta, Macchi M.C.200
Type Fighter1,3,6, Fighter bomber1
Crew 11,3,4
Engine (Type) Fiat6
Fiat A.74 RC.38 piston1,3,4
Cylinders Radial1, Radial 143,4
Cooling Air4,6
HP 8404,6, 8701,3
Propeller blades 31,3,6, 3 variable pitch metal4
Dimensions  
Span 34' 8"6, 34' 8.5"3, 34' 9"1, 35' 1"4
10.58 m1,3
Length 26' 9"6, 26' 10"1, 26' 10.5"3, 26' 11"4
8.19 m1,3
Height 11' 6"1,3,4,6
3.5 m1,3
Wing area 181 ft2 1
16.8 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 4,178 lb1, 4,451 lb3
1,895 kg1, 2,019 kg3
Loaded 4,800 lb6, 4,874 lb4, 5,710 lb1,3
2,590 kg1,3
Performance  
Speed 315 mph6
Speed @ 14,765' /
4,500 m
312 mph3
502 kph3
Speed @ 14,800' /
4,500 m
312 mph1
502 kph1
Speed @ 16,400' 316 mph4
Cruising speed 283 mph3
455 kph3
Climb 3,215'/minute3
980 m/minute3
Climb to 9,840' /
3,000 m
3.4 minutes3
Service ceiling 28,700'4, 29,200'1,3
8,900 m1,3
Range 354 miles3, 435 miles6, 540 miles4
570 km3
Range with auxiliary fuel 540 miles3, 541 miles1
870 km1,3
Armament  
Nose 2: MG6
2: 12.7 mm MG3,4
2: 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG1
Wings 2: 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG1
Wings - later production 2: 7.7 mm MG3
Bombs under wing 648 lb1
294 kg1
  Macchi C.200 Saetta (Breda built Series 6)
Type Fighter2,5, Fighter bomber2,5
Crew 12,5
Engine (Type) Fiat A.74 RC 38 piston2,5
Cylinders Radial2,5
Cooling Air
HP 8702,5
Propeller blades 32
Dimensions  
Span 34' 8.5"2,5
10.58 m2,5
Length 27' 0.75"2, 27' 0.8"5
8.25 m2,5
Height 10' 0.1"5, 10' 1/8"2
3.05 m2,5
Wing area 180.8 ft2 2,5
16.8 m2 2,5
Weight  
Empty 4,321 lb2,5
1,960 kg2,5
Loaded 5,280 lb2,5
2,395 kg2,5
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 14,764' /
4,500 m
313 mph5
504 kph5
Speed @ 14,765' /
4,500 m
313 mph2
504 kph2
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Climb to 13,123' /
4,000 m
4.55 minutes5
Climb to 13,125' /
4,000 m
4.55 minutes2
Service ceiling 29,199'5, 29,200'2
8,900 m2,5
Range 354 miles2,5
570 km2,5
Armament  
Nose 2: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG2,5
Bombs under wing 2: 331 lb2,5
2: 150 kg2,5

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