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Italy's Macchi MC.202; Macchi M.C. 202; Macchi C.202 fighter
Nickname: Folgore "Thunderbolt", "Lightning"

Photos

  • Macchi MC 202 Folgore fighter
  • Macchi MC 202 Folgore fighter
  • Macchi MC 202 Folgore fighter
  • MC.200 and MC.202

Design

The Macchi MC.202 Folgore "Thunderbolt" was designed by Mario Castoldi. The design can traced back to the Macchi float planes that competed in the Schneider Trophy Races in the 1930s.

The C.202 was a reengineered MC.200 with a modified fuselage and an Alfa Romero engine.

The M.C.202 was the first Italian military plane to have a liquid cooled engine.

Cockpit

The nose of the MC.202 Folgore was long and proved to make it hard to maneuver on the ground while taxing.

The pilot did have armor protecting him. The cockpit of the C.202 was completely enclosed.

Engines

The Daimler-Benz 601A equipped 400 C.202s as the engine was imported.

The Alfa Romeo RA engine was a licensed built Daimler-Benz DB 601. It drove a variable pitch propellar.

The engine's radiator was located under the engine.

Production of the engine is what slowed the manufacturing of the MC.202.

Fuselage

The fuselage was all metal.

Tail

The tail of the MC.202 was all metal with fabric covering the control surfaces.

The tail wheel was retractable.

Undercarriage

The undercarriage retracted inwards.

Wings

When the hydraulically operated flaps were put down the ailerons also lowered. This helped the MC.202 be more maneuverable at low speeds.

The wings were all metal with fabric on the control surfaces.

Front sections could be removed to inspect equipment.

Flaps and ailerons were interconnected and both could be lowered at same time.

Prototype

The first prototype flew on August 10, 1940 by Mario Castoldi. It used an imported Daimler-Benz 601A engine.

Production

Macchi built 392 / 393 of the MC.202s out of a total of 1,500 produced. The C.202s were built until 1944.

  • Total: >1,100, ~1,200, ~1,500
    • Manufactured by: Macchi, Aeronautica Macchi S.p.A., Breda, SAI-Ambrosini, Saetta
    • Production: 1941 - 1943

Variants

  • Macchi M.C.202:
  • Macchi M.C.202AS: Tropicalized version.
  • Macchi M.C.202CB: Fighter bomber version. Carried two 110 lb, 220 lb, 700/705 lb / 320 kg, or 353 lb bombs under the wings.

Usage

Regia Aeronautica first received the C.202s in July 1941. They entered service in November 1941.

With the M.C.202s performance and ease of handling it was found to be the equal of Allied fighters of the time. Unfortunately, its weakness was that it wasn't heavily armed. It started with two 12.7 mm machine guns firing through the propeller and later models added two machine guns in the wings.

Units

A total of 19 groups / 45 Squadriglie had the C.202s. The first being the 1° Stormo that received them at Udine in the summer of 1941. They were moved to Libya in November 1941.

  • Stormi: 1°, 2°, 3°, 4°, 51°, 52°, 53°, and 54°
  • Gruppi: 3°, 6°, 8°, 13°, 17°, 150°

North Africa

The MC.202 Folgore was first used in Libya in November 1941.

Eastern Front

The MC.202 Folgore's first appeared on the Eastern Front in September 1942. They served with the 21° Gruppo.

September 1943

By the time of the Italian surrender there were 122 M.C.202s remaining with 53 of those operational.

Six fought with the Allies. The rest served with the I° and II° Gruppi Caccia of the Aviazione della RSI.

After World War II

The M.C.202s were used as trainers until 1948.

Specifications

  Macchi MC.202 Folgore, Macchi C.202 Folgore, Macchi M.C. 202
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Alfa Romeo RA.1000 RC 41-I Monsone piston
Daimler Benz DB 601 A-1
Daimler Benz DB 601N
Mercedes-Benz DB
Cylinders RC 41: Inverted V 12
DB 601: V 12, Inverted V 12
Cooling DB: Liquid
DB 601: Liquid
HP RC 41: 1,175
DB: 1,200
DB 601: 1,175, 1,200
Propeller blades 3, 3 variable pitch, 3 blade controllable pitch
Dimensions  
Span 34' 8", 34' 8.5", 34' 9", 35'
10.58 m
Length 20' 5", 29' 0.5", 29' 1", 29' 3"
8.85 m, 8.87 m
Height 9' 10", 9' 11", 9' 11.5", 10'
3 m, 3.03 m, 3.04 m
Wing area 180.7 sq ft, 180.8 sq ft, 181 ft2
16.8 m2
Weight  
Empty 5,170 lb, 5,181 lb, 5,545 lb
2,350 kg, 2,515 kg
Loaded 6,300 lb, 6,459 lb, 6,480 lb, 6,620 lb, 6,766 lb
2,860 kg, 3,010 kg, 3,069 kg
Performance  
Speed 330 mph
Speed at 15,000' / 4,750 m 370 mph
596 kph
Speed at 16,400' 370 mph
Speed at 18,000' / 5,490 m 330 mph
528 kph
Speed at 18,050' 373 mph
Speed at 18,370' / 5,600 m 372 mph
598 kph
Speed - Cruising at 18,000' / 5,490 m 300 mph
480 kph
Climb to 9,840' / 3,000 m 2.5 minutes
Climb to 13,120' 3 minutes 32 seconds
Climb to 19,680' 5 minutes 55 seconds
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 5.9 minutes
Service ceiling 34,500', 37,700', 37,730'
10,520 m 11,500 m
Range 272 miles, 475 miles
764 km, 765 km
Armament  
Nose 2: MG
2: 12.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 7.7 mm MG
Wings - later models 2: 7.7 mm MG
Under wings - later models 2: 20 mm
  Macchi C.202 Series IX Folgore
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Alfa Romeo RA 1000 RC 411 piston
Cylinders Inverted V 12, Inline
HP 1,075
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 34' 8.5"
10.58 m
Length 29' 0.4", 29' 1.5"
8.85 m
Height 11' 5.5", 11' 5.8"
3.5 m
Wing area 180.8 ft2
16.8 m2
Weight  
Empty 5,489 lb
2,490 kg
Loaded 6,459 lb
2,930 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 18,373' /
5,600 m
373 mph
600 kph
Speed @ 18,375' /
5,600 m
373 mph
600 kph
Climb to 16,404' /
5,000 m
4.6 minutes
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
4.6 minutes
Service ceiling 37,730'
11,500 m
Range 379 miles
610 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 12.7 mm Breda SAFAT MG
Wings 2: 7.7 mm MG

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
  7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  8. Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Jonathan Thompson, 1963
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site