The Macchi-202, one of the best Italian fighters, is a single-seat, low-wing cantilever
monoplane, powered by one, twelve-cylinder, Daimler-Benz 601 A/1 engine of the
inverted "V" liquid-cooled type. It is of all-metal construction with smooth stressed
skin and has moderately tapered wings with a span of 34 feet 8 inches and a
gross area of 181 square feet. The fuselage is oval, with the cockpit over the trailing
edge of the wing. Camber-changing flaps are interconnected with the ailerons. It has an
adjustable stabilizer and a hydraulically operated landing gear retracting inward into
the wings. The tail wheel is fixed.
The latest type of engine is reported to develop 1,150 hp at 16,000 feet, which
would permit a sea-level speed of 295 mph, a cruising speed of 310 mph at 18,000, and
a maximum speed of 360 mph at 20,000. The airplane is believed capable of reaching
an altitude of 18,000 feet in approximately 7.2 minutes.
The service ceiling with a normal load is 35,000 feet, and the range is 425 miles at
normal cruising speed. On some models the engine is fitted with an air filter
connected to the landing gear. The filter apparently operates only when the wheels
are down. The metal propeller is three-bladed.
There are apparently two fuel tanks, one in the fuselage below the pilot's seat, holding
71 U.S. gallons, and the other behind his head and shoulders with a capacity of 34 U.S.
gallons. Both tanks are of standard light-alloy construction and are self-sealing, having
five protective layers on the inside. However, a recent airplane is reported to have
had three tanks, a main tank aft of the cockpit holding 111 U.S. gallons and an auxiliary
tank of 25 U.S. gallons built into each wing next to the fuselage, each connected with
the main tank.
The standard armament consists of two synchronized 12.7-mm Breda machine
guns mounted over the engine and firing through the propeller. There is provision for
mounting two 7.7-mm guns in the wings outboard of the propeller arc, but
none have been found actually installed. This aircraft is believed to be equipped
to carry two 220-pound bombs.
Eight-millimeter armor protection is used for the head, shoulders, and bucket seat, but
no bulletproof windshields have been reported.
This airplane has been almost entirely used for fighting and ground attack. It has
operated extensively against Malta, and in the defense of the North African ports
in the Libyan campaigns, and is now in action in Tunisia.
The Reggiane-2001 is another Italian fighter used for ground attack. It is a
single-seat, low-wing, cantilever monoplane with a comparatively short, tapered
fuselage. The elliptical wings have more curvature on the trailing edges than the
leading edges, and rounded tips. The single fin and rudder have a very deep chord
and are approximately triangular in shape. The leading edge of the fin is straight, and
the trailing edge of the rudder is slightly curved. Split flaps are fitted and are
continuous under the fuselage. The main wheels of the landing gear turn through
90 degrees during retraction and appear as slight bulges beneath the wing. The tail
wheel is non-retractable. The cockpit is inclosed and is over the wing.
The airplane is powered with a Daimler-Benz 601 A/1 engine, as used in the Macchi-202, which
develops 1,150 hp at 16,000 feet. This is believed to give a sea-level speed of 290 mph, a
cruising speed of 300 mph at 18,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 350 mph at 20,000 feet. The
airplane can climb to 18,000 feet in slightly over 8 minutes. Service ceiling with normal
load is 34,000 feet, and the range is 730 miles at normal cruising speed. There is a coolant
radiator with controllable flaps under each wing and an oil cooler mounted beneath the
engine. A standard type of air cleaner is incorporated forward of the long intake to the
supercharger. The three-bladed propeller is reported to be made of solid duralumin.
It is believed that the aircraft was originally designed to carry one fuel tank in the center
section with a capacity of 172 U.S. gallons. However, at least one is reported to have three
tanks, one behind the pilot's seat of 22 U.S. gallons capacity. The other two tanks are at
right angles to the fuselage, extending 2 1/2 feet into each wing; the forward one
holds 82 U.S. gallons, and the other 54 U.S. gallons.
A flat pane of splinter-proof glass forms the windshield of the cockpit. Behind the pane is a
sliding canopy of plexiglass which can be slid to the rear, permitting exit by parachute, or
can be fixed in intermediate positions.
The basic armament of the Reggiane-2001 consists of two 12.7-mm synchronized Breda machine
guns, fitted beneath the top cowling with the breeches accessible to the pilot and firing
through blast channels; also, two 7.7 guns, one in each wing. The original design is
believed to permit the installation of a carrier for light bombs or a container for
antipersonnel bombs. Another report suggests a version of this airplane (Re-2005) fitted
for carrying one or two small torpedoes and equipped with the 1,500 hp Isotta
Fraschini L 180 I.R.C.C. 45 engine, which would give a performance comparable
to the Re-2001 fighter.
The pilot's bucket seat and his head and shoulders are protected
by 7-mm and 9-mm armor plate respectively.
This airplane has been reported in action on the Tunisian front.