Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fighter Production I

Aeronautica Macchi MC.200
Macchi Production
Batch 0 : 3 (protoypes - from Dec37)
Batch 1 : 99 (June39 to May40)
Batch 2 : 45 (March40 to June40)
Batch 3 : 10 (June40 to July40)
Batch 4 : 24 (July40 to Aug40)
Batch 5 : 62 (July40 to Dec40)
Batch 6 : 55 (Dec40 to March41)
Batch 7 : 50 (Dec41 to July42)
Batch XXII : 50 (Dec41 to July42)

Breda Production
Batch 0 : 1 (prototype)
Batch 1 : 82 (June40 to Sept40)
Batch 2 : 38 (Sept40 to Dec40)
Batch 3 : 60 (Nov40 to Dec40)
Batch 4 : 100 (Dec40 to March41)
Batch 5 : 106 (Marc41 to Sept41)
Batch 6 : 50 (Nov41 to Apr42)

SAI Ambrosini Production
Batch 1 : 24 (June40 to Jan41)
Batch 2 : 16 (Jan41 to March41)
Batch 3 : 10 (Jan41 to May41)
Batch 4 : 10 (May41)
Batch 5 : 20 (May41 to June41)
Batch 6 : 44 (June41 to Nov41)
Batch XX : 30 (Nov41 to Apr42)
Batch XXIII : 20 (Apr42 to June42)
Batch XXIV : 26 (June42 to Aug42)
Batch XXVI : 25 (possibly cancelled)


Aeronautica Macchi MC.202

Batch 0 : 1 (Macchi production - August 1940 - prototype)
Batch 1 : 100 (Breda production - July41 to March42)
Batch 2 : 10 (Macchi production - May41 to April42)
Batch 3 : 140 (Macchi production - May41 to April42)
Batch 4 : 50 (SAI Ambroisini production - Nov41 to May42)
Batch 5 : 50 (SAI Ambrosini production - May42 to July42)
Batch 6 : 50 (Breda production - Spring 42 ? )
Batch 7 : 100 (Macchi production - April42 to July42)
Batch 8 : 50 (Breda production - March42 to July42)
Batch 9 : 100 (Macchi production - Sept41-Feb42)
Batch 10 : 100 (Breda production - July42 to Sept42)
Batch 11 : 150 (Breda production - Nov42 to Apr43)
Batch 12 : 150 (Breda production - May43 to Aug43)
Batch 13 : 50 (Macchi production - Apr43 to Aug43)
Batch 14 : 50 (SAI Ambrosini production - probably undelivered)
Batch 15 : 100 (Breda production - probably undelivered)
Batch 16 : 150 (Breda production - probably undelivered)
Besides the CR42 biplanes (there were still in limited production in1943, only Nanabozo - the Great Rabbit - knows why ;-), we did have three competing families of "modern" fighters originating from FIAT (G.50 and G.55), Macchi (MC.200, MC.202 and MC.2005) and Reggiane (Re.2000 and Re.2005, passing through the Re.2001 and Re.2002 fighter-bombers). I reckon that most countries had the same problem (or worse, like Japan!), but considering the abysmally low output of the Italian aeronautic industry, this fragmentation of the production capabilities was almost madness. Even more so if consider that a few other fighters did come to limited production status (F.5, SAI 207, SAI 403) and that the war-long attempt to produce an "heavy" twin-engined fighter got us another *four* competing models in limited production status (Breda 88, Ro.57, CR.25, FC.20) with another one close to production (SM.91 or 92). What's truly amazing is that it was largely a "vanity" matter: there wasn't any overwhelming economic interest involved, as even the factories that didn't get any of their model in full production were still fully engaged in license production of components, engines or whole aircraft for their competitors, so the (big!) money was coming anyway ... !!!

Arturo F.Lorioli


  1. Very interesting. Do you have an idea of the total output by major plants once all airframes are accounted for? I think that the Italians would rank lower in productivity than the other major peers.

  2. Italian aircraft production during WW2 was very low, both in numbers and quality : Italy never produced more than 3.500 military aircraft / year (1941), 6 to 10 times less than Great Britain alone... Italy started the war with outdated planes (e.g. CR.32 and CR.42). on the other hand, the Macchi C.202 prototype first flew on 10 August 1940 and could have matched any allied fighter aircraft in 1941....

    Production took very long lead times, and only in 1941 was an experimental phase started with pre-serial production, and designated with Italian Alfa company designation,150 RC 41,and used in Macchi C. 202 and later in C. 205 Veltro.

    Serial phase started only in 1943,with official designation of Alfa Romeo RA 1000 RC.41,and in total more than 1500 were produced and used also in Reggiane Re.2001,Caproni Vizzola F.5bis and F.7

    An instructive comparison is with Canada, a British dominion with almost no armaments industry in 1939. By the end of the war it had outproduced Italy, which had great power pretensions, in warship tonnage, tanks and aircraft!

    In fact only northern Italy was significantly industrialized. The centre and south were largely rural and incapable of contributing significantly to armaments production. Thus even before one factors in any inefficiencies in Mussolini's regime, Italy was heavily disadvantaged compared with Germany, the UK or even France, let alone the USA or USSR.

    If you look at British aircraft publications in 1939-40, they devote as much space to Italy as to Germany, but much of it was an illusion. When Mussolini ordered an audit of the air force immediately after the occupation of Albania in early 1939, it found that there were only one third as many usable aircraft as the air force hierarchy had claimed. Mussolini boasted in speeches of "8 million bayonets", but this would have required mobilising every man trained since the unification of Italy in the 1860s!
    Another problem was that Italy had been the first power to begin a new rearmament cycle in the early 1930s and much it was already obsolescent by 1940. A new rearmament cycle began during the war and some competitive, high quality aircraft and artillery designs were developed, but they never really got into full mass production.