The Fiat G.50 Freccia

Italy
Italy

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

"Freccia" stands for "Arrow", and is a typical name for wishful thinking or ignorance on behalf of the enemy's capabilities. It was the first all-metal low-set monowing fighter with retractable main gear of the Italian airforce. It was an intermediate design with a semi open cockpit, and meant to be a compromise between a short-range lightly armed defensive fighter, a medium range fighter-bomber, and a long-range fighter. Also, the fighter had to adopt a radial engine because the Italian Air Ministry had declared that all fighters be fitted with one, since there were no powerfull Vee engines built in Italy itself.
By the time the first prototype was ready, the G.50 was matched against a contemporary design: the Macchi MC.200 Seatta. The design of the Seatta had started later, and wasn't compromised to death, naturally it won the contest. Even so, the Italians by now realised that they needed fighters in numbers, and because the production lines of the G.50 were in their place and starting up, they still ordered the aircraft.

Versions:

Further pictures:

The Fiat G.50 Freccia in full flight
The Fiat G.50 Freccia in full flight

 

Technical data on the Fiat G.50 Serie II Freccia
Powerplant 1 × Fiat A.74 R1C.38 radial, rated at 840 hp (626.21 kW) Role during war
  • Fighter
Length 26 ft 3.33 inch Height 10 ft 9.91 inch
Empty weight 4328 lb Operational weight 5291 lb max
Wing Span 36 ft 0.25 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.62
Wing Area 196.45 sq ft Service ceiling 35105 ft
Maximum speed 292 mph at 16405 ft Cruising speed 258 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 16,405 ft in 6 min 03 sec Range 276 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 57.2 Imp gal (68.7 US gal) plus provision for 11.4 Imp gal (13.75 US gal) of auxiliary fuel in a fuselage tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 2 × 0.50 inch gun fixed forward-firing in nose, 150 rounds Cannons -
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 26 February 1937 Operational Service February 1939 - 1946
Manufacturer SocietÓ Anonima Aeronautica d'Italia FIAT (Fiat) Number produced 800 total, 36 this version
Metric system
Length 8.01 m Height 3.3 m
Empty weight 1963 kg Operational weight 2400 kg max
Wing Span 10.98 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.62
Wing Area 18.25 m² Service ceiling 10700 m
Maximum speed 470 km/h at 5000 m Cruising speed 415 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate Climb to 5.000 m in 6 min 3 sec Range 444 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 260 liters plus provision for 52 liters of auxiliary fuel in a fuselage tank Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns 2 × 12,7 mm gun fixed forward-firing in nose, 150 rounds Cannons -
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Fiat G.50  Freccia
Fiat G.50 Serie I Freccia First production model. Powered by 1 × Fiat A.74 RC.38 radial, rated at 960 hp (716 kW).
Number built: 45
Fiat G.50 Serie II Freccia Identical to the G.50 Serie I, but with a semi-enclosed cockpit, and other small revisions.
Number built: 36
Fiat G.50 Serie III Freccia Identical to the G.50 Serie II, but with a semi-enclosed cockpit, and other small revisions.
Number built: 30
Fiat G.50 Serie IV Freccia Identical to the G.50 Serie III, but with a semi-enclosed cockpit, and other small revisions.
Number built: 100
Fiat G.50B Freccia Unarmed 2-seat trainer version of the G.50 Freccia
Number built: 5
Fiat G.50bis Freccia Based on the G.50 Serie IV, with a a lot of revisions, mostly concerning aerodynamics, spinning and gunplatform qualities. Also the originally planned lower fuselage weapons bay was converted into additional fuel capacity, totalling to 90.4 Imp gal (108.6 US gal/411 liters) for a maximum range of 609 miles (980 km). Weights increased to empty 4,579 lb (2.077 kg) and max take-off of 5,966 lb (2.706 kg). Performance generally remained unaltered. Mostly used in the North African theatre
Number built: 477
Fiat G.50B/bis Freccia Unarmed 2-seat trainer, based on the G.50bis version. Empty weight was 4,268 lb (1.936 kg), max take-off weight was 5,159 lb (2.340 kg). It's max level speed was 283 mph (456 km/h) at optimum altitude, and it had a typical range of 311 miles (500 km)
Number built: 107

Remarks:

The Freccia was exported to Finland (9 G.50 Serie I, 26 G.50bis) and Croatia (5 G.50bis), and was used in the campaigns against France, Greece, during the Battle of Britain, and in the North African theatre. In France it did moderately well, because the Italians were carefull not to use it against french fighters. During the Battle of Bratain it never encountered english fighters, saving them probably from a certain doom. In Greece, at last, they saw real combat against Gloster Gladiators (bi-wing aircraft), and had more losses than victories. Only after the Fiat CR.42 was mixed with the G.50's the Italians made progress. In the North African theatre, finally, they also were outclassed considerably by the Hawker Hurricane and the Gloster Gladiator.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

 

© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00