Fiat BR.20 Cicogna.

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Fiat BR.20 Cicogna.

Berichtdoor Typhoon » 26 jan 2009, 13:11

Tweemotorige middelzware bommenwerper.
De Fiat BR.20 Cicogna (ooievaar) was een goed ontworpen en degelijke middelzware bommenwerper, maar het type was bij het uitbreken van de Tweede Wereldoorlog al bijna verouderd. Het toestel was ontworpen door ingenieur Celestino Rosatelli en leek veel op de gestroomlijnde Fiat APR.2 commerciële transporttoestel. Het Fiat BR.20 prtotype maakte zijn eerste vlucht op 10 februari 1936. De eerste eenheid van de Regia Aeronautica die de BR.20 ontving, was de 13e Stormo BT die in Lonate Pozzolo gestationeerd was. De 7e Stormo BT,ook in Lonate,ontving zijn BR.20's in februari 1937. De BR.20 was uitgerust met twee Fiat A.80 RC.41 stermotoren en had een maximumsnelheid van 430 km/u op een hoogte van 4000 meter. Hij was bewapend met twee 7.7-mm machinegeweren en een 12.7-mm machinegeweer.

De BR.20 in actie.
Enkele toestellen van de 7e en 13e Stormo BT werden in mei 1937 naar Spanje uitgezonden om gevechtservaring op te doen, terwijl andere BR.20's naar Japan geëxporteerd werden. Ze werden door de Japanse luchtmacht in China en Manstjoerije met wisselend succes ingezet als de Landmacht Type 1 Model 100 Zware Bommenwerper.
Andere neuscontouren, toegenomen pantserbescherming en een aangepaste bewapening waren de kenmerken van de BR.20M, waarvan er uiteindelijk 264 werden geproduceerd. Toen Italië op 10 juni 1940 de oorlog verklaarde, beschikte de Regia Aeronautica over 162 Fiat BR.20's en BR.20M's, die dienst deden bij de 7e, 13e, 18e en 43e Stormo BT. De eerste bombardementen werd op 13 juni uitgevoerd, toen negentien BR.20M's van de 13e Stormo BT militaire bases aanvielen in Hyéres en Fayence in het zuiden van Frankrijk. Een detachement van tachtig BR.20M's van de 13e en 43e Stormo BT werd eind september 1940 naar de Belgische vliegvelden Chièvres en Melsbroek gezonden, om de Luftwaffe te steunen bij diens bombardementen tegen Engeland. Als onderdeel van de Corpo Aereo Italiano leidden de BR.20M's diverse verliezen door fouten van de bemanningen en aanvallen van jagers.
Bij de operaties in Griekenland kwam de 116e Gruppo (37e Stormo) in actie vanaf bases in Albanië, gevolgd door operaties boven Kreta en dag- en nachtbombardementen op Malta. In de Sovjet-Unie deden de BR.20M's van de 38e en 116e Squadriglia vanaf augustus 142 dienst in de zuidelijke regio.
Er werden vijftien exemplaren van de verbeterde BR.20bis geproduceerd. Deze werden aangedreven door twee 932-kW Fiat A.82 RC.42S motoren, hadden extra 7.7-mm machinegeweren en een gemotoriseerde geschutskoepel op de rug. Begin 1943 werd de BR.20M bommenwerper teruggetrokken uit actieve dienst bij de Regia Aeronatica. De eenheden werden opnieuw uitgerst met ofwel CANT Z.1007's of Savoia-)Marchetti SM.79's. Van alle BR.20-types zijn er in totaal 602 gebouwd.

Specifcaties.
Fiat BR.20M Cicogna.
Type:Vijfpersoons middelzware bommenwerper.
Motoren:Twee 745-kW (1000pk) Fiat A.80 RC.41 stermotoren.
Prestaties: Maximumsnelheid 440 km/u op zeeniveau ; Kruissnelheid 340 km/u, klim naar 6000m in 25' ; Plafond 8000m ; Vliegbereik 2750 km.
Gewicht: Leeg 6500 kg ; Maximaal startgewicht 10.100 kg.
Afmetingen: Spanwijdte 21,6 m ; Lengte 16,7 m ; Hoogte 4,8 m ; Vleugeloppervlakte 74 m².
BBewapening: Drie 12.7-mm Breda-SAFAT machinegeweren (op neus,rug en buik) , plus een maximale bommenlading van 1600 kg.


Afbeelding

Afbeelding

65 Squadriglia, 31 Gruppo, 18 Stormo Bombardamento Terrestre, 6 Divisione Aerea 'Falco', 1 Squadra Aerea

Afbeelding

3 Squadriglia, 43 Gruppo, 13 Stormo Bombardamento Terrestre, 4 Divisione Aerea 'Drago', 1 Squadra Aerea

Afbeelding

5 Squadriglia, 43 Gruppo, 13 Stormo Bombardamento Terrestre, 4 Divisione Aerea 'Drago', 1 Squadra Aerea

Afbeelding

Afbeelding

Afbeelding
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Re: Fiat BR.20 Cicogna.

Berichtdoor Tandorini » 18 feb 2009, 19:52

History and notes

Flown for the first time from the Fiat company airfield in Turin by Enrico Rolandi on 10 February 1936, the prototype (MM 274) of the Fiat BR.20 Cicogna (stork) immediately made a favourable impression. Before long this medium bomber was being publicised throughout the aeronautical world by the efficient propaganda machine of Mussolini's Fascist government.

The BR.20 was a cantilever low-wing monoplane, its slab-sided fuselage having a mixed covering of dural sheet and fabric. The wing had sheet metal covering and the fabric-covered tail assembly included twin fins and rudders. The main units of the landing gear retracted rearward into the engine nacelles, leaving the wheels partially exposed, and the fixed tailwheel had a streamlined protective fairing. The nose included a manually-operated gun turret and below it was a glazed section for the bomb-aimer/navigator. The pilot and co-pilot were seated side-by-side in an enclosed cabin forward of the wing leading edge, the wireless operator's compartment being just forward of the main access door which was on the port side of the fuselage, behind the wing trailing edge. The bomb bay I capable of carrying a weapon load of up to 3,527 Ib (1600 kg), was located in the forward fuselage between the pilots' cabin and the wireless operator's compartment. A retractable type DR dorsal turret (replaced by an MI turret from the twenty-first production BR.20 onwards) and a ventral gun position completed the defensive armament.

In the spring of 1937 two special BR.20A long-range civil aircraft appeared. They had rounded noses, were stripped of all military equipment and had no break in the fuselage underside as with the bomber. They were built especially to take part in the prestigious Istres-Damascus air race, in which they were able to gain only sixth and seventh places. One other civilianized BR.20 was built, the BR.20L Santa Francesco, first flown in early 1939. It had an elongated streamlined nose section and additional fuel tanks, enabling it to make a nonstop flight from Rome to Addis Ababa on 6 March 1939, the three-man crew led by Maner Lualdi achieving an average speed of 251 mph (404 km/h).

The first unit to equip with the BR.20 bomber was the 13° Stormo BT at Lonate Pozzolo, in the autumn of 1936. The original BR.20 remained in production until February 1940, a total of 233 being completed. Of these a single example went to Venezuela and 85 were sold to Japan. The Japanese BR.20s, known as the Type I, were based on the Chinese coastal areas and used to attack inland cities still in Chinese hands. According to reports the Imperial Japanese Army air force did not find its BR.20s particularly effective and, as soon as the long-awaited Mitsubishi Ki-21 (Type 97 Bomber) was available, surviving Fiats were quickly grounded.

A number of BR.20s operated with the Italian Aviazione Legionaria supporting the Nationalists in Spain. Arriving from the summer of 1937 they took part in day and night raids over the Teruel and Ebro fronts, frequently attacking troop and vehicle concentrations, as well as government-held cities. Nine BR.20s survived to take part in the Nationalist aviation victory parade at Madrid-Barajas on 12 May 1939. When the Italian personnel left for home, the BR.20s were handed over to Spain.

When Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940, a new version of the basic design, the BR.20M (M for Modificato) had been in production for some six months. It differed from the original BR.20 by having a nose section of entirely new design and smoother outline. In all, 264 examples of the BR.20M were constructed, production ending in the spring of 1942.

Regia Aeronautica BR.20s in service in June 1940 totalled 172 with a further 47 in reserve or under repair. The Fiat bombers took part in the brief campaign against France until 23 June 1940 and then 80 factory-fresh BR20Ms were allocated to the 13° and 43° Stormo and sent to Belgian bases to participate in the Italian effort against the UK as part of the Corpo Aereo Italiano, which supported the Luftwaffe in the later stages of the Battle of Britain. They were involved in day and night raids against the ports of Harwich and Ramsgate and the industrial centre of Ipswich, between October and December 1940, before being withdrawn to Italy.

BR20s participated subsequently in the campaigns in North Africa, Greece, Yugoslavia and in the attacks against Malta Some missions were flown in the long-range reconnaissance role and this type of operation became more usual as the war progressed, the BR.20s carrying out many such missions against partisan areas in the Balkans.

At the time of the armistice signed between Italy and the Allies in September 1943, 81 BR.20s were still with first-line operational units in Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece, but by that time most surviving aircraft were attached to bomber training schools. During the final war years a very few BR.20s remained in flying condition as trainers or transports.

Experimental versions tested included the BR.20C with a powerful 37-mm cannon in the nose section and another BR.20 flown with tricycle landing gear.

Final version to go into production was theBR.20bis, a complete redesign, with a rounded fully glazed nose, more graceful fuselage contours, a retractable tailwheel and pointed vertical tail surfaces. Main improvements, however, were in engine power and defensive armament. Between March and July 1943 15 BR.20bis aircraft were built, but there is no record of their operational use. Their two l,250-hp (932-kW) Fiat A.82 RCA2 radial engines gave a maximum speed of 286 mph (460 km/h) and a service ceiling of 30,185 ft (9200 m). Dimensions were slightly increased compared with those of the BR.20M, and maximum take-off weight rose to 25,353 Ib (11500 kg). Defensive nose and ventral positions retained single 7.7-mm (0.303-in) machine-guns, there were additional weapons of the same calibre firing through ports on each side of the fuselage and a 12.7-mm (0.5-in) gun mounted in a Breda Type V dorsal turret.
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