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Light Reconnaissance Bomber

Caproni 311

Caproni Ca.310 repeated the design and dimensions of its predecessor, only the fuselage became 0.8 m shorter. The upgraded Caproni differed from the Ca.309 in its onboard equipment, chassis type and engines. With retractable struts and a power plant of two star-shaped seven-cylinder "Piaggio" P.VII C.16 of 430 hp. (or C.35 engines with superchargers), the maximum speed increased, in comparison with the Ghibli, by almost 100 km / h.

The military version of the "three hundred and tenth" had three 7.7-mm machine guns "Breda-SAFAT": two - in the roots of the wing, the third - on the upper turret with a blister. As a light bomber, the Ca.310 could carry 400 kg of small bombs. The crew consisted of 3-4 people.

The prototype Ca.310 made its first flight on April 9, 1937. The aircraft, named "Libecchio" (southwestern wind blowing from Libya), was built in a significant series. Passenger and cargo Ca.310, distinguished by the absence of lower glazing in the nose, were few. The basis of the "shaft", coming from the plant "Caproni Aeronautica Bergamasca" and the headquarters of the firm in Taliedo near Milan, were military aircraft.

The baptism of fire "three hundred and tenth" took place during the civil war in Spain. "Aviation Legionaria" (the Italian air corps of the Francoists) had 12 Libeccio scouts. Next, the service of Ca.310 began in Libya. And in February 38th, five aircraft, significantly improved without weapons, participated in the III Sahara air races. Pilots I. de Wittembeschi, W. Maddalena and J. Parodi took the first three places. The triumph spurred Caproni's foreign customers. But the reliability of the aircraft left much to be desired.

Almost all Ca.310 were exported. They were sold to Czechoslovakia and Peru. 12 aircraft were bought by Yugoslavia. Most likely, it was these machines that, after the German attack and the split of the country, became part of the Croatian Air Force, an ally of Germany. The Hungarians bought 36 cars, but in 1938 33 Ca.310s with various defects were returned to the company. "Libecchio", which Hungary abandoned, remained in Italy.

Norway intended to buy 24 Ca.310. Having tested the first four cars, the Norwegians refrained from further purchases, since the characteristics of the Italian aircraft were noticeably behind those promised by the company, and the build quality was unsatisfactory. The plant improved the Ca.310 model by providing Piaggio P.XVI R.C.35 radial engines with a capacity of 650 hp each, three-blade propellers with spinners, and additional shields on the landing gear. The aircraft received the designation Ca.312.

In the 39th, Norway again ordered Caproni light bombers, this time - 12 "three hundred and twelfth". But supplies were interrupted by the war and the German occupation. A small batch was given to the Italian Air Force. One copy was useful for testing the air brakes of the Balerio system.

Variant Ca.312 IS, a torpedo bomber on two floats, with a nose like the "three hundred and eleventh", remained on paper.

Even Great Britain, which possessed the Anson bomber Avro and other aircraft of the same class, made a large order for the Ca.310 in January 1939. It was not canceled even after the start of the war with Germany. The motives of the British - below.

In addition to the main modifications of "Libecchio", there was also a float Ca.310 "Idro", a naval reconnaissance aircraft, with reduced bow glazing and no weapons. In August 1940, when the Italian fleet needed a replacement for the Romeo Ro 43 catapult biplane, the developers of the Caproni firm once again returned to hydroaviation. A reconnaissance torpedo bomber Ca.316 appeared with "Piaggio" P.VII C.16 "stars" (450 hp each), two-blade propellers and armament consisting of a 12.7-mm machine gun in the root of the left wing and 7.7- mm - on the top turret, 400 kg of bombs or torpedoes. The Ca.316 existed in several prototypes, but did not go into production. Internal competition with Ca.313 and Ca.314 interfered.

Caproni Ca.311. An experimental Ca.310 bis with a fully glazed cockpit without a ledge became the prototype for the next Caproni. Light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft Ca.311, "born" in April 1939, inherited the "three hundred tenth - bis" nose shape. The rounded cockpit reduced the length of the fuselage by almost half a meter. More advanced aerodynamics affected the characteristics and controllability of the aircraft. The stepped front part of the hull reappeared on the Ca.311M variant (modified).

On the Ca.311 there were the same "stars" Piaggio P.VII C.35 with a capacity of 470 hp each. (on takeoff - 500 hp). The location of the weapons has changed. Of the three 7.7 mm machine guns, one was on the upper turret of the "Kaproni-Lanchiani" type, the other was at the root of the left wing, and the third was in the lower hatch. Bombs with a total mass of up to 400 kg were mounted on an internal suspension.

The Italian Air Force became the consumer of these "Capronis". The operation of the Ca.311 showed that its power plant was too weak for a real combat aircraft. A replacement was proposed for the most powerful Piaggio, tested on the Ca.312, but their frontal resistance did not suit the designers.

Crew 3-4
Wing span, m 16.20
Wing area, m² 38.40
Length, m 11.80
Height, m 3.69
Weight, kg
Empty 3,460
Loaded weight 4,822
Engine 2 х PE Piaggio P.VII, power, h.p.
takeoff power, h.p. 2 × 470
Maximum speed, km/h 365
Cruising speed, km/h 307
Service range, km/h 1,600
Service ceiling, m 7,400
machine guns 3х7.7mm
Bombs, kg 400
Photo Description
Drawing Caproni Ca.310 bis

Drawing Caproni Ca.310 bis, 2 x Piaggio P VII C.35 radial engines.

Caproni Ca.310

Caproni Ca.310, general view 3/4 front and back.

Caproni Ca.311, general view 3/4 front and back.

Caproni Ca.311, powerplant - 2 "Piaggio" radial motors P VII C.35.

Caproni Ca.311, power plant (rear view) - 2 "Piaggio" radial motors P VII C.35.

Caproni Ca.311, aircraft layout.

Caproni Ca.311, suspension of bombs in the bomb bay.

Caproni Ca.311, opening locks for bombing.

Caproni Ca.311, suspension of cassettes in bomb bay.

Caproni Ca.311, cassettes for explosive 2 kg bombs.

Caproni Ca.311, turret "Caproni-Lanciani" type "Delta".

Caproni Ca.311, lower firing point.

Caproni Ca.311, placement of radio equipment.

Caproni Ca.311, radio receiver of the radio operator (marconista - mitragliera). In the foreground is the "Marconist" intercom. Headphones hang on the receiver, here a tube with a horn - a microphone - hangs down.

Caproni Ca.311, radio operator's workplace.

Caproni Ca.311, loop antenna and radio compass frame.

Caproni Ca.311, wind turbine.

Caproni Ca.311, machine gun at the root of the wing (Drawing).

Caproni Ca.311, machine gun at the root of the wing . Below under the cab - Pitot tube.

Caproni Ca.311, commander intercom.

Caproni Ca.311, aircraft intercom.

Caproni Ca.311, motor's dashboard.

Ca.331 Raffica

Caproni Ca.331
  • Multipurpose fighter
  • First flight: 1940
  • Caproni

Ca.331 Raffica - Multipurpose fighter developed by the Italian company Caproni Aeronautica Bergamasca. Work on the aircraft began in 1939 by designer Cesare Pallavicino. The first prototype of the aircraft (MM.427) was ready by the summer of 1940. Its first flight took place on August 31 of the same year.

The aircraft was manufactured as a four-seat light reconnaissance bomber (this version was designated Ca.331A) with a streamlined transparent nose similar to the Heinkel He 111. The armament of the newest Caproni consisted of three SAFAT heavy machine guns, two in the wing root and one on the top turret, and also one 7.7 mm machine gun in the lower retractable socket. Bomb load - up to 1000 kg.

In the spring of 1941, the aircraft was handed over for military tests, during which it showed high flight and combat characteristics. However, Regia Aeronautica refused to mass produce the aircraft, citing the fact that “the aircraft has too unusual a design.” In addition to the “unusual” design, the aircraft had another big drawback in the eyes of the management of Regia Aeronautica - it used a lot of duralumin elements, and duralumin was supplied mainly from Germany.

The aircraft was returned to the Caproni plant and then transferred to the Luftwaffe test center in Reuchlin. The Luftwaffe praised the aircraft's performance and planned to order 1,000 examples in a combat trainer version with dual controls under the designation Ca.331G.

After the first prototype of the aircraft, a second prototype of the aircraft (MM.428) was built by order of Regia Aeronautica in a night fighter version with Delta RC.40 825 hp engines, with a stepped cockpit, a nose battery of six SAFATOBs and defensive weapons from two identical trunks on the upper and lower installations.

This version was designated Ca.331B. Following the start of Allied air raids in 1942, Regia Aeronautica planned to order 1,000 production Ca.331Bs. But this order remained only on paper. In practice, only one more prototype was built.

The first Ca.331B prototype was tested with full armament only in August 1943. The plane was also planned to be used as a fighter-bomber. For these purposes, a bomb bay was created on the aircraft, which could accommodate bombs with a total weight of up to 1000 kg. Alternatively, with an empty bomb bay, the Ca.331B could carry one 500 kg bomb and an external tank with a capacity of 616 liters.

Only two prototypes were embodied in metal, which ended up with the Germans after the occupation of northern Italy. Twin-engine fighters were tested with various sets of offensive weapons. The Sa.331B flew with a pair of 12.7 mm machine guns and four 20 mm Mauser cannons or six Ikaria cannons of the same caliber in a special ventral container.

Caproni Ca.331
Crew 3
Wing span, m 16.40
Wing areaа, m² 38.50
Length, m 11.74
Высота самолета, м 3.18
Weights, kg
Empty weight 4,790
Loaded weight 6,850
2 × PE Isotta-Fraschini Delta RC.40, power hp. 2 × 825
Maximum speed, km/h 560
Cruise speed, km/h 450
Rate of climb, m/min 420
Service range, km 1,580
Service ceiling, m 8,100

Armament. First option: eight 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.

Second option: four 20 mm MG 151/20 or Ikaria cannons and two 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.

Bomb load: up to 1000 kg in the bomb bay or up to 500 kg under the fuselage.

Photo Description
Ca.331 Drawing Ca.331

Technical description. Ca.331B night fighter; all-metal twin-engine three-seat low-wing aircraft with a reverse gull wing.

Monocoque fuselage with working skin.

Metal caisson wing of variable profile with working skin.

Chassis retractable by turning back into engine nacelles with manual control of electrical or mechanical emergency systems.

The tail wheel is rotating and retractable.

The tail unit is two-fin all-metal.

The cockpits of the pilot and gunner-radio operator are armored, the aircraft is equipped with transceiver radio equipment.

Standard instrumentation for determining flight parameters and engine control.

Fuel tanks: two main in the wing and two additional in the fuselage.

Engines with metal three-bladed Piaggio propellers with pitch variable in flight.

The armament consisted of 6 × 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns: 4 in the nose and one in the root parts of the wing consoles with 350 rounds of ammunition per barrel. Defensive 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun for tail protection in a Caproni-Lanciani Delta turret with 500 rounds of ammunition.

Fuselage compartment for an additional tank or bombs, four pylons for external cargo.


  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /
  • From Wind to Squall / Sergey Ivannikov /
  • Aeroplano CAPRONI 311 2 motori P VII.C.35. /Ministero dell' Aeronautica Milano 1941/
  • Caproni Ca.331 /Aerei Italiani - Scheda Tecnica./