Aviation of World War II
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.
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.
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.
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.