Aviation of World War II
"Makki" on the Eastern Front. On August 12, 1941, the 22nd group of 51 MC.200 fighters arrived at the Eastern Front in Tudoru, (Odessa region). They were accompanied by 2 transport SM.81 and 3 transport Ca.133, followed by several bomber and reconnaissance units. This was the first Regia Aeronautica landing party to take part in the hostilities of the Italian Expeditionary Force in Russia (CSIR). The MC.200 operated with some effect during the September offensive of the Italians on the Dnieper River, but with the onset of winter conditions became more and more difficult, both in terms of weather and due to the fact that the unit did not have suitable equipment for action during very low temperatures. During November and most of December, flights were impossible, but in the three-day "Christmas battle" MC.200, having lost one aircraft, announced that 12 Soviet fighters had been shot down in three battles. When large-scale hostilities resumed in February and March, the MC.200 were active in escort and assault missions and successfully fought Soviet fighters.
During the spring of 1942, the 21st group replaced the 22nd and was merged with 12 select MC.202s.
On July 26, 1942, the Italians suffered the heaviest losses during their entire stay on the Eastern Front. 9 MS.200, accompanying the "pieces", were attacked by 20 Soviet LaGG-3s. The Italians lost three vehicles, shooting down only one LaGG. The next day, the LaGGs again attacked the Italians accompanying the Ju 87. This time, the Soviet pilots failed to catch the Italians by surprise, so having lost three LaGGs, they shot down only two Italian fighters.
In November 1942, before the start of the Soviet offensive on the Don, the 21st division had 32 MS.200 and 11 MS.202, Italian pilots more than once noted that their fighters, armed only with 12.7-mm machine guns, could not do anything to do with IL-2 armored attack aircraft.
In late December 1942 - early January 1943, Italian aviation took part in supporting the 6th Army of Paulus, surrounded at Stalingrad. In January, the 8th Italian Army was also surrounded, losing 110,000 people in the cauldron killed and captured. On January 21, 1943, the 21st division made its last sortie on the Eastern Front, personnel and materiel were removed from the Eastern Front by the end of the month.
The basis of the new aircraft, designated M.C. 201, was to be the new radial two-row fourteen-cylinder engine of the FIAT A.76 R C.40. This engine was supposed to develop 1000 hp. and at that moment was in the finishing stage. On a modified airframe, it was to replace the FIAT A.74 R.C.38 engine installed on the M.C. 200 and developed 870 hp. From the "two hundred" Castoldi completely borrowed the wing with the chassis (the system for neutralizing the reactive torque of the propeller in the form of wing consoles of unequal length was retained), the rear part of the fuselage, equipment, cockpit canopy and weapons in the form of two synchronized 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns.
New to the aircraft were a more streamlined middle part of the fuselage and, as a result, a lower placement of the pilot's cabin. The characteristic hump did not completely disappear, but it became noticeably smaller, and the fuselage itself smoothly merged into the engine cowling. The resulting effect of reducing the cross section (and drag), improving the aerodynamics of the vehicle, combined with a more powerful engine, should have provided the new fighter with higher horizontal speed, rate of climb, acceleration at the start of a dive, and other advantages.
However, all this remains in theory. When the prototype airframe M.C.201 (military registration number M.M.436) was completed, the most important thing was missing - the A.76 R.C.40 engine, the development of which slowed down and then stopped completely. The factory-assembled airframe was fitted with a standard M.C.200 engine and cowling.
With this power plant, the first flight of the M.C.201 took place in August 1940. Although the tests showed a slight increase in speed (512 km/h compared to 502 km/h for the M.C.200), other characteristics changed little. The improvement in flight characteristics did not justify the design changes and therefore there was no hope of putting the M.C.201 into mass production.
In addition, around the same time (August 10, 1940), a prototype of the M.C.202 fighter took off into the air, in the bow of which a twelve-cylinder inverted in-line V-shaped liquid-cooled Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine purchased in Germany was installed, which developed 1175 hp. Although the M.C.202 airframe was based on the same M.C.200, in fact it was the aircraft of the next generation of monoplane fighters.
The M.C.201 prototype was used for some time at the test center located in Guidonia, after which it was decommissioned. Ironically, the M.C.200, which it was intended to replace, was used as a fighter-bomber until the very end of the war.
December 23, 2017
December 24, 2017