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Medium Bomber

Piaggio P.32 II

In 1936, Piaggio presented its P.32 high-speed bomber project to the technical committee for consideration and received quite positive feedback. According to preliminary calculations, the Italian high-speed bomber in terms of speed characteristics should have surpassed Soviet SB and American Martin 139 (B-10/12), not inferior to them in terms of bomb load and flight range.

Tests of the bomber began in January 1936 and were completed only at the end of the next year. The greatest difficulties arose in the power plant, in addition to the lack of power, the Italian motors were not very reliable. The Air Force agreed to take the P.32 into limited service.

As it turned out, the design team did not manage to eliminate the most obvious shortcomings of the R.32, which resulted in several serious flight accidents, and as a result, the R.32 was decommissioned on April 12, 1938.

Armament. One 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun in the nose turret and two machine guns of the same caliber in the retractable dorsal and ventral turrets, bomb load up to 1600 kg. With the turrets extended, the bomber was hopelessly losing its speed.

In the same year, a new version of the P.32-II bomber was developed, equipped with 14-cylinder Piaggio P.XI RC.40 engines with an output of 1020 hp. The contract dated June 13, 1938 provided for the construction of 12 aircraft, but only two P.32-IIs were built.

In parallel with the modernization, Giovanni Peña, who moved to Caproni at the end of 1936, developed another version of the bomber, designated the P.32bis. This work was carried out by order of the Air Force, which demanded to bring the maximum speed to 420 km / h, which required a change in the aerodynamics of the aircraft. Peña completely redesigned the bomber nose, tail unit and engine nacelles. Consideration of the project took place on March 26, 1936 and soon a contract was signed for the production of 32 bombers. In July, the construction of pre-production aircraft began, but in September the order was revised, reducing it to 16 aircraft. The first prototype of the P.32bis took off on March 23, 1937. After the first flights, it turned out that the improved bomber had the same drawbacks as the conventional P.32, so the rest of the P.32bis series aircraft were abandoned, leaving only two specialized Ca variants. .405 "Procellaria".

By the beginning of World War II, not a single R.32 remained in the Italian Air Force, the history of such a promising aircraft ended so ingloriously.

P.32 I
Crew 5
Wing span, m 18.00
Wing area, m² 60.00
Length, m 16.30
Height, m 4.70
Weight, kg
Empty 5750
Gross power 9355
2 х PE Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI RC-40, power, h.p. 2 х 850
Maximum speed, km/h 393
Cruising speed, km/h 342
Service range, km 2,000
Service ceiling, m 7,900
machine guns 5x7.7mm
bombs, kg 1600
Photo Description
Drawing Piaggio P.32 I

Drawing Piaggio P.32 I

Piaggio P.32 II with Piaggio P.XI RC.40 engines

Piaggio P.32 II with 14-cylinder Piaggio P.XI RC.40 engines.

Piaggio P.32 II, cockpit with open top hatches.

Piaggio P.32 II, commander's workplace.

Piaggio P.32 II, co-pilot workstation.

Piaggio P.32 II, pilot's dashboard.

Piaggio P.32 II, diagram of the engine, engine nacelle and landing gears.

Piaggio P.32 II, bomb bay.

Piaggio P.32 II, suspension of bombs in the bomb bay.

Piaggio P.32 II, radio operator's workplace.

Piaggio P.32 II, turrets in retracted and extended position.

Piaggio P.32 II, top and bottom turrets.

Piaggio P.32 II, turret pull-out drive.

Ca.405 Procellaria

  • Record Aircraft.
  • First flight: 1938
  • Caproni

In 1938, Caproni was ordered a special version of the aircraft intended for the Istres - Damascus - Paris race. It was a modification of the Piaggio P.32bis bomber with a long record-breaking range and a narrow fuselage, and was named Caproni-Reggaine Ca.405 Procellaria. A contract was signed for the construction of two copies of the aircraft (MM.375 and MM.376).

To save money for the record flight, the first prototype of the P.32bis was finalized, and the second prototype was ready on January 4, 1938. During testing on February 25, this aircraft crashed due to engine problems and was completely destroyed during an unsuccessful landing, claiming life test pilot Mario de Gamma.

The flight had to be postponed, and with Italy’s entry into the war it was completely forgotten.

Caproni Ca.405
Crew 3
Wing span, m 18,00
Wing area, m² 59.00
Length, m 16.00
Height, m 4.70
Weights, kg
Empty weight 6,870
Loaded weight 11,370
2 × PE Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI RC-40, power hp. 2 × 835
Maximum speed, km/h 420
Cruise speed, km/h 380
Service range, km 2,500
Service ceiling, m 7,500
Photoо Description
Drawing Caproni Ca.405 Drawing Caproni Ca.405


  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /
  • Aeroplano P.32 II Serie (Motori P.XI RC.40) /Ministero dell' Aeronautica Roma/