Aviation of World War II
|Wing span, m||29.70|
|Wing area, m²||118.55|
|3 × PE Piaggio P.XI RC.40 power, hp||3 × 990|
|Weights and loads, kg:|
|Maximum speed, km/h||400|
|Cruising speed, km/h||325|
|Ferry range, km||3,000|
|Service range, km||2,280|
|Service ceiling, m||7,000|
|Payload, passengers / soldiers||30/24|
|One 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gun|
Combat Use . At the beginning of World War II, in June 1940, all civil aircraft were transferred to the disposal of Regia Aeronautica. Part of the SM.75 was sent to the Corpo Aereo Italiano (Italian Air Corps), which was stationed in German-occupied Belgium and assisted in the air operation against Britain. Here "Savoy" performed transport functions supplying the corps from Italy. In addition to Belgium, they were used in the Greek operation and in North Africa, and also supplied the Italian army on the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union.
In North Africa, all Italian transport aircraft entered the disposal of the newly created Servizi Aerei Speciali - SAS. During the first two months of fighting, the situation on the African front changed so much that the Italian Expeditionary Force, which unleashed the war, found itself in a defensive position. In such conditions, the question of supplying the retreating army was more acute than ever, and here the SAS, created in June 1940, was very useful. It consisted of 31 SM.75 aircraft and four Ju.52 / 3m aircraft, distributed among seven air groups located at airfields in Italy, Albania and Libya. The connected SM.82s carried Fiat CR.42 fighters to Africa, while the SM.75 carried equipment.
After the loss of East African possessions, Italian military aircraft no longer appeared in this sector of Africa. The only exception was the SM.75. In March 1942, a single SM.75GA, flying over Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, dropped leaflets over the city of Asmara for the Italian population.
For SM.75, the war in Africa ended in a tragic epic with the removal of the Italian expeditionary corps. As for other transport aircraft (the SM.82 and Fiat G.12 also participated in the evacuation), flights across the Mediterranean Sea and, in general, being at airfields within the reach of allied aviation became very dangerous. The SM.75 is lucky in this respect. The losses of this type of aircraft were relatively small, while for the German Ju-52 / 3m and the huge Me.323, the Mediterranean became a real graveyard.
The SM.87 aircraft was created by order of the Argentine branch of the airline Ala Littoria (Corporacion de Trasportes Aereas), which required a cargo-passenger seaplane to operate local flights. The chief engineer of SIAI, Alessandro Marchetti, decided to take the SM.75 transport aircraft as a basis, placing it on floats and equipping it with the necessary equipment. The design did not undergo significant changes: the nose and middle parts of the fuselage were made of aluminum and covered with sheets of light aircraft steel, the tail section was sheathed with plywood. The floats were also metal and were attached to the lower surface of the fuselage and wing using struts. The cockpit was quite spacious; it housed the pilot, navigator, radio operator and motor mechanic. The interior cabin was designed for 20-24 passengers. The power plant of the seaplane consisted of three radial engines R&W SG3G "Twin Wasp" with a power of 1050 hp. with three-blade propellers. Taking into account the modifications carried out, the name of the aircraft changed to SM.87.
By the time the working drawings were ready, Italy was in a state of preparation for the coming war and heavy-duty transport aircraft were transferred to the Air Force. The previously signed contract provided for the supply of 5 hydroplanes, but with the requirement to replace American engines with Italian Fiat A.80 RC.41 (1000 hp), since there were quite reasonable fears that by the start of construction the United States would impose a ban on their delivery. The contract was finalized in January 1940, and on August 18, representatives of the company announced that the construction of four SM.87s had been completed and spare components and assemblies were ready, which would be enough for another five aircraft. They were immediately assigned military numbers MM.447-MM.450, to which registration codes I-INNO, I-IGOR, I-ILLA and I-IGEA were then added.
Seaplanes began to gradually enter service from September to October 1940, although there was a slight delay due to an accident on one of the SM.87s. The first two vehicles were used on the Rome-Algiers-Barcelona line after the victory over France, and subsequently all SM.87s served the Rome-Cagliari-Rome and Rome-Cagliari-Pollensa-Baleari routes. During their active service, which lasted until 1943, they never had any encounters with enemy aircraft. The SM.87 (I-INNO) survived its first battle only in May, when, at the moment of splashdown in Olbia Bay, it was attacked by a Beaufighter heavy fighter. The seaplane, which was delivering 28 soldiers from Rome to Sardinia, had little chance of surviving, but after several passes the British fighter was only able to make a hole in the fuselage of the SM.87 with cannons and machine guns, killing three people on board. After a short repair it was put back into service. By September 1943, all four seaplanes were at air bases and were divided between the warring parties.
The plane, coded I-INNO, was hijacked on October 1 by Italian pilots Francesco Martinelli and Falvio Gerardi, who flew it to Brindisi to join the Allied forces. It flew for a short time and was soon scrapped. The remaining three SM.87s were delivered to Venice and fell into the hands of the Germans there. Here their old registration codes were changed to D-AKBE (formerly D-IGOR), D-AJAB (D-IGEA) and AJ+IJ (I-ILLA) and placed in temporary storage. Options were discussed to transfer them to the aviation of the Italian Social Republic, but in fact they were used by the Luftwaffe command and traces of them were lost by the beginning of 1945.
July 07, 2020.