YouTube - Macchi C.202
DB 601 V-12 in-line
2 7.7 mm; 2 12.7 mm
29 ft. 1 in.
34 ft. 9 in.
The Macchi C.202, nicknamed the Folgore (Thunderbolt), is generally considered to be the best mass produced fighter aircraft flown by Italy during World War II. It became the most numerous fighter aircraft used by the Regia Aeronautica during the War.
The new aircraft relied heavily upon the airframe of its predecessor being adapted to accept an in-line, rather than a radial engine. The streamlining of the Macchi C.202, which was enabled by the slimmer engine, plus an additional 300 h.p., resulted in an aircraft that was about 60 mph faster than its predecessor.
Pilots appreciated the higher level flight speed of the new aircraft, plus that it could now dive with the most modern Allied fighter aircraft. It did this while retained the excellent maneuverability of its predecessor.
The Macchi C.202 first saw action over Libya in November of 1941. It's greatest success was realized over the Soviet Union where Regia Aeronautica pilots claimed nearly a six to one victory record.
After the surrender of Italy, a few remaining Macchi C.202 aircraft were used as trainers by the Allies. The Egyptians used the fighter through 1951.
A total of about 1,200 Macchi C.202 aircraft of all types were produced.