Fiat Twin Air Engine

HE Italian Fiat CR 42 Falco (Falcon) has the distinction of being the last biplane fighter to be produced and put into first-line service by a major warring power. The prototype of this thoroughly anachronistic, open-cockpit, fabric-covered biplane with fixed landing gear flew early in 1939. Production continued into 1942, and 1,781 were built.

The initials "CR" in the designation identify Celestino Rosatelli, a famous designer of long standing. His CR 42 evolved from a long line of CR fighters, starting with the CR 20 of 1923. All shared the unique feature of the Warren-Truss arrangement of the wing struts. All models through the CR 33 featured liquid-cooled engines, while subsequent models used air-cooled radial engines.

Its powerplant was the 840hp Fiat A.74 R.C.38 twin-row radial engine, and the initial armament was one 7.7mm and one 12.7mm machine gun in the nose. The later CR 42ter (third version) had four 12.7mm guns, two of which were in blisters in the lower wing. The CR 42 A.S. ("A.S." for "Africa Settentrionale," or North Africa) was a ground-attack version with two 220-

Fiat Twin Air Engine
The CR 42 that was captured during the Battle o1 Britain is shown here, with its original 1940 Italian camouflage and markings restored. The number BT474 on the fuselage isn 7 Italian; it 's the R.A.F. serial number assigned to the plane when it was test-flown in England.
Type Airplane Battle England

Prewar Italian rudder markings were red, white and green stripes, with the crest of the ruling House of Sa voy at the top of the white stripe.

pound bombs, and the CR 42 C.N. ("CN" for "Caccia Notturna," or Night Fighter) was used as a defensive night fighter in Northern Italy. There was also a twin-float seaplane version, the ICR 42 (T for "Idrovolante," or Seaplane).

One CR 42 was fitted with a 1,020hp German Daimler-Benz DB-601 liquid-cooled engine, (used in the Me.109 as CR 42B), and turned in the almost unbelievable speed (for a biplane) of 323mph.

Italy entered the war on June 10,1940, with 300 CR 42s. These planes fought everywhere the Italian Air

Prewar Italian rudder markings were red, white and green stripes, with the crest of the ruling House of Sa voy at the top of the white stripe.

Force was engaged, and were involved in some of the last significant biplane vs. biplane battles when CR 42s fought British Gloster Gladiators over Greece, North Africa and Malta.

Some CR 42s took part in Italy's token raids on England during the Battle of Britain in the fall of 1940. One was forced down intact and can be seen today in the Battle of Britain Museum near London. At least 113 CR 42s were still in service when Italy surrendered to the Allies on September 8,1943. Italy joined the Allies and declared

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