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The BR.20 Cicogna was a medium bomber that was used by Italy during World War II.

Description

It had dual 1,000 hp, air-cooled, Fiat A80 Engines that were capable of propelling the BR.20 Cicogna at speeds of up to 425 km/h. There were three propellers per engine and they were made out of metal.[1] The crew varied from 5-6 members, including two pilots. The armament of the BR.20 Cicogna were four MGs that were mounted in different places, one being the nose, and 1,599.8 kg of bombs.

The length of the BR.20 Cicogna was about 16 meters and the unloaded weight was about 6,500 kg. The loaded weight was about 10,000 kg. The wingspan was 21.56 meters and the height was about 4.75 meters.[2] The service ceiling of the Cicogna was about 7,600 meters and it took approximately 13 minutes, 55 seconds to reach 4,000 meters. The total range of the Cicogna was about 3,001.4 km.

Variants

The BR.20 Cicogna had two military variants as one, the BR.20A was a civilian model that often took part in air racing. The first military model of the BR.20 Cicogna was the BR.20M which had increased armor, more armament, and better aerodynamics. The nose of the aircraft was also redesigned.[3] The final variant of the BR.20 series the BR.20bis. It had improved Fiat A.82 RC32 Engines and an even better defensive armament. However, it began production in 1943, much too short to see combat. The much improved BR.20bis never even got into full production.[4]

History

Developed in the mid 1930s by Ing Rosatelli, the BR.20 differed from Rosatelli's previous single engines biplane designs by being a large monoplane with stressed skin construction. Despite it's relative complexity, the original aircraft was put into production within six months of the first flight on 10 February 1936, with the 13 Stromo being fully equipped by the end of the year. Fiat also offered the new bomber for export, gaining an order not from China - as was expected - but Japan, who ordered 85 examples of the BR.20 as the Yi-shiki for the Japanese Army, in order to bridge the gap caused by delays to the Ki-21.[4]

In June 1937 the BR.20 was featured prominently in the Aviazione Legionaria sent to fight for the Nationalists in Spain and, with the Heinkel He 111, bore the brunt of their very successful bomber operations. Spain purchased a manufacturing licence - which was not taken up - and purchased at least 25 from Fiat, who also sold an additional number to Venezuela.

Fiat br20

A BR.20 dropping a bomb.

When Italy entered World War II in 1940, some 250 had been delivered to the Regia Aeronautica, the last 60 being the strengthened and more shapely M (Modificato) type. In October two groups of 37 and 38 of the M model operated against England, but they were knocked down with ease, and were recalled in January 1941.[4][5]

During 1942 the BR.20 began to fade, becoming used for oceon patrol, operational training, and bombing where opposition was light. A large force supported the Luftwaffe in Russia, where casualties were heavy. By the Armistice only 81 off all versions were left out of 606 built.[4]

References

  1. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/italy/aircraft/bomber/fiat-br-20-cicogna.asp
  2. http://www.world-war-2-planes.com/Fiat-Br-20-Cicogna.html
  3. Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. (2007), Page 217
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Gunston, Bill. Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. Salamander Books. 1988
  5. Haining, Peter. The Chianti Raiders - The extraordinary story of the Italian Air force in the Battle of Britain. Robson Books. 2005


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