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Macchi MC.202 Folgore

Macchi MC.202 Folgore

The MC.202 Folgore (lightning) was a direct descendant of the MC.200 that retained the same wing and controls, along with parts of the fuselage, but being powered by the inline Daimler Benz DB601 (later license built by Alfa Romeo). The MC.202 was delivered to operation groups in 1941, after the prototype flew in 1940 and had an enclosed cockpit. The MC.202 was armed with 2 12.7mm Breda machine guns in the cowling and 2 7.7mm machine guns in the wings. Some later versions had the 7.7mm machine guns replaced by 20mm cannon. The MC.202’s top speed was 372 mph, range of 475 miles and had a service ceiling of 37,730ft.

The MC.202 clearly proved superior to the P-40 and Hurricane and met its match with the Spitfire and Mustang. By late 1942, MC.202s outnumbered other fighters in the Regia Aeronautica. The MC.202 saw service in the North Africa campaign, Malta, Sicily, and over Italy. There were 2 main subversions, the AS for tropical service and the CB fighter-bomber. After the armistice in 1943, MC.202s flew with both Italian air forces. This was arguably the best Italian fighter to see large-scale service during the war.

There are only a few restored examples of the MC.202 left, one being in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC and is a late model MC.202 painted in the markings of the 90th Squadriglia, 10th Gruppo, 4th Stormo in Libya in 1942.

Wingspan 34 ft, 8 1/2 inches
Length 29 ft, 11 1/2 inches
Range 475 miles at 267 mph at 21,320 ft
Height 9 ft, 11 1/2 inches
Engine Alfa Romeo R.A. 1000, 12 cyclinder inline, 1075 hp
Max Speed 372 mph at 18,370 ft
Armament Breda SAFAT .50′ MG, optional (2) 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT wing MG

Article by JDG

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Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of WWII, Military Press, 1989.
The Encyclopedia of Weapons: From World War II to the Present Day
Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II
K. G. Munson, Enemy Aircraft (German and Italian) of World War II, Ian Allen, 1960.
Jonathon Thompson, Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-45, Aero, 1960.
William Green, Warplanes of the Second World War (10 vol.), Doubleday, 1960-68.
Nico Sgarlato, Italian Aircraft of World War II, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1979.
Roberto Gentilli, Macchi MC.202 In Action, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1970.
Giorgio Apostola, Aer. Macchi C.202, La Bancarella Aeronautica, 1995.
SPITFIRES OVER SICILY: The Crucial Role of the Malta Spitfires in the Battle of Sicily, January – August 1943 (Hurricanes Over Tobruk)
HURRICANES OVER TOBRUK: The Pivotal Role of the Hurricane in the Defence of Tobruk, January-June 1941


  1. Better as a dogfighter than as a bomber interceptor due to it’s light firepower, the Folgore was a handful for the Spitfire V not to mention the P-40 and Hurricane.
    It may have a tendency for auto-rotation in a sharp turn. But it excelled in climb and dive.

    The MC 205 Veltro added more 20-mm Cannons and hp. The flaw of loosing control in a turn when pressed lingered, so the Germans judged it as average. It also lacked the high altitude performance of the Bf 109G, Fiat G55, Re 2005, P-51, Spitfire IX, and Kawasaki Ki 61-II.
    The Fw 190A-5 was considered better though it had turn and altitude limitations too. I guess the Veltro didn’t match the stellar roll-rate of the Anton-5. However the Veltro could out-climb and out-dive the Focke-Wulf. US pilots liked it as much as the Mustang at low to medium altitudes.
    The MC 205 was easy to build since it was so much like the MC 202 on the Macchi production lines.

    Looks like a natural for the Russian front to me. I know the MC 202 had some success there.

  2. Franco Pucci says:

    Many thanks for your site and job. Its rare seeing a foreigner interested in the story of WWII from the Italian perspective! The Italian side of war is important because we are one of the only three or four
    nations versus HUNDREDS OF NATIONS of all over world (the U.S.A. is made up of 50 States!). I have a lot of pics and footage of theses planes and if you want i can to send it at your site (via email or P.O.Box). Cheers