Macchi M.C.200 Saetta (Lightning / Arrow ) Timeline
Spring 1935: Chief designer of Macchi Co., Ing., Mario Castoldi, carried out a series of design studies for
for a modern monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. This project was designated C.200.
Note: From 1935 through to its final production models the C.200 retained its designation & all of its
24 December 1937: 1st flight of the prototype C.200 (MM 336) piloted by Giuseppe Burei.
Fully enclosed canopy.
Exceptional maneuverability for a monoplane.
Very stable and handling was finger light under all conditions.
High dive rate (at the time), Burei attained 500 mph. at the official trials in Guidonia.
Note: From 1935 through to its final production, the C.200 retained its designation and
all of its general characteristics.
1938: Program R: The Ministry initiated an expansion program for the Air Force. This
included aircraft, personnel, bases and facilities.
1938: A competition of prototype aircraft was evaluated by the Ministry. The aircraft
involved were: M.C.200, Caprni Vizzola F.5, Aeronautica Umbra T.18, I.M.A.M. Ro.51,
Reggiane Re.2000 and Fiat G.50. The M.C.200 was chosen for Series production.
Note: The Re.2000 was considered 2nd. It was more maneuverable at altitude with
a better low-speed performance but was rejected because of its vulnerable wing
tanks and questionable structural strength.
Spring 1939: Deliveries began of the C.200 Series I. The 1st 25 aircraft had a Fiat-
Hamilton constant-speed airscrew. Aircraft No.26 and after had a Piaggio P.1001
of same ability.
Fuel tanks: 62.8 gal. in front of cockpit, 19.8 gal. under pilot seat & 39.6 gal. ventral
Armament: 2 x 12.7 mm. Breda-SAFAT / 310 rpg. (aircraft No.1-13)
2 x 12.7 mm. Breda-SAFAT / 370 rpg. (aircraft No. 14 on.)
San Giorgio reflector gun sight.
Radio: Initially just an ARC-1 receiver was installed, later a full R/T radio.
The tail wheel was fully retractable on early production A/C, later becoming fixed.
Engine: Fiat A.74 R.C.38: 870 cv (858 hp) /Take-off at 2,520 rpm.
The canopy was enclosed.
Note: Originally the first production C.200s were to be supplied to 4 Stormo, but 4 Stormo
pilots wanted to keep their more maneuverable C.R.42s. Biased against the monoplane,
they considered its spinning characteristics dangerous & disliked its enclosed cockpit.
Pilots of the 1 Stormo were most anxious to convert to the high-speed monoplane. They
had flown C.R.32s in the Spanish Civil War and their experiences convinced them that
the day of the biplane fighter was coming to an end. They were delighted to exchange
their C.R.32s for the C.200 of the 4 Stormo.
1 November 1939: Only 9 of 21 Aircraft were serviceable and all were grounded due to
accidents from high-speed stalls under rarely-encountered combination of circumstances.
Early June 1940: The cause of the g-stall conditions had been discovered and a simple
modification to the wing rectified the situation. The Saetta becomes fully operational.
10 June 1940: Italy declares war on France and Great Britain. Regia Aeronautica had
taken delivery of 156 C.200s and 572 more had been ordered.
September 1940: The 1st twenty-six C.200s to see combat were part of the 6 Gruppo
Autonomo of the 1 Divisione Caccia Terrestre based in Sicily where they encountered
the Hawker Hurricane for the first time in the air war over Malta.
Note: The air battles over Malta had proved that the C.200 was slightly slower than the
Hurricane. The Saetta had a considerably better Climb rate and could outdive and
outturn the Hurricane with ease. The C.200's sturdy structure was capable of
absorbing considerable punishment and the aircraft had no serious vices. Take-off
and landing runs were short and the C.200 was very stable on the ground.
April 1941: C.200s were used in the four day campaign in Yugoslovia. They had two
underwing bombs; 110 lbs., 220 lbs. or 325 lbs.
July 1941: The M.C.200 A.S. (African Settentrionale) had additional equipment installed
sand filters, armored seat, head and shoulder protection.
12 August 1941: The 22 Gruppo with fifty-one C.200s was sent to Russia.
27 August 1941: The 22 Gruppo began operation from Krivoy Rog.
M.C,200 Serie XXI Saetta: the final production version's normal loaded weight rose to
5,597.5 lbs. Armament was 2 x 12.7 mm./ 370 rpg. and 2 x 7.7 mm. /500 rpg.
wing mounted guns.
8 September 1943: Italy surrenders and only 33 M.C.200s were serviceable.
Profile Publications 64, The Macchi MC.200 by Gianni Cattaneo
Famous Fighters of the Second World War Vol.2 (Doubleday) by William Green
I hope this helps, Jeff
Edited by CORSNING, 20 July 2016 - 08:33 PM.