Fiat C.R.42 Falco (Falcon) Timeline
Early 1939: 1st flight of the C.R.42 prototype. Maximum speed reached was 438 kph./5300 m. (272 mph./17,400 ft.)
1,000 m./1' 25", 6,000 m./7' 20". The engine was a Fiat a.74 R1C.38: 840 cv. 3-blade Fiat-Hamilton Standard
3 D.41-1 propeller. No armor or radio equipment.
May 1939: C.R.42s enter service with the 53 Stormo.
Late 1939: 17 of 52 C.R.42s have been exported to Hungary. The order is completed by mid-1940.
February 1940: The first of 72 C.R.42 aircraft are delivered to Sweden as J 11s.
Fiat A74R.1C.38: 870 cv., 20 mm. armor plate behind the pilot, Radio equipment, Skis.
6 March 1940: The first of 34 C.R.42s are delivered to Sweden as J 11s.10
10 June 1940: Italy declares war on France and Britain.
3 July 1940: The C.R.42 encounters Hurricanes for the first time over Malta. The following is from an observation of
a Hurricane pilot who encountered several Falcos. " The maneuverability of the C.R.42s, in particular their capacity
to execute an extremely tight half roll, has caused considerable surprise to other (RAF) pilots and undoubtedly
saved many Italian fighters from destruction." " As I fired he half rolled very tightly and I was completely unable to
hold him, so rapid were his maneuvers," " In two cases as they (Falcos) came out of their roll, they were able to
turn almost on my tail and opened fire on me."
13-14 August 1940: The 1st night interception was flown by Capitano Giorgio Graffer. Guns jammed, Graffer rammed
an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley then bailed out. The Whitley crashed into the English Channel on the return flight.
September 1940: The 56 Stormo, Corpo Aero Italiano (Italian Air Corp) is formed with 50 C.R.42s & 48 G.50ss
and moved to Ursel and Maldegen in Belgium to join in the Battle of Britain with the Luftwaffe.
October 1940: War against Greece began. One Gruppo of C.R.32s + one Gruppo C.R.42s and two Gruppo
G.50s vs. 44 Greek fighters: 30 PZL P.XXLV, 2 Gladiators, 7 Avia B.534s and 5 Bloch 151s.
Note: "The robustness and reliability of the C.R.42 was to stand it in good stead in difficult terrain and weather
conditions prevailing in Greece..."
11 November 1940: Falcos cross the Channel for the first time for a raid on Harwich.
January 1941: Most Falcos return to Italy leaving two squadrons, 352 and 353 of 20 Gruppo in Belgium until April.
October 1941: The first C.R.42 Cassia Nocturnas (Night Fighters) unit is formed in Sicily, 171 Gruppo C.N.
7 September 1943: When the armistice was signed four Falcos were flown to the Allied line to join the
C0-Belligerent Force in Southern Italy.
November 1943: German unit Nachtschlachtgruppe (NSGr.) 9, based in Udin. 1. Staffel received its C.R.42s.
8 February 1945: A C.R.42 LW piloted by an unidentified German pilot shot down a P-38 to be the last biplane
victory of the war.
"Profile Publication No.16" by Gianni Cattaneo
"GLADIATOR vs. C.R.42 FALCO 1940-41" by Hakan Gustavson & Ludovico Slongo
"The Chianti Raiders: The Extraordinary Story of the Italian Air Force in the Battle of Britain" by Peter Haining
Edited by CORSNING, 23 May 2016 - 07:16 PM.