The Fiat CR.32 Freccia¬†(“arrow”) was a single-seat fighter aircraft in service with the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) from 1933 to 1945. Designed by Celestino Costanelli, it performed its first flight in April 1933 and first saw combat action in the Spanish Civil War, being deployed there by the Aviazione Legionaria (Legionary Air Force), which was an Italian expeditionary unit sent to Spain in support of the Nationalists forces in their fight against the Soviet-backed socialist government. In dogfights in the Spanish skies, the Fiat CR.32 proved to be superior to the Soviet Polikarpov I-15, also a biplane, wiping out more than 150 of them out of the sky. By 1940, however, it had become too slow and flimsy as it had been outperformed by the powerful British monoplane fighters, such as the Supermarine Spitfire. As a result, it was relegated to the reconnaissance and ground-attack roles during World War II.

The Fiat CR.32 was a biplane propelled by one Fiat A30 RAbis V12 engine, which generated 600 hp. The structure of this Italian aircraft was made of steel and aluminum tubes, while its front section was covered by a thin sheet of aluminum and three quarter of the fuselage was made of fabric. It had a fixed landing gear. The upper and lower wings were firmly joined by trusses arranged in a “V” pattern. The Fiat CR.32 was armed with two forward firing 7,7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns. For ground-attack missions, it could carry up to 100 kg of bombload.

Specifications

Type: fighter

Wingspan: 31′ 2″ (9.5 m)

Length: 24′ 6″ (7.47 m)

Height: 7′ 9″ (2.4 m)

Maximum speed: 225 mph (363 km/h)

Range: 485 miles (785 km)

Rate of climb: 1,822 ft/m (9 m/s)

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