Fiat BR.20 Cicogna
A medium bomber, the Fiat B.R.20 Cicogna (stork) series was nearing obsolescence by the outbreak of World War II. Designed by Ingeniere Celestino Rosatelli, and owing much of its design to the Fiat APR.2 commercial transport, the Fiat B.R.20 prototype flew first on 10 February 1936.
Powered by two 745kW Fiat A.80 RC.41 radial engines, the B.R.20 possessed a maximum speed of 430km/h at 4000m, and was armed with two 7.7mm and one 12.7mm machine-guns.
The first unit of the Regia Aeronautica to receive B.R.20s was the 13º Stormo BT stationed at Lonate Pozzolo: the 7º Stormo BT, also at Lonate, received Fiat B.R.20s in February 1937.
Elements of the 7º and 13º Stormi BT were despatched to Spain in May 1937 for combat experience, while other B.R.20s were exported to Japan, and saw service with indifferent results in China and Manchuria as the JAAF's Army Type 1 Model 100 Heavy bomber. Modified nose contours, increased armour protection and revised armament featured in the B.R.20M, of which 264 were produced.
When Italy declared war on 10 June 1940 the Regia Aeronautica had 162 Fiat B.R.20s and B.R.20Ms in commission with the 7º, 13º, 18º and 43º Stormi BT. The first bombing mission was made on 13 June when 19 B.R.20Ms of the 13º Stormo BT attacked installations at Hyeres and Fayence in southern France. A detachment of 80 B.R.20MS of the 13º and 43º Stormi BT were sent to the Belgian airfields of Chieveres and Melsbroeck in late September 1940 to assist the Luftwaffe in its bombing campaign against England. As part of the Corpo Aereo Italiano the B.R.20Ms suffered losses as a result of crew failings and fighter attacks. The campaign in Greece saw the 116º Gruppo (37º Stormo) in action from bases in Albania, followed by action over Crete, and on a day and night attacks against Malta. In the USSR B.R.20MS of the 38º and 116º Squadriglie operated from August 1942 in the southern sector.
Fifteen of the improved B.R.20bis model were produced. These were powered by two 932kW Fiat A.82 RC.42S engines, had additional 7.7mm machine-guns and a power-operated dorsal turret. Early in 1943 the B.R.20M bomber had been withdrawn from active service with the Regia Aeronautica, units being re-equipped either with CANT Z.1007s or with Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79S.
Production totalled 602 of all marks.
FIAT BR. 20 Cicogna
Engine: 2 x FIAT A. 80 RC.41, 986 hp / 745kW
Length: 53 ft 2 in / 16.2 m
Height: 14.108 ft / 4.3 m
Wingspan: 70 ft 10 in / 21.56 m
Wing area: 796.536 sqft / 74.0 sq.m
Max take off weight: 21829.5 lb / 9900.0 kg
Weight empty: 14112.0 lb / 6400.0 kg
Max. speed: 267 mph / 233 kts / 432 km/h at 4000m
Cruise speed: 340 km/h / 211 mph
Service ceiling: 29528 ft / 9000 m
Wing loading: 27.47 lb/sq.ft / 134.0 kg/sq.m
Range w/max.fuel: 1620 nm / 3000 km
Armament: 1x MG 12,7mm, 2x MG 7,7mm, 1600kg Bomb.
Engines: two 932kW Fiat A.82 RC.42S