Silver Wings 1/32 FIAT CR.32
Freccia
by Luca Bossi


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Just as the Spitfire and Mustang were symbols of Allied victory in the Battle of Britain and in the skies of Europe, the FIAT CR.32 represented the triumph of Nationalist Forces and their Axis Allies in the Spanish Civil War. The combat record of the FIAT CR.32 in the Spanish Civil War was remarkable. Of the 1,947 aircraft sent to the Republicans from Russia, France, the United States, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Britain 1,520 machines fell in combat to Nationalist pilots. To the Italian aviators of the "Tercio", 943 victories were credited and about 60 percent of these were achieved by fighter units solely equipped with the Fiat CR.32. Only 86 aircraft of all types were lost by the Italian air component in the SCW - a 10:1+ kill ratio.

The CR.32 design was started by Clestino Rosatelli in 1931. It was the logical development of another plane just off the production line, the C.30. The new plane was to be faster and more manoeuvreable. The new fighter was smaller with a decreased wingspan and various improvements. But the configuration and general structure of the two planes were the same. The skeleton was all metal, and the skin was fabric, except for the metal nose. The wings were simple and robust, and the lower wing was typically much smaller than the upper one. The CR.32 had the same engine as the CR.30, a 600 hp Fiat, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, driving a two-blade metal propeller.

The prototype took to the air for the first time on April 28, 1933, and proved itself airworthy at once. The next year production began, and by the spring of 1935 the first aircraft were delivered to air force units. The 1st Stormo CT, stationed at Campoformido, was the first to be fully equipped with the new fighter. Soon the 2nd, 4th and 3rd Stormi also received their CR.32s. Meanwhile production went ahead on a vast scale. A total of 383 CR.32s were produced in the original version. Three other versions were also manufactured. Of the CR.32bis, the second model, 328 planes were manufactured. Of the third model, the CR.32ter, designed in 1937, 100 planes were produced. The fourth model, the CR.32quater, brought the grand total of CR.32s to 1,212. The four versions differed in armament and in minor structural details. The last CR.32 off the production line appeared in the spring of 1939, when the manufacture of its successor, the CR.42 got under way. In 1938 Spain acquired a license to build the CR.32. The Hispano Aviación built 100 examples under the designation HA-132-L Chirri, some of these remaining in service as C.1 aerobatic trainers up to 1953.

In 1936 the first of a total of 380 CR.32s were delivered to the Nationalist Aviacion del Tercio in Spain. The plane also saw combat on the Greco-Albanian front and in the Mediterranean and East Africa during the first year of World War II. The 177 serviceable CR.32s on charge at the outbreak of the war remained in front line duty until April 1941. Many foreign customers also lined-up to buy the aircraft and would eventually see service in Austria, Spain, Hungary, China, Venezula, Paraguay as well as Germany.









Construction

SILVER WINGS 1/32 Scale FIAT CR 32. This is the mount of Captaino Guido Nobili Italian Ace in the SCW with 9 (+2) kills/unconfirmed + 12 shared destroyed, 18th Sq. leader, XXIII fighter group, Aviazione legionaria, Almaluez, Spain, November 1937. All markings were applied using an airbrush with an extra fine tip.

NC 29 is camouflaged in a two-color scheme of olive green patches over sand yellow upper-surfaces with wing strut fairings to match. 18a Sq. marked its aircraft with a black 18 on striking yellow and red wheel spats. Note also the more detailed Asso di Bastoni emblem worn by this machine. The white triangular badge within the black roundel indicated that NC 29 was flown by a squadriglia leader, a similar marking was applied to the centre section of the upper wing.

References:
- Ali D'Italia n.4 – Fiat CR32 La Bancarella Aeronautica
- Ali D'Italia n.1 - immagini – Fiat CR32 La Bancarella Aeronautica
- Ali e Colori n.7 - Fiat CR 32 - La Bancarella Aeronautica
- Many photo references used

Technical Data

Technical Data
Aircraft: Fiat CR.32
Manufacturer: Fiat S.A.
Type: Fighter
Year: 1935
Engine: Fiat A.30 RA, 12-cylinder V, liquid-cooled, 600 hp
Wingspan: 31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)
Length: 24 ft 5 in (7.45 m)
Height: 8 ft 8 in (2.63 m)
Weight: 4,080 lb (1,850 kg)
Maximum Speed: 233 mph at 9,800 ft (375 km/h at 3,000 m)
Ceiling: 28,900 ft (8,800 m)
Range: 460 miles (760 km)
Armament: 2 machine guns
Crew: 1

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June, 2018
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