Special Hobby 1/48 Breda Ba.65 A80
Assaltatore Breda
by Paolo Carli

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The Breda Ba.65 was an all-metal single-engine, low-wing monoplane used by Aviazione Legionaria during the Spanish Civil War and the Regia Aeronautica in the first half of World War II. On its introduction the plane was considered quiet advanced and fast for its time that would eventually lead to various accidents because of a lack training and familiarity with the new type of plane. It was the only Italian ground-attack aircraft that saw active service in this role. In addition to more than 150 aircraft operated by Regia Aeronautica a total of 55 were exported to Iraq, Chile and Portugal.

An evolution of Ba.64, the Ba.65 was designed by Antonio Parano and Giuseppe Panzeri. It was a single-seat, all-metal, low-wing cantilever monoplane with aft-retracting main undercarriage. Like its predecessor it was intended to undertake the combined role of the "aeroplano di combattimento" as a fighter, ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft. The Ba.65 carried wing-mounted armament of two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) and two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns, with internal stowage for a 440 lb (200 kg) bombload in addition to external ordnance that could total 2,200 lb (1,000 kg). The prototype MM.325 was first flown in September 1935 and was to have been powered by a Alfa-Romeo A.R. 125 RC35 with 650 hp but was instead equipped with a 880 hp Gnôme-Rhône K-14 radial engine produced under license by Isotta-Fraschini giving the plane improved flight characteristics despite an increase in empty weight. Starting from the 82nd aircraft the plane was powered by a more powerful Fiat A.80 RC.41 18-cylinder, twin-row radial engine with a takeoff rating of 1,000 hp. Production ceased in July 1939 after 218 aircraft were built by Breda and Caproni.

The Ba.65 K14 was sent to Spain to evaluate its operational effectiveness and was to be used in the "anti-Martin bomber role" due to its high-speed. Thirteen Ba.65 K14 Serie I aircraft equipped the 65a Squadriglia of the Aviazione Legionaria commanded by cap. Duilio Fanali, a well respected aviator who would go on to become an ace in World War II. The unit marked its aircraft with a black number '16' on the fuselage sides followed by the individual aircraft number, the upper wing tips and rudder were marked with a St.Andrew's cross and the early Serie Mimetica colors and camouflage schemes were adopted. The unit took part in operations at Santander in August 1937 from Soria airfield and then at the battles of Teruel from Tudela airfield and Ebro from Puig Moreno airfield. The Ebro battles marked the defeat of the Republican forces losing 80,000 soilders and almost all its air force. The Ba.65 was deemed effective and was able to hit targets accurately as shown in the operation against the Flix pontoon bridges in which medium bombers were unable to hit [1]. In another engagement, a Tupolev SB-2 bomber was shot down by serg. dell'Acqua attacking Soria airfield in which Fiat CR.32s were unable to intercept because of the bomber's high-speed. Of the 23 Ba.65s sent to Spain 12 were lost, but only 3 in combat. The planes flew 1,921 sorties including 368 ground-strafing and 59 dive bombing attacks. When the Aviazione Legionaria returned to Italy in May 1939 they transferred their 11 surviving Ba.65s to the Spanish Air Force.

Tudela airfield (Spain): 18 February 1938 Commanding Officer of 65a Sq. cap. D. Fanali's machine Ba.65 K14 16-18 hit by ground fire. A respected and gallant aviator, Fanali would go on to become an ace in WWII with 4 and 32 shared destroyed; 2 shared probable. Some sources credit Fanaili with up to 15 individual victories.

World War II
Just prior to World War II the Ba.65 was to have been retired due to a series of accidents, mainly due to a lack of pilot training. The order was reversed once war had commenced and Italy entered the war on June 10 1940 with 154 of these aircraft. The Ba.65 was used by 50o Stormo although the unit was briefly equipped with the Ca.310 which was wholly unsuited to the ground attack mission and was quickly replaced in active service with the Ba.65. On 25 and 27 July a British column was badly damaged at Sidi Rezegh when attacked by 50o Stormo Ba.65s. On August 4 a sortie of six Ba.65 A80s attacking a British forward supply depot was intercepted by a British formation losing three Gloster Gladiators, no Ba.65s were lost in this engagement. On 18 October six Ba.65 K14s and seven CR.32s attacked Siwa air base, well beyond the Egyptian border. The same mission was repeated in November by six Ba.65 A80 and eighteen CR.32. Because of excessive wear, these planes were withdrawn for overhaul just prior to Operation Compass. Some planes were returned to service to face the British breakthrough on December 9 1940. During the peak British offensive 9 December 1940 - 12 January 1941 eleven Bredas were lost reducing 50o Stormo efficiency from 14 aircraft to 3. The combat flag of 50o Stormo was later awarded a medal for bravery in North Africa.

A Ba.65 A80 in North Africa preparing for take-off.

Foreign Service
In 1937 col. Jewad of the Royal Iraqi Air Force Chief of Staff visited Italy and concluded a purchase contract for 25 A.80 engines and 15 Ba.65 aircraft equipped with Breda L turrets, two fitted with dual controls together with an order for six twin engine S.79B bombers. The Iraqi pilots of 5a Sq were well trained and flew missions against the British between 2–31 May 1941 during the Anglo-Iraqi War. War had broken-out after an Iraqi coup d'état installed a new government. The Ba.65 A80 was used against the ground forces of the United Kingdom which the new government was trying to expel from bases that had been setup after Iraq's independence had been established under the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930. In this brief engagement the Regia Aeronautica had sent a squadron of CR.42s to support the Iraqis. Chile sent a mission to Italy in the summer of 1937 and purchased 20 Ba.65, 17 single-seaters and three dual control trainers which were powered by the Piaggio P.XI and armed with Madsen machine guns. In January 1937 Portugal purchased 10 Breda Ba.65s equipped with Fiat engines and Breda L turrets. There were also plans to build the Ba.65 in China in January 1935. A factory was constructed SINAW (Sino-Italian National Aircraft Works) using machinery and tools from Italy. The first production batch was to have been 30 Ba.65s however on 20 October 1937 the Nanchang factory was bombed by the Japanese and no further construction was attempted. These planes were to have been powered by by either an A80 or Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines.

1) G. Carello, Breda Ba 65, Ali D'Italia #7, La Bancarella Aeronautica, Torino, 1997
2) E. Angelucci and P. Matricardi, World Aircraft, World War II-Part I, Sampson Low Guides, 1978


The idea of building this model was born after seeing a photo that immortalized the plane during its construction ... it fascinated me and I deceided to get to work.

This is the box-art of the kit, the Special Hobby 1/48 Breda Ba.65 A80 - SO48111:

and this is the photo that started it all:


With the help of the original drawings, I rebuilt the entire frame of the fuselage:


As you can see from the photos there are some errors, the most evident being the larger size fuel tank! This was a modification that took place in the field and did not originate in the factory:


Another thing I didn't like was the truss structures that came with the kit .... too flat and therefore redone with rod:

To give the impression of a plane under construction, I thought about removing some of the plastic from the wings to reveal the underlying structure:


I switched to the opposite side and did the same without mirroring the work:


As you can see I corrected the tank and added the bomb bay:

I closed the wings and fuselage and redone the landing gear legs:


Worked the instrument panel:

Prepared the ammunition box:

I punctured the wheel rims, those in the kit are wrong:

The hatches of the bomb bay were rebuilt and will be left open:

As in the original photo there are two engines:
- one complete and in full view
- the second kept semi-visible
I separated the naca into three sections: front hood ring and flaps

Now the Fiat A80 engines, clearly this is the more detailed one that must remain visible:

I built the engine support, always inspired by the initial photo:


I then dedicated myself to the construction of the furnishings, service stairs and trestles to support the aircraft:

I painted everything and added flooring and walls with the inevitable 'suggestions'

And an overview:


When I assembled the kit I had not thought that using the transparent piece for the lower window you would have seen that it was fake so here too I redid everything in scratch:


The final images:




Technical Data

Aircraft: Breda Ba.65 A80
Manufacturer: Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda
Type: Fighter Bomber
Year: 1935
Engine: Fiat A.80 RC 41, 18-cylinder radial, air-cooled, 1,030 hp
Wingspan: 39 ft 8 in (12.10 m)
Length: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)
Height: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Weight: 7,695 lb (3,490 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed: 267 mph (430 km/h)
Ceiling: 27,230 ft (8,300 m)
Range: 342 miles (550 km)
Armament: 4 machine guns; 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) of bombs
Crew: 1

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