Fiat G.50 Fighter
The Fiat G.50 Freccia (Arrow) was first flown in February 1937 and was Italy's first single seat, all metal monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. However Italian pilots disliked the enclosed cockpit and it was removed from later versions. The G.50 became operational in 1938 and about a dozen G.50s were sent to Spain where their maneuverability allowed them to achieve some success. After Italy entered WWII, the G50 went into action against France. In September 1940 G.50s based in Belgium fought in the Battle Of Britain. By this time then planes the planes slow speed, open cockpit and short range had become major liabilities. In 429 missions the G.50 did not once engage enemy aircraft. Most of the G.50s were returned to the Mediterranean theater by mid 1941. The G.50 flew it’s first combat mission in North Africa on January 9, 1941, although due to the Italian retreat, they saw little action. Facing the Hurricanes and P-40s of the British Desert Army, the G.50 was generally outclassed, though they did manage some successes and they were effective against bombers. After 1941, combat losses and obsolescence caused the G.50 to become a minor player in the Regia Aeronautica. During the invasion of Sicily, the G.50 was the most numerous aircraft used by the Regia Aeronautica to counter attack the Allied landings with all available united rushed to the area where they were used to attack ships, landing craft and troops. By the time of the Italian Armistice, only a few G.50s were left. Some were used as part of the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, while four others were used by the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana as fighter trainers. The G.50 did have a great deal of success flying with the Finnish Air Force during the Winter War and the Continuation War where at least 3 pilots became aces flying the G.50. The Fiats were finally phased out of front line duty in the summer of 1944 due to a lack of spare parts. Total G.50 production was 784 aircraft. The G.50 was flown by Croatia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Italian Social Republic, Spain and Yugoslavia. The Fiat G.50 was armed with 2 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machineguns.