Ca.310
Caproni-Begamaschi Ca.310
Role Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Caproni
Designer Cesare Pallavicino
First flight 20 February 1937
Introduction 1938
Retired 1948
Primary users Regia Aeronautica
Hungarian Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
Air Force of Peru
Number built 312
Variants Caproni Ca.313
Caproni Ca.311

The Caproni Ca.310 Libeccio (Italian: southwest wind)[1] was an Italian monoplane, twin-engine reconnaissance aircraft used in World War II. Derived from the similar Ca.309, it had its combat debut during the Spanish Civil War and took part in the earlier phases of World War II in Libya. Some were used in attack groups as a temporary replacement for the unsatisfactory Breda Ba.65. The last Ca.310 was retired by the Italian Air Force in 1948.

Design and development

The Ca.310 was designed as a low-wing monoplane reconnaissance/bomber, being essentially a version of the semi-military Ca.309 with retractable landing gear and uprated engines. The fuselage was of welded steel tube construction with a covering of light alloy panels and fabric, while the empennage/tail unit was of wooden construction with plywood skin on its fixed portions and fabric covering on control surfaces.[2]

Above the fuselage, mounted in line with the wing trailing edges was a manually operated dorsal turret armed with a single 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine gun.

Operational history

One of the four Norwegian Caproni Ca.310s c. 1939
One of the four Norwegian Caproni Ca.310s c. 1939

Caproni pinned great hopes on the Ca. 310's effectiveness as a combat aircraft, only to be dashed when its performance fell short of expectations. This lack of performance resulted in both Norway and Hungary being disappointed with the export models they received in 1938. The Ca.310 had been evaluated by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) which ordered a small batch. A unit of 16 aircraft was sent to Spain in July 1938 for operational trials as a reconnaissance/bomber by the Italian expeditionary force operating alongside the Nationalist insurgents in the Spanish Civil War.

The Norwegian aircraft were acquired as part of a dried and salted cod (Klippfisk) barter deal between Norway and Italy.[3][4] The original order, including options, was for 24 aircraft, but after seeing that the aircraft did not perform well, the Norwegian authorities refused to accept any further Ca.310s. Instead, a delivery of 12 Caproni Ca.312s with upgraded engines and improved performance was substituted, but not delivered before the German invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940. A similar scenario occurred with other export contracts, especially with a hoped-for Royal Air Force order for bomber trainers being curtailed during negotiations with Caproni when Italy entered the war as an Axis power.[2]

Partially restored Caproni Ca.310 bomber, Sola Aviation Museum
Partially restored Caproni Ca.310 bomber, Sola Aviation Museum

A series of 12 Ca.310bis were produced for Yugoslavia. This variant differed mainly in having an unstepped, glazed nose. The prototype Ca.310bis served as the development for the Caproni Ca.311.

The 33 Hungarian Ca.310s returned to Italy were refurbished by Caproni and reissued to the 50˚ Stormo d’Assalto. The Ca.310 was not considered an effective combat aircraft and when it saw service during World War II, it was as a reconnaissance aircraft and as a light bomber in areas where no serious opposition was expected.[5]

Peruvian Aeronautical Corps Ca.310s took part in the July 1941 Ecuadorian–Peruvian War. Together with North American NA.50s, the Peruvian Ca.310s flew bombing missions against Ecuadorian cities and supported Army of Peru ground forces.

Surviving aircraft

One Norwegian example is being restored and is displayed at Sola Aviation Museum.[6]

Variants

Ca.310
Twin-engined reconnaissance aircraft, powered by two Piaggio Stella P.VII C.16/35 seven-cylinder radial piston engines.
Ca.310 Idro
Twin-float seaplane version.
Ca.310bis
Effectively the prototype of the Caproni Ca.311 with the unstepped all-glazed nose and two Piaggio Stella P.VII C.35 engines
Ca.318
Proposed derivative powered by two Gnome-Rhône 14K engines

Operators

 Independent State of Croatia
 Hungary
 Kingdom of Italy
 Italy Postwar
 Norway
 Peru
 Spanish State
 Yugoslavia
 Yugoslavia

Specifications (Ca.310)

Data from Caproni Ca.310 Overview and Specifications[2]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament


See also

Related lists

References

  1. ^ Glossary of Meteorology, archived from the original on 14 May 2011
  2. ^ a b c JDG (14 March 2010). "Caproni Ca.310 Overview and Specifications". comandosupremo. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Norwegian Aircraft in 1940". nuav.net. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Mellomkrigstiden 1918-39". det Norske Forsvarets offisielle informasjonsteneste (in Norwegian). Oslo: Forsvarets overkommando. Archived from the original on 16 June 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Caproni Ca 310 Reconnaissance Bomber "Libeccio"", Constable.ca, archived from the original on 23 October 2007
  6. ^ "Caproni Ca.310". caproni.blogspot. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Caproni Ca.310". Archived from the original on 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2021-07-07.

Bibliography

Further reading