The Macchi C.205/MC.205, was an Italian World War II fighter aircraft.
The C.205 was a development of the earlier C.202 Folgore.
With a top speed of some 640 km/h (400 mph) and equipped with a pair of 20 mm cannon as well as 12.7 mm Breda machine guns, the Macchi C.205 Veltro was highly respected by Allied and Axis pilots alike.
Widely regarded as one of the best Italian aircraft of World War II, it proved to be extremely effective, destroying a large number of Allied bombers.
The Macchi C. 205 proved capable of meeting fighters such as the North American P-51D Mustang on equal terms, which encouraged the Luftwaffe to use a number of these aircraft to equip one Gruppe.
In 1941, seeking to further improve the performance of the C.202 fighter, the Regia Aeronautica decided to license-build the German DB 605 1,100 kW (1,475 hp) liquid-cooled supercharged inverted V-12 engine in Italy, which Fiat produced as the RA.1050 R.C.58 Tifone (Typhoon).
Fighter manufacturers were invited to enter versions of their designs using this engine as the caccia della serie 5 (“series-5 fighter”) and were provided with imported DB 605s for prototype use.
All of the designs used the number 5 in the name, with the Macchi becoming the C.205 (instead of C.202bis or C.203).
Macchi had used a licence-built DB 601 engine in the C.202, an engine which was closely comparable in size to the later, more powerful DB 605.
This meant that the C.202 airframe could be easily adapted for the DB 605.
The C.205V Veltro first flew on 19 April 1942 and was considered a stop-gap measure with the definitive variant being the 205N Orione (N stood for “new”).
In testing, the Fiat G.55 Centauro and Re.2005 Sagittario proved to be better performers at high altitude due to their larger wing area.
In fact, the Veltro used the same wing as the earlier Folgore but its weight had increased from 2,350 kg (5,180 lb) to 2,581 kg (5,690 lb) and the wing loading from 140 kg/m2 to 153.6 kg/m2.
The Veltro‘s performance was similar to German designs with their higher wing loading and was at its best at medium altitudes where it could reach 642 km/h (399 mph).
The C.205 Veltro was placed in production until the G.55 and the Re.2005 could become available.
The first 100 Veltro Serie I were only machine-gun-armed, but many were also fitted with the 20 mm MG 151 cannon.
There were no Serie II built, but 150 Serie III were ordered, which were fitted with wing cannons as a standard.
The necessity to re-engineer the forward fuselage was time-consuming but, after several months of delays, the “205N” was ready.
The C.205N1 first flew on 1 November 1942, with armament consisting of a 20 mm cannon firing through the propeller hub, and four cowling-mounted 12.7 mm (.5 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns for which it carried 300–400 and 1,400 rounds of ammunition respectively.
This configuration allowed a higher ceiling but lower speed [629 km/h (391 mph)].
The better aerodynamics (with a longer and more streamlined rear fuselage) provided an advantage over the Macchi C.205V/MG151 [620 km/h (390 mph)].
The maiden flight of the second prototype, the C.205N2, took place on 19 May 1943, reaching 628 kilometres per hour (390 mph) during testing, which was marginally slower than the C.205N1 with a correspondingly longer time to reach its operational altitude.
It was equipped with one engine-mounted 20 mm cannon, two wing-mounted 20 mm cannon and two fuselage-mounted 12.7 mm (.5 in) machine guns.
The ammunition load comprised 600 or more 12.7 mm (.5 in) rounds and a maximum of around 900 20 mm rounds which was much heavier than that carried by the C.205N1 and more than that of the Reggiane and the Fiat which carried 490–550 and 650 20 mm rounds respectively.
Although 1,200 aircraft were ordered, the design was abandoned due to the Italian armistice.
The N-series aircraft should have performed better than the C.205V, but Macchi test pilot Guido Carestiato noted that their flying characteristics were inferior to the lighter and more agile C.205 Veltro.
The later series also experienced overheating while climbing.
With limited production and service life, the C.205 saw only a few modifications.
After the first 100 examples, the wing-mounted 7.7 mm (.303 in) machine guns were replaced with a couple of 20 mm MG 151 cannon.
One prototype armed with two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) and two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns.
Main production version.
Long-range escort fighter with a 200 L (53 US gal) fuel tank replacing the fuselage machine guns; 18 converted from production aircraft.
Proposed DB 605-powered fighter with a more significant design revision than the C.202-derived C.205V.
The aircraft had a new wing with the wingspan increased to 11.25 m (36 ft 11 in) and wing area increased to 19 m2 (204.5 ft2), and a lengthened fuselage that brought the length to 9.65 m.
Also, the fuselage was finally adapted for a 20 mm MG 151 cannon.
The heavier weight resulted in decreased performance and handling.
High-altitude interceptor fighter prototype.
Armed with four 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns mounted in the fuselage, and one 20 mm cannon mounted in the engine.
High-altitude interceptor fighter prototype.
Armed with three 20 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns.
The machine gun bulges were replaced by a streamlined fairing.
Similar armament to the C.205N/1 with a larger yet lighter wing (21m2).
Reduced weight resulting in performances similar to that of the C.205V again.
The larger wing would have enabled it to fight at higher altitudes.
Single prototype destroyed by Allied bombing before being completed.
Powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine.
Other than that, similar to C.206 but with armament of four 20 mm cannon, none built.
8.85 m (29 ft 0 in)
10.58 m (34 ft 9 in)
3.04 m (10 ft 0 in)
16.8 m2 (181 sq ft)
NACA 23018 (modified)
NACA 23009 (modified)
2,581 kg (5,690 lb)
3,408 kg (7,513 lb)
Max take-off weight
3,900 kg (8,598 lb)
1 × Fiat RA.1050 R.C.58 Tifone,
V-12 inverted liquid-cooled piston engine,
1,100 kW (1,500 hp)
3-bladed constant-speed propeller
642 km/h (399 mph, 347 kn) at 7,200 m (23,600 ft)
400 km/h (250 mph, 220 kn)
950 km (590 mi, 510 nmi)
11,500 m (37,700 ft)
Time to altitude
3,000 m (9,800 ft) in 2 minutes 40 seconds
202.9 kg/m2 (41.6 lb/sq ft)
2 × 12.7 mm (.5 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns, 400 rpg, in the nose