The last fighter
Reggiane built was the best. The Re.2005 Sagittario, which many
observers considered the beautiful fighter of the war, represented the
final development of the formula that bad been initiated in the 1939
with the Re.2000 Falco. The Re.2005 was completely different in many
respects. Although the wings were similar in plan, the structure and
profile were altered and improved. The landing gear were new, with the
wheels folding outward under the wings. The plane was heavily armed,
with three 20 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm machine guns. The well balanced
lines of the fuselage were aerodynamically perfect. Everything about
the plane was designed to the most of the 1,475 hp (1100 kw) Daimler
Benz engine. Overall the Re.2005's performance was superior to that of
its direct rival, the Fiat G.55 Centauro. The only difficulty was a
certain structural weakness in the rear section of the fuselage. This
defect appeared in the first phases of its short operational life, and
at one point all flights of this aircraft were suspended until this
problem was corrected.
Work on the prototype
aircraft began in 1941, and the first aircraft were ready in December.
But four months were lost waiting for delivery of the engine. The
engine was sent from Germany by rail but disappeared in transit. It was
April 1942, before the new fighter was ready for test flights. The
other two Series 5 planes were readied in the meantime, The Macchi
MC.205V Veltro (greyhound) and the Fiat G.55 Centauro (centaur). The
MC.205V made its first test flight on 19 April 1942, the G.55 on 30
April but it wasn't until 9 May that the first Re.2005 prototype took
flight. The Reggiane fighter did make a flight the week before but it
had been damaged in landing because of a weak landing gear strut.
Test flights and
comparative trials displayed the Re.2005's fine features. It was fast
and manoeuvrable. At 6,600 feet the prototype flew at about 425 mph
(686 km/h). Large scale production was not ordered immediately. Only 16
0-series and 18 pre-series were at first ordered. In February 1943, and
order for 750 aircraft was finally placed, but only 48 Re.2005s ever
came off the assembly line before the armistice was signed and
The plane's operational
career began in May 1943, when it was assigned to the 362nd Squadrigia
of the 22nd Gruppo. The unit was sent to Sicily at the time of the
Allied invasion. Late in June it was based in Capua and used in
operations against Allied bombers until 26 August 1943. When the
armistice was signed in September, many of the surviving Re.2005s were
destroyed by their pilots to prevent them from falling into German
hands. Mussolini's forces in the north did manage to get six of these
aircraft which they used as trainers. Some aircraft (as many as 13)
were captured by the Germans. Some sources maintain that these aircraft
were used late in 1943 against Allied bombing raids on Berlin. Others
believe that these planes were used as interceptors in defence of the
Romanian oil fields.
Seat Fighter / Fighter Bomber
Ingeniere Antonio Alessio and Roberto Longhi of Officine Meccaniche "Reggiane"
S.A. (Caproni) based on their previous Re.2000 Series design
Officine Meccaniche "Reggiane" S.A. (Caproni) in Reggio Emilia (48
1,475 hp (1100 kw) Fiat RA.1050 RC.58 Tifone 12-cylinder liquid cooled,
inverted Vee engine (license built version of the Daimler Benz DB
Maximum speed 391 mph (630 km/h) at 22,800 ft (6950 m); service ceiling
40,000 ft (12190m).
Range: 786 miles
(1265 km) with internal fuel.
5,732 lbs (2600 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 7,848 lbs (3560
36 ft 1 in (11.00 m); length 28 ft 7 3/4 in (8.73 m); height 10 ft 4 in
(3.15 m); wing area 219.59 sq ft (20.40 sq m)
20 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm (0.50 in) machine guns plus up to 1,390
lbs (630 kg) of bombs.
Re.2005 Serie I Sagittario.
(Regia Aeronautica, Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana), Luftwaffe (13