In 1938 the RA issued a request for proposal for a BGR (Bombardiere a Grande Raggio, long-range bomber); proposals came from Caproni with their Ca.204 and Ca.211 projects, CRDA with Cant. Z.1014 (built only in mock-up form), Piaggio with the P.108B (a private venture project, offered as an additional entry) and the P.112. Also considered was the purchasing of a production license for the Boeing B-17C 'Fortress', but this idea was later discarded for reasons of autarchia (national self-sufficiency). The competition was won by the Cant. Z.1014, but since the development of the P.108B was already at an advanced stage, this aircraft was chosen to be produced in quantity. Designed by Casiraghi, who had worked in the USA and was familiar with B-17 technology, it was certainly a sophisticated machine, although slower and heavier than the Fortress.
|A three-view drawing (962 x 546)|
It strikes me odd that nobody mentioned the P.108A had a 102mm high-velocity gun for anti naval warfare.
This is the largest cannon ever to be mounted on a plane, the only thing with higher caliber is the AC-130's low-velocity howizer, that thing can't fire AP shells like the P.108 A.
A total of 163 were built but due to heavy losses only some 5% survived to serve with the Republican Socialist air force. As good as this aircraft was by Italian WWII standards there is no way it could be compared with the B17 and certainly could not hold a candle to the Lancaster.
Powerplant 4 x 1500h.p. Piaggio P.XII RC35 18 cylinder radials
Performance: maximum speed at 13,780ft (4,200m) 267mph; cruising speed 199mph; service ceiling 27,885ft (8,500m) maximum range 2187 miles (35250km)
Weights: empty 38,195lb (17,235kg) maximum t/o 65,885 lb (29,885kg)
Dimensions: span 104ft 11 3/4 in (32.00m) length 73ft 2in (22.30m) height 19ft 8 1/4 in (6.00m)
Armament : 8 x 12.7mm (0.5in) machine guns 7,716lb (3500kg) bombload
After the Armistice the aircraft were captured by the Germans who used them only as transports
Apparently, this thing was supposed to be better than the Lancaster or B-17 but didn't fare well becuase of few numbers and superior enemy fighter forces. I guess it's an appropriate statement that the Aeronautica was really just a puppet force for the Luftwaffe.
|Herne the Hunter, 04.10.2010|
ALso an interesting fact that Bruno Mussolini, one of the Duce's sons, who was an experienced pilot setting up several records with the S.79, died while test flying a P.108 which he used as his signature aircraft.
I think this is the bomber that Piaggio built with separately powered landing gear motors. These small motors would power up to move the gear and then shut down. After the war - Piaggio could no longer build aircraft - so they took the surplus small motors and built scooters - and VESPA was born.
For Marco: the remote control turret had twin 12.7mm mg not 20 mm guns
It's also noteworthy that the design only entered service in 1942, and less than 250 of all versions were built.
|THE WHO, 25.03.2008|
DUDE, THEY SHOW THEM IN THE INNER ENGINES.
You forgotten an important feature of this aircraft: the only italian bomber (i think) to have remote-controlled turrets (2x twin 20mm guns) , mounted over the two external engines.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?