Though Italian aviation in the Second World War is often (rather unfairly) maligned, the Macchi C.202 ‘Folgore’ (Lightning) has to be considered one of the very best types fielded by the Regia Aeronautica. Developed from the preceding C.200 Saetta, and powered by a license-built version of the legendary Daimler-Benz DB601 (best-known as the powerplant of the Messerschmitt Bf 109), the Folgore was fast, manoeuvrable, and well-liked by its pilots, despite vicious spin characteristics and notoriously unreliable radios. Thrown into combat during the desperate Siege of Malta in September 1941, the Folgore was able to demonstrate superior aerodynamic performance compared to British Hurricanes, but suffered badly from a weak armament, with only a pair of 12.7mm machine guns which often proved insufficient to deliver knockout blows to enemy aircraft. Redeployed to North Africa, the Folgore proved enormously dangerous to Allied P-40s, which they could out-turn and out-run with ease. They thus became a prime target for the daring airfield raids of the SAS.

A C.202 in camouflage scheme, circa 1941.

The Folgore also saw action on the Eastern Front, where the harsh conditions were as much an enemy as resurgent Russian air forces. Finally, they would serve during the Italian campaign against Allied bombing raids, but with their numbers quickly dwindling, it became readily apparent that their light armament was hopelessly underpowered, necessitating their replacement by cannon-armed fighters wherever possible. A number would continue to serve on both sides post-armistice, mostly as trainers, and others saw service in Croatian hands.

Ace Pilot: Durio Niclot Doglio

A respected pre-war test pilot and holder of nine world records for speed and altitude, Furio Niclot Doglio flew during the Regia Aeronautica‘s oft-forgotten participation in the Battle of Britain, as well as North Africa, before being thrust into the crucible of action over Malta. A veteran pilot and trained aeronautical engineer, fully versed in the intricacies of air-fighting, Doglio was also a brave man, scoring six of his seven kills against RAF Spitfires over the island, many by daring head-on attacks. He would be killed on the 27th of July 1942 after being shot down by legendary Canadian ace George Beurling, known as the ‘Knight of Malta’, who was credited with shooting down 27 aircraft in two weeks over Malta. While there were other Folgore aces, Doglio is a great choice to lead your squadron, an expert pilot who could get the most out of the C.202 and use it to great effect.

On the Table

We’ve once again reached out to Ken Natt, a highly active member of the Blood Red Skies community and admin of the dedicated Facebook group, the Blood Red Skies Ready Room, to talk us through his thoughts on how you might go about fielding a squadron of Folgores in a competitive Blood Red Skies format.

Macchi C.202 Folgore Blood Red Skies Stat Card

Ken: “I don’t usually tend to play ‘Turn Fighter’ squadrons, but the C.202 presents an interesting prospect for a Blood Red Skies squadron. Their Speed of 7 is okay if not great, as is their Agility of 2. The Firepower is a little on the low side but that’s not unusual (to be expected even) for a plane of this era. The real eye-opener here is the affordable cost and the Tight Turn trait. So even though the Speed, Agility and Firepower are all a little bit average (coupled with the Poor Quality negative trait), you’re only paying 21 points for it. That’s a lot of stats for not a lot of points.

With this in mind, you can look at the Folgore as a ‘swarm’ list option, taking the maximum of eight aircraft and still having points to ensure you can get an Ace with skills like Mother Hen or Set Them Up to help counterbalance the lower Pilot Skills. Alternatively (and my preference), would be to take a standard six-plane Squadron and invest the points you save on better pilots. It is quite a lot of points too – compared to a Spitfire II you are getting ten points per plane, so your six-plane squadron will have two Pilot Skill levels over an equally sized Spitfire Squadron.

Having a full hand of Tight Turn cards is just asking for a combination with the Aggressive Tactics Doctrine, or if you are not so red-blooded you can take Defensive Tactics and force most attacks to become deflection shots.”

Available Now

1 comment
  1. Great to see, and I hope we see the C205 at some point with its twin 20mm cannon in addition to the usual 12.7mm machine guns!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like