Macchi WW1 Planes
From hydroplanes to fighters
Macchi M.14, the first and last WW1 macchi land fighter
Macchi started as Aeronautica Macchi, founded in 1912 by Giulio Macchi at Varese, north-western Lombardy (Industrial Northern Italy) and started right away to produce either copies of a captured floatplane and under the Nieuport-Macchi series of various Nieuports under licence with modifications for the Italian military. Being located along the Lake Varese, the firm was also able to test extensively a large array of floying boat. By 1917 indeed, from the Macchi M.3 series of high-performance flying boats appeared. The best sellers of the company were the M.3 and M.4 in particular. They were fast and agile seaplane fighters perfectly at home in the adriatic, where they can patrol long stretches, in search of any target of opportunity. Seaplane bombers were less common. In the end of the company decided to have a go on the most interesting market, of land fighters. The M.14 was an interesting one, still with some resemblance with later Nieuports,
In all, the company produced about 2,000 planes, depending on the accuracy of the records. Designed by Alessandro Tonini these were compact planes with two synchronized machine-guns, a sturdy tailskid landing gear, and 101 hp/82-kw Le Rhône 9J nine-cylinder rotary engine. The prototype was destroyed in tests, but an order for 10 planes followed, accepted for testings in 1919. They will serve for some years as advanced trainers. Macchi will then go on with a serie of biplanes that stretched right up to 1941 (with the CR.42), making the bulk of the Regia Aeronautica.
WW1 macchi models, in detail
First model was a copy of the Lohner, called Macchi L.1, a sturdy and fast reconnaissance flying boat. The Macchi L.2 was an improved version. Macchi also embarked in the production of licenced Nieuports, known as the Nieuport-Macchi N.VI, a reconnaissance monoplane. The company also produced the Nieuport-Macchi parasol reconnaissance monoplane (Nieuport VI), and the Nieuport-Macchi N.10 fighter and reconnaissance sesquiplane (Modified Nieuport), Nieuport-Macchi N.11 (Modified Nieuport 11), and the Nieuport-Macchi N.17 derived from the famous Nieuport 17. The company also soon embarked in a serie of domestically-designed fighter, bomber and reconnaissance high performance flying boats. The M.3, M.5 and M.7 were production fighters, the M.8 a bomber/recce plane, the M.9 and M.12 bombers and the M.14 was the last flying boat fighter designed during the war. This led to a postwar civilian competition model which dominated the Schneider cup, competing for long with Supermarine prototypes of which were derived the famous Spitfire...
Macchi M7 Fighter
Postwar fame: Macchi made the headlines repeatedly by dominating the interwar Schneider Cup trophy, vs. British Supermarine.
Bold: production models.
The Nieuport-Macchi N10 made a sizeable part of the 1916-1917 Corpo Aeronautico Militare.
Nieuport-Macchi N11 replica
A group of Nieuport-Macchi N17 on Northern Italy, with the Alps in the background.
- Macchi L.1 () ()
- Macchi L.2 (1914) (10)
- Nieuport-Macchi N.VI (1914) (20?)
- Nieuport-Macchi parasol (1915) (200?)
- Nieuport-Macchi N.10 (1916) (100?)
- Nieuport-Macchi N.11 (1916) (200?)
- Nieuport-Macchi N.17 (1917) (150)
- Macchi M.3 (1916) (200)
- Macchi M.5 (1917) (244)
- Macchi M.6 (1917)
- Macchi M.7 (1917) (100+)
- Macchi M.8 (1917) (57)
- Macchi M.9 (1918) (30)
- Macchi M.12 (1918) (10)
- Macchi M.14 (1918) (11)
Macchi M.6 prototype
The Macchi M.6 was an attempt to built on the successful M.5 fighter and it was identical in most respects: Single-seat wooden biplane flying boat fighter, with a fuselage made of plywood and fabric skin. It was powered by a 139 kw/187hp Isotta Fraschini V.4B engine in a pusher configuration, mounted on struts below the upper plane. It was armed with a 7.7-millimeter (0.303-inch) Vickers machine gun. The wing cellule however had parallel steel tube struts, which outermost part of a set of parallel struts were farther outboard than Vee struts, and additional parallel struts were added. Tests in 1917 revealed however this new cell did not presented much advantages and the program of the M.6 was abandoned.