Info: Breda Ba.65

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Robert Hurst
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Info: Breda Ba.65

Post by Robert Hurst » 27 May 2003 11:05


Intended as an aeroplano di combattimento, capable of fulfilling the roles of interceptor fighter, light bomber or reconnaissance/attack aircraft as required, the prototype Breda Ba.65 (MM325) made its initial flight, in September 1935, piloted by Ambrogio Colombo. It was a cantilever low-wing monoplane with main landing gear units retracting rearward into underwing fairings. Basic structure of the fuselage and wing was of chrome-molybdenum steel alloy tubing, covered overall with duralumin sheet, except for the trailing edges of the wing, which were fabric-covered. The wing incorporated trailing-edge flaps and Handley-Page leading-edge slats. A single fin and rudder tail assembly was strut- and wire-braced, and was of steel construction with light alloy skins.

An initial production order for 81 Ba.65s was placed in 1936, all powered by the 700 hp Isotta-Fraschini K-14 (Gnome-Rhone licence) as had been installed in the prototype. A batch of 13 aircraft from this production series equipped the 65a Squadriglia of the Aviazione Legionaria, the Italian air contingent sent to support the Fascist cause in the Spanish Civil War. The unit took part in operations at Santander in August 1937, then at Teruel, and in the battles for the River Ebro. Like the prototype these were single-seat aircraft, with the pilot's cockpit fully enclosed by a glazed canopy which tapered to the rear.

Experience in Spain indicated that the Ba.65 was suited only to the attack role, and the type served thenceforth with most of the eight squadriglia attached to the two Regio Aeronautica assault stormi (wings), the 5o and 50o. A second series of 137 aircraft was built by Breda (80) and Caproni-Vizzola (57), before production ended in July 1939. They differed from the first production batch by having 1,000 hp Fiat A.80 RC.41 or 1,000 hp Piaggio P.XI RC.40 engines. Six Fiat-powered Ba.65s and four more of the Gnome-Rhone-powered version were sent to the Aviazione Legionaria in Spain in 1938.

Following Italy's entry into World War II in June 1940, Ba.65s were involved in the fighting in North Africa against the British. They had low a serviceability rate in desert conditions and put up an unimpressive performance. The last serviceable aircraft was lost during the British offensive in Cyrenaica in February 1941.

A large number of the Ba.65s serving with Italian units were of two-seat configuration, with an observer/gunner armed with a single 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-Safat machine gun in an open cockpit above the trailing edge of the wing. A small number of the type had a Breda L type turret, armed with a 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Breda-Safat gun. This later version being designated Ba.65bis. While offensive armament could theoretically comprise up to 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) of bombs, the load usually carried was up to 300 kg (661 lb) in the fuselage bomb bay or, alternatively, up to 200 kg (441 lb) on underwing racks.

Exports included 25 Fiat-powered Ba.65 two-seaters to Iraq in 1938, two of them dual-control trainers and the remainder with Breda L turrets; 20 Ba.65s with Paiggio P.XI RC.40 engines to Chile later in the same year, 17 of them single-seaters and three dual-control trainers; and 10 Fiat-powered two-seaters with Breda L turrets to Portugal in November 1939. A single Fiat-powered production aircraft was tested with an American Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engine in Jume 1937 in anticipation of an order from the Chinese Nationalists, but this failed to materialise. The Iraqui Ba.65s saw limited action against the British during the 1941 insurrection in that country.

Technical data Breda Ba.65/A.80

Type: Single-(later two-)seat ground attack aircraft
Powerplant: one 1,000 hp Fiat A.80 RC.40 18-cylinder aircooled radial engine.
Performance: Max level speed, 430 km/h (267 mph); service ceiling, 6,300 m (20,670 ft); range, 550 km (342 mls).
Armament: Two 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Breda-Safat and two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-Safat machine guns in wings (later one 7.7 mm (0.303 in ) gun in open dorsal position; Ba.65bis One 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Breda-Safat machine in Breda L type turret), plus 300 kg (661 lb) of bombs in fuselage bomb-bay and up to 200 kg (441 lb) og bombs on underwing racks (usually alternatively).
Weights: Empty equipped, 2,400 kg (5,291 lb); maximum take-off, 2.950 kg (6,504 lb).
Dimensions: Span, 12.10 m (39 ft 81/2 in); length, 9.30 m (30 ft 61/4 in); height, 3.20 m (10 ft 6 in); wing area, 23.50 sq m (252.96 sq ft).

Source: Text:
The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II
The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft

Source: photos:
Top: The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II
Centre: The Encyclopdeia of World Aircraft
Bottom: Purnells Illustrated Encyclopedia of Modern Weapons and Warfare Part 13.


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Last edited by Robert Hurst on 27 May 2003 14:43, edited 3 times in total.

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Breda 65

Post by varjag » 27 May 2003 12:21

Bob - it sounds like the Italian version of Vickers Wellesley.....

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Robert Hurst
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Post by Robert Hurst » 27 May 2003 14:45

Hi Varjag

I think you could be right mate. But the Wellesley had a bit more going for it.



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Post by Marcus » 27 May 2003 21:10

Thanks for yet another interesting post.


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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Breda 65

Post by Juha Tompuri » 27 May 2003 22:36

varjag wrote:Bob - it sounds like the Italian version of Vickers Wellesley.....

Well...the Breda as an attept as an all around plane was in theory a sound design ( IF we don´t mean the outlook: member of top10 of the ugliest (pre) WWII planes). It had reasonably good bomb load and "heavy" offensive armament (at that time). Wellesley had exeptionally good load carrying capacity (bombs and fuel) and ceiling.

thanks again for your, as allways, very informative post.
For some strange reasons, the Italian planes have allways interested me. They had some good designs (in theory) at the 30´s, but propably their engine industry "failed" to develop powerful and reliable enough engines at the 40´s.
Some my favourites: (the ugly ones) SM-85, SM-93, Caproni Bergamachi AP-1 and Ba.64/65.
The BEAUTY: Ba.88 Lince.
Some to mention.

Regards, Juha

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 29 May 2003 11:08

Weights: Empty equipped, 2,400 kg (5,291 lb); maximum take-off, 2.950 kg (6,504 lb).

550 lbs payload only!

Juha, you have not read carefully this beautiful thread and all the replies to your doubts are just in it. Ba 65 had a mixed structure half-steel and half duraluminum because there was a serious lack in Aluminium alloies and TIG soldering tools in Italy due to SoN embargo. Consequently the main structure was too heavy in the while the engine was underpowered. A really good airframe then was affected by lacks in raw material, as usual. Strange particulars like the "vertical shaped" wind-shear let you say it was "ugly" but this is only a fully aesthetical consideration

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Breda 65

Post by MaisAlto » 29 May 2003 23:30

Just a small correction: there was a single seater in Portugal.
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