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Italy's Caproni Ca. 135 bis heavy bomber, Caproni Bergamaschi Ca 135 medium bomber

Photos

  • Caproni Ca.135 bomber
  • Caproni Ca. 135 bis heavy bomber
  • Caproni Ca. 135 bis heavy bomber

Design

The Caproni Bergamaschi Ca 135 was designed in 1934 at Ponte San Pietro to meet the Air Ministry's two engine medium bomber specification:

  • Maximum speed: 240 mph
  • Carry bomb load of 2,650 lb for 621 miles
  • With only one engine maintain altitude of 16,400'

Construction

The fuselage had a metal welded rear section covered with wood and fabric. The front section had stressed skin coverings.

The wings were constructed with a mix of metal and wood with wood and fabric coverings.

Prototype

The Caproni Bergamaschi Ca 135 prototype was completed in 1935 and first flown on April 1, 1935.

A Caproni Bergamaschi Ca 135 was built with Hispano-Suiza 12 Y 21 engines (910 HP) but it didn't pass the design stage.

In 1938 Tipo Spagna airframes were installed with the 18 cylinder FIAT A.80 R.C. 41 engines and 14 cylinder Piaggio P.XI R.C.40 engines. Both produced 1,000 HP but the FIAT was found to be unreliable and didn't improve performance.

Production

The Caproni Bergamaschi Ca 135 was initially to be manufactured at the Caproni plant in Taliedo. However, Bergamaschi took over the design.

  • Caproni Ca 135: ~150

Variants

  • Prototype:
  • Caproni Ca 135 Asso Tipo Spagna: Had Asso XI R.C.40 engines.
  • Caproni Ca 135 Asso Tipo Peru: Had Asso XI R.C.45 engines.
  • Caproni Ca 135 Raid: Built for Brazilian De Barros. Engine power raised to 986 HP each. Fuel capacity increased. Loaded weight was 21,000 lb.
  • Caproni Ca 135/P.XI: The Tipo Spangna models that had Piaggio engines installed. Nose was of a cleaner design and the engine cowlings were Mercier.

Usage

Foreign Use

In 1936 Peru ordered six Caproni Bergamaschi Ca 135s with Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R.C.45 (815 HP) engines. Eventually 32 were delivered and they were designated Tipo Peru. They were used against Ecuador in 1941.

Lost on Flight

In 1937 Brazilian pilot De Barros attempted to fly from Rome to Brazil but disappeared over the West African desert.

Trainers

The Ca 135 Tipo Spagna airframes that had FIAT engines were used by the Regia Aeronautica bombing schools. They were eventually taken apart.

Japan Tests

In May 1938 the Japanese Army Air Force tested the Ca 135/P.XI against the FIAT Br.20. The FIAT Br.20 was chosen to supply their medium bomber units.

Hungarian Air Force

The Hungarian Air Force received around 100 Ca 135/P.XIs.

Specifications

  Ca 135 Prototype
Type Medium Bomber
Engine (Type) 2: Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R.C.
Cylinders V 12
HP 800 each
Propeller blades 3 metal
Dimensions  
Length 47' 2"
Height 11' 2"
Weight  
Loaded 16,225 lb
Performance  
Speed - Maximum 248 mph
Armament  
Turret - Nose 2: 7.7 mm
OR 2: 12.7 mm
Turret - Dorsal 2: 7.7 mm
OR 2: 12.7 mm
Turret - Ventral 2: 7.7 mm
OR 2: 12.7 mm
  Ca 135 Asso
Type Medium Bomber
Engine (Type) 2: Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R.C.40
Cylinders  
HP 836 each
Dimensions  
Length 47' 2"
Height 11' 2"
Weight  
Loaded 18,500 lb
Performance  
Speed - Maximum 227 mph
Speed - Cruising 193 mph
Speed - Landing 81 mph
Climb to 6,560' 8 minutes 36 seconds
Climb to 13,120' 16 minutes 45 seconds
Climb to 16,400' 21 minutes 54 seconds
Range 992 miles
  Ca 135/P.XI
Type Medium Bomber
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Piaggio P.XI
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,000 each
Dimensions  
Span 61' 8"
Length 47' 4.5"
Height 11' 2"
Wing area 645.6 sq ft
Weight  
Empty 13,340 lb
Loaded 21,050 lb
Performance  
Speed - Maximum at 15,750' 273 mph
Speed - Cruising 217 mph
Speed - Landing 80 mph
Climb to 13,120' 11 minutes 36 seconds
Climb to 16,400' 17 minutes 24 seconds
Service Ceiling 21,300'
Range 745 - 1,242 miles
Armament 3: 12.7 mm MG
Bombs 3,520 lb
  Ca. 135 bis
Type Heavy bomber
Engine (Type) 2: Piaggio P. XI
HP 1,000 each
Dimensions  
Span 61' 8"
Length 44' 11"
Height 11' 2"
Weight  
Loaded 21,225 lb
Performance  
Speed 275 mph
Range 560 miles
Armament  
Nose 1: MG
Fuselage Ventral 1: MG
Fuselage Dorsal 1: MG
Bombs 2,650 lb

Sources:

  1. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  2. Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Jonathan Thompson, 1963
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site