FIAT G50 Freccia

The Fiat G.50 Freccia ("Arrow") was a World War II Italian fighter aircraft developed and manufactured by aviation company Fiat. Upon entering service, the type became Italy’s first single-seat, all-metal monoplane that had an enclosed cockpit and retractable undercarriage. On 26 February 1937, the G.50 conducted its maiden flight. During early 1938, the Freccias served in the Regia Aeronautica (the Italian Air Force) and with its expeditionary arm, the Aviazione Legionaria, in Spain, where they compared well in speed and manoeuvrability with their adversaries in the theatre.

The fighter was extensively used on various fronts by Italy, including in Northern Europe, North Africa, the Balkans, and the Italian mainland. The G.50 commonly came up against the British Hawker Hurricane, which was fast enough to frequently outrun the Italian opponent, and could also outrange it. In addition, early in the Second World War it became apparent that the G.50 possessed inadequate armament, comprising a pair of Breda-SAFAT 12.7-mm machine guns. Later models of the fighter incorporated improvements, including an increase in fuel capacity that gave rise to a substantial increase in range.

The G.50 was exported to several overseas customers, small numbers being flown by the Croatian Air Force while 35 G.50 fighters were shipped to Finland, where they served with distinction during both the Winter War of 1939–1940 and the Continuation War of 1941–1944 against the Soviet Union. In Finnish service, the type reportedly achieved an unprecedented kill/loss ratio of 33/1.