Caproni WW1 Planes
The bomber specialist
was funded since the beginning as an aircraft manufacturer in 1908, by Giovanni Battista "Gianni" Caproni at Taliedo. This was a peripheral district of Milan, close to Linate Airport. From 1911 it became the Società de Agostini e Caproni
changed to Società Caproni e Comitti, first aircraft of Italian construction in 1911 with manufacturing facilities during World War I specialized in successful heavy bombers, used also by the Italian, French, British and US air forces, a rare feat for Italian planes, never really reconducted. In the interwar the company grew larger, as the Società Italiana Caproni
, with main subdivisions like Caproni Bergamasca, Caproni Vizzola, Reggiane and Isotta Fraschini for an horizontal and vertical integration, producing many bombers and transport planes, but the postwar Italian conditions made it straight to banckrupcy in 1950, only Caproni Vizzola surviving to 1983 and bought by Agusta, the helicopter manufacturer.
The planes of Caproni
Caproni CA-3 the company's best seller
Caproni's heavy bomber linage and is truly amazing. At a time there were few heavy bombers as the concept was in its infancy, only Russia and its Ilya Murometz was on the starting block to try strategic bombing. Italy built from 1915 hundreds of very reliable heavy bombers capable to deliver between 800 kg (1,764 lb)) on the CA.3 to 1000 kgs of bombs on the CA.5, which seemed ludicrously weak compared to WW2 standards and is a good indication of the progresses made in the interwar. They were all biplanes, with a mid-mounted fuselage housing machine-gun ports, and a twin-boom configuration with three tailfins, three engines with two tractors and one pusher, plus a large multi-wheels train. All bombs were mounted underbelly and were around 25 kgs or less. Several hundred wre built, many uder licence. They ended in the French, British air force but also the US Expeditionary Force own air support squadrons and bring considerable renown (and wealth) to the company. Less known are the early attempts of Caproni to devise for the needs of the air force an observation monoplane (CA.18 prototype) and a fighter, also monoplane and recognizable to its massive propeller cowling. Both failed to earn orders, but the bomber serie would, and the company quickly specialized in this much-in-demand segment.
Caproni CA-1 1910 at Volandia Museum
Bold: production models.
- Caproni Ca.1 – Heavy bomber 1914 /Ca.31 /Ca.32: 162
- Caproni Ca.2 – Heavy bomber 1915: 9
- Caproni Ca.3 – Heavy bomber 1916: 300
- Caproni Ca.4 – Heavy bomber 1917: 50
- Caproni Ca.5 – Heavy bomber 1917: 662
- Caproni Ca.18 – Observation plane (1914 Prototype)
- Caproni Ca.20 – Monoplane fighter (1914 Prototype)