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An Italian beast to challenge the mighty Spitfire: Macchi MC.202
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Just in time to see the Siege of Malta, the MC.202 was a formidable aircraft indeed. But it faced many challenges - with the Spitfire being the hardest.


On their way through German aviation tree, players will encounter the MC.202 Folgore rather soon, as it is placed on Rank I with the BR value of 2.3. In the game, you can unlock it by researching and purchasing the MC.200, which was the MC.202’s predecessor in real life as well. The Folgore („Thunderbolt“) was conceived as a successor to the MC.200 Saetta, which possessed great agility, but was under armed and underpowered, with a top speed of 504 kph (315 mph). 

RANK I: MACCHI MC.202
Engine Power: 1 075 HP
Top Speed:  599 kph @ 5600m
with 100% throttle
Wingspan:  10,58 m
Length: 9,64 m
Armament: 12,7mm MG x2
7,7mm MG x2

 

The work thus started in January 1940 to produce a new fighter, which would be faster and better armed. The largest difference from previous designs was to use a new, water-cooled inline engine instead of radial one. The Italian industry was however unable to produce an inline engine powerful enough to ensure a satisfactory performance. Luckily, the Alfa-Romeo company purchased a licence for production of German Daimler-Benz DB 601 A-1 inverted V-12 inline engines, which were manufactured in Italy under the designation Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 RC.41, producing 1075 horsepower.

Basically, the MC.202 had an engine very similar to the one of the Bf 109 E fighter, and in the game, you can easily spot the similarity between these two fighters, namely the very similarly looking engine cowlings. You can also note the similarity between the MC.200 and the MC.202 – in fact, the Saetta and the Folgore shared wings, landing gear and tail unit.

The new engine provided a greatly improved performance with a top speed up to 600 kph. In the game, the Folgore, when fully upgraded and when using manual engine controls and WEP, can reach the speed of 530 kph at sea level, and 609 kph at an altitude of 5600 meters (18 373 ft).

This performance is more than enough to match your opponents at a given BR spread in the game, such as the early Spitfire marks, the American P-40, or Soviet fighters such as the Yak-7 or the LaGG-3.

But the Folgore is not just quick, it is very agile as well – you can easily outturn absolutely most of your opposition at the given rank, and with combat flaps used properly, even the famous Spitfires will have a hard time beating you in a turning fight.


Striking Similarities - the RC.41's resemblance to the DB 601 is clearly visible simply by looking at the engine cowling of the MC.202 and Bf 109E.


In real life, the MC.202 was considered by Allied pilots as superior to the P-40 Kittyhawk and Hawker Hurricane, and evenly matched with the Spitfire Mk.V. The rate of climb is solid – with WEP, the Folgore is able to climb to altitude of 5600 m in a time of 05:16, giving it a climb rate of 17.7 m/s per second (roughly 3677.8 ft/min). Surprisingly, the MC.202 can be a good diver as well.

As already mentioned, the Folgore was an even match for Allied fighters, and during large air battles over Malta and North Africa, it proved its worth. Allied pilots were unpleasantly surprised by the agility and performance of the MC.202, but unfortunately for Italian pilots, the MC.202’s combat potential was severely hampered by the low firepower. The MC.202 was armed by two Breda-SAFAT 12.7 mm (0.5‘‘) machine guns, mounted on the engine cowling, and two Breda-SAFAT 7.7 mm machine guns mounted in the wings. Such armament simply lacked the punch, especially when compared to the six .50 machine guns of the Kittyhawk, or  two 20mm cannons and four machine guns of the Spitfire Mk.V.


Interesting in-game fact: The Top 5 aircraft at Rank II shot down by the MC.202 are the P-40E, Spitfire Mk. I, Hurricane Mk.II, P-400 and MiG-3-15.
Clearly, this Italian machine does not fear competition with Allied fighters and can, in the right hands, do wonders above the battlefield!


In the game, this disadvantage will be probably the most painful issue about the Folgore, especially against rugged planes such as the F4F. Against bombers, such armament is simply unsatisfactory. At least the ammunition supply is generous – 400 rounds per gun for 12.7 mm guns, and 500 rounds per gun for 7.7 mm machine guns. Given all the pros and cons, the Folgore can be a highly effective fighter due to its combination of speed, agility and climbrate. The MC.202 excels in a role of mid-to-low altitude dogfighter, utilizing its turn rate. You can however also use it as a makeshift boom-and-zoom fighter due to good climbrate and good diving performance.

Be ready to use combat flaps against more agile opponents such as the Spitfire or the Hurricane, and be ready to stay on an opponent’s tail for a while because of low firepower. You can obviously engage bombers as well, but we recommend  leaving bombers to teammates with stronger armament, and focus only on fighters.


A comparable German machine at a similar BR is the Heinkel He 112, which is often flown together with the MC.202 in Arcade Battles.
Here, in comparison, the Macchi is a great RP earner, earning an average of 15% more Research for hits on enemies than the He 112 B-0.


Either way, the MC.202 is a fun fighter to play, and is a must for fans of Italian aviation. In real life, the MC.202 was steadily being replaced by the MC.205 Veltro, featuring a more powerful engine and improved firepower including MG 151/20 cannons. In the game, the MC.202 is the pinnacle of the Italian fighter line of the German aviation tech tree and is followed by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-1.


Author: Jan “RayPall” Kozák


Want to read more about the vehicles in War Thunder? Find other Vehicle Profiles on our website!


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