Caproni Ca.3 Heavy Biplane Bomber Aircraft
The Ca.36 was the definitive Italian bomber design by the end of World War 1.
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The Caproni Ca.36 represented the definitive model in the C-bomber series debuted in 1914 as the C.31. The Ca.36 was a tremendous asset to allied operations against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire and were put into action as quickly as Italy declared war. Surprisingly, the system survived in limited numbers long enough to be used for a time by Mussolini in the opening salvos of Italian involvement in World War 2.
At its core, the Ca.36 was a three-engine biplane bomber of wood and fabric construction. The 1914 Ca.31 appeared with 3 x Gnome rotary type engines with the improved Ca.32 following a year later. The Ca.32 sported three FIAT brand engines of 100 horsepower and were of the water-cooled in-line variety. These particular models were pressed into action almost immediately against Austrian targets. As the was progressed, Gianni Caproni produced an improved C-bomber in the form of the Ca.33 which featured Isotta-Fraschini powerplants. The Ca.34 and Ca.35 were proposed but never produced variants that tried to seat the pilots in tandem in a central nacelle position.
The culmination of the C-series came about with the arrival of the Ca.36 which featured a sectioned wing assembly that could be taken apart into five pieces for easier storage. Armament of this type consisted of 2 x FIAT-Revelli machine guns of 6.5mm or 7.7mm caliber. As a heavy bomber, the Ca.36 could carry an impressive payload of up to 1,764 pounds of ordnance. The Ca.36S represented an air ambulance conversion model while the Ca.36M (or "mod") was a model designed to simplify wartime production.
Operators - as well as producers - of the bomber included Italy, the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America. Other proposed or slightly developed variants of the C-series included the Ca.37 prototype of a two-seat dedicated ground attack bomber, a seaplane derivative in the Ca.39 and the Ca.56a - which were remanufactured wartime Ca.3 bombers for use as civilian passenger transports.