WOW104 – Macchi Italian – ‘Rat’
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The Macchi M.5 was an Italian single-seat fighter flying boat designed and
built by Nieuport-Macchi at Varese. It was extremely manoeuvrable and agile
and matched the land-based aircraft it was sent into combat against. The
first prototype of a single-seat sesquiplane fighter was the Type M which
first flew in 1917. Developed by engineers Buzio and Calzavera it had a
single-step hull and an open cockpit forward of the wings and was similar to
the earlier Macchi M.3. It was followed by another prototype with a revised
tail unit designated the Ma and further developed as the M bis and Ma bis.
The production aircraft was designated the M.5 and like the prototypes was
powered by a single Isotta Fraschini V.4B engine in the pusher
configuration. Deliveries commenced in the summer of 1917 to the Aviazione
per la Regia Marina (Italian Navy Aviation). Late production aircraft had a
more powerful Isotta Fraschini V.6 engine and redesigned wingtip floats,
they were designated M.5 mod. Macchi produced 200 aircraft and another 44
were built by Società Aeronautica Italiana.
The M.5 was operated by five Italian maritime patrol squadrons as a fighter
and convoy escort, and some were embarked on the Giuseppe Miraglia. Towards
the end of World War I, the aircraft were flown by both United States Navy
and United States Marine Corps airmen. Ensign Charles Hammann won the first
Medal of Honor awarded to a United States naval aviator in an M.5.
Our limited edition (3 pieces worldwide) 1/30 scale aircraft is the plane of
Tenente di Vascello (lieutenant of vessel) Federico Carlo Martinengo, an ace
with 5 confirmed victories. He was born July 18, 1987, joined the Italian
Navy in 1911 and entered the Naval Aviation School at Taranto on December
27, 1915. All his victories were over enemy seaplanes, 2 in 1916 and the
other 3 in 1918 whilst with 260 Squadriglia. His aircraft has a personal
marking of a winged rat. As an aside, he was killed in action against the
Germans on September 9 1943, the day after the Italian surrender whilst in
command of the small anti-submarine vedette ‘234’ as he attempted to move
his ship south towards Allied forces.