CRDA/CANT Z.1007 Alcione

The Z.1007 was one of the most unknown aircraft of the Second World War. The Cantieri Riuniti dell’ Adriatico (CRDA or CANT as it was known) was a company that specialized in the development of flying boats such as the venerable Z.506B. The Z. 1007 was company’s first successful incursion in land-based airplanes design and construction.

After a period of just eight months of research and development, the first prototype of the 1007 took to the air in May 1937. The all-wooden platform performed better than expected on its initial test phase series prompting the Italian government to place an initial order for 100 units. When the production cased, 526 units of the 1007bis and the 1007ter versions were built.

The “ter” version was powered by the high performance Piaggio P.XII 1175hp engine. Aside the ter and bis, CANT developed several other variants such as the Serie I-III and Serie IV-IX. The I-III version was fitted with a single fin alignment while the IV-IX was twin fin plane.

The 1007 medium bomber was destined to become Italy’s main bombing platform of the years leading up to the all out conflict. The bomber would see action in all Italian assigned theaters of operations. They flew ground support sorties against the advancing Allied armies in the North Africa campaign. They would be use as transport platform during the Axis’ Greek and Balkans engagements. But their most recognized role came during the first few moths of Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of Soviet Russia). More than half of the Z.1007 force was deployed in the southern axis of the German lead attack.

Unfortunately for the pilots who flew them, by the time of Barbarossa, the Z.1007, like many of its counterparts in the Italian Air Force, was an obsolete aircraft which became easy pray for the Red Air Force’s fighter force. Despite a horrendous success ratio, the Italians did not have another capable, medium bomber in sufficient numbers to replace the 1007.

Power Plant Three Piaggio P.Xlbis RC-40 14-cylinder, 1000hp engines
Wingspan 24.8m
Length 18.4m
Height 5.22m
Total wing area 70m square
Maximum Takeoff Weight 13,633kg
Maximum Speed 450kph
Operational Ceiling 8082m
Range 1795km
Climb Rate 472m per minute
Armament two 12.7m Breda SAFAT heavy machine guns, one in a dorsal and the other in a ventral position. One 7.7m machine gun on each beam hatch position. Up to 2000kg bomb load.