Windsock Datafile, Caproni CA.3 at War, Volumes One and Two

Published: May 1st, 2011     
Publication covers
Publication covers
Author: Gregory Alegi
Reviewed by: Rob Benson - IPMS# 44038
ISBN #: 978-1-906798-12-0 (Volume 1), 978-1-906798-12-3 (Volume 2)
Price: $17.95
Product / Stock #: Volumes 1 and 2
Product provided by: Windsock Datafiles

Thanks to Ray Rimmel of Albatros Productions and to IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to review these two wonderful volumes!

These wonderful publications by Gregory Alegi address a little known aspect of early WW1 aviation, the development of early heavy bombers. The volumes are actually the 3rd and 4th Caproni volumes authored by Mr. Alegi, but recent access to privately held papers in the Caproni family collection allowed updated and improved description of this unique aircraft.

The Caproni Ca.3 had an impressive (for the time) 22.2 m wingspan, 11m length, an empty weight of 2300 kg, and could stay aloft for 4 hours. The bomber's ceiling was 4500 m, but it would take 48 minutes to reach that altitude! The aircraft was a twin-boom design with two engines in-line with the tail booms and a third engine in pusher configurations was mounted directly behind the cockpit

The technologic and engineering issues of making a very large aircraft get off the ground, the political wrangling, making it a weapons delivery platform, and the sheer logistical problems are well described. Both publications have abundant photographs, drawings, history and data tables. Volume 1 describes the development, including the Ca. 1 and Ca. 2 predecessors, and early combat deployments. Volume 2 continues the combat action narrative and describes later post-war service of the aircraft. One particularly chilling description casually mentions that a tail gunner was lost during evasive maneuvering. Given how the tail gunner's platform or scaffolding faced aft on top of the center pusher engine inches from the propeller arc, the loss of the gunner must not have been due to lack of a parachute.

From the model-building perspective, I believe that these two volumes will provide a scratch builder with nearly all the research material needed for constructing one of these monsters. Volume 1 has 55 black-and-white or sepiatone photographs of the aircraft, and color photographs of the reproduction aircraft at the NMUSAF. You can see this reproduction on the NMUSAF interactive virtual tour, and of course, you can take the live tour when you are in Omaha at Nationals! Volume 2 has a similar distribution of photographs, but has color shots of the reproduction aircraft in the Italian Museum of Aviation. Both volumes have very well-done plans in a variety of views, with Volume 1 plan in 1:48 and Volume 2 in 1:72. Volume 2 has more examples of aircraft detail plans. Data tables are present on both volumes, and each has section on history, and colors and markings. To put the size of the Caproni in perspective, it would dwarf contemporary planes, much like a B-17 or B-24 amongst the P-51s in your display case.

This is a great pairing of research books. Whether or not you are a WW1 aviation buff, these 2 volumes are a great historical read and resource. I truly enjoyed reading them.

Again, thanks to Ray of Albatros Productions, and to IPMS/USA.

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