SIAI SM.82 PW "Marsupiale"

 

 

The SIAI Marchetti SM.82 “Marsupial” was one of the most widely used aircraft in the Italian Air Force. Developed in two versions, a bomber and a transport aircraft, it made its first flights between the end of 1939 and the first part of 1940, showing from the start its excellent qualities; the two versions differed mainly with the retractable sighting gondola in the bomber version located under the nose section, and the different weapon location. During WW-II, 875 S. 82 were built, and at the time of the Armistice there were still 250 in operation. The losses of this aircraft, used on all fronts were high. Noteworthy were the missions accomplished by the Transport Wings between the Fatherland and East Africa, carrying everything from personnel, goods and equipment to war materiel and fighter airplanes. As a bomber, the SM. 82 carried out the first long range missions against the Rock of Gibraltar and the Manama oil refinery in the Persian Gulf, while there were also systematic incursions in Egypt over Alexandria by the Transport Group operating in Libya. After the Armistice of September 8, 1943, some SM. 82 continued to be operational with the Night Wing in Southern Italy, but the majority remained in the air bases of Northern Italy. The Luftwaffe acquired more than 200 and used them successfully in the Eastern front together with those of the Transport Groups of the Republican Air Force based in Northern Italy. At the end of the conflict the remaining SM.82 were gathered together at Guidonia to form the 36th Transport Wing. These airplanes continued in service until 1960, mounting new Pratt&Withney engines. The SM.82 exhibited wears the markings of the Sovereign Order of Malta for good reasons; at war's end it was only by ceding the surviving SM.82 to the Order, that it was possible to avoid their total destruction, as required under the terms of the Armistice treaty.