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This page is about the Italian fighter CR.42. For other versions, see C.R.42 (Family).
GarageImage CR.42.jpg
ArtImage CR.42.png
1.7 1.3 1.3
Research:2 900 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:700 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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The CR.42 Falco is a rank I Italian fighter with a battle rating of 1.7 (AB) and 1.3 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.69 "Regia Aeronautica" along with the initial Italian aviation tree, though a variant existed in the German aircraft tech tree prior to the update.

The CR.42 possesses exceptional manoeuvrability, speed, and durability, especially for a biplane. Its armament, which is two Breda-SAFAT .50 calibre machine guns, is quite good as well. However, due to its BR, the majority of aircraft the CR.42 will engage will be faster and more heavily armed. The best bet for survival, and getting scores, is to climb to medium altitude and lure fighters into turn fighting. An overwhelming majority of pilots are unwilling to run from a lowly biplane, allowing you to score critical damage before they realize that they have expended all their energy and must extend away from you. By that time, the damage is usually severe enough that they will not be able to accelerate away from you quickly enough to escape further damage.

Fighting other biplanes is a whole other issue. Being lighter and therefore having lower stall speeds, they initially perform better in tight turns. Yet all is not lost as the hostile (lower tier) biplane will lose speed (and thusly energy) doing so. Here the CR.42 can find its fighting edge. Being slightly more aerodynamic and heavier which fortunately offset by a stronger engine, the CR.42 can either power through the early turns taking a few hits in the process, or perform advanced aerobatic manoeuvres. Such include a combination of high and low Yo-Yos to abuse the superior energy retention, or a Split-S to gain speed for altitude, hoping that the enemy biplane either reaches terminal speeds (RB and SB only), has their controls locked up, or yourself can run away safely to initiate a new attack. Due to the excellent stall characteristics of many biplanes, Boom and Zoom tactics can quite literally 'back' fire.

For the armament belts, the same applies to all other Italian aircraft; generally, you want to use Tracers, Anti-air, or Stealth since these are the belts that deal the most damage. Shell velocity is low, hence your shots will be increasingly difficult to aim over 300 m from the enemy. Only fire at enemies at or below this distance to ensure that your shots will consistently hit. Furthermore, much like the other Italian fighters, the armament is woefully inadequate to deal with bombers, hence it is best to avoid them entirely. If you find yourself the situation where you are attacking bombers, focus on taking out the engines. The only exception to this rule is the very early biplane bombers, such as the Swordfish and Po-2.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 5 200 m429 km/h
Turn time19 s
Max altitude8 500 m
EngineFiat A74
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight2 t

As one of the last generation of biplane fighters, the CR.42 incorporates many advantages , but also disadvantages of said built. Notably a low stall speed, predicating it for Turn Fights. Climb speed is good to great, but cannot compare to many later fighters (Rank II). Another advantage gained is the relatively high break speeds of ~570 km/h IAS and the late lock up speed of 450 km/h IAS for the elevator. The top speed is good for Rank I, but only reached after a short dive and quickly dwindles with damage received.

Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 5,200 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 413 402 8500 20.0 20.6 14.2 14.2 294
Upgraded 448 429 18.5 19.2 21.1 17.2


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
578 580 N/A N/A N/A ~16 ~7
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 280 < 240 < 450 > 250
Compressor Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
Setting 1 4,300 m 828 hp 973 hp

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural578 km/h
Gear580 km/h

Biplanes by design have a lot of surface and consequently have plenty of aircraft to be shot at. This makes them feel more vulnerable than they really are, although again: They are fairly big, hard to miss targets, so the feeling is justified. Even more so as the fabric skin is easily damaged by small arms fire. The change to a aluminium monocoque fuselage design was linked with an increase in armament size for a reason. However, here lies a great advantage: Many explosive triggers and fuses have their detonation sensitivities set to metal skins, not fabric ones, so they may just whizzle through your craft, leaving only two 20 mm sized holes.

The CR.42 in itself features no armour. Only the air cooled rotary engines is rather durable due to lacking any water-cooling and by design.

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB108 → 145 Sl icon.png
RB149 → 200 Sl icon.png
SB105 → 141 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications2 970 Rp icon.png
890 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost190 Ge icon.png
Crew training200 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 Sl icon.png
Aces20 Ge icon.png
Research Aces96 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
10 / 20 / 60 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
330 Rp icon.png
100 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
330 Rp icon.png
100 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
250 Rp icon.png
75 Sl icon.png
55 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
250 Rp icon.png
75 Sl icon.png
55 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods engine extinguisher.png
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods weapon.png
250 Rp icon.png
75 Sl icon.png
55 Ge icon.png


Offensive armament

Ammunition800 rounds
Fire rate700 shots/min
Main article: Breda-SAFAT (12.7 mm)

The CR.42 is armed with:

  • 2 x 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, nose-mounted (400 rpg = 800 total)

The two machine guns are both mounted on the upper fuselage just in front of the pilot and fire through the propeller arc. Each is armed with the same amount of ammunition, which means that all guns will fire together until empty.

The center lined armament is always a great advantage. However compared to other nation's fighter crafts with their fast firing 7.7 mm machine guns, the BREDA's slower rate of fire offsets the gained advantage in claibre size and explosive ammunition (IAI).

Usage in battles

Arcade Battles

The CR.42 is nothing more than a point-and-shoot arcade-style plane. There is little skill involved at these early rank matches. Therefore, turning is the most appropriate tactic. However, due to the high climb rate, BnZ can be effective strategy in this gamemode. Most monoplanes cannot climb nearly as fast as the CR.42, so you will be able to hold the altitude advantage on them.

Realistic and Simulator Battles

In Realistic Battles (RB) and Simulator Battles (SB), as in real life, the Falco faces off against advanced mono-wing designs. While this may seem daunting at first, the CR.42 is the pinnacle of biplane evolution, only rivalled by the up-gunned Chaika series. This aircraft begins to show the playstyle that Italian pilots will use for the rest of their in-game career; a situationally dependent switch between Energy-fighting (Boom & Zoom) and turn-fighting.

When flying in simulator battles, visibility is normal for a biplane. Rearward vistas are non-existent while forward vision is hampered by the second strut/wing. The open cockpit does provide decent visibility in general, though.

General Usage

Something that applies to this plane in all battle modes is its engine. Unlike most other biplanes and the CR.32 before it, this aircraft has a radial engine. This offers several advantages. First, it is able to offer moderate performance at all altitudes. Second, hits to the cooling system are not as damaging as they are to aircraft that have in-line engines. In-line engines will suffer from hits to their water (fluid) cooling systems - even the slightest of hits at all tiers and BRs will either outright disable the engine or make it overheat very fast, and leading to the engine's death. The engine is well-cooled and has no WEP limit, so beginner pilots will not have to worry about cooling issues or rationing Manual Engine Control.

Monoplane opponents are faster and have a superior armament. You will not be able to face these planes in head-ons, nor will you be able to disengage using a high-speed dash. Once you have engaged or been engaged by a monoplane, you must bring the engagement to an end yourself. The aircraft you have is highly agile, and can easily out-manoeuvre any monoplane it will meet- these primarily being the Hurricane family, LaGG-3-11s, the P-36 family, and the M.S.405C1. This plane can effectively rope-a-dope these aircraft by remaining outside their reach, while continually staying in a sustained, slow, spiral climb that allows it to preserve its speed while forcing the enemy to constantly lose it. Eventually, the enemy will stall, and you will be able to easily pick it off. Stall-fighting is one of this plane's best tactics.

Even Boom & Zoom is feasible, as altitude can be gained quickly; however, the lack of cannon armament forces the pilot to use significant trigger control as well as aiming when diving and attacking opponents at a lower level. If booming and zooming, watch your speed in a dive. The CR.42 has a speed limit of around 440-480 km/h (274-300 mph) before the wings begin shaking (i.e. you begin to hear rattling noises, and flashing red text appears on your screen) and eventually completely rip off.

The Breda-SAFAT (12.7 mm) is actually very effective for their battle rating. Tracers are by far the best belt at this BR for fighter-on-fighter combat, due to the presence of only API-T rounds, which easily set fire to enemy biplanes and provide good penetration + damage capability. Due to the machine guns being placed in the centre cowl, they provide heavy damage when the fire is focused on your opponent's wings or engine. However, when taking on bigger game such as monoplanes or bombers, it is better to take the Air Targets belt, since it has a belt composition of API-T-API-IAI that allows it to do large amounts of damage when, again, focused on critical modules such as the engines or wings. Thanks to the relatively high rate of climb and ammo pool, this aircraft is good at intercepting twin-engine bombers that begin appearing. However, it is not recommended to attempt this as a beginner pilot. The 12.7 mm MGs will require some experience to aim at the engines of enemy bombers, and in addition, the lack of armour leaves a good possibility for pilot-snipes and critical hits by enemy bombers.

In summary, the CR.42 Falco is a good introduction to the situational hybrid fighting style of later aircraft. It is a severely underappreciated aircraft that deserves more love and usage by pilots and is a forgiving aircraft for beginners to fly.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Not auto controlled
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Separate Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable

Pros and cons


  • High speed for a biplane
  • Good ammunition count
  • Manoeuvrability is sufficient to out turn nearly all non-biplane opponents
  • Well armed for a biplane
  • Ammo belts use heavy amounts of incendiary and high-explosive ammo


  • Poor Energy Retention
  • Lightly armed compared to most of the opposition it is faced with
  • No options for striking heavy targets
  • Turn rate is worse than that of most biplanes
  • Poor armour protection


The CR.42 was Fiat's attempt at modernising their CR.32 design, which was deployed during the Spanish Civil War with great success. The new fighter would be of all-metal construction, with Fiat's new, homegrown A.74 supercharged radial engine. The result was a fast, accurate, and manoeuvrable platform, that, while outdated at the onset of World War II, would be almost the pinnacle of biplane design.

Early in the war, CR.42's were used with some success as escorts, night fighters, and even interceptors. Against the early Hurricanes and Spitfires, Italian and German pilots both were delighted to find that the manoeuvrability of the Falco put it, at the least, on par in a dogfight. However as the war dragged on, and enemy aircraft became faster, the CR.42 was relegated to night harassment, light ground attack, and sparingly used as night fighters.

The CR.42 is also credited with the world's last aerial combat biplane kill. A group of CR.42's based in Croatia under the command of Nachtschlachtgruppe 7 were directed to Grabovica Airfield for a strafing mission. However, the flight was redirected at the last moment to a harassment mission northwest of Sisak, where they were intercepted by P-38's of the 14th Fighter Group. Three Fiats were lost for two P-38's, one of which was claimed by an unknown German pilot.

Over 1,780 were built. The plane was designed by Fiat's Celestino Rosatelli, who was also behind the CR.32 and the B.R. 20. He replaced the 32's inline engine with a less vulnerable air-cooled radial engine. Foreign orders came from Hungary (50), Belgium (34), and Sweden (72). It entered combat service with the Italian 53rd Gruppe in May 1939. At the start of the war, it was the backbone of Italy's fighter force.

Belgium's CR. 42s were the first to see action in May 1940, claiming 3 aerial victories, but losing most of their fighters on the ground. Italy used them in the 1940 French campaign, the Battle of Britain, and over Greece, the Mediterranean, and Africa, where they sparred with another biplane, the Gloster Gladiator, until the arrival of British Hurricanes and Spitfires. 113 were still in service when Italy surrendered in September 1943.



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Fiat Aviation (Fiat Aviazione)
Fighters  CR.32 · CR.32 bis · CR.32 quater
  CR.42 · Marcolin's C.R.42 CN · ▀Marcolin's C.R.42 CN
  G.50 serie 2 · G.50 AS serie 7
  G.55 sottoserie 0 · G.55 serie 1 · G.55S
Jet fighters  G.91 pre-serie · G.91 R/1 · G.91 Y · G.91 YS
  ▄F-104G* · F-104S* · F-104S.ASA* · ▄F-104S TAF*
Strike aircraft  F.C.20 Bis
Bombers  B.R.20DR · B.R.20M M1
Export/Captured  J11 · ▀CR.42
  ▀G.50 serie 2 · ▀G.50 AS serie 7
  ◄G.91 R/3 · ◄G.91 R/4 · G.91 R/4
See also  North American Aviation · Lockheed Martin

Italy fighters
Fiat  CR.32 · CR.32 bis · CR.32 quater · CR.42 · Marcolin's C.R.42 CN
  G.50 serie 2 · G.50 AS serie 7
  G.55 sottoserie 0 · G.55 serie 1 · G.55S · G.56
Reggiane  Re.2000 G.A. · Re.2000 serie 1
  Re.2001 serie 1 · Re.2001 gruppo 22 · Re.2001 CB · Re.2001 CN
  Re.2002 Early
  Re.2005 serie 0
Macchi  C. 200 serie 3 · C. 200 serie 7
  C. 202 · C. 202D · C. 202EC
  C. 205 serie 1 · C. 205 serie 3 · C. 205N2
IMAM  Ro.44
Germany  ◐Bf 109 F-4 · ◐Bf 109 G-2 · ▄Bf 109 G-14/AS
Romania  He 112 B-1/U2 · IAR-81C
USA  ▄P-47D-30
Britain  ▄Spitfire Mk Vb/trop