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"APACHE" | AH-64A Peten
CR.42 Falco
General characteristics
1 personCrew
2.40 tTake-off weight
0.78 kg/sBurst mass
Flight characteristics
8500 mCeiling
Fiat A74Engine
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
578 km/hStructural
580 km/hGear
Offensive armament
2 x 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine gunWeapon 1
800 roundsAmmunition
700 shots/minFire rate
2900 Rp icon.pngResearch
700 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png380 / 477/280 / 351/150 / 188Repair
200 Sl icon.pngCrew training
1000 Sl icon.pngExperts
20 Ge icon.pngAces
100 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
90 % Sl icon.png40 % Sl icon.png10 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the Italian fighter CR.42. For the German version, see CR.42 (Germany). For other uses, see C.R.42 (Family).


GarageImage CR.42.jpg

The CR.42 Falco is a rank I Italian fighter with a battle rating of 1.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.69 "Regia Aeronautica" along with the initial Italian aviation tree, though a variant existed in the Germany aircraft tech tree prior to the update.

The CR.42 possesses exceptional manoeuvrability, speed, and durability, especially for a biplane. Its armament is quite good as well, due to the Breda-SAFAT .50 calibre MGs. However, due to its BR, the majority of aircraft the CR.42 will engage is faster, and more heavily armed. The best bet for survival, and getting scores, is to climb to about medium altitude and lure fighters into turning combat. 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 cannot accelerate away from you quickly enough to escape further damage.

For the armament, the same applies to all other Italian aircraft; generally, you want to use Tracers, Anti-air or Stealth since they are the belts that deal the most damage. Shell velocity is low, hence they suffer above 300 meters, so only fire at or below that range for best effects. Furthermore, much like the other Italian fighters, the armament is woefully inadequate to deal with bombers, hence it is best to avoid them entirely, or focus on taking out the engines. The only exception is the very early biplane bombers, such as the Swordfish, Po-2 and other light bombers.

General info

Flight Performance

Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.

Max Speed
(km/h at 5,200 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
413 402 8500 20.0 20.6 14.2 14.2 294
Max Speed
(km/h at 5,200 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
447 429 8500 18.5 19.2 21.1 17.2 294


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flaps
Max Static G
+ -
520 ~13 ~5
Optimal velocities
< 280 < 240 < 450 > 250
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
4,300 m 828 hp 972 hp

Survivability and armour

Examine the survivability of the aircraft. Note how vulnerable the structure is and how secure the pilot is, whether the fuel tanks are armoured, etc. Describe the armour, if there is any, and also mention the vulnerability of other critical aircraft systems.


Offensive armament

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.

Usage in battles

In Arcade Battles (AB), 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, as most monoplanes cannot climb nearly as fast.

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

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, very quickly, and lead to engine 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. It 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 and damage capability. Due to the MGs 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 high 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 mms will require some experience to aim at the engines of enemy bombers, and in addition, the open cockpit and lack of armour leave it open to pilot-snipes and lucky shots to critical modules by enemy bombers.

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.

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


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Offensive 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe
III Wings repair Engine New 12 mm MGs
IV Engine injection Cover

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 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.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

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

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.

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.202EC · C.205 serie 1 · C.205 serie 3 · C.205N2
Germany  ▄Bf 109 G-2 · ▄Bf 109 G-14/AS · ▄Bf 110 G-4
Britain  ▄Spitfire Mk Vb/trop
Romania  IAR-81C