|Air Force Miniatures: Opening Salvo Pt. 5|
|Angels 20 Set|
|by Mons Johnson|
This is the fifth preview for Axis & Allies Air Force Miniatures: Angels 20. As promised last week, let's start with a close look at the C.200 Saetta.
During the 1920s the Italians were at the forefront of aircraft design, winning the Schneider Trophy three times. While they continued to produce excellent aircraft through the 1930s, Italian engine design didn't keep pace with the rest of Europe. This difficulty was compounded by the Italian Air Ministry's mandating only radial engines for fighters in 1932. Italian engine manufacturers were able to produce a decent radial design to power the next generation of Italian planes, but problems with quality and production delays continued to show up during the war years.
The C.200 Saetta first flew in 1937 and won a competition among Italian fighters in 1938, which ensured an initial contract for 99 fighters. After some initial problems with the wing were fixed, the Saetta proved to be a tough and maneuverable little fighter. It wasn't quite as fast as the typical Allied fighter and was underarmed, featuring only two .50 cal machine guns. Even with these limitations, in the hands of a skilled pilot the C.200 Saetta proved a dangerous foe.
With a Turn rating of 5 and the Practiced Turn special ability, this Saetta can turn inside of most of its opponents. Since it was equipped with only two machine guns, though, it has an Attack value of just 4 at range 1. With a top speed of 313 mph, the Saetta gets a Speed rating of 2–3 and a Hi Speed rating of just 4. It is also a smaller fighter than most (with an empty weight of 4,330 lb.), so it has just 2 hits. It was lightly armored but, with a radial engine and a reputation for toughness, it gets an Armor rating of 2, a Vital Armor of 6, and the Rugged special ability to let it absorb a lot of punishment.
After Italy's entry into the war in 1940, Saettas fought in the Mediterranean and in North Africa. During the invasion of the U.S.S.R., Italy deployed an air corps to support the attack; the C.200 Saetta pilots did quite well initially. Compare the C.200 and its early Soviet counterpart, the I-16.
In our next and final preview, we'll go over the Angels 20 set list and talk a little about why certain aircraft made it in and why others didn't. That's it for now! As always, you can discuss this article or other aspects of the Axis & Allies line of games on our message boards.