The Italian Breda Ba.88 “Lynx” – The Worst Operational Airplane Of WWII

A Breda Ba.88 entering a shallow dive.
A Breda Ba.88 entering a shallow dive.

One of the Italian ground-attack planes used during World War II that was a complete failure – the Breda Ba. 88 Lince. It was used as propaganda when the Mussolini’s regime of Fascists trumpeted the plane in 1936.

It was a sleek, all-metal monoplane with shoulder wings that featured twin-engine. Its prototype, which made its flight in October of 1936, had a rudder style assembly and single fin.

In April of 1937, the plane established two world records for speed-over-distance having averaged 321.24 miles per hour when traveling 62 miles and 295.15 miles per hour when traveling 621 miles.

In December of that same year, it increased speeds at those distances to 344.24 miles per hour and 325.6 miles per hour respectively. Upon the installation of military equipment on the production models instability issues developed and the airplane saw a significant deterioration in its general performance levels.

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Shortly after Italy declared war on France on June 16, 1940, the plane found itself in combat for the first time. A dozen planes from Regia Aeronautica’s 19 Gruppo Autonomo made strafing and bombing advances on airfields on Corsica. Then after three days, nine more planes attacked again.

These operations showed that the planes had limited value and any doubts were eliminated when the planes from the 7 Gruppo Autonomo were put into action in Lybia against the British. When these planes had sand filters added, the engines overheated quickly and failed to deliver the power that they were designed to produce.

The planes attacked Sidi Barram in September 1940 and had to abort their assignment because they couldn’t gain enough altitude or keep formation.

They also could only reach speeds at half those that the manufacturer had claimed. By the middle of November 1940, the remaining Ba. 88s were stripped from their equipment that was useful, and they were scattered across operational airfields to be used as decoys for the British aircraft that were attacking.

Despite this, additional shipments of Ba. 88s were delivered, compromising of 48 made by Meriodionali and 19 made by Breda. Most of these planes were immediately sent to the scrapyard.

This was the most significant failure of any aircraft used in service during WWII.

Breda_Ba.88_line-up
Lineup of Italian Breda Ba.88 ground-attack aircraft.
View of a pilot in the cockpit during flight. Photo Credit.
View of a pilot in the cockpit during flight. Photo Credit.
View from the machine gun position on the rear. Photo Credit.
View from the machine gun position on the rear. Photo Credit.

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Photo Credit.
Photo Credit.
Crashed Ba.88. Photo Credit.
Crashed Ba.88. Photo Credit.