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Fiat G.55 Centauro - 5th Air Regiment, Turkish Air Force, 1945

When the governments of Germany and Turkey signed a non-aggression pact on June 18th, 1941 the main benefits to Germany was to keep Turkey friendly with the Axis powers and to also gain immediate access to Turkish chromite and iron ore. In return, Turkey would receive aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, tanks and spare parts. For the Turkish Air Force this would mean the receipt of 60 brand new Focke-Wulf Fw-190A-3 aircraft shipped via rail as disassembled aircraft plus the equivalent of another 12 aircraft shipped as spare parts. The initial two batches of 30 aircraft were safely delivered to the new railway station located close to Yeşilköy Airfield near Istanbul and were assembled during the Spring of 1943 with initial deliveries being made to the 5th Fighter Regiment based at Bursa in June 1943.

During the Autumn of 1943 the Turkish Air Force began to chase up the late delivery of the remaining 12 Fw-190A-3's and were disappointed to learn that, at Adolf Hitler's instruction, they were being witheld as Turkey had agreed to supply Chromite to the United States and United Kingdom who had jointly embarked upon a strategy of "preclusive buying" of Turkish chromite even though they did not actually need it. The Turkish Prime Minister, Şükrü Saracoğlu, intervened and whilst Hitler would not budge on the missing Fw-190's he agreed to send "other fighter aircraft from the Italian front" before the end of 1943. Turkish Air Force officials thought that this would mean Messerschmitt Bf-109G's but were disappointed to discover that the crated aircraft received at Yeşilköy from Italy in December 1943 were 12 Fiat G.55 Centauro aircraft recently requisitioned by the Luftwaffe but rejected by them. A technical team from the recently formed Turkish Aviation Association arrived from Ankara during early 1944 to assemble the G.55's and flight-testing was carried out by Sabiha Gökçen the famous Turkish female aviator. During April 1944, the unwanted G.55's were sent to the 4th Air Regiment based at Merzifon where they remained in service until late February 1945.

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.01

 

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.02

 

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.03

 

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.05

 

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.06

 

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.07

 

TuAF G55 CENTAURO.04

Skin Credit: Charles

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Yes. Let me make a few more numbers for it (I only made four) and I'll release it.

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