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A fighter paid with precious metals

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A fighter paid with precious metals

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On 1939 the Swedish Government purchased in USA a total of 264 modern fighter aircraft, Seversky EP-1 and Vultee Vanguard, but after the outbreak of the war and its extension on the Baltic and Scandinavian areas, the Washington Government embargoed the deliveries and only 60 Seversky fighter was delivered to Svenska Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force). The latter decided the purchase of further Fiat CR.42 and, on 28 November 1940, ordered 60 modern Re.2000s built by Reggiane (Caproni Group), somewhat similar to Seversky fighter (the Re.2000’s designer Roberto Longhi spent some years in USA working with Seversky). The aircraft was paid part with hard currency, part with precious metals as nickel and chrome as well iron. The first two Re.2000 for the Svenska Flygvapnet (Italian military registration MM2303 and 2304) arrived in Sweden on Summer 1941 and was tested on 18 September 1941. The Re.2000’s Swedish military denomination was J 20 (J for Jaktplan/fighter airplane) and all 60 aircraft was assigned to Flottilj 10 (F10) based at Bulltofta and Rinkaby. The Swedish pilots appreciated the Italian fighter which performed well under harsh conditions. From Bulltofta the J 20 was mainly employed to intercept Axis and Allied aircraft into Swedish airspace. One J 20 was lost in combat on 3 April 1945, shot down by a Luftwaffe’s seaplane Dornier Do 24 near Sölvesborg, which opened the fire against the Swedish fighter, and its pilot, Erik Nordlun, was killed. Sixteen J 20 was lost in accidents and eighteen was heavy damaged. Thirty-seven plane were still in service at the end of the war but was decommissioned in July 1945. The only J 20, and also the only complete Re 2000, still existing is the plane of the Linköping’s Swedish Air Force Museum (Flygvapenmuseum). Victor Sierra

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12/7/2012

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