First flown in 1936, the SM.85 was the Italian meagre contribution to the golden era of dive bombing. An interesting twin-engined (1000hp Piaggio P.XI radials) single seat monoplane of classic Italian mixed metal and wood construction. Widely and bombastically promoted by the Fascist propaganda, the SM.85 was in reality a total fiasco from the beginning: slow, vulnerable, with awful spin characteristics, unstable in dive and poor climb performance. The 30 plus built were nevertheless issued to just one unit (the 96º Gruppo Tuffatori) in 1939-40. Thankfully for their crew these fiascos saw almost no operational service and were soon replaced with German Junkers Ju 87’s.