Amiot 143

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140 family
Amiot 143.jpg
1/72 scale model from Směr kit
Role Medium bomber
Manufacturer Avions Amiot
Designer Félix Amiot
First flight 1931[1]
Introduction July 1935
Retired 1944
Primary user French Air Force
Produced 1935-1937
Number built 138

The Amiot 143M was a late 1930s French medium bomber designed to meet 1928 specifications for a bomber capable of day/night bombing, long-range reconnaissance and bomber escort.[1]

Design and development[edit]

In 1928, the French Air Ministry issued a specification for a four-seat Multiplace de Combat, a multi-seat combat aircraft to act as a light bomber, reconnaissance aircraft and long-range escort fighter. Amiot received an order for two prototype Amiot 140s, to be evaluated against the competing Bleriot 137, Breguet 410 and SPCA 30.[2] The Amiot 140 was a high-winged cantilever monoplane of all-metal construction, with corrugated wing skinning and a fixed tail wheel undercarriage. The pilot sat in an open cockpit, with cockpits for gunners in the nose and dorsal positions. A glazed gondola under the forward fuselage carried a bombardier/gunner, ensuring that the gunners had a clear field of fire all around the aircraft.[3] The Amiot was intended to be powered by two 515 kW (690 hp) Lorraine 18G Orion water-cooled W engines but these were unavailable and the first prototype was fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Nbr engines to allow flight testing, making its maiden flight on 12 April 1931.[4] The second prototype was completed in February 1932 but the continued non-availability of its intended engines, either the original Lorraine-Dietrichs or turbocharged Hispano-Suizas, meant that it never flew. Despite this, on 23 November 1933 an order was placed for 40 Amiot 140s, to be powered by 662 kW (880 hp) Lorraine 12Q Eider engines.[4]

The French Air Ministry had meanwhile revised its requirements, concentrating on the bombing role and asking for better performance. Amiot redesigned the aircraft to meet these requirements and incorporate lessons learned during testing of the Amiot 140. The gondola under the fuselage was enlarged, allowing easier operation of the aircraft's guns and a fifth crew member (a radio-operator) to be carried. Manually operated gun turrets were provided in the nose and dorsal positions. Orders were placed for two prototypes, differing only in the engines fitted, with the Amiot 142 having Hispano-Suiza 12Y engines and the Amiot 143 having Gnome-Rhone 14K radial engines. The 143 flew first, on 1 August 1934, with the 142 not flying until January 1935.[5] As it was decided to allocate the Hispano-Suiza engines to fighters, the Amiot 143 was selected,[6] the existing order for 40 Amiot 140s being converted to 143s.[7]

The Amiot 143 had the same high-wing and fixed undercarriage as the Amiot 140, with the wing thick enough to allow crew access to the engines by a tunnel between the wing spars. The pilot sat in an enclosed cockpit, level with the leading edge of the wing and the navigator-bombardier, who was also provided with flying controls, sat in the extensively glazed gondola beneath the pilot. The radio operator sat towards the rear of the gondola and in early aircraft operated two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Lewis guns. Nose and dorsal turrets, each carrying a Lewis gun, completed the defensive armament, while the gondola also housed an internal bomb-bay. After 40 aircraft had been completed, the design was revised, with the aircraft being fitted with a longer nose (increasing overall length from 17.94 m (58 ft 10 in) to 18.24 m (59 ft 10 in), a revised fuel system and with the Lewis guns in the nose, dorsal turrets and ventral position replaced by single 7.5 mm (.295 in) MAC 1934 machine guns, with a fourth gun used by the navigator-bombardier firing through a hatch in the floor.[8][9]

Deliveries of the aging design eventually began in April 1935, continuing until March 1937, with a total of 138 being built.[10] An improved version, the Amiot 144 was built to meet 1933 requirement for a Multiplace de Combat, combining the same fuselage and a similar wing with a retractable undercarriage. First flying on 18 January 1936, only one was built.[11]

Operational history[edit]

The Amiot 143M entered service in July 1935, with deliveries continuing in 1936 and 1937. About six were going to be delivered to the Spanish Republican Air Force at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.[12] There is no evidence, however, that these obsolete French bombers flew over Spain during the Civil War.

By the time the last deliveries were made in March 1938, the Amiot was quite out of date and began to be replaced by modern aircraft such as the Bloch MB.131.[13] Nevertheless, at the outbreak of the Second World War, Amiot 143s equipped 5 metropolitan groupes together with a single African based groupe.[6][14]

During the Phoney War, Amiot 143M groupes carried out reconnaissance and leaflet raids over Germany. 87 Amiot 143M remained in front line service on 10 May 1940, 50 equipping four metropolitan groupes: GBs I/34 and II/34 in the north, GBs I/38 and II/38 in the East and 17 equipping one African groupe, GB II/63, which was in the process of re-equipping with Martin 167Fs.[15] Following the start of the Battle of France, the Amiot 143M was mainly used in night attacks against German airfields and lines of communications, with losses relatively low.[16][17] One notable exception was a daylight raid by 10 Amiots from GBs I/34, II/34 and II/38 led by Commandant de Laubier against German bridgeheads near Sedan on 14 May 1940. Despite fighter escort, two Amiots were shot down while a third force-landed before reaching its base.[18]

By the Armistice, the Amiot 143M had dropped a total of 474 tonnes (523 tons) of bombs.[citation needed] 52 Amiot 143Ms were in the Unoccupied Zone and 25 were in French North Africa.[19] They were reorganized into GBs I/38 and II/38 and were used until July 1941 when they were replaced by LeO 451 bombers.

Some planes of II/38 served as a transports for the French in Syria. This groupe later went over to the Allies after their landings in Africa. The last Amiot 143M was retired from service in February 1944.

A few Amiot 143M are reported to have been commandeered by the Germans and used as transports. Only 11 were left in the Unoccupied Zone when it was occupied by the Germans in 1943 and only three were flightworthy.

Had the war gone on a little longer for France, it is likely that all of the Amiot 143M would have ended up in a training role, having been replaced by more modern bombers such as the Breguet 693. The obsolete plane was never intended to have such an important role come war time, but slow French production made its use necessary - often being pulled from training squadrons to shore up bomber groupes.

Variants[edit]

Amiot 140
The designation for the Amiot reply to the requirement of the Armee d lÁir, intended to be powered by 2x 515 kW (691 hp) Lorraine 18G Orion W-18 engines. The first prototype was completed as the Amiot 140M.
Amiot 140M
Prototype with 2x 485 kW (650 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12Nbr inline engines. Two built,[20] of which only one flown, followed by orders for 40, to be powered by 2x 662 kW (888 hp) Lorraine 12Q Eider engines, which were re-allocated to Amiot 143 production.[4][21]
Amiot 141M
Powered by three 520 kW (700 hp) Lorraine-Dietrich 18G Orion W-18 water-cooled piston engines.[22]
Amiot 142
prototype with 499 kW (669 hp) Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs V-12 engines (1 built[20])
Amiot 143
production version with 648.7 kW (870 hp) Gnome-Rhône 14Kirs / Gnome-Rhône 14Kjrs (left and right hand rotation) radial engines (138 built, including 40 ordered as Amiot 140 and 25 ordered as Amiot 144)
Amiot 144
version with reduced wing area, added flaps and retractable undercarriage and no front turret, powered by 2x 664 kW (890.4 hp) Gnome-Rhône 14Kirs / Gnome-Rhône 14Kjrs (left and right hand rotation) (1 built,[20] orders for 25 produced as Amiot 143 instead)
Amiot 145
Amiot 144 with Hispano-Suiza 14AA radial engines (not built)
Amiot 146
Amiot 144 with Gnome-Rhône 18Lars radial engines (not built)
Amiot 147
Amiot 144 with Hispano-Suiza 12Ydrs / Hispano-Suiza 12Yfrs (left and right hand rotation) V-12 engines (not built)
Amiot 150
Reconnaissance, torpedo bomber prototype, for use with the Aeronavale. Amiot 143 with 10% larger wing, interchangeable wheel or float landing gear, powered by two 750 hp (559.3 kW) Gnome-Rhône 14Kdrs radial engines (1 prototype built[20])

Operators[edit]

 NDH
 France
 Germany
 Poland

Specifications (Amiot 143)[edit]

Data from [23]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Five (pilot, navigator/bombardier, radio operator, nose and dorsal gunners)
  • Length: 18.24 m (59 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 24.53 m (80 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 5.68 m (18 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 100 m2 (1,100 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 5,455 kg (12,026 lb)
  • Gross weight: 8,611 kg (18,984 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,360 kg (22,840 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome et Rhône 14Kirs 14-cyl. air-cooled radial engine (left hand rotation), 640 kW (858 hp)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome et Rhône 14Kjrs 14-cyl. air-cooled radial engine (right hand rotation), 640 kW (858 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 295 km/h (183 mph; 159 kn)
  • Range: 1,300 km (808 mi; 702 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 1,995 km (1,240 mi; 1,077 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,500 m (24,600 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in 6.8 minutes

Armament

  • Guns: 4× 7.5 mm (0.295 in) MAC 1934 machine guns (one each in nose and dorsal turrets, forward gondola and rear gondola)
  • Bombs: 800 kg (1,800 lb) internally plus 800 kg (1,800 lb) externally

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chant, Chris (1999). Aircraft of World War II - 30 of the World's Greatest aircraft 1939-45. Amber Books Lts. ISBN 978-0-7607-1261-0. 
  2. ^ Air International December 1988, p. 306.
  3. ^ Flight 12 December 1930, pp. 1434–1436.
  4. ^ a b c Air International December 1988, pp. 306–307.
  5. ^ Air International December 1988, pp. 307–308.
  6. ^ a b Breffort and Jouneau 2004, p. 12.
  7. ^ Air International December 1988, p. 308.
  8. ^ Air International December 1988, pp. 309–310.
  9. ^ Green 1967, pp. 78–79.
  10. ^ Green 1967, p. 79.
  11. ^ Green 1967, p. 80.
  12. ^ Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War; New revised edition (2011)
  13. ^ Air International December 1988, pp. 311–312.
  14. ^ Air International December 1988, p. 312.
  15. ^ Bénichou Le Fana de l'Aviation July 1997, p. 46.
  16. ^ Green 1967, p. 82.
  17. ^ Air International December 1988, p. 313.
  18. ^ Robineau, Lucien. "L’AVIATION DE BOMBARDEMENT FRANÇAISE EN MAI 1940". p.5. En souvenir du commandant de Laubier. January 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  19. ^ Bénichou Le Fana de l'Aviation July 1997, p. 52.
  20. ^ a b c d "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft", 220
  21. ^ Parmentier, B. "Amiot 140M - Bombardier lourd ". Aviafrance, 9 October 2003. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  22. ^ "Avions S.E.C.M. 140 et 141M" (PDF). Revue de la Société Générale Aeronautique (in French). Argenteuil: SGA: 108–109. December 1932. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  23. ^ Air International December 1989, p. 311.

References[edit]

  • Bénichou, Michel (July 1997). "Amiot 143:Les sacrificés de la première heure" (PDF). Le Fana de l'Aviation (in French) (133): 40–54. 
  • Breffort, Dominique; André Jouineau (2004). French Aircraft from 1939 to 1942: Fighters, Bombers, Reconnaissance and Observation Types: Volume 1 From Amiot to Curtiss. Paris: Histoire & Collections. ISBN 2-915239-23-1. 
  • de Laubier, Philippe (October 1985). "Le Bombardement Français Sur La Meuse: Le 14 mai 1940" (PDF). Revue Historique des Armées (in French): 96–109. 
  • Green, William (1967). War Planes of the Second World War: Volume Seven Bombers and Reconnaissance Aircraft. London: Macdonald. 
  • "The Amiot 143...a study in angular ugliness". Air International. No. December 1988. pp. 306–313. ISSN 0306-5634. 
  • "The Paris Air Show: The French Aircraft Exhibits". Flight. Vol. XXII no. 50. 12 December 1930. pp. 1427–1438. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing. 
  • Weal, Elke C.; John A. Weal; Richard F. Barker. Combat Aircraft of World War Two. 

External links[edit]