Bréguet 14

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Bréguet 14
Bréguet 14 B.2 in flight.jpg
Role Bomber and reconnaissance
Manufacturer Bréguet
Designer Marcel Vuillierme
First flight 21 November 1916
Introduction May 1917
Status Retired
Primary users Aéronautique Militaire
US Army Air Service
Polish Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force
Produced 1916–1928
Number built c. 8,000[1]
Developed from Bréguet AV
Variants Bréguet 16 and 17

The Bréguet XIV (in contemporary practice) or Bréguet 14 was a French biplane bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of World War I. It was built in very large numbers and production continued for many years after the end of the war.

The Bréguet 14 was among the first mass-produced aircraft to use large amounts of aluminium, rather than wood or steel, in its structure. This allowed the airframe to be both lighter and stronger, in turn making the aircraft fast and agile and it was able to outrun some contemporary fighters.



The Bréguet 14 was designed by aviation pioneer and aeronautical engineer Louis Bréguet.[2] Bréguet had already built a reputation for producing capable aircraft and for having innovative ideas, including the use of metal in aircraft construction. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 led to Bréguet-built aircraft being ordered by the military air services of several Triple Entente nations.[3] He temporarily abandoned the preferred tractor configuration for a pusher design to satisfy the French general staff, who sought a clear forward view for the observer.[3]

Renault powered Bréguet XIV A.2 with prominent camera fairing on fuselage side for photo reconnaissance

In spite of the French official preference for pushers, Bréguet remained a proponent of tractor aircraft.[4] In June 1916, he began a new design for a military two-seater, the Bréguet AV. The French Army's Section Technique de l' Aéronautique (STAé) recommended that Bréguet use the Hispano-Suiza 8A V-8 engine of 130 kW (180 hp).[5] Bréguet determined that the Hispano-Suiza lacked sufficient power, and instead chose the Renault V-12 engine previously used in the Bréguet Type V.[5]

Two variants of the Bréguet AV (Type XIII and Type XIV to the French authorities) were built. Both had a boxy shape that was complemented by a rectangular frontal radiator and the unusual negative or back stagger of its wings.[5] It possessed a sturdy undercarriage, along with ailerons on the upper wing only. The lower wing featured flaps along the entire trailing edges, that were forced into their raised position by the air, as the aircraft accelerated to its normal speed, being restricted from moving freely by a set of 12 adjustable rubber bungee cords.[6]

The airframe's structure was constructed primarily of duralumin, an aluminium alloy which had been invented in Germany by Alfred Wilm only a decade previously. Many sections, such as the duralumin longerons and spacers, were attached using welded steel-tube fittings and braced using piano wire. The wing spars were of rectangular duralumin tubes with either oak or ash shims at the attachment points and wrapped in a sheet steel sheath.[5] The wooden box ribs had fretted plywood webs and ash flanges. The tail unit was built up from welded steel tube, while the elevators featured large horn balances.[5] French officials were initially wary of the Type XIV's innovative materials due to a lack of experience with them.[7]

Into flight[edit]

French Bréguet XIV B.2 showing off the substantial flaps on the lower wings
American Bréguet showing off its full load of bombs
Fiat powered Bréguet XIV A.2

Louis Bréguet took the prototype into the air for the first time on 21 November 1916.[7] In November 1916, the S.T.Aé. had issued requirements for four new aircraft types, and Bréguet submitted the XIV for two of those - reconnaissance and bomber.[7]

The prototype was passed to the S.T.Aé on 11 January 1917 for trials and was accepted to fill both roles. The report issued on 7 February 1917 from the trials stated that the prototype had attained a speed of 172 km/h (107 mph) at an altitude of 2,000 m (6,600 ft).[7] On 22 February 1917, Bréguet asked the S.T.Aé about initiating production and informed them on 2 March that jigs were ready.[7] On 6 March 1917, the first official production order was received by Bréguet, calling for 150 Bréguet XIV A.2 reconnaissance aircraft and an additional order for 100 XIV B.2 bombers was received on 4 April.[7] The A.2 was equipped with several cameras, while some also had radios. The lower wing of the 14 B.2 was fitted with Michelin-built bomb racks for thirty-two 115 mm (4.5 in) bombs.[8] To avoid the bomb racks jamming the flaps, a forward extension of the wings was added, while transparent panels were added to the sides of the fuselage to aid in the use of the bomb sight.[8]

By mid-1917, the French authorities ordered a substantial increase in production.[9] Various other companies were contracted to manufacture the type.[7] On 25 April, French aviation company Darracq was requested to manufacture 330 aircraft. On 8 June, 50 were ordered from Farman and on 18 June, Paul Schmitt was issued a contract to produce 200 aircraft.[7] Some of the contractors were unable to commence quantity production of the Bréguet 14 until 1918.[8] Following the war, some aircraft were constructed in French military workshops in Indo-China, although these are likely to have been reliant on imported parts.[10]

As an insurance against engine shortages, alternatives to the standard Renault powerplant were installed, both for experimental purposes and in production quantities.[11] Aside from some used in France, many of the Belgian and American Bréguet 14s were powered with the Fiat A.12 engine.[12] An improved model of the standard engine, the Renault 12Ff, appeared in Summer 1918 and was used on some late production aircraft.[11] Another engine adopted was built by French automotive company Lorraine-Dietrich, which was lighter but produced less power than the Renault unit. A number of late production B.2 models were equipped with the American Liberty engine. To distinguish these aircraft, they were designated Bréguet XIV B.2 L.[13]

Other minor variants of the Bréguet 14 were flown in small numbers during the Great War; these included the XIV B.1 (Bombardement) long-range single-seat bomber, the XIV GR.2 (Grande Raid) long-range reconnaissance/bomber, the XIV H (Hydro) floatplane, the XIV S (Sanitaire) air ambulance and the XIV Et.2 (Ecole) trainer.[14] Later variants, such as the XIVbis A.2 and XIVbis B.2, featured improved wings. An variant equipped with enlarged wings was produced as the XVI Bn.2 (Bombardement de nuit) night bomber. Further derivatives of the aircraft included the XVII C.2 (Chasse) two-seat fighter, which would only be built in small numbers due to the end of the war.[11] Production of the Bréguet 14 would continue long after the end of the war, only ending in 1926.[10]

Operational history[edit]

United States Army Air Service Bréguet 14 in France, 1918

The Bréguet 14 was used in large numbers from May 1917 onwards, and at its peak equipped at least 71 escadrilles, and was deployed on both the Western Front, where it participated in number major actions in which it typically acquitted itself well,[8] and in the east, on the Italian front.

For its actions during the Battle of the Lys, the Section Artillerie Lourde, equipped with the type, received a citation and was further lauded for its actions during the Allied counter-attack to the German spring offensive. On 9 July 1918, Capitaine Paul-Louise Weiller shot down two enemy aircraft during one sortie while flying the type.[8]

Following its introduction by the French, during 1918, the Bréguet 14 was also ordered by the Belgian Army (40 aircraft) and the United States Army Air Service (over 600 aircraft).[15] Around half the Belgian and U.S. aircraft were fitted with Fiat A.12 engines due to shortages of the original Renault 12F. Prior to the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the Bréguet 14 was typically assigned to serve in both reconnaissance and bombing roles. By the end of the conflict, the type was reportedly responsible for having dropped over 1,887,600 kg (4,161,400 lb) of bombs.[16]

A Bréguet 14 played a role in one of the last actions of the war. During November 1918, one aircraft was used to transport a German military officer, Major von Geyer, from Tergnier and Spa. It was covered in large white flags of truce to avoid being attacked.[16]

The type continued to be widely used after the war, equipping the French occupation forces in Germany and being deployed to support French troops in the colonies.[10] A special version was developed for the harsh conditions encountered overseas, designated "14 TOE" (Théatres des Operations Extérieures). These saw service in putting down uprisings in Syria and Morocco, in Vietnam and in the French intervention in the Russian Civil War. The last trainer examples were not withdrawn from French military service until 1932.

Polish Bréguet 14 during the Kiev Offensive

Other air arms using the type included Brazil (30), China (70), Czechoslovakia (10), Denmark (4), Finland (38), Greece (approximately 42), Japan (2), the Siamese Air Force (42), Uruguay (9) and Spain (approximately 180). The Polish Air Force used 158 Bréguet 14s, about 70 of them being used in combat in the Polish-Soviet war. In Japan, Bréguet 14s were licence-built by Nakajima. The type was also heavily used in various internal wars in China during the 1920s and 1930s.[10]

Weeks after the signing of the Armistice, the Bréguet 14 was used to conduct several long-distance flights to demonstrate its capabilities.[17] On 26 January 1919, a double-crossing of the Mediterranean was flown using the type by Lt Roget and Captaine Coli. On 5 April, Roget flew from Lyon to Rome and then to Nice.[17] Roget and Coli later establish a new French long-distance record flying the Bréguet 14, flying from Paris to Kenitra, Morocco, a distance of 1,900 km (1,200 mi) in 11 hours 15 minutes. Aviation pioneer Pierre-Georges Latécoère converted one example to conduct experimental in-flight refuelling operations.[18] After the war, Bréguet manufactured of dedicated civil versions of the Bréguet 14. The 14 T.2 Salon carried two passengers in a specially modified fuselage. An improved version, the 14 Tbis, was built as both a land-plane and seaplane.[19] The 14 Tbis also formed the basis of the improved 14 Tbis Sanitaire air ambulance version, and 100 mail planes custom-built for Latécoère's airline, Lignes Aeriennes Latécoère.[17] After changing its name to "CGEA", the airline used, among others, 106 Bréguet 14s for flights over the Sahara Desert. The 18 T was a single 14 T re-engined with a Renault 12Ja engine and equipped to carry four passengers.[17] When production finally ceased in 1928, the total for all versions built had exceeded 7,800 (according to other sources, 8,000 or even 8,370).


Bréguet 14T bis Sanitaire photo from L'Aéronautique October 1921

Data from:[20]

Bréguet AV 1
(Given the STAé designation Bréguet 13) Company designation of the first aircraft of the Bréguet 13/14 family. Powered by a 263 hp (196 kW) Renault V-12 engine with short fuselage and all-flying rudder.
Bréguet AV 2
(Given the STAé designation Bréguet 14) Company designation of the second aircraft of the Bréguet 13 / 14 family. Powered by a 263 hp (196 kW) Renault V-12 engine in a longer fuselage with fixed fin.
Bréguet 13
AV 1 the first of the Bréguet 14 family with a short fuselage and no fixed fin.
Bréguet 14 A.2
Basic production variant to the two-seat Army co-operation specification (A.2), powered by a 300 hp (220 kW) Renault 12Fcx V-12 engine.
Bréguet 14 AP.2
High-altitude, long-range reconnaissance variant, powered by a 400 hp (300 kW) Liberty L-12 engine. One converted from an A.2
Bréguet 14 AE
A single aircraft, (F-AEEZ), converted for use in the colonies.
Bréguet 14/400
Postwar aircraft powered by 400 hp (300 kW) Lorraine-Dietrich 12Da V-12 engines. Seventy aircraft delivered to China and Manchuria.
Bréguet 14 C
A single aircraft powered by a 450 hp (340 kW) Renault 12Ja V-12 engine for use as a postal aircraft in the United States.
Bréguet 14 H
A floatplane version powered by a 320 hp (240 kW) Renault 12Fe, with a large central float and smaller floats under each wing. At least two were built, used in Indo-China.
Bréguet 14 B.2
The two-seat bomber version.
Bréguet 14 B.1
A single-seat bomber version: two were ordered for a planned raid on Berlin.
Bréguet 14 floatplane
A twin float hydroplane version, tested at St Raphaël in 1924.
Bréguet 14 S
(S – Sanitaire) Ambulance aircraft modified to carry two stretchers in the rear fuselage. (A later dedicated ambulance aircraft was also produced).
Nakajima B-6
Bréguet 14 B.2 bombers licence-built in Japan by Nakajima, powered by 360 hp (270 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle V-12 engines.
Yackey BRL-12 Transport
American conversion of a 14 B.2 with corrugated fuselage skins and floats.[21]


 El Salvador
Central Lithuania
Iran Persia
  • Polish Air Force - three French escadrilles were redesignated as Polish and transferred with their aircraft to Poland in 1919.[27] These were supplemented with an additional 70 aircraft which were eventually retired in 1924.[28]
  • Serbian Air Force - During WW1 three French escadrilles operated in Serbia with Serbian crews, and their aircraft eventually transferred to Serbia - who used them until 1923 [28]
 Soviet Union
Spain Spain
  • Swedish Air Force - received one aircraft only in 1919, which was given a civil registration in 1923.[29]
Thailand Siam
 United States
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Survivors and replicas[edit]

Replica Bréguet 14 at the Royal Thai Air Force Museum

Specifications (14 B.2)[edit]

Bréguet 14 B.2 drawing

Data from French aircraft of the First World War,[20] Profile #157 :The Bréguet 14[34]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 8.870 m (29 ft 1 in)
  • Upper wingspan: 14.364 m (47 ft 2 in) with original ailerons
14.86 m (48.8 ft) with balanced ailerons
  • Lower wingspan: 13.664 m (44 ft 10 in) with original ailerons
13.284 m (43.58 ft) with balanced ailerons
  • Height: 3.33 m (10 ft 11 in)
  • Wing area: 50.2 m2 (540 sq ft) with original ailerons
48.5 m2 (522 sq ft) with balanced ailerons
  • Airfoil: Eiffel 4.6%[35]
  • Empty weight: 1,017 kg (2,242 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,769 kg (3,900 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Renault 12Fcx V-12 water-cooled piston engine, 220 kW (300 hp)
Alternative engines
Renault 12Fcy 230 kW (310 hp)
Renault 12Fe 240 kW (320 hp) with Rateau turbocharger
Renault 12Ff 260 kW (350 hp)
Renault 12K 300 kW (400 hp)
Fiat A.12 190 kW (260 hp)
Fiat A.14 450 kW (600 hp)
Lorraine-Dietrich 12Da 280 kW (370 hp)
Lorraine-Dietrich 12E 290 kW (390 hp)
Liberty L-12 300 kW (400 hp)
Panhard 12C 260 kW (350 hp)
Panhard 12D 250 kW (340 hp)
Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII 270 kW (360 hp) (Nakajima B-6)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Ratier série 34 fixed-pitch wooden propeller, 2.940 m (9 ft 8 in) diameter with Renault 12F engines
(2-bladed Ratier série 34 fixed-pitch wooden propeller with Liberty L-12 engine)


  • Maximum speed: 195 km/h (121 mph, 105 kn)
  • Endurance: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Service ceiling: 6,200 m (20,300 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 4.867 m/s (958.1 ft/min)
  • Time to altitude: ::2,000 m (6,600 ft) in 9 minutes 15 seconds
3,000 m (9,800 ft) in 16 minutes 30 seconds
5,000 m (16,000 ft) in 47 minutes
  • Wing loading: 32 kg/m2 (6.6 lb/sq ft) (at max. takeoff weight)
  • Power/mass: 0.15 kW/kg (0.09 hp/lb) (at max. takeoff weight)


  • Guns: 1 × fixed 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Vickers machine gun + 2 × flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Lewis Gun on T.O.3 or T.O.4 mount for the observer
  • Bombs: up to 355 kg (783 lb) of bombs, typically 32x 8 kg (18 lb) 115mm bombs

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 16.
  2. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 3.
  3. ^ a b Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 4.
  4. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, pp. 4–5.
  5. ^ a b c d e Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 5.
  6. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, pp. 5–6.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 6.
  8. ^ a b c d e Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 7.
  9. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, pp. 6–7.
  10. ^ a b c d Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 12.
  11. ^ a b c Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 8.
  12. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, pp. 8–9.
  13. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 9.
  14. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 10.
  15. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, pp. 10–11.
  16. ^ a b Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 11.
  17. ^ a b c d Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 13.
  18. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, pp. 13–14.
  19. ^ "1921 Paris Air Salon: Bréguet 14Tbis." Flight, 24 November 1921.
  20. ^ a b Davilla, Dr. James J.; Soltan, Arthur M. (January 2002). French aircraft of the First World War. Flying Machines Press. pp. 101–126. ISBN 1891268090.
  21. ^ Eckland, K.O. "Aerofiles Y–Z". Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  22. ^ Davilla, 1997, p.115
  23. ^ Flores Jr., 2015, pp.359-364
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Davilla, 1997, p.116
  25. ^ Morareau 1990, p. 16
  26. ^ "All-Time Aircraft Used List | Paraguayan Air Force".
  27. ^ Davilla, 1997, pp.116-117
  28. ^ a b c d Davilla, 1997, pp.117
  29. ^ a b c d Davilla, 1997, pp.118
  30. ^ a b c Davilla, 1997, pp.119
  31. ^ a b Rimell, 1990, pp.38-39
  32. ^ "Breguet 14 A2 Plane Info". Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  33. ^ "Aero Visuals Airframe Dossier". Aerial Visuals. 1993–2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  34. ^ Bruce and Noel 1967, p. 14.
  35. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.


  • Andersson, Lennart (July 1998). "Histoire de l'aéronautique persane, 1921–1941: La première aviation du Chah d'Iran" [History of the Persian Air Force, 1921–1941: The First Aircraft of the Shah of Iran]. Avions: Toute l'Aéronautique et son histoire (in French) (76): 2–12. ISSN 1243-8650.
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