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France's Amiot 143 twin engine bomber

Design

The Amiot 143 was designed for a Armée de l'Air 1928 specification that called for a day and night long range bomber, escort, and reconnaissance aircraft.1,2,3

The Amiot 143 was an all metal design.2 The Amiot was designed because the Armée de l'Air wanted a multipurpose bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance aircraft.3

Prototype

Amiot, Blériot, Breguet and SPCA submitted prototypes and the Amiot 140 was picked.1,2,3 The 143 and 143M were in service from the middle 1930s.1

The 140MX prototype first flew in April 1931 / 19313.2,3

The Amiot 143 prototype first flew in August 1934.3

The first flight of the Amiot 143M production model was in April 1935.2

Production

An order was placed for 40 of the Amiot 140s in late 1933.1,2,3 With a new engine this was changed to the Amiot 143.1 A total of 178 140s, 143s, and 143Ms were built.1

  • Prototypes: 62
  • Amiot 142 prototype: 13
  • Amiot 143: 1783
  • Amiot 143M: 1382
  • Total: 1442
    • Manufacturer: SECM3

Variants

  • Amiot 140MX: Prototype with Lorraine engine (700 HP).2 Had an open cockpit.2
  • Amiot 142: Prototype.2 Had Hispano-Suiza radial engines.2,3
  • Amiot 142.01: Prototype.2 Had Gnome-Rhône radial engines (800 HP).2 Constructed in August 1934.2
  • Amiot 143 prototype: Had two Gnome-Rhône 14 engines (740 HP).3
  • Amiot 143: First 40 were slightly shorter.1
  • Amiot 143M: Main production model.1 Had supercharged Gnome-Rhône 14K engines.2 Had new defensive armament.2 Included additional fuel tanks.2
  • Amiot 143 BN4: Night bomber.1
  • Amiot 143 B5: Day bomber.1
  • Amiot 144M: Experimental model.2 Had new wings and retractable landing gear.2
  • Amiot 150BE: Experimental torpedo bomber.2 Had new wings and undercarriage that could be change to either floats or wheels.2

Usage

The Armée de l'Air used the Amiot 143M starting in July 1935.2,3

Start of World War II

After France declared war these were used for night reconnaissance and leaflet dropping.1,2,3

After the invasion of France they were used against the bridges of Sedan on May 14, 1940.1,2,3 Eleven of the twelve sent were shot down by the Germans.3

They were also used against railways and bridges in Belgium, France, and Germany.1

There were five3 / six bomber groups that were equipped with the Amiot 143M.2,3

France's Surrender

About ten of the Amiot 143s survived to be used as transports by the Germans.3

Vichy

The Vichy government used them as transports mostly in North Africa until 1944.1,2

Specifications

  Amiot 1431,3
Type Bomber3
Crew 53
Engine (Type) 2: Gnome-Rhône 14 Kirs3
Cylinders Radial 143
Cooling Air3
Net HP 8703
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 80' 5"3
Length 59'1, 59 11"3
17.951
Height 18' 7"3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Normal load  
Loaded 21,385 lb3
Performance  
Speed @ 13,120' /
4,000 m
193 mph3
Cruising speed  
Service ceiling 25,920'3
Range 746 miles3
Armament 2: MG3
4: 7.7 mm Lewis MG1
Nose turret 2: MG3
Bombs 2,870 lb3
  Amiot 143M1,2
Type Night bomber1
Reconnaissance1,2
Crew 51,2
Engine (Type) 2: Gnome-Rhône 14 Kirs/Kjrs Mistral Major1
2: Gnome-Rhône 14K Mistral Major2
Cylinders Radial 141,2
Cooling  
Net HP 870 each1, 900 each2
Propeller blades 3 each2
Dimensions  
Span 80' 5"1, 80' 6"2
24.53 m1,2
Length 59' 10"1, 59' 11"2
18.26 m1,2
Height 18' 6"1, 18' 8"2
5.68 m1,2
Wing area 1,076 ft2 1
100 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 13,420 lb1, 13,448 lb2
6,100 kg1,2
Normal load 19,568 lb2
8,876 kg2
Loaded 21,385 lb1,2
9,700 kg1,2
Performance  
Speed @ 13,000' /
4,000 m
192 mph1
310 kph1
Speed @ 13,120' /
4,000 m
193 mph2
310 kph2
Cruising speed 154-168 mph2
248-270 kph2
Climb to 13,000' /
4,000 m
with 18,942 lb /
8,610 kg
14' 20"1
Climb to 13,120' /
4,000'
14.3 minutes2
Service ceiling 25,920'2, 26,000'1
7,900 m1,2
Range 745 miles1, 746 miles2
1,200 km1,2
Range - maximum 1,240 miles2
1,995 km2
Armament 4: 7.5 mm MAC 1934 MG1
Nose turret 1: 7.5 mm MG2
Dorsal turret 1: 7.5 mm MG2
Gondola 2: 7.5 mm MG2
Bombs external racks 1,760 lb1
800 kg1
Bombs internal 1,760 lb1
800 kg1
Bombs 3,960 lb2
1,796 kg2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of World War II, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site