World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of P-51 Mustang
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of T-34/85
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Fw-190
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Churchill
wwiivehicles.com ©2016
Search:
France's flagFrance's Aircraft Roundel Marking

France's Morane-Saulnier M.S.406; Morane-Saulnier MS 406 fighter

Photos

Morane-Saulnier M.S.406:
Morane-Saulnier M.S.406
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Morane-Saulnier M.S.406:
Morane-Saulnier M.S.406
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Morane-Saulnier M.S.406:
France's Morane-Saulnier M.S.406

Morane-Saulnier M.S.406:
France's Morane-Saulnier M.S.406
Morane-Saulnier M.S.406:
France's Morane-Saulnier M.S.406

Easy Model's M.S.406 model:
Easy Model of France's Morane-Saulnier M.S.406

Design

The Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 was the Armée de l'Air's first modern fighter.

The MS 406 was descended from the MS 405.

The M.S.406's frame was all metal with a covering of aluminum, plywood, and fabric.

Wings

The wing mounted 7.7 mm machine guns were placed outside the propeller disc.

There was a gun camera in the port wing.

Tail Wheel

Early models had a tailskid. This was replaced in later models with a retractable tailwheel.

Fuselage

The rear fuselage was mostly covered in fabric. The front fuselage was covered in Plymax, a plywood skinning bonded to the alloy frame.

Engine

The radiator for the engine was retractable.

Prototype

The MS 405's prototype first flew on August 8, 1935.

The prototype of the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 was first flown on May 20, 1938 / January 24, 1939.

Production

In 1937 the Morane-Saulnier M.S. 406 was ordered into production.

By April 1938 there were orders for 955 M.S. 406 to be built by September 1939.
By March 1938 there were orders for 1,000 MS 406s.

There was to be 1,000 M.S. 406s constructed but only 572 were completed. These were built in three factories.

  • Morane-Saulnier MS 405: 17
  • Morane-Saulnier MS 406: 1,077
  • Total: 1,081
    • Manufacturer: SNCAO
  • D-3800: 84
    • License built by Switzerland.
  • D-3801: 224
    • Built by Switzerland from 1941 to 1948.

Variants

  • Morane-Saulnier MS 405: Prototype. Had a Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine.
  • Morane-Saulnier MS 406:
  • Morane-Saulnier MS 410: 79 modified MS 406s. Had stronger wings. Carried four machine guns in the wings.
  • Morane-Saulnier MS 412 / D-3801: Built by Switzerland. Had Hispano-Suiza 12Y-51 engine.
  • D-3800: License built by EKW.

Usage

The MS 406 was used by Croatia (44), Finland (40 / 87), France, Germany, Italy (52), Switzerland (2), and Turkey (30).

First Public Appearance

The M.S.406 was first shown at the Brussels Air Show in 1937.

First Unit

In December 1938 the first operational unit received the M.S.406.

Start of World War II

By September 1939 there were almost 600 M.S.406s constructed. Twelve units were equipped with the M.S.406.

Invasion of France

37 M.S.406s were lost on the first day of the invasion of France at Cambrai, Damblain, Vitry, and Le Quesnoy.

M.S.406 pilots claimed to have shot down 175 / 191 enemy aircraft, but they lost over 400 of their own. 150 M.S.406s were shot down, 100 destroyed on the ground, and 50 were destroyed by ground crews so they wouldn't be captured.

There were 14 groupes de chasse equipped with the M.S. 406.

Successes

On June 8, 1940, a single M.S.406 shot down three Messerschmitt Bf 109s in 15 seconds.

Finland

Finland replaced the Hispano-Suiza engine in the M.S. 406s that they received with a Morko Moraani and the performance of the fighter was much improved.

Switzerland

289 EFW D-3800 fighters were produced by the Swiss based on the M.S. 406.

Vichy France

One unit used the M.S. 406s with the Vichy France air force.

Croatia

Croatia received some of the surrendered M.S.406s.

Specifications

  Morane-Saulnier M.S.406
Morane-Saulnier MS 406
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Hispano-Suiza
Hispano-Suiza 12 Y,
Hispano-Suiza 12Y-31 piston,
Hispano-Suiza HS 12Y 31 piston
Cylinders Inline, V 12, 12
Cooling Liquid
Net HP 850, 860
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 23' 9", 34' 9", 34' 9.5", 34' 9.75", 35'
10.6 m, 10.61 m, 10.62 m
Length 26' 3", 26' 9", 26' 9.25", 26' 9.5"
8.15 m, 8.16 m, 8.17 m
Height 8' 10", 9' 3", 9' 3.75", 10' 8.5"
2.8 m, 2.84 m, 3.25 m
Wing area 172 ft2 , 172.2 ft2
16 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,178 lb, 4,180 lb, 4,189 lb
1,895 kg, 1,900 kg
Loaded 4,900 lb, 5,364 lb, 5,434 lb, 5,600 lb
2,433 kg, 2,470 kg, 2,540 kg
Maximum load 6,000 lb
2,722 kg
Performance  
Speed 310 mph
Speed @ sea level 248 mph, 250 mph
399 kph
Speed @ 13,200' 303 mph
Speed @ 14,765' /
4,500 m
304 mph
490 kph
Speed @ 16,400' 302 mph
Speed @ 16,405' /
5,000 m
302 mph
486 kph
Speed @ 16,500' /
5,000 m
300 mph
485 kph
Cruising speed 248 mph
399 kph
Climb 2,559'/minute
780 m/minute
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
6.5 minutes
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
9 minutes
Service ceiling 30,840', 31,000', 32,810'
9,400 m, 10,000 m
Range 497 miles, 680 miles, 684 miles, 932 miles
1,100 km, 1,500 km
Armament  
Thru propeller 20 mm
20 mm Hispano
20 mm HS 404
Wings 2: MG
2: 7.5 mm MG
2: 7.5 mm MAC 1934 MG

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of World War II, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site