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Amiot 143 Flight, Circa France 1940

A trio of 143s in formation.[1]

The Amiot 143 was a twin engine French bomber which served during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

History

Development and testing

The Amiot 143 was originally designed as the Amiot 140, in response to a 1928 French Air Force requirement for a multicrew combat aircraft.[N 1] Following the introduction of the 14kdrs/Kgrs radial,[N 2] the initial order for 40 examples was amended to a similar number of Amiot 143 aircraft,[2] which were built with enclosed cockpits.[3] The first prototype, the 143-01, first flew in August 1934, and was used for bombing and firing trials in 1935. A single 143M was used for high temperature trials in Indo-China during 1936, for which it was fitted with Gnome Rhone 14N radials.[2]

Production

Production switched after completion of 40 143s to the further improved 143M, which had the 14 Kirs/Kjis, a longer fuselage and MAC 1934 machine guns in place of the Lewis machine guns previously used. Total production, including 25 aircraft built to 143 BN4 night bomber and 143 B5 day bomber standard, amounted to 178 aircraft, which had all been delivered by 1939.[2] The first unit to receive the 143 was 1 Groupe, 22 Escardre based at Chartres. [2]

In service

The first unit to receive the 143 was 1 Groupe, 22 Escardre based at Chartres, [2] which received the first of 138 production examples, designated the Amiot 143M.4, in July 1935.[3] Following the declaration of war,[N 3] the 143 was used for night reconnaissance and leaflet raids over enemy territory, as it was the only type with sufficient range apart from the Farman F.222. In addition to those aircraft based in France, a single bomber group based in Marrakesh were equipped with 143Ms.

After the start of the German invasion of France, the 143 was used for bombing missions against bridges and marshalling yards. On 14 May 1940, one such daylight raid by 12 aircraft, against bridges at Sedan, led to most of the bombers being lost. However, during night operations, two units - GB I/38 and II/38 - lost only four aircraft during 197 sorties.

The establishment of Vichy France resulted in surviving Amiot 143s being converted into transport aircraft for service in North Africa, where the last 143s were grounded in February 1944.[2]

References

Notes

  1. According to one apocryphal story, the Amiot was chosen ahead of the competing designs from Bleriot, Breguet and SPCA because it was the ugliest of the four designs.[2]
  2. A single aircraft designated Amiot 142 was fitted with liquid cooled Hispano Suiza engines.[2]
  3. 91 examples were still in service at this point - six in storage, 29 assigned to training units and 56 used as front line bombers.[3]

Sources

  1. Air War
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Aircraft of the World Card Collection - Group 13 Card 43 (Other Aircraft of World War II: Amiot 143)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 World Aircraft Information Files File 889 Sheet 59 (A-Z of Aircraft: Amiot 110 to AMX International AMX)

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