Bloch MB.131

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Bloch MB.131 is a four-seater reconnaissance aircraft and bombers used by France at the beginning of World War II.

Origin :  

In 1935, realizing that the concept BCR (bombing, combat, intelligence) led to a dead end, Marcel Bloch was redesigning the Twin Bloch MB.130 designed for this program. Simply become four-seater bomber and reconnaissance, MB.131 showed significantly improved aerodynamics with a completely new fuselage while retaining the Gnome engines and Rhône 14 Kirs / Kjrs. The Air Force placed an order for 40 aircraft on 1 April 1936 without waiting for the start of practice. Courbevoie built and assembled at Villacoublay MB.131-01 the prototype first flew 12 August 1936 and piloted by Curvale Armand Raimbeau with registration E-221 painted under the wings. 6 December 1936 he joined Marignane for official practice. Because of vibration the wing was enlarged and modified tail surfaces: new drift design, reduced stabilizer with introduction of a positive dihedral.

Presented at the Paris Air Show in 1936, the second prototype (MB.131-02, E-222) did not take the air until 7 May 19371. It was characterized by the movement of the dorsal turret, the appearance of a ventral gun position and thus a fifth crewman. He entered the flight test center of materials (CEMA) in June 1937. When the Société des Avions Marcel Bloch was absorbed by SNCASO its engines were being replaced by Gnome and Rhône 14N.10 / 11 that will successful series. This twin-engine was finally fitted with dual controls for education, becoming MB.131 Ins before delivery to the Air Force, while the MB.131-01 was abandoned.

Five markets (No. 292/6, 293/6, 855/6, 856/6 and 984/7) carrying control MB.131 141 and 132 to occur in the new plant in Chateauroux-Deols were made between April and December 1936 but in April 1938 Plan V transformed the MB.132 in as many MB.131. The MB.131 was therefore the only version of the twin-engine produced in series.

The first device to come out of the new plant Deols (MB.131-03) took the air on June 1, 1938, equipped with a semi-retractable ventral turret. This device proved cumbersome and complex. It was abandoned in favor of a ventral gondola, less efficient but more aerodynamic

Production  : 

The first 13 production aircraft (No. 3 to 15, E-223/235) were MB.131 R4 recognition quadriplaces the following five machines (No. 16 to 20, E-236/238 and E6241 / 242) of MB .131 Ins instruction. All twin engine produced from No. 21 were delivered as quadriplaces reconnaissance and bombing MB.131 RB4 (No. 21 to 40, E-243/262 and No. 45 to 142, L-300/397). Despite delays in manufacturing the 141 planes ordered were delivered, and the MB.132 MB.133 prototypes have been developed MB.131 standard (No. 42/44, E-298, E-296 and E-304) as MB .131-02.

Service : 

Although theoretically capable of carrying 800 kg of bombs, the MB.131 was confined to reconnaissance squadrons due to relatively poor performance. From June 1938 the first Deols outgoing units were assigned to GR I / 22 and II / 22. The GR I / 55 was fitted in turn early 1939 and in the spring the 14th GAA and GR I / 35.

In September 1939 there were 109 MB.131 service within GR I / 14 II GR / 14 GR I / 21 II GR / 22 GR I / 35, GR I / 36 II GR / 36 GR I / 55 GR / II / 55 and GR / I / 61. Employees unescorted for day reconnaissance on the Siegfried Line, they were easy prey for German fighters: Two aircraft of the 14th RBM were victims of Bf 109 I / JG53 on 9 September: No. 92 crashed in flames the second managed to pose with a feathered propeller. 17 September 2 twin-engine GR I / 22 performing reconnaissance on the Saar were again chased by Messerschmitt of I / JG53. The No. 100 was able to escape but the No. 86 crashed in Morsbach. As of September 18, 1939 they were banned by day missions. 20 September 1 MB.131 GR I / 14 ended his night of recognition on the belly. The MB.131 No. 80 GR II / 55 was again shot down near Freiburg im Breisgau September 26 while trying to escape to 6 Bf 109 of II / JG 52 and November 22, the No. 122 GR I / 36 performing a training output undergoes shots of MS.406 patrol GC II / 2. Orders severed, he manages to land on his belly in La Fere-Curves. All causes the air force lost 8 MB.131 (10 kills) between September 1939 and May 1940.

Phased out of front line as soon as the 63.11 Potez became available in early 1940, they were transferred to schools for training and target towing. May 10, 1940 we were still yet 35 frontline with GR I / 36 and GR II / 36, and the GR-I / 61 formed in AFN, while 64 were in schools. At the armistice is a census of 53 copies in the free zone and 21 were captured by the Germans in November 1942 to be scrapped after tests deemed calamitous. Only two copies were used by aircraft of the Vichy government for target towing missions.

Technical specifications: (Bloch MB.131RB4)

Length 17.85 m   
Height 4,09 m
Wing span : 20,27 m
Wing area : 54 m²
Drive two 950 hp (708 kW) Gnome-Rhône 14N10 / 11 air-cooled star-motors
 Maximum speed 349 km / h
Rate of climb 5.1 m / s
Service ceilling : 7.250 m
Range : 1,300 km
Empty weight : 4,690 kg
Loaded weight : 8,600 kg
Crew :  4
 Armament three 7.5mm MGs of the type MAC 1934 in movable positions in the bow, stern (bottom) and movable tower (top),
800 kg bombsloading

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