Amiot 143


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Amiot 143

Developed from the Amiot 140, the Amiot 143 M5 was preferred by the French Air Ministry to the Amiot 142 (with its liquid-cooled engines) to meet a requirement for a Multiplace de Combat (Multi-seat combat aircraft).

The first flight of a 143 was made in August 1934. It was an all-metal cantilever high-wing monoplane with an enclosed pilot's cockpit, manually operated nose and dorsal gun turrets and a large glazed ventral 'balcony' housing the bomb-aimer's position forward and the ventral gunner's position at the rear. The large fixed divided-type undercarriage had wheel spats. The first batch of 50 aircraft was delivered in the winter of 1935-6 to Escadres GB 1/22 and GB 11/22 at Chartres; from aircraft number 31 the fuselage was slightly lengthened. Total production amounted to 138 aircraft. Normal bomb load was 900kg, with 1,600kg as the overload weight, of which the internal capacity was 800kg and the rest carried underwing. Defensive armament comprised a nose turret with a single 7.7mm Lewis gun, a dorsal turret with twin 7.7 mm Lewis guns and a further twin Lewis mounting in the ventral location. From 1941 onwards these were replaced by single MAC 7.5mm machine-guns in each position.

In August 1939 91 Amiot 143s were still in service with first-line Escadres, 29 with training units and six in storage. The 34 Escadre carried out a number of daylight reconnaissance sorties between the Vosges and the left bank of the Rhine during September 1939. The Amiots also carried out a number of night reconnaissance and leaflet-dropping missions up to the end of the year, reaching into Germany as far as Neustadt. In March 1940 Escadres 1/63 and 11/63 were withdrawn to North Africa to re-equip with Martin 167F bombers and their Amiot 143s were passed over to the GIB (training unit) at Marrakesh. Interestingly, ten wooden mockups of the Amiot 143 were deployed on French aerodromes at the beginning of the May 'Blitzkrieg' to deceive German bombers, while 30 more were under construction. Up to 10 May French night raiders had been carrying only leaflets, but from then on until the French surrender Amiot 143s dropped a total of 528 tonnes of bombs in night raids. However, Amiot 143s are best remembered for their heroic mission of 14 May 1940 when, with fighter escort, they attacked the heavily defended bridges at Sedan during daylight hours. The aircraft of the 34 and 38 Escadres bombed from an altitude of 800m. Four aircraft were lost in action and all the rest seriously damaged. Amiot 143s were subsequently used for transport and training duties by the Vichy French, except for a few impressed by the Germans.

Amiot 143

 ENGINE2 x Gnome-Rhone 14Kirs/Kjrs Mistral Major radials, 649kW
  Take-off weight9700 kg21385 lb
  Empty weight6100 kg13448 lb
  Wingspan24.5 m80 ft 5 in
  Length18.0 m59 ft 1 in
  Height5.5 m18 ft 1 in
  Wing area100 m21076.39 sq ft
  Max. speed310 km/h193 mph
  Cruise speed270 km/h168 mph
  Ceiling7900 m25900 ft
  Range1200 km746 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 7.5mm machine guns, 800kg of bombs

Klaatu83, e-mail, 03.08.2015 02:36

Yet another French aircraft of the interwar period that appears to have been designed with nothing but a straight-edge ruler. The French designers of that period don't appear to have been much interested in curved lines, let along the principals of aerodynamic streamlining.


Gerard La Fontaine, e-mail, 05.12.2014 15:25

Compared to other french bombers of the day the 143 was quite sleek


Barry, 04.02.2013 14:49

The Sedan bridge raid was an unmitigated disaster. These planes were so typical of the monstrosities built by the French prior and at the begining of WWII. They continued to serve with the Vichy goverment and were later used by the allies as transports in North Africa up to and including 1944 after the French changed sides again.


, e-mail, 29.08.2011 18:00



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