(Redirected from Bloch MB.174
The Bloch MB.170 and its family of derivatives were French reconnaissance and bomber aircraft designed and built shortly before World War II. They were, by far, the best aircraft of this type available to the Armée de l'Air at the outbreak of war, with speed and maneuverability that allowed them to evade interception by the German fighters of the time. Although the aircraft could have been in service by 1937, vacillation over what role to give the aircraft delayed deliveries until 1940. Too few in number to make any measurable impact on the Battle of France, they continued in service with the Vichy forces after the armistice. The MB.174 will also be remembered as the aircraft flown by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince during the campaign.
In 1936, the Ministry for the Air engaged a programme of modernisation of French aviation which included a request concerning a general-purpose passenger aircraft that could also be used for missions of light bombardment and reconnaissance. The Bloch workshops proposed the MB.170 then, after many modifications, the definitive MB.174 version.
The Bloch MB.174 flew for the first time in July 1939 and entered in active service in March 1940. It quickly proved to be exceptional in its handling, but a major deficiency was the size of its bomb bay, too small to allow the carriage of bombs larger than 50 kg (110 lb). This was a major limiting factor on the aircraft's effectiveness against the Wehrmacht during the Blitzkrieg.
Also conceived for armed strategic recognition, it appeared extremely effective in these missions over Nazi Germany during the first months of 1940. Its speed and its maneuverability at altitude allowed it to escape from any most modern Luftwaffe fighters. However, like the majority of the modern equipment of the Armée de l'Air during the campaign, they arrived too late and in insufficient numbers. After the defeat of France, many aircraft were destroyed by their crews to avoid capture, and others joined the Free French Army while ten specimens were recovered by Germans and then used for pilot training.
After the fiftieth example was delivered in May 1940, the MB.175 succeeded the MB.174 on the assembly lines in full storm. This version, a dedicated bomber, had a redesigned bomb bay capable of carrying bombs of 100 or 200 kg (220-440 lb). Its fuselage was lengthened and widened to accommodate this greater capacity, but only 25 specimens of the MB.175 were delivered before the defeat. The MB.176 was a version with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines but which proved to have poorer performace than the MB.175. It was ordered into production in order to ease demand on the French engine manufacturers.
In March 1941, Germans engineers used engines taken from MB.175s (as well as other captured aircraft) to propel the Messerschmitt Me 323 cargo aircraft, some of which actually flew with parts taken from already complete MB.175s.
A final version designed for the torpedo role, the MB.175T was built in small series in 1947 and served with the Aéronavale until 1950.
- MB.170.01 - first prototype, equipped as reconnaissance aircraft
- MB.170.02 - second prototype, equipped as light bomber
- MB.174.01A.3 - original production version (56 built)
- MB.175B.3 - second production version (23 built, plus 56 unarmed versions for Luftwaffe
- MB.175T - post-war torpedo bomber version (80 built)
Single prototype powered by Hispano-Suiza 12Y-31 engines
- Crew: four
- Length: 12.25 m (40 ft 2 in)
- Wingspan: 17.90 m (58 ft 9 in)
- Height: 3.55 m (11 ft 8 in)
- Wing Area: 38.00 m² (409 ft²)
- Empty: 5,600 kg (12,346 lb)
- Loaded: kg ( lb)
- Maximum takeoff: 7,160 kg (15,784 lb)
- Powerplant: 2x Gnome-Rhône 14N -20/21 14-cylinder radial engines, 768 kW (1,030 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 530 km/h (331 mph)
- Range: 1,650 km (1,025 miles)
- Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,090 ft)
- Rate of climb: 727 m/min (2,385 ft/min)
- Wing loading: kg/m² ( lb/ft²)
- Power/Mass: kW/kg ( hp/lb)
- 2x forward firing 7.5 mm MAC 1934 machine guns in the wings
- 2x 7.5 mm MAC 1934 machine guns in the dorsal position
- 3x 7.5 mm MAC 1934 machine guns on aft-firing mounts
- 400 kg (880 lb) of bombs - usually 8x 40 kg (88 lb) bombs.