Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Bréguet 14, Finest French Bomber of the Great War

A Bréguet 14 at an American Depot in 1918

The Bréguet 14 was the aircraft that the French aircrews had been waiting for since 1916—a day-bomber that could hold its own against the German fighters. Aviation historian René Martel described the single-engine biplane as powerful, stable but sensitive on the controls, fast-climbing, well-armed, and capable of flying in large formations. It was first used operationally in autumn 1917. Under its wings it carried 32 17.6-pound bombs released by the Michelin automatic bomb rack. 

A Restored Bréguet 14 Flying in 2014

It was also powerful, propelled by a Renault engine and later by a Lorraine-Dietrich of 300 horsepower. At the end of the war, it was even equipped with 370-hp American Liberty engines. The use, at the same time, of the Rateau turbocompressor enabled it to reach new levels of altitude. It was also light, thanks to the bold use of "duraluminum," which was used by the German air service in its zeppelins and Junkers airplanes.