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Bloch MB.131

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The Bloch MB.130 and its derivatives were a series of French monoplane reconnaissance-bombers developed during the 1930s. They saw some limited action at the beginning of World War II but were obsolete by that time and suffered badly against the Luftwaffe. After the fall of France, a few were pressed into Luftwaffe service.

Design and development

The MB.130 was developed in response to the August 1933 French Aviation Ministry request for a reconnaissance and tactical bomber. It was an all-metal, twin-engine, low-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear, and armed with three flexible machine guns, one each in the nose, dorsal turret, and ventral gondola. It first flew on 29 June 1934, and despite very ordinary performance, soon entered production, 40 machines being ordered in October 1935. An improved version, the MB.131 was first flown on 16 August 1936, but still needed more work to overcome its deficiencies. The radically revised second prototype which flew on 5 May 1937 eventually formed the basis for series production, with aircraft being manufactured by SNCASO, the nationalised company that had absorbed Bloch and Blériot. Total production (including prototypes) was 143.

Operational history

Entering service in June 1938, the MB.131 went on to equip seven reconnaissance Groupes, six in metropolitan France and one in North Africa. Upon the outbreak of the war, the metropolitan Groupes suffered heavy losses in attempts at daylight reconnaissance of Germany's western borders. They were subsequently restricted to flying night missions, though they still suffered heavy losses even then. By May 1940, all metropolitan units had been converted to Potez 63.11 aircraft, with only the African groupe retaining them for front-line duty.

After the Battle of France, the planes left in Vichy possession were relegated to target towing duty. 21 planes were reported captured by the Luftwaffe in inoperable condition, but photographic evidence suggests at least a few flew for the Nazis.


Original prototype.
First prototype.
Second prototype with revised wings, tail, and fuselage
Initial versions with one central machine gun, 13 built. Note: Breffort and Joiuineau say that 14 R4 aircraft were built.
Dual control instructor version, 5 built.
Four-seat reconnaissance-bomber aircraft. Internal bomb bay and revised equipment. 121 built, including two prototypes refitted to this standard. Note: Breffort and Joiuineau say that 100 RB4 aircraft were built.
Prototype with redesigned tail, 1 built.
Prototype with two 820 kW (1,100 hp) Hispano-Suiza L4 AA engines, 1 built.


Template:Country data France Vichy France
  • Vichy aviation operated some aircraft.
Template:Country data Germany
  • Luftwaffe operated captured aircraft in restricted roles.

Specifications (MB.131RB.4)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Four
  • Length: 17.85 m (58 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 20.27 m (66 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 4.09 m (13 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 54 m² (581 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 4,690 kg (10,340 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,600 kg (18,960 lb)
  • Powerplant:Gnome-Rhône 14N-10/11 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, 708 kW (950 hp) each



  • Guns: 3 × 7.5 mm (.295 in) MAC 1934 machine guns in flexible mounts in the nose, dorsal turret, and ventral gondola.
  • Bombs: 800 kg (1,764 lb) of bombs

See also

Related lists


Template:Bloch aircraft

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bloch MB.131".