CASA-Breguet XIX Super Bidon
Light bomber/reconnaissance aircraft, Spain/France

Archive Photos 1

CASA-Breguet XIX (Jesus del Gran Poder) at the Museo Del Aire, Cuatro Vientos Air Base, Madrid, Spain (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2

The Breguet 19 (Breguet XIX, Br.19 or Bre.19) was a light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, also used for long-distance flights, designed by the French Breguet company and produced from 1924.

Development 2

The Breguet 19 was designed as a successor to a highly successful World War I light bomber, the 14. Initially, it was designed to be powered by a 340 kW (450 hp) Bugatti U-16 engine, driving a four-blade propeller, and such a prototype was shown on the 7th Paris Air Show in November 1921. A new design was flown in March 1922, featuring a conventional layout with a single 340 kW (450 hp) Renault 12Kb inline engine. The aircraft was built in a sesquiplane platform, with lower wings substantially smaller than the upper ones. After trials, the Breguet 19 was ordered by the French Army’s Aéronautique Militaire in September 1923.

The first 11 Breguet 19 prototypes were powered by a number of different engines. A "trademark" of Breguet was the wide usage of duralumin as a construction material, instead of steel or wood. At that time, the aircraft was faster than other bombers, and even some fighter aircraft. Therefore, it met with a huge interest in the world, strengthened by its sporting successes. Mass production, for the Aéronautique Militaire and export, started in France in 1924.

Design 2

The Breguet 19 was a biplane (sesquiplane), conventional in layout, with braced wings. The fuselage, ellipsoid in cross-section, was a frame of duralumin pipes. The front part was covered with duralumin sheets, the tail with canvas. The wings were canvas covered. It had a conventional fixed landing gear with rear skid. The crew of two, pilot and observer/bombardier, sat in tandem in open cockpits, with dual controls.

A wide variety of engine types were fitted, mostly water-cooled V-12 or W-12 inline engines, including the following:

A fixed 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Vickers machine gun with an interrupter gear was operated by the pilot, while the observer had twin 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Lewis Guns. There was also a fourth machine gun, which could be fired by the observer downwards through an opening in the floor. The Br.19CN2 night fighter variant was fitted with two pilot’s machine guns. The bomber variant could carry up to 472 kg (1,041 lb) of bombs under the fuselage, or in a vertical bomb bay (small bombs up to 50 kg (110 lb)). The reconnaissance variant could carry 12 × 10 kg (22 lb) bombs. The reconnaissance variant had a camera mounting, which was optional on the bomber variant. All variants had radio.

Operational History 2

The Breguet had its baptism of fire during the Greco-Italian War, in World War II. At the outbreak of war, 18 Breguet were on line with 1 Observation (or Army Cooperation) Mira, under I Corp Command, based at Perigiali, near Corinth and with 2 Observation Mira under II Corps command, based at Larissa and Kozani. On 4 November 1940, a RHAF (Royal Hellenic Air Force) Breguet from 2 Mira was sent looking for the attacking 3rd Julia Alpine Division, locating it in a mountain pass near Metsovo. Three more Breguets sent to bomb the Italian division were in turn attacked by three Fiat CR.42 fighters. A Breguet was shot down, one crash-landed and the third returned to base, though badly shot up.

Variants 2

Operators 2

Record Variants 2

Both standard and modified Breguet 19s were used for numerous record-breaking flights. The first was the Br.19 prototype, which won a military aircraft speed contest in Madrid on 17 February 1923. On 12 March 1923, it also set an international altitude record of 5,992 m (19,659 ft) carrying a 500 kg (1,100 lb) load. It was later bought by the Spanish government.

The Jesús del Gran Poder, was a special version of the Breguet 19 that flew to Brazil from Spain in 1929. Many crews made long-distance flights in Br.19s. In February 1925, Thieffry flew from Brussels to Leopoldville in central Africa, a distance of 8,900 km (5,500 mi). Two Br.19 A2s were bought by the Japanese Asahi Shimbun newspaper and fitted with additional fuel tanks. They were flown by H. Abe and K. Kawachi on the Tokyo-Paris-London route in July 1925, covering 13,800 km (8,600 mi). Between 27 August and 25 September 1926, the Polish crew of Boleslaw Orlinski flew the Warsaw-Tokyo route (10,300 km (6,400 mi)) and back, in a modified Br.19 A2, despite the fact that one of its lower wings was broken on the way. Between 1927 and 1930, Romanian, Yugoslavian and Polish Br.19s were often used in Little Entente air races.

Breguet 19 GRs and TRs set several world records, mostly of long-distance non-stop flights, starting with Arrachart and Lemaitre’s 3,166 km (1,967 mi) flight from Paris to Villa Cisneros in 24.5 hours on 2-3 February 1925. On 14-15 July 1926, Girier and Dordilly set a new record of 4,716 km (2,930 mi) between Paris and Omsk, beaten on 31 August-1 September by Challe and Weiser’s 5,174 km (3,215 mi), and on 28 October by Dieudonne Costes and Rignot’s 5,450 km (3,390 mi). From 10 October 1927 - 14 April 1928, Costes and Le Brix flew a Br.19 GR (named Nungesser-Coli) around the world, covering 57,000 km (35,000 mi) - though the journey between San Francisco and Tokyo was taken by ship.

The Super Bidon was created especially for the purpose of a transatlantic flight. It was named Point d’Interrogation ("The Question Mark"). Dieudonne Costes and Maurice Bellonte set a non-stop distance record of 7,905 km (4,912 mi) from Paris to Moullart on 27-29 September 1929 on this aircraft. Then on 1-2 September 1930, they flew from Paris to New York City, a distance of 6,200 km (3,900 mi) making the first non-stop east-west crossing by a fixed-wing aircraft of the North Atlantic. The second Super Bidon, the Spanish Cuatro Vientos, vanished over Mexico with M. Barberan and J. Collar Serra, after a transatlantic flight from Seville to Cuba on 10-11 June 1933.

Specifications (Br.19 A.2) 2

General Characteristics





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