|BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Bloch|
The Bloch 131, developed from Bloch 130.01 Guynemer prototype, flew in July 1934. The low-wing Bloch 130 was a smaller version of the Bloch 210, but with a fixed and trousered undercarriage. A total redesign led to the Bloch 131, with a glazed nose and tall single fin and rudder, and powered by two 708kW Gnome-Rhone 14N radial engines. A retractable undercarriage was fitted. Armament comprised 7.5mm machine-guns in nose, dorsal turret and ventral positions. One hundred and thirty-nine production Bloch 131 were built for the Armee de l'Air in the RB4 category as four-crew machines intended for bombing and reconnaissance. The first six aircraft were delivered by June 1938, the rest by September 1939. Most went to Reconnaissance Groupes, suffering heavy losses at the beginning of the 'Phoney War' period. From October 1939 the type was used only for occasional night missions and for training. The max bomb load in various combinations was 800kg. The single Bloch 133, with a new twin fin and rudder tailplane, was later converted to a standard Bloch 131. Following France's capitulation, the Vichy regime used surviving Bloch 131s for target-towing.