Marcel Riffard, who joined the French company Societe Anonyme des Avions Caudron as chief designer in 1932, became renowned during the next four years when well streamlined racing aircraft of his design won the Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe contests in 1934, 1935 and 1936. The excellence of the basic design induced the company to develop a lightweight fighter aircraft that would benefit from the experience gained in construction and development of the Coupe Deutsch contenders, leading to the Caudron C.710 prototype which flew for the first time on 18 July 1936.
The C.710, despite its small size and weight, soon showed its potential for development, for even with fixed landing gear and armed by two 20mm cannon its 336kW Renault 12Ro1 engine was sufficient to provide a maximum speed that exceeded that of many contemporary fighters. This led to the C.713 Cyclone, first flown in December 1937, which was generally similar in overall design and powerplant, but which introduced retractable tailwheel type landing gear and redesigned vertical tail surfaces. Final evolution of Riffard's design was the C.714.01 prototype, first flown in the summer of 1938, which differed by having some structural strengthening and a wing of improved profile.
The factory testing of this prototype confirmed Riffard's performance estimates, and it was handed over to the CEMA for trials in September 1938. In November there followed an order for 100 C.714 production aircraft which were required to have four 7.5mm wing-mounted machine-guns. Of low-wing cantilever monoplane configuration, the C.714 was an all-wood construction, except that all control surfaces had light alloy framework and fabric covering. The wing section was so shallow that it wasnot possible to mount machine-guns conventionally, within the wing structure, and special streamlined pods were designed, these carrying a pair of guns beneath each wing.
Production began in the summer of 1939, and 50 of the aircraft which had been intended to serve with the Armee de I'Air were diverted to the assistance of Finland, but only six had been received by 12 March 1940, the balance being presumed to have been lost en route. It is believed that about 40 C.714s were delivered to the French air force, which, after some 90 had been built, cancelled production because of dissatisfaction with the type's rate of climb. They were used to equip an all-Polish squadron which became known as the 'Warsaw Group' (GC 1/145), this unit seeing action against the Germans between 2-13 June 1940. Following the collapse of France, a small number were used by the Vichy French air force, and about 20 were confiscated by the Germans for use by the Luftwaffe.
| ENGINE||1 x 336kW Renault 12Ro1 inline piston engine|
| Take-off weight||1750 kg||3858 lb|
| Empty weight||1400 kg||3086 lb|
| Wingspan||8.97 m||29 ft 5 in|
| Length||8.53 m||28 ft 0 in|
| Height||2.87 m||9 ft 5 in|
| Wing area||12.5 m2||134.55 sq ft|
| Max. speed||485 km/h||301 mph|
| Cruise speed||320 km/h||199 mph|
| Ceiling||9100 m||29850 ft|
| Range||900 km||559 miles|
| ARMAMENT||4 x 7.5mm machine-guns|
|A three-view drawing (1278 x 848)|
|Robert Willis, e-mail, 30.08.2020 01:06|
The Caudron 714 was fully developed & ready for series production by the autumn of 1938. Despite costing only half as much as a Bloch 151, the C 714 matched the MB 151's speed & armament, had almost twice the range, was more maneuverable, & far more fuel efficient. The Cyclone's biggest advantage is that Renault could have delivered large numbers of the 475 - 500 hp 12R engine cheaply & quickly at a time when engine shortages were the key factor in limiting combat aircraft production. The harshest critics of the C-714 proceed on the absurd assumption that the Luftwaffe was France's only potential opponent. Although it was foolish to deploy the C-714s against the Germans, these inexpensive lightweight fighters would still have been effective against most Italian aircraft in 1940. It was also possible that Franco's forces might have joined her Axis partners in attacking France. If so, the C-714 would have been able to at least hold it's own against most of the types in the Spanish Nationalist Air Force. It should also be noted that at the time of the German attack, over 100 D-510s & other obsolete fighters were still in service with various ECRs (Regional Defense Squadrons) throughout metropolitan France. Had these units been equipped with Caudrons, they would have been far more effective. The C-714 would also have made a good advanced trainer; suitable to play the role of the Me-109 in DACT against D-501s simulating the MS 406 or Hawk 75.
Despite being greatly outnumbered, Polish pilots (the only ones who flew the type in the Battle of France) scored 12 confirmed and three unconfirmed victories in three battles between 8 June and 11 June, losing nine in the air and nine more on the ground. Among the aircraft they shot down were four Dornier Do 17 bombers, three Messerschmitt Bf 109s, and five Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters. That said, considering the large numbers of MS 406 fighters already available in reserve, it is strange that French authorities obliged these highly skilled & committed Poles to make do with the Caudron. As for the Winter War in Finland, the Caudron was not up to the harsh conditions when compared to such relatively robust machines as the Gladiator & MS 406. For example, the higher landing speed of the C 714 made it unsuitable for operations from frozen lakes.
|Klaatu83, e-mail, 02.01.2012 21:44|
This was another unsuccessful attempt by the French to develop a "lightweight fighter". The only really successful aircraft of this genre developed during WW-II was the Yak-3 which, ironically, ended up being flown by ex-patriot French pilots.
Six C.714 fighters were delivered to Finland where, despite a shortage of modern combat aircraft, they were deemed to be useless.
|Marcin Nevinyrral, e-mail, 07.05.2011 21:57|
Polish pilots scored 12 confirmed and three unconfirmed victories in three battles, losing nine in the air and nine more on the ground. among the aircraft shot down were four Dornier Do 17 bombers, but also three Messerschmitt Bf 109 and five Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters. Well Polish pilotdidn't get any other craft so even when French Minister of war ordered C.714s to be withdrawn from service they continued to fly on them. C.714 wasstill better then polish PZL P.24
|lucas boaventura, e-mail, 11.03.2011 15:16|
não é nem ruim ,nem bom é fica na média
|leo rudnicki, e-mail, 30.04.2009 01:27|
My source was a pilot who crash-landed after no success. I wasn't aware of any documented records kept at that time regarding claims vs losses. I am sure Spitfires fit their temperment much better.
|Greg, 30.04.2009 00:46|
Well, Poles operating 35 of those a /c claimed 12 enemy a /c shot down and 2 possible - not bad, I say Leo!
|leo rudnicki, e-mail, 29.04.2009 01:11|
The French pilots wouln't go near them, only the Poles and only because they had guns and because they weren't getting better craft. the result of Polish encounters was inevitably disastrous. The Caudron was not a good aircraft let alone a good fighter, and unreliable to boot.
|Bill Cronk, e-mail, 21.02.2007 20:34|
I would like to know how the canopy works in this aircraft. Does it roll down? is it hindged?
|Gorka L Martinez Mezo, 04.03.2007 21:23|
Do you have any comments?
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