Potez 630 (Series) Heavy Fighter / Multirole Aircraft
This Potez line of multirole aircraft took part in several of the major campaigns of World War 2 - including the failed defense of France in 1940.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Potez 630 series of twin-engine aircraft was introduced with the French Armee de l'Air (French Air Force) in the late-1930s as an all-modern, metal-clad, heavy-class fighter. Its design kept pace with other twin-engine, multi-role developments witnessed during the period - particularly those emerging from Britain and Germany where their proved a need for heavy fighter types to contend with the growing threat of bombers who saw their own technological growth throughout the decade. Heavy fighters were to offer both performance and armament suitable for successfully engaging larger targets and, when outfitted with bombs, could engage ground targets as needed with equal fervor.
The Potez 630 emerged from a French Air Force requirement of 1934 which called for a multi-role aircraft capable of air control/direction, interception/bomber escorting, and night fighting. Design of the 630 line was attributed to Potez engineers Louis Coroller and Andre Delaruelle and their approach utilized a well-streamlined, metal-skinned body fitting a three-man (seated inline) cockpit at front with a tapering rear section mounting a dual vertical tail fin arrangement. The mainplanes were fitted low along the fuselage sides and ahead of midships with each wing mounting a single radial piston engine along the leading edge. The undercarriage was retractable (save for the tail wheel) and of the "tail-dragger" arrangement which saw two main, single-wheeled legs fitted under each engine nacelle. The long cockpit was covered over in a greenhouse-style canopy with thin framing which offered good views of the surrounding action. The pilot sat at front with a mission specialist at center, and a dedicated gunner at rear. The center crewman position could be eliminated base on mission need and a ventral area allowed for management of lower armament or observation of the passing terrain below. Power was from 2 x Hispano-Suiza 14HBs radials of 580 horsepower each.
As designed, the aircraft showcased a standard armament suite of 1 x fixed, forward-firing 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine gun and 1 x fixed, rear-firing machine gun of same model and caliber in the ventral gondola. The rear gunner managed another of the same gun, though this on trainable mounting hardware in a dorsal position primarily facing aft.