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Bloch MB.210

Medium Bomber Aircraft

France | 1935

"The Bloch 210 series represented the first true modern bomber design of the French Air Force leading up to World War 2."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/05/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Societe des Avions Marcel Bloch, a French aviation concern, designed, developed and produced several pre-World War 2 aircraft in both civilian and military guises. Final civilian forms came in 1939, just prior to the Fall of France in the summer of 1940, while military versions persisted into 1947. By the end of World War 2, the concern had officially changed its name to Dassault Aviation, a name which continues in the aviation realm even today (2013). The original Bloch concern was founded by French aircraft engineer Marcel Bloch (1892-1986) who later had his last name legally changed to Dassault in response to the mass persecution of Jews in France under the Nazi-aligned Vichy French government.

Bloch developed a high-winged, twin-engine bomber in the early 1930s which was adopted by several air powers of the day (inluding that of the French). This aircraft was designated as the MB.200 ("Marcel Bloch Model 200") and approximately 332 of the type were constructed from 1933 to 1939. The MB.200 was developed in response to a 1932 French Air Force requirement for a modern day/night-capable bomber. The series was eventually evolved into three other forms, each fitting various engine types.

From this basic design came the improved private venture MB.210 series. One of the major design changes in this form was the relocation of the main wing appendages to a low-mounted position along the fuselage sides. Additionally, the MB.210 incorporated a retractable undercarriage during a period when many new designs still featured fixed undercarriages (sometimes housed in aerodynamic fairings). Power was served through 2 x Gnome-Rhone 14K series radial piston engines of 800 horsepower each. Bloch tested the aircraft in flight for the first time on November 23rd, 1934. Ultimately two prototypes were produced, the second fitted with Hispano-Suiza powerplants of 860 horsepower each. Only the second prototype aircraft featured the retractable undercarriage, the first sported fixed legs. Bloch managed to sell the idea of his improved MB.210 bomber to French aviation authorities which resulted in a procurement contract and formal adoption of the series in November of 1936. Serialmanufacture would be handled by a several French manufactures including Les Mureaux, Breguet, Hanriot, Potez and Renault.

In practice, the MB.210 proved lacking in key areas, primarily centering around its engines which were not only prone to overheating in prolonged use but also in delivering the required power output for military service. The French Air Force, therefore, grounded their MB.210 fleet until these issues could be resolved. Bloch returned with slightly modified mounts that sported Gnome-Rhone 14N series radial engines. These engines proved more reliable than the original offerings and allowed the MB.210 to reenter active service once more.

Serial production eventually netted the Armee de L'Air (French Air Force) some 257 total aircraft. In total, about 300 of the type were actually built by the various concerns including prototypes and proposed one-offs.

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It was its availability in numbers that led the MB.210 to still be in use by the time of the German invasion of France in June of 1940. The aircraft were pressed into combat service with both the French air force and navy and the MB.210 stocked some twelve French bomber groups during the fighting. By this time, the bomber was a wholly obsolete design caught up in a major modern war and losses were appropriately expected. When daylight bombing endeavors spelled disaster for French air crews at the hands of well-trained and experienced German fighters, the bomber was switched over to night offensives which proved little more successful. Regardless, due to the desperate French state, it was used in action up until the formal French surrender. Some elements were shifted to North Africa to continue their service careers.

In the aftermath of the French surrender and subsequent German occupation, the MB.210 was used in small numbers and for a short time by the Luftwaffe into 1942. Six captured examples were shipped to German-ally Bulgaria and operated by the Bulgarian Air Force for a time. Romania proved another Axis-aligned operator, receiving some 10 examples out of an initial order for 24 aircraft. By the end of the war, MB.210s were largely a forgotten breed of bomber design and gave way to the glut of American and British offerings that had proven so successful in World War 2.

The MB.210 was granted several designations and variants throughout its service life. MB.201.01 was used to signify the first prototype form. MB.210Bn.4 designated the initial production models using the upgraded Gnome-Rhone 14N series radials. MB.210Bn.5 was a variant produced specifically by the Hanriot concern and featured an additional position for extra crew. MB.210H signified a floatplane variant fitted with pontoons and 2 x Gnome-Rhone 14Kirs series radials. MB.211.01 was a prototype model equipped with 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y series inline piston engines of 860 horsepower. MB.212 and MB.218 were known projects that came to naught.

In its base form, the MB.210 was crewed by four personnel and powered by two radial engines. Externally, the airframe was primitive even by 1930s standards and consisted of a long, windowed nose section, stepped cockpit flight deck and long-running slab-sided fuselage. The empennage was of a traditional design incorporating only a single vertical tail fin and low-set tailplanes. The main wing appendages were low-mounted with each managing an engine nacelle and sporting slight dihedral. While the undercarriage was technically retractable, the tail wheel was not and the main leg wheels were exposed under the engine nacelles. There were three machine gun turret emplacements used for defense - on dorsal, one ventral and one at the nose. The aircraft mounted 3 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine guns. Using an internal bomb bay, the bomber could field up to 3,500lbs of stores.

General performance specifications included a maximum speed of 200 miles per hour (150mph cruise speed), operational range of 1,050 miles and a service ceiling of 32,500 feet.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Bloch MB.210Bn.5 Medium Bomber Aircraft.
2 x Gnome-Rhone 14N-10/-11 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 950 horsepower each driving three-bladed propeller units.
200 mph
322 kph | 174 kts
Max Speed
32,480 ft
9,900 m | 6 miles
Service Ceiling
1,056 miles
1,700 km | 918 nm
Operational Range
1,000 ft/min
305 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Bloch MB.210Bn.5 Medium Bomber Aircraft.
61.8 ft
18.83 m
O/A Length
74.9 ft
(22.82 m)
O/A Width
22.0 ft
(6.70 m)
O/A Height
14,110 lb
(6,400 kg)
Empty Weight
22,487 lb
(10,200 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Bloch MB.210 Medium Bomber Aircraft .
1 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine in nose position.
1 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine gun in dorsal position.
1 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine gun in ventral position.

Up to 3,500lb of conventional drop bombs.
Notable series variants as part of the Bloch MB.210 family line.
MB.210.01 - Prototype model; fitted with 2 x Gnome-Rhone 14Kdrs or Gnome-Rhone 14Kgrs air-cooled radial piston engines developing 800 horsepower each.
MB.210Bn.4 - Initial production model; fitted with 2 x Gnome-Rhone 14N-10 or Gnome-Rhone 14N-11 radial piston engines.
MB.210Bn.5 - Variant produced by Hanriot; additional crew member.
MB.210H - Floatplane variant fitted with 2 x Gnome-Rhone 14Kirs (Mistral Major) engines.
MB.211.01 - Prototype fitted with 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y inline piston engines of 860 horsepower each.
MB.212 - Developmental platform
MB.218 - Developmental platform
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Bloch MB.210. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 300 Units

Contractor(s): Les Mureaux / Potez-CAMS / Breguet / Hanriot / Renault / Bloch - France
National flag of Bulgaria National flag of France National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany National flag of Romania National flag of Spain

[ Bulgaria; France; Nazi Germany; Romania; Spain ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (200mph).

Graph Average of 225 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Bloch MB.210
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Bloch MB.210 Medium Bomber Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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