Breguet 697 C2, the french Beaufighter

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Hello, today i will present you the ultimate version of Breguet 690 built, the Breguet 697 C2.

Part I Genesis

Résumé

During the Interwar period, the Ateliers Louis Breguets produces several version of a a two-seat attack aircraft : the breguet 690.

This plane is available in different versions, the best known of which is the Breget 693 AB 2 (already present in games). By the way for those who don’t know, “AB” is for “Attacker Bomber” and “2” for the number of crew.

Subsequently, the engineers of the Breguet Atelier decided to build a fighter version of their Breguet 693 without a bomb but equipped with better motorization and better armament in order to intercept enemy bombers.

This is how the concept of the Breguet 697 C2 and its production version, the Breguet 700 C2, appeared. In this post we will focus only on the prototype version

Again the number 2 designating the number of crew. As for C, it is the first letter of the word “Chasseur”: hunter in English.

At present, there are no longer any photos of these planes and you will quickly understand why. However, these aircraft share litteraly,the same cell as the Breguet 691, and apart from a few minor differences in size, the appearance is almost the same.

Part II History

Résumé

It will be short .

After put 2 engine Gnome & Rhones on the Breguet 691 number 17, the new planes, renamed Br697 C2 made its first flight on October 19, 1939 at Villacoubay. Designed as a demonstrator, this aircraft made such a good impression on the authorities that a production version, the Breguet 700, was ordered immediately after.

This will never happen because of the defeat of France in June 40.

And the breguet 697 01 in all this? Between these two periods he continued these tests on the base of Villacoubay and seems to have been armed following an incident which enraged the test pilots.

During the Battle of France, a German Heinkel plane comes to taunt the pilots who were testing their planes in the air. Now these had at that time armed planes but… without ammunition.

On their return to the base, the pilots demanded that the next flights, including with civil aircraft, be made with loaded machine guns. However, only the gunsmith of the base was authorized to do this kind of manipulation. However, he agreed to load the weapons. Subsequently the pilots took to the air again, determined to use their weapons if they again encountered a German plane. This did not last because they had the unpleasant surprise to discover that the armourer loaded the ammunition in bulk so as to make them unusable. The ammunition being used only as weight for the tests, there was actually no question of giving operational weapons to civilian pilots.On June 13, 1940, faced with the advance of German troops towards Villacoubay, test pilot Maurice Claisse took off with the Breguet 697 at 11 a.m. and evacuated the area only a few hours before the Germans arrived, but 3 days later, he had to resolve to burn his plane to prevent it from being taken by the germans and the story of the breguet 697 ended there.

Part III Characteristics

Résumé

The Breguet 697 is distinguished from the Breguet 693 by two things: its armament and its motorization. For the armement, the place and number of machine gun is inchanged,except for one difference: as I said the Breguet 697 uses a Breguet 691 cell, but unlike the breguet 693 the front machine guns are semi-fixed on the breguet 691: they can point from an angle of 0° to -15°. This change is effected by pneumatic pressure.

Breguet 691

Moreover, the plane receive 3 news gun of 20 mm of Hispano Suiza. With 90 ammunition per gun, we get a total of 360 ammo of 20 mm.

At the same time on the French side, only the SNCASE SE100 could claim better armament.

SNCASE SE 100, a prototype heavy fighter

For the motorisation, contrary at Breguet 693 version which have Gnome and Rhone 14M engines and Breguet 695 version which have Pratt and Whitney engines, the Breguet 697 has a Gnôme & Rhône 14N 48 on the left and a Gnome and Rhone 14N 49 on the right .What is the difference? The two engines turn in opposites sides. The characteristics of these engines are as follows: 1,070 hp restored at 3,700 m 2400 turn/minute.
Gnome et Rhone 14 N

At my knowledge, there are already in game only 2 others french planes which have this engines: The M.B.174A-3 and the M.B 162 An improved version of this engine, the 14 R is currently in game with the MB 157. Thanks to this power boost, the aircraft obtains a maximum speed of 570 km/h at 5000 m and an exceptional climb speed of 13.75 m/s allowing it to reach 4000 m in 4min 53 s and 6000 m in 7 min 18 . For comparison, this is more than the BF109 B.

However, Maurice Claisse, its test pilot and last man to have flown it, indicated that he reached the speed of 650 km/hour at 13,200 feet, or 4,023.36 meters if I was not mistaken in my conversion calculations.
Concerning the reliability of this information, it is indicated to us on page 6 of the magazine “Pionnier” of July 1, 2001 devoted to the biography of the pilot. The problem being that most of the documents having been destroyed to avoid falling into the hands of the Germans, we are somewhat obliged to take his word for it.
However, this information should be taken with caution.
In fact I have not found it anywhere else except in the book “Les Ailes de Glories” which indicates a similar speed for the Breguet 700 C2.
On the other hand, if this information proves accurate, the Breguet 697 could well be one of the fastest twin-engined, if not the fastest, twin-engined aircraft of the year 1940

At default chapter, Breguet 697 suffer of poor visibility because the 14N engines were bigger that the 14M. To remedy this problem, the cockpit had to be moved forward in relation to the wings on the Breguet 700 C2.
Breguet 700 C2.PNG

To summarize

Résumé

Breguet 697 C2

4 x 20mm cannons with 90 shells each

  • 2 x 7.5mm machine guns in front with 500 bullets each with a firing angle of 0° to -15°+2 x 7.5mm machine guns in front .
    Max speed 570km/h at 4500 m and 650 km/h at 13.200 feet or 4023,36 m (According to its test pilot)

Finally, why add Br 697 in game?

Résumé

-prop plane with 100 % french design

-Airplane easy to model sharing a lot of common points (airframes and cockpits with the Breguet 693 AB 2 already present in games)

-French equivalent to the english Beaufighter

-Excellent firepower, superior to that of all French aircraft present in the tree built before 1940

-Excellent speed (650 km/h) for an aircraft of its category, climb rate superior at all the BF110, HS 129B and Me410 present in games.

-2360 HP (against 1340 HP for Breguet 693)

-Likely to fill the gaps in the French aerial tree

-Upgraded version of Breguet 693

Breguet 700 C2.PNG

Sources

Résumé

Les ailes de gloires 1, Les avions d’assaut 690 à 695, Patrick MARCHAND, Junko TAKAMORI

édition Indochine

Nowa Technika Wojskowa 2000 Nr-02

Vers les sommets BREGUET 1919-1939 by Gérard HARTMANN

Le Fanatique de l’aviation édition Larivière n° 193 & 194

L'aviation selon Drix: Le Bréguet 690, un avion d'assaut à fort potentiel pour la reconnaissance, meilleur que le très bon Potez 637. (Révisé le 24 / 12 / 2020)

DriveHQ Error Page

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnome_et_Rhône_14N

samolotypolskie.pl - Breguet 690

https://www-airwar-ru.translate.goog/enc/bww2/br691.html?

Thanks to Frizare to whom I owe the first image of this post found on the following site

https://renaissance-models.fr/etienne_dhont/index.php/divers/7-de-l-illustration-a-la-decalcomanie

The page 6 of the magazine “Pionnier” of July 1, 2001 indicating a maximum speed of 650 km/h at 13,200 feet.
Pionniers : revue aéronautique trimestrielle des Vieilles tiges | 2001-07-01 | Gallica

Icare | 1970-03-01 | Gallica“Breguet 697”?rk=64378;0

5 Likes

Sounds interesting, I love twin engine heavy fighters.

Edit: Small clarification regarding this suggestion for those who have already seen it in the old forum.
This republication is 95% identical to that of the old forum except for the maximum speed which has been revised upwards. I actually found a source which indicated a maximum speed of 650 km/h compared to 570 km/h mentioned previously.
While all other sources mention a maximum speed of 570 km/h at 5000 m the only other source which mentions a maximum speed of 650 km/h speaks of the theoretical speed of the Breguet 700 C2, the production version of the Breguet 697 C2 which never saw the light of day.
However, the source in question comes directly from the former test pilot and it is the only one to mention a speed at an altitude of 13,200 feet. It may seem surprising for a French-speaking newspaper that the unit used is not the meter but after finding out about the pilot he spent the war at Farnborough in England as a pilot of test where he would have carried out more than 300 hours of flights with 70 different aircraft which could explain the presence of an anglicism in his vocabulary.

In any case I will let you judge for yourself the reliability of the source given the little information we have on this plane.

2 Likes

+1, obviously.

Not exactly, altitude in feet and speed in knots is common for aviation even in countries that typically use metric units.

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Here’s some more “plan like” drawings. Not much but it gives a general idea.

2 Likes