Welcome again, in this suggestion we’ll be having a look at the final fighter from Bloch that reached production before the fall of France in world war 2: the M.B.155 C-1
The Bloch M.B.155 was a further development of the 151 and 152. The 2 earlier models were well regarded, but one of their main shortcomings was their short range, and so, in 1939 and an official request was sent for an improved version of the M.B.152.
The first prototype of the new model, named M.B.155 would first fly in February of 1940 and it featured a decent range of improvements. Obviously the fuel capacity had been increased to increase the range of the aircraft. This had been achieved by moving the cockpit backwards and fitting a new fuel tank in front of it. The tail skid of the older models had also been replaced by a caster, this solution was sturdier and more adjustable than the old skid. The engine cowling was redesigned to be more aerodynamic and a new, broader wing was also mounted. Curiously, on serial number 701 and 708 , the armament was also upgraded from the standard 2x 20mm + 2x 7.5mm to a new standard of 2x 20mm + 4x 7.5mm. This seems to have actually been an unauthorized upgrade that was pushed through by Bloch, as the design had not been formally accepted yet
By the time the aircraft first flew, war had already broken out, and France found itself lacking seriously in fighter aircraft. An order for 200 M.B.155s quickly came in and production started on the first series aircraft, designated M.B.155 C-1. By the fall of France, only 6 155s had been delivered. These aircraft were delivered from June 15 onwards. Giving them but 7 days of operational service before the armistice. In this time they managed to fly 6 sorties, one of which resulted in the downing of a German HS 126. After the fall of France, the Vichy régime took over and they now found themselves in possession of the aircraft. 19 more vehicles were in an advanced stage of production and these were eventually finished, bringing the total number of produced M.B.155s, including prototypes, to 30. Another 15 would be produced as unarmed trainers for the German Luftwaffe.
During the war they saw service against allied troops several times. In the Levant, 10 aircraft were engaged to stop the British landings in the area. These aircraft attacked RAF forces and in the process lost 3 vehicles without scoring a single kill.
Later in the war the aircraft were once again sent to engage allied forces, this time after the landings in North Africa. 22 155s were sent to support the bomber force, but once again they did not manage to score any aerial victories.
It was only in 1942 that the first aerial victory under the Vichy flag for the aircraft would take place. They downed a single British Martlet Mk.II, a twin-engine aircraft of unconfirmed model is also said to have been downed by an M.B.155.
After the Germans invaded the French free zone, the remaining 155s were seized and sent to Germany, where they served their remaining life as trainers.
- Length: 9.05 m
- Width: 10.55 m
- Height: 3.95 m
- Wing surface: 17.30 m^2
- Powerplant: 1 Gnome & Rhône 14N-49, providing 1100 hp
- Range: 1050 km
- Maximum speed: 520 km/h
- Crew: 1
- Empty weight: 2100 kg
- Total weight: 2900 kg
- 2x Hispano HS404 autocannons with 60 rounds each
- up to 4x 7.5 km MAC 34 M.39 machine guns (800 rounds each)
The M.B.155 being one of the last French fighters in world war 2 to have entered serial production definitely deserves a place in-game. Currently the only member the the M.B.150 family that we have as a researchable vehicle is the 157 which is curiously a prototype aircraft, only one of which was built. The mass produced M.B.152 exists only as a rare event vehicle which is elusive to most. This feels like a huge missed opportunity to implement domestic French fighter aircraft. The M.B.155 can help to at least partially make up for this. It would fit perfectly into the currently rather empty rank 2 of the French air tree. If this aircraft comes, I’m sure it’ll be a welcome addition to many who will be very happy to finally see a more common member of this fighter family join the game.
Bloch M.B.150-155 - fighter
Bloch MB.155: Modest step forward. | Aviation Rapture
Bloch MB.155 C.1 : Bloch
Bloch MB-155 C-1