The LeO 451 is a French medium bomber, developed in the mid 1930s as part of a plan to increase the numbers of strategic bombers within the ranks of the newly formed Armée de l'air. Although showing favorable performance during the Invasion of France in 1940, insufficient numbers meant that the aircraft couldn’t be used to its full potential. Nonetheless, the LeO 451 saw action throughout WW2 and continued to be used up until the late 1950s. Now that the LeO 451 has found its way to War Thunder as well, let’s take a closer look at what this very capable little French bomber has to offer.
Development of the LeO 451 began in the early 1930s, after the newly formed Armée de l'air issued the so called Plan I, intended to increase the number of modern military aircraft available to the French Air Force. As part of this plan, the young Air Force was keen on expanding and developing their strategic bombing branch. However, as the already available bombers, such as the Farman F.221, were considered unsuitable for the needs of the Air Force, a set of specifications was issued for the development of a brand new bomber. Among other aircraft manufacturers, Lioré et Olivier (which would be nationalized as part of SNCASE) also submitted their LeO 45 design. Being a long-time supplier to the French Air Force, Lioré et Olivier had a reputation of building reliable and effective bombers dating back to WW1. Thanks to this, the further development of the LeO 45 was approved. The first prototype (LeO 45-01), powered by a pair of Hispano-Suiza engines, took flight on 16 January 1937. Despite showing some minor issues, the LeO 45 prototype displayed excellent performance. A second prototype, equipped with a pair of Gnome-Rhone engines was also constructed and subsequently designated LeO 451-01. Testing of the 451 prototype began in October 1938.
All in all, the LeO 451 is a more than capable bomber, surprisingly effective in both offense and defense. Whilst its small size might make the enemy underestimate its capabilities at first, at the very latest when the 20mm dorsal cannon starts firing back and the pilot pulls unexpected tight turns in an effort to shake the pursuer off, they will realize how wrong they actually were. These qualities combined make the LeO 451 not only a very valuable asset to any team in air battles, but also provide for some great fun for the players piloting it. Tried the LeO out yourself, or have you already fallen victim to it? What are your experiences with the LeO 451 so far? Feel free to share them with other players in the comments below. Until next time pilots!
The American Vultee A-35B dive bomber didn't really catch on in its homeland, but it received a warm welcome in the air force of Free France!
At the beginning of the 1930s, the American company Vultee was developing a concept for a strike aircraft capable of effectively hitting ground targets, light vehicles and enemy infantry from low altitudes. Effective actions by Germany’s Ju-87 dive bombers in Europe served as a basis for the creation of a concept for the American A-31 Vengeance, a strike dive bomber with a machine gun battery in its wings. This new addition immediately caught the attention of the British delegation, which happened to be searching for a design like the Stuka to aid in the fight against Germany. In the course of modernization, the A-31 received a new 1700 hp engine and strengthened armament of five, and then seven high-caliber Browning machine guns (six in the wings and one more for defense against attacks from the rear), and a bomb load of up to 2000 pounds. Modernized version got new designation - Vultee A-35. In spite of a large export order, the Vengeance also served in the American air force and navy, and the reviews about it were contradictory. For the war in Europe, the bomber turned out to be ill-prepared. Its low speed, large silhouette and need to descend to drop its bombs made it very vulnerable to enemy flak cannons and fighters. However, in the Pacific Theater the vehicle performed well. The Japanese had far fewer anti-aircraft defenses, and the Vengeance served as an attack aircraft, a bomber and a submarine hunter.
Have you had the chance to try the A-35B’in battle yet? Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of one? Let us know about your experiences with the A-35B’ in the comments below. Until next time!
The M.S.410 is a further development of the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighter, developed in France in mid 1940. The machine featured a list of improvements over the previous model, but the occupation of France in 1940 meant that the aircraft was only manufactured in limited numbers. Let’s take a closer look at one of the fighters available to pilots in the lower ranks of the French aviation tree in update 1.73 “Vive la France”.
As the M.S.406 began entering squadron service in 1939, engineers at Morane-Saulnier continued working on the design, aiming to improve it. Several changes were made to the base design, which included the replacement of the old wing design with a new one, increased and improved offensive capabilities and the replacement of the old retractable radiator with a fixed one, among others. The applied changes resulted in the new M.S.410 being able to achieve somewhat better performance than its predecessor, namely reaching a slightly higher top speed. Right after the M.S.410 entered production, France capitulated in June 1940, halting the production of the aircraft after the fifth machine was constructed.
All in all, the M.S.410 is a more than capable fighter at its rank. It combines decent maneuverability, speed and firepower into a very unsuspecting package, eager to unleash its fury at the controls of a cunning pilot. Have you had the chance to try the M.S.410 in battle yet? Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of one? Let us know about your experiences with the M.S.410 in the comments below. Until next time!
The French bomber NC.223.3 is a seriously refined version of another starter-level bomber, the F.222. Four engines, an incredibly huge bomb load and cannon turrets!
The NC.223.3 bomber was developed as a replacement for the four-engine French Farman F.222 bomber already familiar to War Thunder players. Engineers of the SNCAC nationalization (which included the Farman company) saved the schematics of a high wing with twinned tandem engines under the wing, but significantly improved the airplane in terms of its flight characteristics, bomb load and defensive armament. The new bomber got an altered wing with an increased area and additional struts, the nacelles were improved, and the propellers received nose fairings. The main differences in the new model were its twin-fin tail, its huge bomb load and cannon turrets for protecting the lower and upper hemispheres. After successful tests held in 1937, the airplane was approved for series production, and from December 1939 to March 1940, i.e. until the occupation of the country by the Germany, the French managed to build 8 aerial monsters of this series.
The NC.223.3 is a truly fearsome rank I bomber, which can decide the outcome of any battle almost on its own. The vehicle awaits all participants of the French aircraft closed beta today – be sure to try it out!