At the declaration of war, the Bombardment
is not ready to face a modern conflict: its machines are obsolete
or inadequate, and modern bombers are not expected before several
The units are mainly equipped with Bombers
143 , Bloch
MB200 , Bloch
540 . These aircraft originated from the first War Plans
launched in the early 1930s, but their deliveries will be continually
delayed by the disorganization of the French aeronautical industry.
They are already exceeded when delivered to units ...
Modern Aircrafts are nevertheless in preparation
following the launch of Plan V: these are Loire
et Olivier LeO451 , Amiot
350 or Breguet
Br690 . Deliveries, however, are very slow: in September
1939, only a dozen LeO 45s were delivered and will be developed
within a GB I / 31 Experimental Squadron during the winter of 1939/40.
For the Amiot 351, the situation is even
more dramatic, since the first aircraft will not be delivered until
the spring of 1940, and only a handful will be "Good for war" at
the outbreak of the German offensive on 10 May 1940.
The Breguet 690 grew faster: the first
series aircraft were delivered from May 1939, and the GBA I / 5,
the first Group to be transformed, will be transferred to Orléans
to receive its new aircraft. The development was however long enough,
and the final model, the Breguet 693 with more reliable engines,
will be delivered at the beginning of March 1940.
These new aircrafts must meet the requirements
of the Air Force technical services. Thus, it is imposed a double
rudder, which turns out to be a real gene for the rear gunner with
two dead angles that the German Fighters will exploit. Similarly,
the 20mm gun, imposed for the rear defense post: the gun is excellent,
but its charger contains shells only for a few seconds of shooting,
and it is impossible to reload in flight ...
As for the Fighter aircrafts, the French
State turns to the United States to quickly acquire modern aircraft.
DB7 and Gleen-Martin
167F will be chosen because they technically correspond
to the specifications of the A3 / B3 program of 1936. For the Gleen
Martin 167F, an experimental squadron is set up from January 1940
in Algiers , And finally, 5 Bombardment Groups will be equipped.
As for the first Douglas DB7, he was taken over by the Air Force
on 31 October 1939, with a forecast of 5 bombardment groups to equip.
But even more than the material, it is
the doctrine of use that will fail the Bombardment. Despite the
recent conflicts in Spain or Poland, the General Staff will not
be able to measure the progress of the fighting. Thus, the Breguets
Br693 will be launched on the German columns in flight flying, often
without protection of fighter aircrafts, and without sufficient
armor to face the formidable Flak. The Leo451 will be used in low-altitude
missions while their engines are effective at 5000m.
Finally, there is a shortage of crewmembers:
the training of pilots and other crew members was inadequate before
the conflict, and trained personnel lack experience because of the
lack of resources available to schools to preserve the equipment.