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Azur 1/72nd Breguet Br693AB.2


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Breguet Br693AB.2, Aircraft No93, 1 Escadrille G8A I/54, Toulouse Francazal airbase, 25 June 1940.

The commander of 1 Escadrille used this machine to attack advancing German forces on 6 June.

 

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In 1934, the French government issued a specification for a strategic fighter. It was to be twin-engined and a crew of two. Breguet and Potez submitted proposals, with Potez being chosen to develop what became the 630 family. Breguet thought their design still had merit as a low-level ground attack aircraft, and developed a prototype using their own time and money. Happily, the French air ministry saw potential in the new fighter bomber, and placed orders with Breguet in 1938.

 

The first variant, the Br691AB.2, was powered by Hispano-Suiza radial engines, was armed with a single 20mm cannon and two 7.5mm machine guns in the nose. It also had an internal bomb bay that could carry eight 50kg bombs. For rear defence, a flexible mounting carried a single 7.5mm machine gun in the rear cockpit, with a fixed machine gun facing down and rearwards in the belly, with the intention of deterring low-flying fighters. While the crew was protected by armour, it was expected the high speed and manoeuvrability would help the aircraft escape ground fire. The Hispano engines proved unreliable, so Breguet adopted the more reliable Gnome-Rhône 14M radials, giving a total of 1,400hp. The airframe, now designated Br693 was otherwise unchanged from the previous version.

 

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The Br693 was designed as a fast, low-level attack aircraft, strafing ground targets and delivering time-delayed bombs. Operational training of two units began in late 1939, initially equipped with Potez 633 aircraft until the BR691s could be delivered. The earlier aircraft were later replaced by the Br693s from March 1940, and by June some 200 had entered service. Unfortunately, due to the late delivery, crews were still working up to operation readiness as the German forces invaded in May.

 

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The first operational sorties on 12 May were disastrous. German anti-aircraft artillery was far superior to anything the designers had expected. Tactics were reviewed, with attacks taking place from a higher altitude using a shallow dive to deliver the bomb load. Lack of accurate bombing sights meant many attacks were unsuccessful, and the fast low-level attacks were resumed but using fewer aircraft per sortie. By this time, the situation was becoming desperate. The fate of France could not be changed by the few aircraft in service.

 

The Br693s had a short operational range, and were not capable of flying across the Mediterranean to North Africa, where the French government hoped to regroup the remains of the air force. By the time of the armistice in June, 119 of the 200 Br693s had been lost to accident and enemy action. Surviving aircraft were used for training purposes by the Vichy regime. After Germany occupied Vichy France in 1942, some aircraft were sent to Italy for use as operational trainers.

 

The kit is pretty standard Azur fare, with resin parts for engines, a small PE fret for various details, and the usual medium grey styrene. Fit was pretty good for a short-run kit, and I only added brake lines to the undercarriage, and replaced some small parts like pitot tubes and nose machine guns with brass rod. Painting was using ColourCoats enamels, freehand airbrushed to give the camouflage pattern. Detail painting with Humbrol acrylics and enamels.

 

This kit was built as an entry in the French Fancies 2 Group Build. I have also made a shorter WIP post in my ongoing France 1940 thread. I'll share the latter here for your entertainment.

 

 

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Nice to see something a little different here. A great build, especially from a short run kit.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Tom

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3 minutes ago, Zigomar said:

Nice model, but it is Toulouse Francazal airbase. best regards from France.


My bad. I copied it from the kit paperwork. I shall correct immediately! Thanks!

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Nice one, Heather! At first, I thought the kit landing gear struts were too long, or  the oleos were molded extended, as it seemed to sit 'way too high, but after I looked at numerous period photos of the real thing, I realized the kit was correct- the darned thing just has a stalky undercart!

Mike

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5 minutes ago, 72modeler said:

I realized the kit was correct- the darned thing just has a stalky undercart!


Indeed! I believe it was a problem, causing a few landing accidents. The fun thing for me is how basic it is. I mean, almost every other French retractable gear of the period has more doors than your average chateau, where the Breguet has nothing!

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Nicely detailed work on a lesser-known plane of the FAF. I really like the gunsight and brass barrels. You're right, the landing gear seem like they were refreshingly simple to assemble!

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Fantastic Work!   Kudos for braving those Azur kits......I finished the Heller one, which altho lacking interior detail, builds up into a decent model.    The aftermarket parts make it look like the Genuine Article.      I have always liked the look of the Br. 693.     A little known fact is that because the French had so many of them lying around, disabled or damaged, the Germans used their Readily Available Gnome-Rhône 14M radials to power the Me 323 Gigant....spacer.png

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