PZL P-23
PZL P37A/B
Bloch MB-210
Potez Po-633B2
Heinkel He-111
Junkers Ju-88
Junkers Ju-87D
Henschel Hs-129B
Savoia-Marchetti SM 79B ( JRS-79B )
Bristol Blenheim I

The Bloch MB-210 light bomber

 

The Bloch MB-210 was part of the very limited help that France had been able of offering to Romania, inspite of its "traditional ally" status. Indeed, the ARR had a long tradition of importing French material or building it under license : most of the planes that served with the ARR during WW1 and in the 1920's were French ones. Even the IAR company had started with building Morane-Saulnier MS-35 trainers and Potez XXV light bombers, both of which were French designs.
Therefore, it was no surprise that when the decision to replace obsolete aircraft with modern ones was taken by ARR leaders, France was one of the first destinations for Romanian delegations. However, this time things were quite different. France had fallen behind in terms of aviation and the L'Armee de l'air ( the French airforce ) had priority over any other orders. In the end, a batch of 10 MB-210 light bombers were ordered, although the fact that the plane was mediocre at best, even for 1937. But since little else was available, it was better than nothing.
All ten MB-210's entered service in mid 1937, and a series of test flights were carried out to see if it was worth buying some more planes from France. Finally, the same answer came from pilots and engineers alike : no, it wasn't. The MB-210 had a very low speed even for a bomber ( just 322 km/h ) and it took forever to reach this speed or climb to its service ceiling. Also, it didn't have a very impressive bombload or defensive armament. All these shortcomings, combined with the fact that the superior Savoia-Marchetti SM-79B's started to arrive from Italy, persuaded the ARR not to order more MB-210's.

 

The MB-210 light bomber

In June 1941, when Romania entered WW2, the MB-210's were clearly obsolete, but the 82nd Bomber Squadron was equipped with these planes nonetheless. They performed relatively well during the Bassarabian campaign ( mainly because the ARR had quickly achieved aerial superiority ), but in early 1942 were withdrawn from frontline service and relegated to transport duties.
The MB-210 had flown for the first time in 1934. Its designer, Marcel Bloch ( better known by its postwar name of Marcel Dassault ) had created quite an advanced design for 1934 : a low-wing, twin-engine monoplane. It called by many a "ugly" aircraft, because of its angular appearance ( see the picture ). Like many of its contemporaries, it was built in a mixed wood-metal configuration, but it did have a fully retractible main landing gear ( the small tail wheel was fixed ). The MB-210 was powered by two Gnome-Rhone 14N, radial, 14 cylinders engines, with a total output of 910 HP each. It could carry 1600 kg of bombs inside internal bomb bays and was armed with three 7.5 mm machine guns for self-defense.

Technical data of the Marcel Bloch MB-210

Wingspan
22.8 meters
Length
18.81 meters
Height
4.1 meters
Weight (empty)
6400 kg
Weight (loaded)
10200 kg
Maximum speed
322 km/h
Maximum operational ceiling
9900 m
Range
1700 km
Engine
Two Gnome-Rhone 14N rated at 910 HP
Armament
Three 7.5 machine guns
Payload
Up to 1600 kg
Crew
5
Numbers received
10
Serial numbers
1-10

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