Aviation of World War II
Float Torpedo Bomber
The Late 298 float torpedo bomber was a cantilever monoplane with a 12-cylinder V-shaped liquid-cooled Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrsl engine with a capacity of 880 hp. The two-spar all-metal wing was divided into four sections. The fuselage was an all-metal structure with a load-bearing skin and had a rectangular cross-section. The crew consisted of two or three people. One torpedo "type 1926 DA" weighing 670 kg was placed in a semi-recessed position on the ventral suspension.
The horizontal tail was all-metal, and the vertical one had metal frames and wooden ribs, covered with canvas. Each of the large single-edged floats contained a 260-liter fuel tank. The floats were attached to the wings with N-shaped struts and paired struts - to the fuselage.
The first flight took place on May 8, 1936, factory tests were completed on September 24, 1936. During the tests, a pipe was introduced into the chassis, connecting both floats. It was preserved on all subsequent aircraft.
On March 17, 1937, the French fleet ordered 36 seaplanes, 12 of which had to be distinguished by the folding of the outer wing sections for operation on the Commandan Test floating base.
At the beginning of World War II, the French fleet had four squadrons armed with Late 298. On May 10, 1940, when the Germans launched their offensive, five squadrons had 10 Late 298 each. T1, T2 and TZ were based in Cherbourg and Boulogne, while T4, HB1 and HB2 were on the Mediterranean coast of France. The last two squadrons were stationed ashore after the Commandan Test was turned into a transport.
An example of combat operations of squadrons armed with Late 298 is the departure on 23 May. 18 seaplanes dropped 500-kg bombs from a dive onto bridges and road junctions between Boulogne and the Somme River. We lost three planes shot down by Bf 109E fighters, and one destroyed by German anti-aircraft guns. If it weren't for the Late 298's outstanding survivability and durability, as well as the excellent maneuverability, the losses would undoubtedly have been much greater.
Night flights were safer, so Late 298 was used more often at night. Among the targets attacked under cover of darkness was, for example, the bridge over the Somme at Noelle. The TZ squadron bombed him on the night of June 10.
The production of seaplanes was resumed in March 1942 with the consent of the German Control Commission. 30 aircraft of the Late 298F modification were ordered. They were identical to the Late 298D except for some simplified steering. After the events of November 1942, workers at the Berra plant sabotaged the supply of aircraft to the Germans.
Armament. Two fixed and one manually guided 7.5 mm Darne machine gun, one 670 kg Type DA torpedo or up to 500 kg bombs, or three depth charges, or nine flares.