Aviation of World War II
Night bomber NC 223.3 by SNCAC (Societe nationale de constructions aeronau-tiques du Center) - Farman plant in Boulogne-Billancourt. First flight on May 26, 1932 (F.220.01) Flight tests continued until February 4, 1939. The Air Ministry ordered the first series of eight NC.223.3 BN5 bombers. Production was launched in Biyancourt, where at the end of 1939 the first aircraft was assembled. He took off into the air at Toussoux-le-Noble. The second serial NC.223.3 took off on January 10, 1940, and the eighth bomber, the last in the first series, followed on March 28. The plant continued to operate with a new order issued the previous year.
The serial NC.223.3, as well as the experienced ones, had Hispano-Suiza 12Y29 motors. They were housed in pairs in the nacelles; in each nacelle there was one engine with a pusher and one with a pulling propeller. The all-metal wing had three spars connected by truss ribs. All wing skin was smooth duralumin. The wing was divided into two parts, attached directly to the main fuselage frames. From the nacelles there was one strut to the wing. The nacelles themselves, in turn, were connected by a system of struts with the fuselage.
The main landing gear from the hydraulic cylinders was retracted forward into the nacelle compartments between the engines. The fuselage of rectangular cross-section had an all-metal structure with a supporting duralumin sheathing. The navigator-bombardier was sitting in the very nose of the plane. He had a 7.5-mm machine gun on a mobile installation. The radio operator was also located in the bow, in front and below the pilot's cabin, in which two pilots sat side by side. The bomb bay was divided lengthwise into two halves by a pedestrian bridge going along the axis. The upper and lower turrets were equipped with 20 mm HS404 cannons. All gas tanks were in the wing, their total capacity was 6,000 liters.
Combat use . The first two NC.223.3 bombers were handed over to GB 1/15 on May 24, 1940. Together with the F.222 of this unit, they participated in night raids on Germany in the first weeks of June. On June 15, when GB 1/15 received the order to fly to North Africa, this unit possessed four NC.223.3s (with serial numbers 2, 4, 8 and 9). The second group of heavy bombers, GB II / 15, received the same number of NC.223.3. But they did not participate in combat operations, since the crews were just retraining for new equipment when this group was sent to Africa. One of the four aircraft (No. 4) had to be abandoned along the way due to damage sustained from an unsuccessful landing at Sen'Yan. In July 1940, GB 1/15 was ordered to hand over three NC.223.3s to Air France for conversion into long-range mail aircraft. Aircraft numbered 2,8 and 9 received the civil designations F-BAFM, F-BAFR and F-BAGR, respectively. GB 11/15 also gave one of their NC.223.3 (No.10) to Air France. It turned into F-BAAG. All of these aircraft were equipped with seats for eight passengers and additional fuel tanks in the bomb bay, which increased the stock to 3400 liters.
Another NC.223.3 entered Lebanon and was then operated as a transport by the Free French forces with the civil designation FL-AFM. He worked on the routes linking Lebanon, Madagascar and Central Africa.
The remaining vehicles, along with the F.222 and F.224, served in the GB 1/15 transport group of the Vichy air force at the Salé base in Morocco, and then Maison Blanche near Algeria. It was the same GB 1/15, which was turned into a transport one on October 10, 1940. The NC.223.3 from GB II / 15, disbanded on September 30, 1940, also joined it.