01/31/2010. Designed by Chief Designer Marcel Vuillerme of Société Anonyme des Ateliers D'Aviation Louis Breguet as a successor to the Bre 14, the Bre 19 was intended either as a two-seat day bomber (B2 category) or as a reconnaissance aircraft (A2 category). The Bre 19.01 prototype was exhibited at the Paris Salon de l'Aeronautique in November 1921, with an experimental Breguet-Bugatti sixteen-cylinder powerplant installed, comprising two eight-cylinder Bugatti engines coupled to drive a single propeller. Re-engined soon afterwards with a more conventional 450 hp Renault 12Kb, it made its maiden flight in March 1922.
Eleven evaluation aircraft followed, and during an extensive test program these were fitted with a variety of engines. Quantity production started in 1923, and by 1927 some 2,000 Bre 19s (divided almost equally between reconnaissance and bomber versions) had been delivered to the French military aviation. First version to go into French service was the Bre 19 A2 reconnaissance variant, from the autumn of 1924 onwards. The Bre 19 B2 bomber version first went into service in June 1926.
French-built Bre 19s were powered by twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engines, either the Renault 12K or Lorraine-Dietrich 12D and 12E. By the beginning of 1933 only 230 Bre 19 A2s, 28 B2s and 40 night-fighter Bre 19 Cn2s were in first-line use, and the type was finally relegated to reserve duty and training in 1934.
As early as 1923 the Breguet company embarked on an aggressive export campaign. The first Bre 19.01 prototype was displayed at an international competition organized by the Spanish War Ministry and soon afterwards the first Bre 19.02 evaluation aircraft was supplied to Yugoslavia. As a result, Yugoslav military aviation took delivery of 400 Bre 19s between 1925 and 1932. Of these 185 were supplied complete from France, 40 were built in Yugoslavia from French components and 175 were built in Yugoslavia at a new factory in Kraljevo.
The first 150 aircraft had Lorraine engines, the next 150 had 500 hp Hispano-Suizas (12Hb or 12Lb types) and the final 100 (all built at Kraljevo) 420 hp Gnome & Rhône Jupiter 9Ab radial engines, built under license in Yugoslavia.
Spain imported 19 complete aircraft, the first three for use as pattern machines for license production. The CASA company then assembled 26 aircraft from French components and went on to build 177 Bre 19s. 127 were powered by Lorraine engines built under license and 50 by imported Hispano-Suizas.
Other foreign purchasers included Romania, which bought 108 Bre 19s, and Turkey, which imported 20. Poland purchased 250 Lorraine-powered machines between 1925 and 1930, and the last of these were not withdrawn from service until just before the German invasion in 1939, The Chinese authorities obtained a total of 74 aircraft, which were employed against the Japanese in Manchuria. Surviving aircraft from 30 Bre 19s imported by the Greek government were expended in action against the invading Italians in October 1940.
Belgium bought six Breguet 19 B2s in 1924, and then initiated license production by the SABCA company. Deliveries to the Belgian military aviation totaled 146 Bre 19s between 1926 and 1930, some of these being powered by the Lorraine 12Eb engine and others by the Hispano-Suiza 12Ha. The Bre 19 was also popular in Latin America. The Argentine Republic obtained 25, Bolivia 15, Venezuela 12 and Brazil five. Both Bolivian and Paraguayan Bre 19s saw action during the war between the two nations in the early 1930s.
The British, Italian and Persian (Iranian) governments each purchased two
Bre 19s for technical evaluation . The Japanese Nakajima company also bought two aircraft, but subsequently abandoned plans for license production. Below are the produced variants.
Bre 19 A2
An observation and reconnaissance version. It was capable of carrying ten 26.46 lbs (12 kg) bombs externally on under-wing racks.
Bre 19 B2
A light bomber version, basically similar to the Bre 19 A2 but with a provision for under-wing bomb racks for an increased bomb load of up to 1,764 lb (800 kg).
Bre 19 Cn2
Forty aircraft converted for use as night-fighters and equipping four squadrons. Totally unsuited to this role, they were retired to secondary duties in 1934.
A few aircraft supplied to the Yugoslav Air Force for evaluation purposes. Later Yugoslavia would purchase 400 more aircraft.
Bre 19 G.R.
The Breguet company ensured that the Bre 19 remained in the headlines throughout the 1920s and early 1930s by developing a series of long-range or 'Grand Raid' variants. The first was the Bre 19 No.3, a standard early example powered by a Lorrain&-Dietrich 12Db engine. Flown by Pelletier d'Oisy and Besin, and carrying auxiliary fuel tanks attached to the bomb-racks, it flew from Paris to Shanghai, arriving at its destination on May 20, 1924. Bre 19 No.64, with additional internal fuel tanks, was flown by Lemaitre and Arrachart to capture the world distance record, flying from Etampes to Villa Cisneros (Spanish Sahara) on February 3-4, 1925, a distance of 1,967 mls (3,166 km).
A Belgian G.R. aircraft was followed by the conversion of the two Japanese-owned Bre 19s to Grand Raid standard that were bought by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper group, the latter flew from Tokyo to Paris in the summer of 1925. Four more French G.R. aircraft were built, one being converted to take a 600 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Lb engine; named Nungesser-Coli, it was flown around the world between October 1927 and April 1928 by Costes and LeBrix, covering some 35,400 mls (57,000 km) in 350 hours flying time, but the stretch between San Francisco and Tokyo was covered aboard ship.
Bre 19 Bidón
The Bidón variant (meaning literally petrol can) was a logical development of the G.R. type and built specifically for long-range flights, it incorporated many modifications including more integral fuel tankage, rounded wingtips, redesigned fin and rudder, and fairings for the main wheels. The first example was bought by Belgium, but the second established a world speed-over-distance record for France when, in May 1929, it covered a distance of 3,107 miles (5,000 km) at an average speed of 116.88 mph (188.1 kmh). Two more Bidóns were built by Breguet, with one eventually being sold to China. At least one Bidón was built in Spain by CASA.
Bre 19 Super Bidón
This development was built to coax the maximum possible range out of the design. Extra tankage was provided in the upper wing and the lengthened fuselage. The first example was built for France and named Point d'Interrogation (Question Mark or simply '?'). After an unsuccessful transatlantic attempt it was re-engined with an Hispano-Suiza 12Lb and flown in two days from Le Bourget to Manchuria, landing on 29 September 1929 and establishing a world straight-line distance record of 4,912 miles (7905 km) and in September 1930 the same aircraft, crewed by Costes and Bellonte, achieved the first non-stop Paris-New York flight.
The CASA company built the only other example of the Super Bidón, which differed from the original in having enclosed crew cockpits with raised rear fuselage upper decking, and by the incorporation of auxiliary fins. That was lost on a flight from Seville to Latin America, disappearing over the Caribbean between Cuba and Mexico.
Bre 19 Seaplane
Single examples of a twin-float version appeared, one built by Breguet and one, a temporary conversion for a Japanese Imperial Navy competition, by Nakajima.
Developed from the Bidón, this experimental military prototype was powered by a 600 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Lb engine, and had elliptical wingtips and curved vertical tail surfaces. The type was offered for export in 1928.
Five Yugoslav Bre 19s were returned to Vélizy-Villacoublay for modification by Breguet. They were fitted with semi-elliptical wingtips on enlarged wings and a lengthened fuselage. Four additional support struts were fitted between the fuselage and upper wing. The five aircraft were also re-engined with the 600 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Nb and redelivered to the Yugoslavs in 1930.
Five similar aircraft bearing the same designation (Bre 19.7) were delivered to Romania. At the Kraljevo works 125 Bre 19.7s were put in production, though a shortage of Hispano-Suiza engines meant that only 75 had been completed by 1933. The Turks ordered 50 Bre 19.7s in 1933, and these were the last of the Bre 19 family to be built by the parent company.
A single Yugoslav Bre 19.7 was tested by Breguet with a 690 hp Gnome & Rhône 14Kbrs radial engine. Further tests in Yugoslavia led to its rejection as a possible powerplant for the 50 engineless Bre 19.7 airframes, and it was finally decided to fit the 780 hp Wright Cyclone GR-1820-F-56 9-cylinder radial engine, the 50 aircraft were completed accordingly, with the last one delivered in November 1937.
A re-engined Yugoslav Bre 19.7 with a 860 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs engine.
Another one-off Yugoslav conversion of a Bre 19.7 this time with a 720 hp Lorraine 12Hfrs Petrel engine and flown in 1935.