Bréguet BR 14
The Bréguet 14 was a French biplane bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War. It was built in very large numbers and production continued for many years after the end of the war.
Apart from its widespread usage, the Bréguet 14 is known for being the first mass-produced aircraft to use large amounts of metal, rather than wood, in its structure. This allowed the airframe to be lighter than a wooden airframe of the same strength, in turn making the aircraft relatively fast and agile for its size; in combat it was able to outrun many contemporary fighters. The Bréguet 14’s strong construction allowed it to sustain considerable damage, in addition to being easy to handle and possessing favourable performance. The type has often been considered to have been one of the best aircraft of the war. The airframe was composed primarily of duralumin, invented in Germany by Alfred Wilm a decade earlier.
The Bréguet 14 was ordered in quantity by the French Air Force. At its peak, the type equipped at least 71 escadrilles of the service, and was deployed on the Western Front, where it participated in number major actions in which it typically acquitted itself well. Many 14A2 and 14B2s were used in the conflict and were subject to considerable modification, particularly to respond to increasing German opposition to Allied Air operations.
Following its introduction by the French, during 1918, the Bréguet 14 was also ordered in quantity by the Belgian Army (40 aircraft) and the United States Army Air Service (over 600 aircraft). Around half the Belgian and U.S. aircraft were fitted with Fiat A.12 engines due to shortages of the original Renault 12F. Prior to the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the Bréguet 14 was typically assigned to serve in both reconnaissance and bombing roles. By the end of the conflict, the type had reportedly been responsible for dropping a combined total of 1,887,600 kg of bombs