Dewoitine D.371

The Dewoitine 371 was a 1930s French-built monoplane fighter aircraft. It was one of the first attempts at a faster pursuit aircraft using the monoplane configuration.


Dewoitine D.371
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Dewoitine
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1932
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
France View
Spain View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Dewoitine View

The D.371 was a single-seat aircraft of conventional configuration. Its fixed landing gear used a tailskid. The open cockpit was located slightly aft of the parasol wing. The radial engine allowed for a comparatively wide fuselage and cockpit.

Variants

  • D.371 : Initial version. Equipped with wheel brakes. Two machine guns were mounted in the wings, outside the propeller arc.
  • D.372 : Follow-on version. Not equipped with wheel brakes. Two machine guns were mounted in the engine cowling, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc, and two more were mounted in the wings, outside the propeller arc. Some had an armament of two 20 mm cannon in underwing fairings instead.
  • D.373 : Single-seat fighter version for the French Navy. Used also by the Spanish Republican Air Force.
  • D.376 : Folding-wing version for the French Navy.

The Spanish Civil War

In spite of its superior speed, this design failed to impress and was even refused when exported to Lithuania in 1935. An important competitor of the Dewoitine 371 was the Polish PZL P.24, a similar type but with better speed and armament. In 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, 12 or 14 of them were sold, unofficially, to the Spanish Republic as part of a squadron of volunteers organized secretly by André Malraux, named España. They were, however, unarmed due to the political stance of the French government that declared its neutrality very early.

In August of the same year, after some negotiations with the French government, three fully armed D.371s arrived in Barcelona, piloted by the mercenary pilots M. Poulain, René Halotier and Henri Rozés. They saw action as escorts of a bombing raid against Talavera de la Reina, Toledo that destroyed the headquarters of General Juan Yagüé. These three D.371s had successfully defended their bombers against the attacks of six German Heinkel He 51 biplane fighters - an older-design aircraft with inferior performance.

The Squadron España operated with these aircraft until the arrival of the modern Polikarpov I-15 and I-16, at which time the three Dewoitine 371s were withdrawn from the front and continued as training aircraft. However, they reappeared later in some squadrons and one is known to have flown with the 71 Fighter Group by the Yugoslav (Slovenian) volunteer pilot Josip Križaj. All Dewoitines left were practically destroyed after having been bombed by the Legion Condor aircraft in the airfield of Bañolas. This type was not used by the French in World War II.

Role Fighter
Manufacturer Dewoitine
First flight August 1932
Variants Dewoitine D.372


General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 7.44 m (24.41 ft)
  • Wingspan: 11.79 m (38.68 ft)
  • Height: 3.19 m (10.47 ft)
  • Wing area: 17.82 m² (191.8 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 1,295 kg (2,855 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1,730 kg (3,814 lb)
  • Powerplant: × Gnôme-Rhône K-14 or 14Kds radial engine, 597 kW (800 hp) each
  • Propellers: 1 propeller, 1 per engine

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 400 km/h at 4,500 m (249 mph at 14,764 ft)
  • Range: 1,150 km (715 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 36,100 ft (11003.28 m)

Armament

  • 2x Machine guns

End notes