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Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4

Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4
Originální název:
Original Name:
Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4
bombardovací letoun
DD.03.1939-DD.06.1940 Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est, Villacoublay /
DD.10.1939-DD.11.1942 Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est, Ambérieu /
DD.MM.1940-DD.06.1940 Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est, Marignane /
DD.MM.1940-DD.06.1940 Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques de l'Ouest, Bouguenais /
Období výroby:
Production Period:
Vyrobeno kusů:
Number of Produced:
První vzlet:
Maiden Flight:
21.10.1938 LeO 451.01
24.03.1939 LeO 451 B.4 No.1
Základní charakteristika:
Basic Characteristics:
Vzlet a přistání:
Take-off and Landing:
CTOL - konvenční vzlet a přistání
Uspořádání křídla:
Arrangement of Wing:
Uspořádání letounu:
Aircraft Concept:
Přistávací zařízení:
Landing Gear:
Technické údaje:
Technical Data:
Hmotnost prázdného letounu:
Empty Weight:
7820 kg
Vzletová hmotnost:
Take-off Weight:
? kg
Maximální vzletová hmotnost:
Maximum Take-off Weight:
11400 kg
22,520 m
17,170 m
5,240 m
Plocha křídla:
Wing Area:
68,00 m2
Plošné zatížení:
Wing Loading:
? kg/m2
Počet motorů:
Number of Engines:
Gnome-Rhône 14N 48/49 o výkonu 835 kW
třílistá vrtule s konstantní rychlostí otáček Ratier
Objem palivových nádrží:
Fuel Tank Capacity:
3235 l
Maximální rychlost:
Maximum Speed:
4801) km/h v 4000 m
Cestovní rychlost:
Cruise Speed:
360 km/h v 1600 m
Rychlost stoupání:
Climb Rate:
? m/s
Čas výstupu na výšku:
Time to Climb to:
14 min do 5000 m
Operační dostup:
Service Ceiling:
9000 m
23002) km
Maximální dolet:
Maximum Range:
2900 km
1x pohyblivý kulomet MAC 34 ráže 7,5 mm v přídi
1x kulomet MAC 34 ráže 7,5 mm ve výsuvné břišní věži
1x pohyblivý kanon HS 404 ráže 20 mm ve hřbetním střelišti (od r. 1941 přidány 2 spřažené kulomety MAC 34)

2x 500 kg puma
5x 200 kg puma
Uživatelské státy:
User States:

1) s vrtulemi Gnome-Rhône 495 km/h
2) s 500 kg pum
3) před uzavřením příměří postaveno 449-552 strojů, pro vichystickou vládu objednáno 225 strojů, postaveno snad jen 109
Danel, Raymond; Cuny, Jean. LeO 45, Amiot 350 et autre B4, Docavia no.23. Editions Larivière, Paris 1986.
Pelletier, Alain. French Bombers of World War II in Action, No.189. Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton 2003. ISBN 0-89747-458-9.
Danel, Raymond. The Lioré et Olivier LeO 45 Series, Profile No.173. Profile Publications, Leatherhead 1967.
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Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4

The LeO 45 aircraft and derivative versions occupy a special place in the history of the French Air Force. It is the only French aircraft that was deployed in the fighting of 1939-1940 and remained in active service for almost 20 years after the end of World War II (4 years longer than Dewoitine D.520).

In the early 1930s, a plan was developed for the development of the French Air Force ( Armee de l'Air), the so-called Plan I. Based on this plan, the development of several new aircraft in various categories, including heavy bombers. The requirements for this aircraft were as follows: speed 400 km/h with a carrying capacity of 1000 kg bombs and a range of 1000 km.

Five companies took part in the competition - Amiot, Bloch, [url = https : //] Latecoere[/url], Romano i Liore et Olivier. Due to the fact that no company was able to meet these requirements and present a functional prototype, the customer Service Technique Aeronautique modified the requirements for the machine in 1936. According to the new requirements, it was to be a four-seater aircraft with the latest engines, armed with a 20 mm cannon for self-defense and with a speed of up to 470 km/h. At this time, the aviation development plan was replaced by a new plan, called Plan II, in which four-seat bombers were reclassified from heavy bombers to medium bombers. Only the company Liore et Olivier could respond to the new conditions with its prototype aircraft LeO 45. The company also offered the production of this aircraft in the number of 1000 pieces.

LeO 45 designed by Pierre-Ernest Mercier. The aircraft was built as an all-metal twin-engine self-supporting monoplane. Hispano-Suiza HS-14AA (1100 hp at 2850 m) was used as engines. The crew consisted of three people - pilot, radio operator and bomber. The armament of the aircraft consisted of a fixed 7.5 mm machine gun MAC-1934 in the front of the aircraft. The same machine gun was in the lower retractable turret, controlled by a bomber. To protect the upper rear hemisphere was used 20 mm cannon Hispano-Suiza HS-404 with 120 rounds operated by a shooter-radio operator. Bomb armament with a caliber of up to 500 kg up to a weight of 2000 kg could be placed in two central bombers,

Prototype LeO-45.01 vzletol 16.1 .1937. His first flight lasted a total of 5 minutes. During the summer, there were problems with cooling the engines and controlling the aircraft at low speeds. The prototype returned to the production hall for modifications. Subsequent modifications to the prototype included the replacement of engines and enlargement of the end portions of the bearing surfaces. After modifications, the prototype reached a speed in the steep flight of 624 km/h at an altitude of 1800 m. The horizontal speed reached 480 km/h.

At this time, the group was nationalized and renamed SNCASE. Under the new leadership, 40 machines were built, but their use was limited due to constant engine problems. The problems were eliminated only by reworking the engine body (according to the type LeO H-46) and the installation of engines Gnome-Rhone 14N. This increased the total speed to 502 km/h at an altitude of 5100 m. The official end of the development of this type, called LeO 451 was completed in February 1939. The first serial LeO 451, presented at the exhibition in November 1938, had its first official flight in March 1939. By the beginning of World War II, 640 aircraft were ordered for the French Air Force and a slightly modernized series of 12 aircraft was preliminarily ordered according to Greek government requirements.These 12 unfinished machines were confiscated after the outbreak of war and were never handed over to the original customer.

At the beginning of the war, orders followed for another 600 bombers LeO 451 and 48 pieces of the special naval version LeO 451M ( LeO 456[// b:aaaaaa]) equipped with special air bags in the gondolas and behind the bomber cab to keep the machine afloat. At the same time, the original machine guns were replaced by a new 7.5 mm machine gun " Darne". The production of modernized variants LeO 454, LeO 455 and LeO 458 was planned.

Scheme LeO 451
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Combat use (1939-1940)

The introduction of LeO 451 into the armament of the French Air Force did not go without problems. Although the three machines were demonstrated in an air demonstration over Brussels on July 9, 1939, the official takeover of the first machine into service was not made until July 29, 1939. The delay in production was caused by a lack of material from subcontractors. Another reason for the delay in deliveries was the need for additional modernization of each manufactured machine before its delivery to the army, as due to continuous production of the basic type, the company did not want to stop production for the time needed to adjust workflows to produce an improved version. So every machine produced was moved to further modernization immediately after production, which prolonged production.

Another problem with the introduction into service was the retraining of the crew. The individual crews had difficulty getting used to controlling the aircraft at low speeds during takeoff. But if the aircraft picked up a higher speed, controllability came to the norm and without bombing, the aircraft allowed all the elements of high pilotage.

At the outbreak of war and the beginning of mobilization on September 3, 1939, there were a total of 15 LeO 451 in the French Air Force. During the so-called Strange War, these aircraft performed reconnaissance flights in the depths of German territory. The first LeO 451 aircraft were assigned to the squadron of the experimental squadron Groupe de bombardement 31, from where they were assigned to the units GB I/31 and GB II/31. 5 aircraft from GB I/31 from Connante were the first to intervene in combat operations. These aircraft patrolled the border and were often sent for reconnaissance into the depths of German territory. One of them was damaged on October 6, 1939 by air defense fire and subsequently shot down by a German fighter aircraft Messerschmitt Bf-109D near Eskirchen. Another machine of this unit was destroyed during the landing. The remaining 3 GB I/31 aircraft flew until December, when the unit was moved to Lezigan. 10. 3. 1940 GB I/31 already had 10 aircraft LeO 451.

In May 1939 was Groupe de bombardement 31 (with 10 aircraft LeO 451 v GB-I/31 and 8 aircraft LeO 451 in GB-II/31) included in the set Bombardment Group 6.

May 10, 1940, when the German offensive against France began, 222 aircraft were already accepted into the air force LeO-451. Of this number, however, 7 were destroyed and damaged in accidents, 87 were in repairs and modernization, 12 were in training units and 22 were preserved as backup. Of the remaining 94 aircraft in combat units, only 54 were combat-ready. As early as May 11, 1940, they were deployed in combat, but not for the tasks for which they were intended - bombing the enemy's deep tulle. As it turned out, France was not ready to wage a modern form of war. The French ground forces did not have an effective defense against the attacker's armor wedges. There was virtually no rapid and operationally deployable forces that could possibly cover the gaps, with the exception of the De Gaulle division with its motorized infantry moving in buses. Only the air force provided a recipe for slowing down the German advance - by massively bombing the advancing enemy. But there were practically no attack aircraft capable of such tasks, and practically everything was deployed for suicide attacks.

The bombers LeO 451 bombed German tank columns from low altitudes, while they were exposed to heavy fighter fire and ground air defense, often their own troops. For example, 15.05.1940 shot down its own anti-aircraft artillery by mistake one bomber LeO 451 from GB II/31.

In one such operation, May 16.1940, 26 bombers LeO 451 (of which 12 from GB-II/31) launched a raid on the marching current of the German motorized division in the vicinity of Montcornet , losing 4 aircraft, despite the fighter protection provided. During the advance of the German army, the aircraft GB 31 were forced to retreat and the entire formation was supplemented by new aircraft. When signing the armistice, the units GB 31 were located at the airports Chalon-sur-Saone a Til-Chatel.

Another unit fully armed with bombers LeO 451 was Groupe de bombardement 12. Its GB-I/12 and GB-II/12 units were based in Orleans Bricy and later in Caen-Carpiquet. In the spring of 1940, the squadron had 36 aircraft LeO 451. 11.05.1940 attacked 6 aircraft of GB-I/12 and 4 aircraft of GB-II/12 with fighter protection 18 MS 406 from a height of 500 - 600 m road connecting Maastricht in the Netherlands with Tongeren in Belgium and the bridge over the Albert Canal, along which German troops moved. The air defense shot down one bomber (machine No. N.46 from GB-II/12 shot down by tank fire) and damaged the others. After returning to the airport, it turned out that only one bomber could be repaired. After that, Groupe de bombardement 12 became part of Groupement de Bombardement 6. Aircraft from GB 12 16 May 1940 also participated in the bombing of motorized units in the vicinity of Montcornet. A few hours after the raid, however, the Luftwaffe retaliated, during which the aircraft Persan-Beaumont were destroyed and the aircraft LeO 451. The remaining 10 bombers of the unit participated in May 20, 1940 in a raid on Germany, the Greek position at Peronne and St. Quentin. Four planes did not return from the raid. After the delivery of new machines, the war ended for the unit at the airports Montbard and Tavaux.

On March 10, 1940, the first 3 pieces of LeO 451 were delivered to Groupe de bombardement 11. Following transfers to Marigny-le-Grand and Pont-sur-Yonne airports, GB-I/11 and GB-II/11 became part of Groupement de Bombardement 7. May 31, 1940, four aircraft from GB-I/11 together with aircraft from Groupement de Bombardement 6 participated in the bombing of the German column at Amiens and Abbeville. None of the bombers returned from the raid. Finally, GB 11 as part of Groupement de Bombardement 7 relocated to North Africa, during the flight bombed communication nodes around the Italian city Novi.

Groupe de bombardement 23 had in its numbers in the spring of 1940 5 aircraft LeO 451. After the start of the war, the aircraft LeO 451 from GB-I/23 were transferred to GB-II/23 and he himself was rearmed to bombers Bloch. Subsequently, the squadron was included in the Groupement de Bombardement 7. GB-I/23 with its Blochmi was not very successful and was re-armed with aircraft LeO 451.

Groupe de bombardement 32 had 5 aircraft available in the spring of 1940 LeO 451. The aircraft were stored in warehouses and the unit was relocated to Marrakesh (Morocco), where it was armed with another type of aircraft.

During the combat deployment, there were also shortcomings in the cannon Hispano-Suiza HS-404, which proved to be ineffective in defending the rear hemisphere .German fighters very soon revealed a blind spot behind the tail of the aircraft, where they adjusted their speed with the target and calmly started firing. At the same time, the cannon suffered from another shortcoming, namely the lengthy replacement of the magazine for 60 rounds. Nevertheless, these bombers were able to partially defend themselves in combat activities on their own. For example, June 6, 1940 at Chaumes in a duel between 14 aircraft LeO 451, 10 fighters Bf-109 and 5 Bf-110 were able to shoot down 3 attacking fighters, at the loss of 5 aircraft. The heroic deed here was proved by the onboard gunner Grandchamp from GB-I/11, who shot down 2 German fighters.

Heavy losses forced these planes to move to action at night. A night attack on the BMW races near Munich was planned, but the action was eventually canceled due to bad weather. The difficult situation at the front forced the command to re-deploy the aircraft LeO 451 for daily actions, regardless of the impending losses. On June 14, the remaining bombers began preparing to fly to North Africa. But before that, after Italy's entry into the war, they bombed Palermo. The last combat appearance against Germany in 1940 was June 25, when advancing German troops were bombed.

As of June 25, 1940, a total of 452 pieces were produced LeO 451, of which 373 were assigned to units and 130 of them were lost in combat. Half of the remaining aircraft flew to a base in North Africa.
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LeO 451 in the service of the Axis

After the armistice between Germany and the government in Vichy, all aircraft LeO 451 remained included in the armament of units of this government (in France 183 aircraft and 135 of them were in Africa). Based on combat experience, the aircraft were slightly modified. The area of the wing was increased, the equipment was supplemented by two more machine guns caliber 7.5 mm MAC-1934 with 750 rounds coupled with 20 mm cannon HS-404. The aircraft were also adapted for steep bombing to an angle of 45 °. On April 30, 1942, Germany authorized the resumption of the production of bombers LeO 451. At this time, 102 new aircraft were produced and at the same time experimental production of the type LeO 455 began, but both produced pieces were confiscated by the Germans. The bombers LeO 451 were still to be armed with two machine guns in the rear of the aerodynamic crossings of the wings. The next combat career of the aircraft LeO 451 was very amazing. The planes fought on the side of both the Axis and the Allies.

9/24/1940 bombers LeO 451 bombed Gilbraltár in response to the British attack on Dakar. During the bombing, one LeO 451 was shot down by air defense. In July 1941, the bombers LeO 451 took part in combat operations in the Middle East, in the Syrian campaign. In these battles, they made 855 combat sorties with their own losses of 18 aircraft of two squadrons.

At the beginning of 1943, at the time of the Allied landing in North Africa, the aircraft LeO 451 in North Africa took part in an attempt by French troops loyal to the government in Vichy to sign a ceasefire and occupy the rest of the continental territory. France Germany's LeO 451 fleet split. North African LeO 451 already transported cargo from Moroccan ports to airports in Algeria and Tunisia with the designation of the US Air Force, aircraft in mainland France were taken over by Germany and used for the benefit of Osi.

The Germans acquired about 100 LeO 451 aircraft in the occupied territory, of which only 9 were immediately usable./31516/] Ju-88A[/url]. The production of new aircraft did not continue and so the manufacturer proceeded to modify part of the machines for a transport version for the Luftwaffe called LeO 451T. This machine could carry 17-23 passengers, or 8 barrels of gasoline. The bomber and aircraft armament were removed, although later several aircraft were additionally armed with a pair of 7.92 mm machine guns MG-81.

LeO 451 are included in the following units:

In July 1940, the Germans allowed the French government to form 13 bombing regiments, of which three units were armed with LeO 451 aircraft (GB-I/12, GB-I/31 and GB-I/11). Squadron 1B of the Naval Air Force its LeO 451 handed over to the Air Force and was rearmed to Martin 167F.

At the end of September 1940, LeO 451 were in the arsenal of seven units:
- GB-I/12 and GB-I/31 (Istree), which together with GB-I/38 and GB-II/38 (equipped with Amiot 143) formed Groupement 6. In 1941, the Amiots in GB-38 were replaced by LeO 451.
- GB-I/25 and GB-II/25 (El Aouin, Tunisia) were rearmed from LeO 257bis to LeO 451 (GB-II/25 in August). These units formed Groupement 8.
- GB-I/11 in Oran (Algeria) (together with GB-I/19 and GB-II/61 ( equipped with Douglas DB 7) formed by Groupement 3)
- GB-I/23 and GB-II/23 in Meknes (together with GB-I/32 and GB-II/32 (equipped with Douglas DB 7) formed Groupement 11).

GB-I/11, GB-I/23, GB-II/23 and GB-II/25 took part in raids on Gilbraltár on days 23-24. 09. 1940 in retaliation for the attack on Dakar.During this operation, one LeO 451 was shot down by the British air defense and fell into the sea.

GB-I/31 and GB-I/12 were relocated to Syria in July 1941, where they participated in the fighting with British troops. However, as the combat operations did not succeed, both units were later withdrawn to France. Along with them, she also took part in the fighting in Syria Groupe de bombardement 25, while it was almost destroyed. After the end of the fighting in Syria, she returned to the base of El Aouin in Tunisia.

Groupe de bombardement 38 received new bombers LeO 451 in 1941.

Bombers LeO 451 were also in the armament of reconnaissance Groupe de Reconaissance 22, specifically GR I/22 based in Rabat (Morocco).

In 1941, these aircraft were also in the state of the squadrons of naval air force 6B and 7B (Flotilla 1F).
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Service with the Allies until 1945

At the time of the Allied landings in North Africa on November 8, 1942, 109 new aircraft LeO 451 (last with No. N.581) were delivered under contract 179/41. After the landing and subsequent occupation of mainland France by Germany, 94 bombers remained in the occupied territory in the group GB-I/12 and GB-I/31 (Amber) a GB 38 (Lyon). 9 machines were airworthy.

In North Africa, Leo 451 remained in the following units (13 each)
- Morocco:
- GB-I/23 (Marrakech)
- GB-II/23 (Megnes)
- GR-I/22 (Rabat)
- Algeria:
- GB-I/11 (Oran)
- naval air fleet 4F (Tafarui)
- GB-II/61 (Blida) - 2 ks
- Tunisia
- GB 25 (Tunisia)

During the Allies' strikes on the airports, GB-I/11 lost two aircraft destroyed on the ground and one machine was shot down by Allied air defenses. GR-I/22 lost 9 aircraft LeO 451 shot down by Martlet British fighters naval aviation.
GB 25 was ordered not to interfere in the fighting and retreat. 31. 12. 1942 was GB-II/25 was dissolved and its machines were supplemented GB-I/25. Between 18-28 January 1943, this unit transported 180 tons of material from Moroccan ports to airports in Algeria and Tunisia, already with the designation of the US Air Force.

Groupement Mixte 8 was established in February 1943 and became part of the Northwest Tactical Air Command. Her report included GB-I/25 and GB-II/23, while these units were reinforced by machines from dissolved GB-I/11. Their first night raid was undertaken on February 24, 1943 on the Neft (Tunisia). Despite the problem of maintaining combat readiness due to lack of spare parts, these units undertook more than 80 night air raids for more than 200 flight hours until April 25, 1943, dropping more than 100 tons of bombs on German targets in Tunisia. During the actions, two machines were lost - one of GB-II/23 on April 5, 1943 over El-Ayyun and the second of GB-I/11 in an accident during a training flight.
GB-I/25 a GB-II/23 flew 10. 5. 1943 to Telepta and the rest GB-I/11 to the famous center of the Alien Legion of Sidi-Bel-Abby. During the next three months, these units practically did not fight. Subsequently, GB-I/23 was dissolved and in a short time it was also followed by GB-I/11. Their 8 airworthy machines (N.178, N.280, N.284, N.317, N.360, N.379, N.426, N.436) with crews were included in the GB-II/23 in Meknes.

In August, GB-II/23 a GB-I/25 relocated to Algeria, where they left their LeO 451 and crews were moved to the United Kingdom, where they formed 346.(Guinea) and 347. (Tunisia) RAF squadron armed with aircraft Halifax.

For several months, the 4F fleet used its LeO 451 on patrol flights for the benefit of the Coast Guard in the Canary Islands. On July 1, 1943, part of the units was disbanded and its aircraft moved to Port Luati for transport and training tasks.
GR-I/22 (Morocco) exchanged its LeO 451 at the end of September (September) 1943 for B-26 Marauder.
At the beginning of 1943, the EAPN unit was established in Marrakesh. The task of this unit was to train pilots and other members of the aircraft crew. The B1 squadron also included aircraft LeO 451. The bombers served in this unit LeO 451 until decommissioning in 1945 and replaced by bombers Wellington and Marauder.
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Post-war service

The war ended with 67 aircraft LeO 451 (67 in North Africa and 22 on the continent), mostly in very poor technical condition. Their post-war service is also interesting. During 1945-46, of the aircraft, which in the territory of France were 14 pieces modified by the manufacturer for flying laboratories, were marked LeO 451E (E - Essais - research). They have been used in various French companies for the development and testing of parachutes, rockets, guided bombs (eg SE 1500, ECA 30, SFECMAS, Arsenal 5501), or for research. In October 1954, 5 more of this version were flying.

The end of the war made it possible to complete work on the version LeO 455 with G.R. engines 14R. Three aircraft LeO 451 (No. N.602, N.499 and N.500) were modified by the manufacturer SNECMA to version LeO 455 (Nos. N.3, N.4 and N.5) and used for flight tests of the Gnome-Rhone 14R engine, the tests took place in June 1947. Using a two-stage turbocharger, this engine achieved power 1335 hp at a height of 2500 m and 1225 hp at a height of 6700 m. New production has not started, the remaining pieces LeO 451 have been modified for this version. Based on LeO 455, a type was developed and modified for the National Geographical Institute LeO 455F (LeO 455Ph) in the number of 5 pieces for aerial photography. The development of this type was completed in June 1950.

In 1946, the armament was dismantled from one aircraft LeO 451 in Algeria and the aircraft was experimentally converted to a high-speed transport aircraft. Due to problems with the originally considered Gnome-Rhone 14N engines, Pratt & Whitney R-1830-67 engines with an output of 1200 hp were used for the prototype. This machine could carry 6 passengers with a cruising speed of 400 km/h to a distance of 3500 km. Since 1947, another 39 aircraft have been transformed. The aircraft was marked LeO 453. The first 30 rebuilt aircraft received the Arme del'Air. They flew until 1957.
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Prierez (
Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 - LeO 451

LeO 451
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Prvý prototyp LeO 451.01 B4 (prestavaný LeO 45.01 B4) (zdroj:
Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 - Prvý prototyp LeO 451.01 B4 (prestavaný LeO 45.01 B4)

Prvý prototyp LeO 451.01 B4 (prestavaný LeO 45.01 B4)
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Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B4


Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 -

Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 -

Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 -

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The first machine used a propeller type Gnome-Rhône with priemerom 3,32 m, najčastejšie used boli propeller Ratier 1634/1635 with priemerom of 3.2 m.
Volume vnútorných fuel tanks bol 2x 800 l, predné vonkajšie mali volume of 2x 300 l, no 2x 410 l.

Balous, Miroslav: SNCASE (Loiré et Olivier) LeO-45, the Aviation and aerospace 1989 / 23.
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Lioré-et-Olivier LeO 451 B4
Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 -

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Lioré-et-Olivier LeO 451, with narrow your 35. France, may 1940.

Aviacia France vo vtoroj mirovoj vojne, Virtualnyj pilot no. 8/9, str. 41 (Авиация Франции во второй мировой войне, Виртуальный пилот № 8/9)
Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 B.4 -

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Many doesn't know about it, but in individual cases flew in this bomber also czechoslovak pilots. Among other things I can name the rtm. William Bufku that to flying on a LeO heslovitě recalls in his excellent autobiographical book Bomber T-2990 paused..
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