|1/72 scale model from Smer kit|
|Designed by||Félix Amiot|
|Primary user||French Air Force|
Félix Amiot's 1925 design was selected in 1928 for production over rivals Bleriot 137, Breguet 410 and SPCA 30. The prototype designated Amiot 140 flew in 1931, but actual production of the aging design did not begin until 1935 and continued for lack of a replacement until March 1937.
Despite being of an ungainly two-tiered structure, slow and lacking maneuverability, and of obsolescent architecture, the Amiot 143M was a sturdy plane which was popular with its pilots. Notable were the very thick wings, with engines accessible in flight.
The Amiot 143M production model mounted a turret in the nose and dorsal turrets, both of which housed one or two 7.5 mm (.295 in) MAC 1934 machine guns. In addition, a single 7.5 mm (.295 in) MAC 1934 was mounted in fore and aft positions in the ventral bombing gondola.
The Amiot 143M entered service in July 1935. The design was already ten years old and was quite out of date. Nevertheless, 87 Amiot 143M were in the front line. 50 equipped four metropolitan groupes: GBs I/34 and II/34 in the north, GBs I/38 and II/38 in the East, and 17 equipped one African groupe as of 10 May 1940.
During the Phoney War, Amiot 143M groupes carried out reconnaissance and leaflet raids over Germany. Upon the start of the Battle of France, the Amiot 143M was used in night attacks on German lines of communications. The most significant action involving the Amiot 143M was a daring daylight raid on German bridgeheads near Sedan took place on 14 May 1940. A force of 13 planes from GBs I/34, II/34, and II/38 led by Commandant de Laubier encountered German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters en route. 12 bombers were destroyed.
By the time of the Armistice, the Amiot 143M had dropped a total of 474 tonnes (523 tons) of bombs. 53 Amiot 143Ms were in the Unoccupied Zone and 25 were in French North Africa. They were reorganized into GBs I/38 and II/38 and were used until July 1941 when they were replaced by LeO 451 bombers.
Some planes of the II/38 served as a transports for the French in Syria. This groupe later went over to the Allied side after their landings in Africa. The last Amiot 143M was retired from service in February 1944.
A few Amiot 143M are reported to have been commandeered by the Germans and used as transports. Only 11 planes were left in the Unoccupied Zone when it was occupied by the Germans in 1943, and only three were flightworthy.
Had the war gone on a little longer for France, it is likely that all of the Amiot 143M would have ended up in a training role, having been replaced by more modern bombers such as the Breguet 693. The obsolete plane was never intended to have such an important role come war time, but slow French production made its use necessary - often being pulled from training squadrons to shore up bomber groupes.