The Airco DH10 Amiens was a twin engine medium size bomber designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for use in World War 1. It was a development of the Airco DH3 which had earlier been rejected by the Air Ministry who had little belief in strategic air bombing and that the use of two engines on aircraft was impractical.
The first prototype DH10 (C8658) first flew on 4th March 1918, with twin 230 hp Siddeley Puma engines driving pusher propellers, reflecting the type’s origin as an enlarged version of the unsuccessful DH3 of 1916.
During evaluation however, its performance was barely adequate and it only just reached 90 mph at 15,000 feet, well short of the 110 mph expectation and requirements.
The second prototype (C8659) was flown with two 360 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines, this time driving tractor propellers and this time it showed a much improved and acceptable performance.
Unfortunately, there was a shortage of Eagle engines and so, after a re-evaluation, the final production version (Airco DH10 Amiens Mk III) used the US built 395 hp Liberty 12 engines.
The Airco DH10 Amiens IIIA (built by Mann Egerton) had also moved the engines downwards and they were mounted on the upper-surface of the lower wing, rather than midway between the wings.
The Airco DH10 Amiens Mark III was delivered for 104 Squadron RAF service at the very end of the First World War, with the result that it is reported that only a single operational mission was flown.
After the Armistice ended the First World War, Airco DH10's joined both 120 Squadron in Western Europe and 216 Squadron in Egypt where they carried out mail carrying service for the military. A number were also deployed to India for service on the North-West Frontier.
The aircraft was eventually withdrawn from RAF service in April 1923.
The type was the subject of large sub-contract orders involving companies such as Alliance Aircraft (200 aircraft), Birmingham Carriage Co (100 aircraft), Daimler (150 aircraft), Siddeley-Deasy Car Company (150 aircraft) Mann, Egerton & Co (75 aircraft) and The National Aircraft Factory No 2 at Heaton Chapel (200 aircraft).
However, it must be noted that none of these figures was realised in production numbers. In fact, a total of nearly 1,300 aircraft were said to have been ordered although it is believed that alongside the two prototypes, only 258 production aircraft were ever completed, with many of those being delivered directly to store.
For there part Daimler, who were said to have been geared up to produce around 80 aircraft a month, were part of the larger British Small Arms Group (BSA) who, as it happened, subsequently took over Airco when they hit financial troubles in March 1920.
One single aircraft (E5488) was converted for civil use (as G-EAJO) and was used to carry civilian mail, most notably during the railway strike of October 1919.
|Powerplant||Two 400 hp Liberty 12|
|Span||65 ft 6 in|
|Maximum Weight||9,060 lb with 920 lb bomb load|
|Capacity & Armament||Pilot and front and rear gunner positions; maximum bomb load of 960 lb (112lb and 230lb bombs). Single or twin Scarff-mounted Lewis guns for self-defence.|
|Maximum Speed||131 mph at sea level|
Variants & Numbers Built
|DH10 Amiens I||Prototype powered by two pusher Puma engines C8658|
|DH 10 Amiens II||Prototype powered by two tractor Rolls-Royce Eagle engines C8659|
DH10 Amiens III
|Main production variant, powered by Liberty 12 engines mounted midway between wings.|
DH10 Amiens IIIA
|Modified Mark III with engines directly attached to lower wings, also known as the DH.10A|
DH10 Amiens IIIC
|Version powered by Rolls-Royce Eagle engines in case of shortages of Liberty engines, also known as the DH.10C|