The Nieuport 11 entered service with the Aviation Militaire in the summer of 1915. A small, single-seat biplane which quickly earned the nickname of ‘Bebe’ it was also used by the RNAS and from March 1916 served with the RFC on the Western Front providing more than a match for the Fokker monoplanes. The Macchi Company built 640 in Italy where they became standard fighters and were also used in Albania. Others served in Belgium and Russia.
Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter
This aircraft was used extensively during the Great War by the RNAS, RFC, French, Belgian and United States air services on a range of duties whcih included fighter-reconnaissance, bombing, ground attack, coastal patrol, anti-submarine work and photo reconnaissance. It operated on the Western Front, in Macedonia, Italy, the Aegen area and Russia and was flown from aircraft carriers, battleships and battle cruisers. the 1½ Strutter was the first British service aircraft with an efficient syncronised forward-firing armament. About 1500 were built by eight British manufacturers and some 4500 completed by the French.
The Taube or ‘Dove’ was so-called because of its swept-back wing tips and long fan-shaped tail. It had inherent stability, was pleasant to fly and had a reasonable performance. The Rumpler company took over the manufacturing rights from the designer, Etrich, and many makes of Taube were produced by the Albatros, Gotha and Rumpler firms. All civilian versions were pressed into service at the outbreak of the war and, on August 30th 1914, Paris was bombed from Taube with five 6.6lb bombs. In the same month a Rumpler Taube was instrumental in saving the day for the German 8th Army at the Battle of Tannenberg by observing an unexpected Russian advance. Approximately 500 Tauben were built for the German armed forces.
The Avro 504 first appeared in 1913, an airplane considerably in advance of most of its cotemporaries in design, construction and performance, despite this, only 13 Avro’s were used by front-line units in France. One Avro of No.5 Squadron RFC was the first British machine to be brought down by the enemy while another, from the same squadron, armed with a Lewis gun, made the first ground strafing attack of the war during the first Battle of Ypres, October 22nd 1914. The most audacious action by this type occurred two days later when four Avro’s bombed the Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. Later marks saw some operational service until the Avro 504 came into its own as an excellent training aircraft.
The Caudron G4 came into service during the spring of 1915 as a bombing reconnaissance airplane with a good useful load of about 220lbs, an extraordinary rate of climb and even equipped with a wireless set. G4s were assigned to 38 escadrilles of the French Air force and used extensively throughout the war. At first they operated on reconnaissance duties then, in November 1915, they undertook daytime bombing sorties attacking targets beyond the Rhine. By the autumn of 1916 they were withdrawn from this duty because of the greatly improved German fighter defences. The RNAS used the Caudron G4. 43 were imported from France and 12 were built in the British Caudron plant. They were used to raid the German Zeppelin, submarine and seaplane bases along the Belgian coast. The G4 was also built in Italy and used by the Italian Air Force while 10, acquired by the American Army Air Force, were used as training aircraft.
Vickers F.B 5
Vickers Ltd were one of the first companies to design fighter aircraft. Their Type 18 ‘Destroyer’ was featured at the 1913 Aero show at Olympia armed with a belt-fed Maxim gun. The production aircraft, the FB 5, was bought by the RFC armed with a drum-fed Lewis Gun. No.11 Squadron RFC was the first specialised fighter Squadron to be formed with FB 5s in February 1915 and was soon in action with its ‘Gunbus’ used as a fighter, ground-strafer and sometimes a bomber. On 7th November 1915, 2nd Lieutenant G.S.M. Insall of No.11 Squadron RFC won the Victoria Cross for an action in a Vickers FB 5. This slow airplane, with a meagre performance, remained in service until July 1916, by then being no match at all for the German Fokker monoplanes.
The Lloyd C1 produced by the Ungarishe Lloyd Flugzueg and Motorenfabrik immediately before the outbreak of the Great War achieved instant fame by reaching an altitude of 20,243 feet at Aspern near Vienna. The aeroplane was already in service when the war started and between four and five hundred of the Lloyd C1, C2, C3, C4 and C5 were built and used extensively by the Austro-Hungarian Air Services during the first half of the war. No armament was first carried but the observer later had a schwarzlose machine gun. Some we fitted with a second machine gun mounted on the top wing. With its good rate of climb the Lloyd was a popular aircraft in the mountainous Italian front. It was stable and easy to fly even in the roughest weather. It then served well as a trainer after its operational life had ended.
The Morane-Saulnier L was developed from the Type G which appeared together with three other excellent Morane designs at the Salon Aeronautique in Paris in 1911. The Type L, powered with either a Gnome or Le Rhone rotary was ordered in large numbers at the outbreak of war as a reconnaissance machine but, as it was found to be appreciably faster than German two-seaters, pilots were encouraged to arm their aircraft with pistols, cavalry carbines and other small arms. Nearly 600 Type L’s were built and used by Escadrilles MS3, 12 and 23 whose pilots and observers were successful in brining down many German aircraft during the first half of 1915. It was also used by No.3 Squadron RAF and No.1 Wing RNAS which accounted for the destruction of Zeppelin LZ37 on 7th June 1915. In the reconnaissance role it was operated by 8 French escadrilles and the Russians.
The Steel-framed Voisin pusher biplane was in service with the French Army at the outbreak of war. A batch of the Voisin LA (Type 3) with 120hp Canton Unne (Salmson) engines was even waiting to be delivered to Russia. Escadrilles VB1, 2 and 3 with 18 Voisins formed the first French Groupe de Bombardment in November 1914 and carried out some very successful raids until September 1915 when day-bombing was stopped because of the superior German fighter aircraft, and Voisins changed to night-bombing. 37 Voisin LAs with 200hp Hispano-Suiza engines were obtained by the RNAS and used in the Aegean, Africa and Mesopotamia. British and French built Voisins were used on the Western front by Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 16 Squadrons RFC and in Italy, this machine formed the operational establishment of five squadriglia.
The Nieuport 10 two-seater biplane was the earliest line of the famous French fighter aircraft which came to be used by France, Britain and Italy. It was operated by the RNAS in the Dardenelles where some of the Mk. 10s were converted to single seaters armed with a Lewis Gun. It was replaced by a larger and stronger Nieuport 12 which was used by Nos. 1, 4, 5, and 46 Squadrons RFC and by Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 10 Squadrons RNAS.
Here are some more of the WW1 plane postcards which are being kept in the Museums store. This post will include information about the Royal Aircraft Factory b.e. 2c.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E. 2c
The B.E. 2c was designed as an inherently stable aeroplane, easy to fly and an ideal answer to the Royal Flying Corps’ fundamental operational requirement for a good reconnaissance aircraft. It first flew on 30th May 1914 powered by a 70hp Renault engine. When it entered service with No.8 Squadron RFC in April 1915, the 90hp RAF engine had been fitted as the standard power plant. The B.E. 2c’s stability was initially well received by service pilots but with the advent of the true fighter Fokker monoplanes and the Albatros biplanes, they became very easy prey, being to stable to avoid attack and too slow to get away. Nonetheless, production of large numbers continued and 14 squadrons of the RFC and one of the RNAS were equiped with this type. It was still in action on the Western Front during ‘Bloody April’, 1917 where it suffered a large number of casulties. It was operated overseas by both the RNAS and the RFC, serving as a bombing and reconsissacne aircraft in Maceedonia and the Middle East, and in the Dardenells and the Aegen.
These postcards are currently being kept in the Museum’s store. They are information postcards about planes from World War One. We have many more of the postcards which we will make posts about in the coming weeks. This is the Bristol scout which was produced from 1914-1916 with 374 being made in that time.
The Bristol Scout, powered by an 80hp Gnome engine, first flew on 23d February 1914. After modifications to the undercarriage, wings and rudder, Scouts were sent to the Western Front for operational testing in September 1914 and orders were soon place by RFC (Royal Flying Corps) and RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service). Those for the RFC were delivered in March 1915 either singly or in pairs to reconnaissance squadrons where their duty was to protect the unarmed two-seaters. Armament varied at first from a fixed Lee-Enfield or carbine, a Mauser pistol, rifle grenades to an obliquely aligned Lewis gun. Then a Lewis gun was fixed mounted on the entire centre section firing forward over the propeller and, eventually, the Scout appeared with a Vickers gun installed using interrupter gear, enabling the machine gun to be fired through the propeller. Bristol Scouts also served with the RFC in Palestine, Macedonia and Mesopotamia. They were flown by the RNAS in the Dardenelles campaign and from coastal stations at home.
Stanfield, Annan Road,
Dumfries and Galloway
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