Designed by Geoffrey de Havilland in 1916, the D.H.4 was the only British design manufactured by the Americans. It was easily identified by its rectangular fuselage and deep frontal radiator. Versatile, heavily armed and equipped with a powerful twelve cylinder engine, this biplane daylight bomber was fast. Sometimes called the "Flaming Coffin," its huge fuel tank was dangerously positioned between the pilot and observer, hindering communication. Produced in vast numbers, many D.H.4s were modified for civilian air service after the war.
It was Cecil Lewis' opinion that "[t]he D.H.4 was designed to do the jobs the B.E.12 and Martinsyde had failed to do. In these it was highly successful owing to its well-designed observer's cockpit with its ring gun mounting which took care of attacking enemy scouts, and also thanks to its Rolls-Royce Eagle engine which gave it such a turn of speed that it could show a clean pair of heels to many of the Hun fighters." 1