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Aircraft Topics related to WWI aircraft, aircraft engines and armament

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Old 12 December 2002, 07:05 AM   #1
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At the risk of starting WW3, how many really effective aircraft were instigated (not purchased, instigated) by the RFC, and how many by the RNAS?

I have come up with the following list:



I have omitted the BE2 as it was a trully awful machine, it was effective because of the numbers in use - if you use thousands, some are bound to get the job done!

The DH2 and DH4 (which must be one of the best machines of WW1) were not directly instigated by the RFC, but deHavilland had much better contact with the War Office than he did with the Admiralty.


Bristol Scout
Sopwith 1.5 Strutter
Handley Page heavy bombers
Sopwith Pup
Sopwith Triplane (Clerget)
Sopwith Camel

I have omitted seaplanes and floatplanes as these would not be used by both services. The Snipe is not included, as I'm not sure it was a particularly effective machine.

I am sure this will be controversial - the tin hat is already on!
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Old 12 December 2002, 01:51 PM   #2
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Hi Mike;

For me it would be the RNAS, given all the Sopwiths, even though the RFC instigated Se5a was probably the most effective of them all.

I think though that the Be2 was effective for what it was designed to do (to be a stable observational platform). However, its design was not suited to the predatory conditions it usually found itself in.

For a real RFC stinker, you can't go past the Re8, I always think. Not much good can be said about the Harry Tate I'd say.

What about the Bristol F2b? That was RFC instigated wasn't it?

All the Best

"There's something wrong with our bloody ships today." - Adm. Beatty, Jutland, 1916.
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Old 13 December 2002, 05:36 AM   #3
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you are quite right, I'd forgotten the Bristol Fighter,
loosely based on a 1915 specification for a corps 2 seater that could defend itself. Barnard was released by the RFC to go back to Bristols to work on new designs because of the large amount of "flak" the RFC was taking because they would not procure outside of the Royal Aeroplane Factory.

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Old 13 December 2002, 10:45 AM   #4
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Sorry mates, but the ex-AFC chaps I interviewwed liked the R.E.8. It could hold itself in a fight with a good crew.

The lousy reputation came from the early examples with the small fin, also No.3 Squadron, AFC, had a lot of training before being sent to the front!

There are a lot of reasons why one aircraft makes it and another does not.

The Sopwith Dolphin is a case in point as it is one of the most unappreciated fighters of WWI - for what it was designed for. The late, great Jack B agreed.

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Old 13 December 2002, 11:07 AM   #5
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Come on Colin,

an Aussi crew would have held their own flying a hang glider armed with tennis balls.

I know some liked the Harry Tate but others didn't. It certainly didn't have the impact of a DH4 or a Brisfit, and we know the Australians liked Bristols (if you will pardon the expression).

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Old 13 December 2002, 12:53 PM   #6
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The biggest stinker of the war has to go to the B.E. 9 "Pulpit".

Old 13 December 2002, 01:30 PM   #7
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Further to Colin's mention of the Dolphin, even if it had made an impact, it would have been excluded from my list, because it was not instigated by the RFC, it was a Sopwith private venture.

The RE8 which, I'll grant, was a dangerous machine in the right hands, suffered a lot of problems and killed a lot of RFC pilots - obviously also a dangerous machine in the wrong hands!

The Brisfit and the Harry Tate were both designed to meet the same specification, it would be difficult to imagine two more different 2-seaters.

I had to look up Andrew's BE9 - strewth! a bit like a SPAD A2. I wonder what the Royal Aircraft Factory designers were smoking that day?

I think we need a new thread for Royal Aircraft Factory "Turkeys". It makes you wonder how they came up with the SE5!!

There is a theory that a roomfull of monkeys with type-writers would eventually produce a Shakespeare play! It must apply to monkeys with drawing boards and slide rules as well.

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Old 13 December 2002, 07:03 PM   #8
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My Gallery
*My list:
* Bristol F2b fighter
* Bristol M.1C
* Sopwith 1F1 Camel
* Sopwith 5F1 Dolphin
* Sopwith 7F1 Snipe
* DH.9
* DH.9a
* DH.10
* Handley-Page V1500
* Vickers Vimy.
* * * * * * * * * * * *Blue skies,
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *Dan-San
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Old 14 December 2002, 09:00 AM   #9
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have to disagree with the following:

Bristol M1C - never made an impact, despite being a good machine, as we know, the RFC brass didn't trust monoplanes, and it was believed to have too high a landing speed for the trypical pilot to cope with. It took the RFC for ever to order it as well.

Dolphin is excluded because it was a private venture, not instigated by the RFC.

The Snipe - I'm not sure, it was much too late to be really effective - If we do "allow" it in, it would be another one for the RFC list.

DH1a - I feel was overshadowed by the FE2 series which got in first - what does everyone else think?

DH5 - never - another machine that was distrusted, and eventually relegated to ground attack duties.

DH9 - not in the same league as the DH4. Poor performance, late to get into production.

DH9A - a better machine, but too late, really an RAF aircraft.

DH10 - never really made an impact, very late, just an obscure aircraft.

Handley Page V1500 - you have me there Dan-San, I've never heard of this one!

Vickers Vimy - only one machine ever got to the front - not a serious contender.

FE8 - not a good machine, hung on too long in service - I don't feel it was in the same class as some of its contempories.

RE8 - I/we have already discounted this one - a dangerous machine to attack if manned by an aggressive crew and confident pilot, but all too often in RFC hands they failed miserably.

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