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The current time is: 10/18/2017 1:48:33 AM
 (1914-1918) WWI Battles
AuthorMessage
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 4:43:32 AM
In the first weeks of the 1914/18 war the pilots and observers went up unarmed, and often would wave to one another if their paths crossed. But fairly quickly they began experimenting with means of attacking one another. Pistols and rifles proved to be ineffective, as did some of the more bizarre attempts such as throwing bricks, and trailing bombs or grappling irons behind the plane.

By October of 1914 many pilots were experimenting with machine guns. Louis Strange improvised a safety strap allowing the observer of his tractor driven Avro 504 to "stand up and fire all round over top of plane and behind". On the 5th of October 1914 a French Voisin III two-seater pusher biplane became the first plane to shoot down another when it encountered an Aviatik B.1. The shots were fired by the observer who stood up in order to fire a Hotchkiss machine gun.

Early 1915 saw pilots still attempting to find a practical technique. The first Vickers FB5 "Gunbus" aircraft, an evolution of the "Destroyer", had arrived on the Western front by February, but it did not meet with much success. Aiming a machine gun from one plane moving in three dimensions, to fight another plane moving in three dimensions, was extremely difficult.Difficulties were overcome.


[Read More]

Regards

Jim

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James W.
Ballina, Australia
Posts: 674
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 5:14:23 AM
The annual French Open grand-slam tennis tournament is held at the 'Roland Garros' centre in Paris...

Roland Garros attached steel wedges to the back of the blades of his tractor ( front prop) plane, to deflect the rounds
which intercepted the spinning prop - a crude, but effective method of forward firing a machine gun through the prop arc.

By aiming the whole plane, & using the more accurate fixed gun, Garros became the top 'ace' of his day - in A2A combat..

BWilson
, Posts: 3296
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 5:17:40 AM
 A few years ago, I was surprised to learn that the Allies had bombed Stuttgart in the First World War. Those old aircraft had respectable range.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 5:22:13 AM

Quote:
On 18 April 1915, either Garros's fuel line clogged or, by other accounts, his aircraft was downed by ground fire, and he glided to a landing on the German side of the lines. Garros failed to destroy his aircraft completely before being taken prisoner: most significantly, the gun and armoured propeller remained intact.

Legend has it that after examining the plane, German aircraft engineers, led by Fokker, designed the improved interrupter gear system. In fact the work on Fokker's system had been going for at least six months before Garros's aircraft fell into their hands.

With the advent of the interrupter gear the tables were turned on the Allies, with Fokker's planes shooting down many Allied aircraft, leading to what became known as the Fokker Scourge.

Wikipedia

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

James W.
Ballina, Australia
Posts: 674
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 5:38:29 AM

Quote:
 A few years ago, I was surprised to learn that the Allies had bombed Stuttgart in the First World War. Those old aircraft had respectable range.

Cheers

BW
--BWilson


Sure did, not long post-war, in 1919 - a Vickers Vimy bomber was flown non-stop across the Atlantic, & yet another was flown from Britain to Australia..

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 6:06:16 AM
By late 1915 the Germans had achieved air superiority, making Allied access to vital intelligence derived from continual aerial reconnaissance more dangerous to acquire. In particular the essential defencelessness of Allied reconnaissance types was exposed. The first German ace pilots - notably Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke began their careers at this time

The number of actual Allied casualties involved was for various reasons very small compared with the intensive air fighting of 1917/18. The deployment of the Fokker Eindeckers was less than overwhelming - the new type was issued in ones and twos to existing reconnaissance squadrons - and it was to be nearly a year before the Germans were to follow the British in establishing specialist fighter squadrons. The Eindecker was also, in spite of its advanced armament, by no means an outstanding aircraft - being closely based on a pre-war French racer.

[Read More]

Regards

Jim
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brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1303
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/11/2016 7:19:43 PM
It is interesting to look at the a/c developed between the wars. James W talks about flight distances, and that seems to be one side of bomber development. This aspect of development was probably more energetic during the early years of belief in Douhet's theories, before the prospect of a second European war became pronounced. IIRC, Soviet aviation between the wars built some bombers capable of flying huge distances with a bomb load.

The long distance bombers were often less than lethal, either defensively or offensively. I think particularly about the Vickers Wellesley, which had great range but only carried something in the realm of 1500 lb of bombs in wing pods. I sense this odd mismatch of distance/bomb load had something to do with the excessive damage done during zeppelin and Gotha attacks on civilian targets.

Cheers,
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/12/2016 3:05:20 AM
The development of the true fighting scout aircraft led to the parallel development of specialist bombers. The two seater DH4 was introduced in this role alongside Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters and was later largely replaced in RAF service by the DH9 (intended as an improved DH4 it proved a disappointment). FE2's were also used as night bombers.

Camels were used in a close support bombing role as were SE5s occasionally.

RE8's (nicknamed Harry Tates) progressively took over the reconnaissance and artillery spotting work of the ageing BE2's, supported by smaller numbers of Armstrong Whitworth FKs (nicknamed Big Acks).

The Sopwith Dolphin fighter was introduced to service in January 1918 and potentially offered improved performance over the Camel and greater manoeuvrability than the SE5. Its introduction was slowed by a shortage of engines and by the end of the war it only equipped four squadrons.

The Germans however maintained a technical edge with the new Fokker DVII fighter though it was not delivered in sufficient numbers to counter the allied air effort.

The then giant Handley Page bombers joined the front line in 1917 with the RNAS and later in greater numbers with the RAF and the Independent Force in 1918 , and were used on long range night raids into Germany.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/12/2016 6:43:49 AM
The skies over World War I-era Europe served as a brutal testing ground for manned aircraft. Most early fighters were flimsy and frail, and equipment failures and accidents often proved as deadly as enemy gunfire. Upon hopping into the cockpit, even the most skilled pilots had a life expectancy of mere weeks.

Though limited by their primitive machines, these “Knights of the Sky” went on to achieve some of the war’s most extraordinary—and often downright suicidal—feats of heroism. Men such as Bishop,Mannock and McCudden;Richthofen,Voss and Boelke and Fonck,Neungesser and Rickenbacker to name but a few.

regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/12/2016 8:51:03 AM

Quote:
In the first weeks of the 1914/18 war the pilots and observers went up unarmed, and often would wave to one another if their paths crossed. But fairly quickly they began experimenting with means of attacking one another. Pistols and rifles proved to be ineffective, as did some of the more bizarre attempts such as throwing bricks, and trailing bombs or grappling irons behind the plane.

By October of 1914 many pilots were experimenting with machine guns. Louis Strange improvised a safety strap allowing the observer of his tractor driven Avro 504 to "stand up and fire all round over top of plane and behind". On the 5th of October 1914 a French Voisin III two-seater pusher biplane became the first plane to shoot down another when it encountered an Aviatik B.1. The shots were fired by the observer who stood up in order to fire a Hotchkiss machine gun.

Early 1915 saw pilots still attempting to find a practical technique. The first Vickers FB5 "Gunbus" aircraft, an evolution of the "Destroyer", had arrived on the Western front by February, but it did not meet with much success. Aiming a machine gun from one plane moving in three dimensions, to fight another plane moving in three dimensions, was extremely difficult.Difficulties were overcome.


[Read More]

Regards

Jim


--anemone




Jim,

Did they try water balloons??

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/12/2016 9:09:03 AM
Now then Dave-that's just taking the mickey-seriously though-it was all a tad frantic in those very early days of aerial warfare.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/12/2016 5:28:30 PM
Jim ,

Excellent videos on the subject, set it up as a "Read More", then check it out!

https://www.netflix.com/watch/70298040?trackId=14170032&tctx=13%2C4%2Ca7727242-c6a3-4bda-8693-89bd2f0b8bc2-19191820

And; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYkMJ2Qqrqg

Thanks,
& regards,
Dave
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 10/13/2016 2:57:56 AM
[Read More]


[Read More]

Thanks Dave-excellent pictures

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 12/21/2016 7:47:38 PM
The Red Baron was still tops!!

[Read More]

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 12/22/2016 10:42:07 AM
Dave -have you forgotten Major Wm Bishop VC DSO MC DFC

Regards

Jim
---------------
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 12/23/2016 8:25:38 AM
Jim,

Right you are, an Ontario Boy, born in George's neck of the woods!?

[Read More]

A tough Great Lakes Kid!
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5287
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 12/23/2016 11:34:54 AM
There were quite a few Canadians in the list of top air aces.

Billy Bishop, Ray Collishaw, Don MacLaren, Billy Barker, Alfred Atkey, and William Claxton.

Actually the list of Canadian pilots with 10 or more victories is quite long. For such small country, Canada turned out a lot of fine pilots as air combat was in its infancy.

[Read More]

Not as well known as the BCATP of WW2 which produced so many air crew, was the RFC training programme of WW1.


Quote:
Overall, the training scheme enrolled 9,200 cadets. Of these, 3,135 completed pilot training and more than 2,500 were sent overseas; the balance of graduates were either retained as instructors or were awaiting postings to Britain when the Armistice was signed. In addition, 137 observers were graduated of whom 85 were sent overseas. The program also turned out at least 7,400 mechanics. A number of American personnel, both navy and army, were trained in Canada, as were four or five White Russians.


Those numbers don't account for the large number of British and Dominion infantry soldiers who requested transfer to the RFC. Many of those had already experienced combat on the ground in the earliest battles of the war.

As aircraft became more important to the war effort, the demand for pilots increased. Many didn't last very long.


Cheers,

George


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 12/26/2016 10:00:30 AM
For those Canadian kids shooting at enemy planes,

is like shooting hockey pucks!?
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

jonsnow88200
San Diego, Californi, CA, USA
Posts: 2
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 3/30/2017 5:13:21 PM
i like it a lot i'm loving it here!
---------------
nice man i'm!

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 3/31/2017 8:50:58 AM

Quote:
Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918) earned widespread fame as a World War I ace fighter pilot. After starting the war as a German cavalry officer on the Eastern Front, Richthofen served in the infantry before seeking his pilot’s license.

He transferred to the Imperial Air Service in 1915, and the following year began to distinguish himself in battle. The leader of a squadron known as the Flying Circus, Richthofen developed a formidable reputation in his bright red Fokker triplane.

He was credited with 80 kills before being shot down, his legend as the fearsome Red Baron enduring well after his death.


Source-Richtofen's Biography

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5287
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 3/31/2017 9:06:26 AM
Jim, you're doing it again. Cut and paste.

What do you want to discuss about this man?

MikeMeech
, UK
Posts: 303
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 3/31/2017 9:20:35 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918) earned widespread fame as a World War I ace fighter pilot. After starting the war as a German cavalry officer on the Eastern Front, Richthofen served in the infantry before seeking his pilot’s license.

He transferred to the Imperial Air Service in 1915, and the following year began to distinguish himself in battle. The leader of a squadron known as the Flying Circus, Richthofen developed a formidable reputation in his bright red Fokker triplane.

He was credited with 80 kills before being shot down, his legend as the fearsome Red Baron enduring well after his death.


Source-Richtofen's Biography

Regards

Jim
--anemone

Hi

Didn't MvR get bored being a supply officer before becoming an 'observer' in the air arm, this was an officer's post rather than the pilot who at the time was usually a NCO.

Mike

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 3/31/2017 9:54:40 AM
Bang on Mike-thanks for the nudge

"Disappointed and bored at not being able to directly participate in combat as a cavalryman, the last straw for Richthofen was an order to transfer to the army's supply branch. His interest in the Air Service had been aroused by his examination of a German military aircraft behind the lines".

NB.His death in the air gave rise to a lot of controversy-as to who was responsible for the "single" fatal bullet wound.It would appear that he landed his aircraft undamaged and died in the cockpit


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 3/31/2017 6:11:11 PM
Jim,

Just like this!?

[Read More]

[Read More]

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 5939
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 4/1/2017 3:48:08 AM
George-I would like to discuss just how he made so many kills-I think that as leader of a number of aircraft- he was given first shot- plus support from his comrades and admirers.many of his kills were "inferior" Allied aircraft-eg Be's,Fe's,DH's and Vicker's a/c

Regards

jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

MikeMeech
, UK
Posts: 303
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 4/2/2017 8:23:54 AM

Quote:
George-I would like to discuss just how he made so many kills-I think that as leader of a number of aircraft- he was given first shot- plus support from his comrades and admirers.many of his kills were "inferior" Allied aircraft-eg Be's,Fe's,DH's and Vicker's a/c

Regards

jim
--anemone


Hi

There has been so much written on MvR and his 'kills' over the years since the end of the Great War that it has distorted the 'air war' and what it was actually about. Some of his 'kills' are still up for discussion (just look at threads on the Aerodrome Forum), as they may have been his 'comrades' (RHIP) or other units or even AA fire, although most appear to be correct. He was a good shot and was 'lucky' as he survived getting 'shot down' more than once. Personally I am not that interested in the claims of Aces as they had the 'fog of war' issues and we have the comfort of our armchair's to look at them in detail from both sides. However, the 'obsession' with Aces has led to a general view that the 'air war' was totally separate from the 'ground war' when in fact you cannot look at the 'air war' without knowing what was happening on the ground because the former operations were directly related to the latter.
The apparent separation of the 'air' from the 'ground' war, by both academic and popular historians, starts with the 'bean counter' comments about the start of the war. This is when the UK was behind in aviation due to having less numbers of aircraft than the French or Germans, due to the 'old fashioned' ideas of senior officers and their 'technophobe' attitudes leaving the country 'ill prepared' for modern warfare. This is of course due to counting aircraft like ships of the fleet rather than the army support equipment that they were. The UK sent 'only' 63 aeroplanes to France, while France had around 150 and Germany around 250, thus proving the UK's backwardness. However, those 63 aeroplanes were to support 6 infantry and 1 cavalry division of the BEF in 1914. The 150 French aeroplanes were to support 106 Infantry and Cavalry divisions, the German 250 to support 124 Infantry and Cavalry divisions. In alternate 'bean counting' this means France has about 1.4 aeroplanes per division, the Germans 2 per division and the British 9 per division, so who actually was 'behind' in air support for the ground troops at the outbreak of war?

Mike

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
Posts: 669
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 4/2/2017 11:26:27 AM
The air war has become very much about aces and dogfighting, because it is glamorous and exciting. But all that was really about either interdicting, or protecting, the really important work. Photo reconnaissance, artillery spotting, and to some degree, direct support of ground troops. All rather mundane tasks compared to "knights of the air" duels.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
Posts: 1923
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 4/2/2017 11:54:47 AM
Agree completely. Thanks Mike. Especially reading intensely about Verdun over the last year and a half, the importance of the air war for reconnaissance and particularly artillery spotting certainly came home to me in what basically descended into one huge artillery dual. In many ways the "fighter war" developed out of the atempt to defend the reconnaissance planes which gave one side or the other an artillery advantage.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

wombat1417
New York City, NY, USA
Posts: 235
Re: Airfighting in the Great War
Posted on: 4/9/2017 1:21:11 PM
From today's New York Times Travel Section, The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial outside Paris :

[Read More]
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Cry "Havoc"...and let slip the dogs of war.

zakee
london, Posts: 1
Re: Airfigting in the Great War
Posted on: 8/1/2017 11:41:18 AM
you are right and it is also very important in war.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
Posts: 5287
Re: Airfighting in the Great War
Posted on: 8/1/2017 1:28:52 PM

Quote:
From today's New York Times Travel Section, The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial outside Paris :

[Read More]
--wombat1417



I don't have the statistics but I would guess that many more Americans served with the British Royal Flying Corps.

The RFC claims that 200 Americans joined their ranks before the US entered.

However, a large number of Canadians also joined the RFC. The most common route to air crew status was by joining the Canadian army and then requesting transfer to air crew.

Americans who enlisted in the Canadian army also entered the RFC in this way. It is estimated that 40,000 recruits to the Canadian Expeditionary Force were Americans. Officially, 35,000 recruits listed their place of birth as the US or Alaska.

[Read More]

I don't have the figures but I have to assume that some of these would have requested transfer to the RFC. Remember there was no Canadian AF during WW1 so if accepted, these men would melt into the greater body of the RFC, Canadians and Americans fighting alongside British flyers.

I read one estimate that said that 1/3 of the RFC were Canadians. That would have included some Americans. Note that some Americans lied about their birth place and as I recall, there were no US laws to prohibit participation in a foreign war in 1914. Perhaps I am wrong on that count.

The RFC actually established a station in Canada which became known as Royal Flying Corps Canada and thousands of air crew were trained in Canada and that included Americans. When the US entered the war, the RFCC agreed to co-operate in training with the US Army Corps of Signals. So Americans came north to Canada to train when the weather was warm and in the winter, training shifted to Fort Worth, Texas.

This scheme was the precursor to the BCATP in WW2.

As well, with the permission of the US government, the British RFC had established a recruitment office in NYC. They were supposed to recruit British ex-pats but also recruited many Americans. That was overlooked.

It would be interesting to find out whether the number of Americans in the RFC was greater than the number who served in the Lafayette Escadrille squadron.

Some of the literature on the Lafayette Escadrille indicates that 200 Americans flew as members of the Lafayette Flying Corps.

Does that sound correct?

If so I suspect that many more Americans were flying in the RFC either as Americans admitting their nationality or as former members of the Canadian Corps (army), claiming to be Canadians.

They all deserve to be remembered for their service.

Some stories of decorated Americans flying in the RFC may be found here

[Read More]


Cheers,

George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2752
Re: Airfighting in the Great War
Posted on: 8/1/2017 7:07:06 PM
like this!

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."