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WWI 1914 - 1919

The Wright brothers are credited with making the first Powered Flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, 17th December 1903. The outbreak of WWI in1914, saw the development of Aircraft improve dramatically, in a race to build Fighters superior to that of the enemy.

Designers experimented a number of designs throughout the War such as: single wing (Monoplane), double wing (Biplane), and triple wing (Triplane), to try and improve on straight line speed, climb, dive and turn.

WWI Pilots were instructed to attack from the rear, and not to fire until about 100 yards from the target.

World War One was sparked off by the assassination of the heir to the Austro/Hungarian throne ‘Archduke Franz Ferdinand’ in Sarajevo on the 28th June 1914. It was believed the Serbian Nationalist Secret Society the ‘Black Hand’ had planned the assassination. With Serbia refusing to hand over the conspirators, Austro/Hungary declared war on Serbia 28th July 1914.

Austro/Hungary found backing from Germany as the War escalated. Serbia in turn received backing from Russia, France, UK, Japan, Italy and from 1917, the USA.

As the First World War came to end 11th November 1918, over 9,000,000 people had lost their lives. The Countries to suffer the most Losses were Germany and their Allies over 3,500,000, Russia 1,700,000, France 1,300,000, the British Empire 1,000,000, and the USA 116,000.

Bristol Scout

Bristol Scout 1914, British, 94 mph, Biplane

The Bristol Scout was a single seat, rotary-engine Biplane that was one of the first UK built Fighter Aircraft of the First World War. This Aircraft was originally built as a sporting Aircraft for the rich and famous.

The British used the Bristol Scout to try out a number of weapons such as rifles, machine guns, and fixed machine guns.


Fokker Eindecker

Fokker Eindecker 1915, German, 87 mph, Monoplane

The Eindecker was the first purpose built German Fighter Aircraft, also, the first to be fitted with interrupter gear, so the pilot could fire a machine gun through the propellers without hitting the blades.

The Eindecker gave the German's almost complete air supremacy from July 1915 until early 1916, a time in which Allied Pilots regarded themselves as Fokker Fodder. This was Baron Manfred von Richthoven (Red Barons) first Fighter. Armed with 1 x Parabellum MG14 machine gun.


Airco DH.2

Airco DH.2 early 1916, British, 93 mph, Biplane

The DH.2 was the first purpose built British single seat Fighter, allowing the British Pilots to take on the Fokker Aircraft the Germans had been using since late 1915.

This little pusher soon proved itself more than a match for the Fokker Eindecker, used extensively during the Battle of the Somme. Armed with 1 x .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis machine gun using 47-round drum magazines.


Halberstadt D.II

Halberstadt D.II 1916, German, 90 mph, Biplane

The Halberstadt D.II was in service at the time Allied Airforces had air superiority, in early 1916. This Aircraft was replaced by the superior Albatros Fighters by the autumn of that year.

While waiting on his Albatros D.III being repaired, Manfred von Richthofen flew a Halberstadt D.II, between the 11th March and 25th March 1917, being credited with six kills. Armed with 1 x forward-firing Spandau LMG 08 machine gun.


Albatros D.II

Albatros D.II 1916, German, 110 mph, Biplane

D.IIs were the first specialized Fighter squadron in the German air service. Famous Pilots included Oswald Boelcke and Manfred von Richthofen.

With its high speed and heavy armament, the D.II regained air superiority for the German air service. Manfred von Richthofen shot down most of his confirmed kills in an Albatros D.II. Armed with 2 x forward-firing 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 machine guns.


Sopwith Pup

Sopwith Pup 1916, British, 106 mph, Biplane

The first Pups were sent to the Western Front in October 1916, for No. 8 Squadron, soon prooving successful with 20 enemy Aircraft destroyed over the Somme battlefield by the end of that year.

The Pup had much less horsepower and armament than the German Albatros D.II, but was more maneuverable. By the spring 1917, this Aircraft had become inafective against the latest German Fighters. Armed with 1 x .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun.


Albatros D.III

Albatros D.III 1917, German, 109 mph, Biplane

In April 1917, Germany gained air superiority again with the introduction of the Albatros D III. The withdrawal of Russia from the War at that time also freed many more German Pilots for the Western Front.

Baron Manfred von Richthoven downed 21 Allied Aircraft in a DIII in April 1917 alone. Armed with 2 x 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 machine guns.


Sopwith Triplane

Sopwith Triplane early 1917, British, 117 mph, Triplane

This Triplane was built for the Royal Naval Air Service with an exceptional rate of climb, giving it a good advantage over the Albatros D.III, though it was slower in a dive.

The Germans built around 34 different prototype Triplanes in an attempt to mach this Aircraft. The Canadian Pilot Raymond Collishaw scored 33 kills in this Aircraft, becomming the top Triplane Ace. Armed with one synchronized Vickers machine gun.


Albatros D.V

Albatros D.V 1917, German, 116 mph, Biplane

The D.V was the last of the Albatros Aircraft with Manfred von Richthofen said to be highly critical of its abilities.

In a July 1917 letter, he described the aircraft as "so obsolete and so inferior to the English, that one can't do anything with this Aircraft." Armed with 2 x forward-firing 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 machine guns.


Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5

Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 1917, British, 138 mph, Biplane

The first of these Aircraft entered the War before the Sopwith Camel, with a greater overall performance, but problems with its Hispano-Suiza engine lead to a shortage of S.E.5s until well into 1918. Many of the top Allied aces flew the S.E.5, including Billy Bishop, Cecil Lewis, Edward Mannock, and James McCudden.

Legendary British ace Albert Ball claimed 17 of his 44 kills flying this Aircraft. Armed with 1 x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) forward-firing Vickers machine gun with Constantinesco interrupter gear, and 1 x .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun on on the upper wing.


Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel 1917, British, 115 mph, Biplane

This Aircraft entered service in June 1917, with Major William Barker using it to become the most successful Pilot in the history of the RAF. All his victories were with this Aircraft.

He shot down 46 aircraft and balloons from September 1917 to September 1918 in 404 hours of flying. Armed with 2× 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns.


Fokker Dr.I

Fokker Dr.I, late 1917, German, 115 mph, Triplane

The Dr.I was used extensivley in the spring of 1918, known as the Aircraft in which Manfred von Richthofen acheived his last 20 victories, 80 in total, and in which he was killed 21st April 1918.

The Dr.I was considerably slower than Allied Fighters in level flight and in a dive, but had better maneuverable. Armed with 2 x 7.92 mm "Spandau" LMG 08/15 machine guns.


Fokker D.VII

Fokker D.VII 1918, German, 116 mph, Biplane

The D.VII soon proved superior to existing Allied Fighters of that time, leading to another period of German air superiority. The Armistice ending the War forced Germany to surrender all their D.VIIs to the Allies.

Manfred von Richthofen died only days before the D.VIIs reached his unit, so never flew it in combat. Armed with 2 x 7.92 mm LMG 08/15 "Spandau" machine guns.


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