WW1 Planes
WWl PLANES
An encyclopediae of 1914-18 aircraft types

British flag WW1 BRITISH PLANES


The Royal Flying Corps

The RFC was the direct ancestor of the RAF. The term "flying corp" reflected the use that was made of aviation this moment of pioneers, a simple emanation of the army, devoted to observation. Unlike France, Britain had no active squadrons or aeronautical industry in 1914. His material came, like most countries, from French productions. The British cockade was itself directly inspired by the French cockade, following misunderstandings and friendly shots due to the symbol of St. George cross drawn from the union Jack affixed to the first aircraft, confused with the German cross. But this industrial dependence, Britain began to get rid of it rapidly, and reached very high industrial standards in 1918.

(More to come soon)

French planes of the Royal Flying Corps

Farman F15

The nation outside United Kingdom that became a major provider was France, overwhelmingly compared to USA and Italy, not only for planes but also aircraft engines. This could take the shape of complete purchased planes or licence-production, direct or indirect. Some French early designs were quite influential like the Farman Mf.11. In late period, proportion of British planes was much larger than in 1914 where the RFC started from scratch. But the list is quite extensive nonetheless:
  • Blériot XI
  • Blériot XII
  • Blériot XXI
  • Blériot Parasol Monoplane
  • Breguet Type III
  • Caproni Ca.1
  • Caudron G.4
  • Caudron R.11
  • Deperdussin TT
  • Farman III
  • Farman F.40
  • Farman HF.20
  • Farman MF.7 Longhorn
  • Farman MF.11 Shorthorn
  • Farman Type Militaire, 1910
  • FBA Type A
  • Morane-Saulnier G
  • Morane-Saulnier H
  • Morane-Saulnier BB
  • Morane-Saulnier I
  • Morane-Saulnier L
  • Morane-Saulnier LA
  • Morane-Saulnier N
  • Morane-Saulnier V
  • Morane-Saulnier P
  • Morane-Saulnier AC
  • Nieuport IV
  • Nieuport 12
  • Nieuport 16
  • Nieuport 17
  • Nieuport 20
  • Nieuport 21
  • Nieuport 23
  • Nieuport 24
  • Nieuport 27
  • Paulhan biplane
  • SPAD S.VII
  • SPAD S.XIII
  • Voisin III
  • Clement Bayard II Zeta airship

American planes of the Royal Flying Corps

Without the language barrier and with the formidable American industrial resources, some American models made their way into British service. The earliest were converted Wright aircrafts for military purposes in 1912-13 and the Cody V was only two planes operationally tested in 1914 but soon discarded. But the RFC also operated captured German aircrafts, mostly for tesing purposes, intact or lightly damaged and fallen into rear lines. These were the AEG G.IV and Ago C.IV, Albatros D.I, D.III, D.V, D.Va, DFW C.V, Fokker D.VII, Dr.I, E.III, Friedrichshafen G.III, Gotha G.V, Halberstadt CL.II, D.III, Hannover CL.II, Junkers J.I, LVG C.VI, Pfalz D.III and Rumpler C.IV.
  • Cody V biplane
  • Curtiss JN-3
  • Curtiss JN-4

Famous Models

Here are following some of the most famous British Planes of WW1. They were be studied more exhaustively in the respective manufacturer pages.

Airco DH.5

Airco DH5
DH.5 in March 1917.

The DH5 was supposed to be much more efficient than the DH.2 it replaced had to keep its excellent field of vision while having the advantage of a tractive propeller. This is how he had the distinction of having a superior sail plan offset to the rear and a cockpit very forward. Ready late1916, it was ordered by the RFC 40 copies but its maneuverability was lower than the Pup. The aircraft were operational in May 1917, just after the Allied eclipse on the North Front. This aircraft had a Le Rhône engine but its maneuverability was disappointing and its pilots made it to be quickly placed in ground attack groups. At the end of 1917, the Dh-5 was withdrawn from service and its sails were not taken on later planes.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 7,82 m, Length 6,71 m, Height - m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 680 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 The Rhône 9 of 110 hp
Performance: Vmax: 160 km / h at 2000 m, ceiling 4000 m, RA 180 km.
Armament: 1 Lewis machine gun of 7.7 mm hood, 4 bombs of 11.3 Kgs ..

Bristol F2B Fighter

Bristol F2B Fighter
F2B from the front of the Somme, in November 1918.

Bristol was one of the largest engine and aircraft manufacturers in Britain. A 1915 specification of the RFC required an observation aircraft capable of defending against hunters. F2 replaced RE.8 "Arry Tate", mediocre, and was bigger, faster, and much better armed, with a hood machine gun and a rear-seat defense. Its first engine, the Rolls-Royce Falcon, was soon insufficiently produced to meet the needs of the cell and the Falcon engine F2A, operational in March 1917 within the squadron 48 suffered heavy losses. Faster, the RR Falcon II-powered F2B restores the balance. Sturdy and maneuverable, the F2Bs were observation planes capable of self-defense, but also of hunting, or bombarding targets. 3100 aircraft saw the day of the main F2B, which fought until the armistice.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 11.96 m, Length 7.87 m, Height 2.97 m
Weight: empty: 886 Kgs. In charge: 1297 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 V12 RR Falcon II of 150 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 6100 m, 3 hours of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 hood, 1 rear station), 12 bombs of 10 kg.

Bristol Scout

Bristol Scout
Scout of the Champagne front, in June 1916.

The Bristol Scout was a reconnaissance aircraft from the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF) Re8, released in May 1915. Maneuverable, but slow, it was equipped with a French Rotary engine Le Rhône. The Scout C (161 copies) was operational in December 1914, the Scout D (210 copies) divided between the army and the Navy.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 8,33 m, Length 6,02 m, Height - m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 570 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 The Rhône 9 of 80 hp
Performance: Vmax: 160 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 4500 m, 2h30 of autonomy.
Armament: 0.3 in (7.7 mm) Lewis machine gun (wing), 4x 11.3 Kgsbombs

Havilland DH9

De Havilland DH9a
DH9A from the front of the Somme, in September 1918.

Equivalent to the Breguet 14 for its versatility, but known for being a light bombing device, the DH9 was recognized to be an excellent aircraft, maintained in production from 1918 to 1922. Tandem, with a rear defender position, it could also ship a Substantial charge of bombs or rockets. It was operational in January 1918 and from then on adopted and mass produced, to 390 copies in its version A. Very successful, declined after-war in civil versions, it was in service until 1927.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 14,02 m, Length 9,14 m, Height - m
Weight: empty: -Kgs. In charge: 2100 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 Liberty 12 of 400 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 6100 m, 3 hours of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 hood, 1 rear station), 300 Kgs. bombs.

Handley-Page O/400

Handley-Page O/400
HP0/400 based in Sussex, November 1918.

The HP 0/400 was the largest bomber deployed by the allies, defined in 1917 with the aim of bombing Germany, in response to Zeppelin raiders' raids. Deriving from the O/400, he was equipped with two machine gun positions for his defense and embarked a 910 Kgs bomb load. Its first flights came in October, but the first operational squadrons were only in August-September 1918, the rest being constituted at the time of the signing of armistice. Otherwise, this large multi-train aircraft was the basis of military and civilian derivatives.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 30.48 m, Length 19.16 m, Height 6.7 m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 6360 Kgs.
Motorization: 2 RR Eagle VIII of 360 hp
Performance: Vmax: 160 km/h at 6500 m, ceiling 8000 m, 8 h of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 post with 1 post), 910 Kgs of bombs.

RAF Fe2B

RAF Fe2B
Fe2b from the front of the sum, December 1915.

Royal Aircraft Factory, a state-owned firm, designed the legendary SE5. Among his first productions are this heavy fighter / single engine observation aircraft with a propulsion engine configuration / forward gun position, before the synchronization arrives. Very similar to the Airco Dh.2 it served as a heavy fighter, with good autonomy but improved maneuverability. It flew for the first time in January 1915, with a Green engine (Fe2a, 12 units), then a Beardmore (Fe2b, 1927 units), in service until the end of 1918. A last Version, the Fe2d, (300 units) was powered by a 250 hp Rolls-Royce Mk.III, and had performance well above Fe2a (100 hp).

Dimensions: Wingspan: 14,55 m, Length 9,83 m, Height 3,97 m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 1350 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 Beardmore of 120 hp
Performance: Vmax: 130 km / h to 1500 m, ceiling 5000 m, 3 h of autonomy.
Weaponry: 1 Lewis machine gun of 7.7 mm (1 post office), 4 bombs of 11.3 Kgs.

RAF Fe8 Fighter

RAF Fe8 Fighter
Fe8 of the front of the Somme, in March 1916.

Designed at the same time as the De Havilland DH2, the Fe8 was the same type, a single-seater propulsion powered single-seater fighter, before the synchonization was adapted by the allies. He was equipped with a mobile Vickers machine gun in the front, the piloe wedging the handle between his knees and stepping forward to fire and reload the weapon. The mobility of the machine gun had some advantages in combat. First flight made in October 1916, production of 182 copies, withdrawn in the summer of 1917 for insufficient maneuverability. French Gnome engines, but some Clerget and The Rhone, quadripal propeller.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 9,60 m, Length 7,21 m, Height - m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 610 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 Gnome Monosoupape of 100 hp
Performance: Vmax: 150 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 4500 m, 2h30 of autonomy.
Armament: 1 Vickers machine gun of 7.7 mm.

RAF Se5 Fighter

RAF Se5 Fighter
Se5a in Greece, December 1917.

This light hunter was the most famous with the Sopwith Camel. Designed by state-owned RAF, it was designed to outclass German fighters in a hurry and was equipped with powerful online engines early on. He made his first flight in December 1916 with a Hispano-Suiza 150 hp, the same as SPAD VII. He also had two machine guns, hood and wing. A first series of 85 Se5 were launched in April 1917, then gave way to the improved Se5a, equipped with the HS of 200 hp, but the rate of production too slow was alternated with a local engine, the Wolseley W4a Viper. 5127 aircraft of this version went on fire, the last ones in November 1918.

An excellent device, as robust as it was manageable and fast, it was a powerful contributor to the Allies regaining control of the skies on the North Front, but many were also exported or affected in the Commonwealth, fighting in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans ... The Se5a, much easier to handle for young drivers than the Sopwith Camel, was still in service in 1922.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 8.12 m, Length 8.30 m, Height - m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 880 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 W4 Wolseley of 200 hp
Performances: Vmax: 220 Km / h at 3000 m, ceiling 6000 m, 2h30 of autonomy.
Armament: 1 Lewis machine gun of 7.7 mm, 1 Vickers (1 hood, 1 wing), 6 bombs of 11.3 Kgs.

Sopwith Pup

Pup of the Dutch aviation, May 1916
Pup of the Dutch aviation, May 1916.
Sqn Pup 104
Sqn Pup 104

Originally commissioned by Naval Air Service (NAF), this small agile fighter was fully appreciated by the British pilots and was the first British light fighter in mass service. 1770 units took to the air that fought from September 1916 to September-October 1917. It was removed from service as a fighter, but many still operated against Zeppelins raids in Britain or for light bombing missions.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 8,08 m, Length 6,04 m, Height - m
Weight: empty: - Kgs. In charge: 560 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 The Rhône 9 of 80 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 6100 m, 3 hours of autonomy.
Armament: 1 Lewis machine gun of 7.7 mm hood, 4 bombs of 11.3 Kgs., Or 8 rockets Le Prieur...

Sopwith Triplane

Sopwith Triplane
Triplane of RNAS Sqn 10 "Black Flight", in March 1917.

This innovative device was an attempt to have an even more maneuverable device. It was largely derived from the Sopwith Pup, but with a Clerget 9 engine more powerful, but also more maneuverable and having a better field of vision. It was he who inspired the triplans subsequently built for the Germans. He made his first flight in May 1916 and was operational at RNAS * in November. 140 copies were built, but the series stopped there: The recently arrived Camel was better. An ace like Raymond Collishaw earned most of his victories on this device.
*Royal Naval Air Service: Royal Navy Air Branch.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 8,08 m, Length 5,74 m, Height 3,60 m
Weight: empty: 499 Kgs. In charge: 699 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 Clerget 9b of 130 hp
Performances: Vmax: 188 Km / h to 1500 m, ceiling 6250 m, 2h45 of autonomy.
Armament: 1/2 Lewis machine gun 7.7 mm (hood).

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe

Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe
Snipe, in Sqn 78, November 1918.

Coming from the Camel, the Snipe was an extrapolation, a simpified derivative, remedying notably its lateral control problem by a new drift. With the adaptation of the new Bentley BR2 engine, the Snipe prototype was not really operational until February 1918. Its early armament consisted of two bonnet guns and a third of its wings, but it was quickly removed. The series copies, after the initial order of 1700 machines, were not ready in France until September... The Sqn 43, 78, and 208 implemented it intensely until the armistice, and the Snipe proves that it was in every respect superior to the Camel - and even to all the other hunters of the moment. The newly converted Australian Sqn 4 abolished 36 enemy aircraft in four days, while Major Barker abolished three Fokker DVIIs alone in a Homeric duel.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 9.14 m, Length 6.05 m, Height 2.60 m
Weight: empty: 596 Kgs. In charge: 916 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 Bentley BR2 of 230 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h to 3000 m, ceiling 6000 m, 3 h of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 hood, 1 rear station), 12 bombs of 10 kg.

Sopwith 1-1 / 2 Strutter

Sopwith 1-1 / 2 Strutter
Strutter, in March 1916.

This light fighter was derived from Fe2, it was a lightweight single-seater, much more maneuverable.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 11.96 m, Length 7.87 m, Height 2.97 m
Weight: empty: 886 Kgs. In charge: 1297 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 V12 RR Falcon II of 150 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 6100 m, 3 hours of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 hood, 1 rear station), 12 bombs of 10 kg.

Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel in March 1916
Triplane, in March 1916.
Sopwith model derived from the FE2b
This light fighter was derived from Fe2, it was a lightweight single-seater, much more maneuverable.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 11.96 m, Length 7.87 m, Height 2.97 m
Weight: empty: 886 Kgs. In charge: 1297 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 V12 RR Falcon II of 150 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 6100 m, 3 hours of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 hood, 1 rear station), 12 bombs of 10 kg.

Sopwith SF1 Dolphin

Sopwith SF1 Dolphin
Dolphin, in May 1916.

This light fighter was derived from Fe2, it was a lightweight single-seater, much more maneuverable.

Dimensions: Wingspan: 11.96 m, Length 7.87 m, Height 2.97 m
Weight: empty: 886 Kgs. In charge: 1297 Kgs.
Motorization: 1 V12 RR Falcon II of 150 hp
Performance: Vmax: 195 km / h at 1500 m, ceiling 6100 m, 3 hours of autonomy.
Armament: 2 x 7.7 mm Lewis machine gun (1 hood, 1 rear station), 12 bombs of 10 kg.

Read more

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_of_the_Royal_Flying_Corps See also, airships
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._9r
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMA_No._1