Thursday, June 02, 2016

WW1 - Open Cockpit Complexity

Our RAF pilot fires a flare gun. Note the Lewis gun above his head. It took time to place guns that could fire without blowing off propellers. This was later in the war (summer 1918), but these men were flying in open cockpits and with a complex set of duties. One of the most important was surveillance. They had to take photos of enemy trenches, troop  placements and artillery sets.

Complexity in the cockpit? Not much.


Alexandros HoMegas said...

Aviation had so much fast development in a short period of time, almost unreal.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Recently saw a photo of a Prussian cavalryman watching a biplane fly overhead circa 1910-1920.

Although I'm a grenadier/heavy infantry at heart, I've always had a soft spot for the panache and glamour of the cavalry.

I wonder what the hell these old guys were thinking about the advent of air and mechanized warfare?!

Son of Brock Landers said...

My grandfathers were infantry and artillery in WW2. They thought by now there's by no ground fighting due to air power. There is some truth to controlling the skies means huge advantage but still need boots on the ground.

stengle said...

I believe the Germans invented the interruptor mechanism that allowed a bullet to pass through the propellor without shredding the wooden prop, but the allies soon caught on and adopted it. In the earliest days of WW1 I also believe pilots took pistols with them to shoot at the enemy after throwing bricks and rocks proved less than effectual.

The flirtation with airships interests me as what should have been huge, stable gun platform proved extremely vulnerable and largely abandoned after the 1930s disasters. But gunnery is fascinating in aircraft: forward firing fixed guns were the most successful of all. The British came up with a WW2 plane called the Defiant which had a rear-facing four-gun turret behind the pilot. In theory its flexible fire power would outgun out any other fighter but in reality the limitations were huge. I understand the Defiant's life was extended by making it a night fighter as it couldn't outperform the Spits and Hurricanes that did the heavy lifting in the Battle of Britain.

Dan Kurt said...

Suggest one read Sagittarius Rising Kindle by Cecil Lewis https://wwwDOTamazonDOTcom/Sagittarius-Rising-Cecil-Lewis-ebook/dp/B00FOGG3E2?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc or

Slow planes, sudden death. Not many survivors during WWI.

Dan Kurt