Other books byJon Guttman
A British icon of World War I aerial combat, just as the Supermarine Spitfire is for World War II, the Sopwith Camel might more aptly be compared to the equally iconic (if one is Japanese) Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero. A superb dogfighter in the hands of pilots who mastered its vicious idiosyncrasies, the Camel also packed a considerable punch for its day as the first British fighter with twin machine guns. It has been credited with the most aerial victories of any fighter type of the conflict, but that statistic is somewhat misleading - and further muddied by the heavy losses Camel units suffered in 1918, as higher performance types began to eclipse the plane. Nevertheless, Camels appeared on several battlefronts to the end of the war and beyond - during the Russian Civil War, for example - and performed remarkably well in a variety of other roles, including as a ground strafer, night fighter, night intruder, and carrier-based fighter.
Sopwith Camel vs Fokker Dr I
Western Front 1917-18
Amid the continuous struggle for aerial superiority during World War 1, two aircraft types were at the forefront. Both rotary-engined fighters, the Sopwith Camel and the Fokker Dr I triplane were relatively slow for their time, but were regarded as the most maneuverable machines produced during the conflict, and the classic pair for a tight, evenly matched dogfight at close quarters. In this book Jon Guttman examines the fascinating story of the design and development of these deadly foes. First-hand accounts and innovative cockpit-view artwork give a thrilling insight into the pilots' experiences during the world's first aerial duels and explain their successes and failures.
Bristol F2 Fighter Aces of World War I
This is the history of the best Allied fighter-destroyer of World War 1 and the pilots who flew it. Nicknamed "Biff" by the pilots, the Bristol F2 Fighter enjoyed extraordinary success over the Western Front in the final 18 months of the war. However, it had an inauspicious debut, as an entire flight of F2As was wiped out by von Richthofen's Jasta 11. A new improved F2B was soon delivered to the front which functioned in an entirely different manner. The crews operated the plane not as a standard two-seater, but as a single-seat with a "sting in the tail" in the form of a rear gunner with a Lewis machine gun. Numerous ace teams earned the "Biff" grudging respect from its German opponents. This book charts the development of the plane from its unpromising beginnings to the revised model operating with a new kind of tactics. Moreover, the numerous first-hand accounts and combat reports give a fascinating insight into the experiences of the pilots themselves.
The Origin of the Fighter Aircraft
When World War I began in August 1914, the airplane had already proven its worth as an intelligence gathering "eye-in-the-sky." These scouting aircraft soon became indispensable to armies on both sides, and the attempt to drive enemy planes away began in earnest. Local air superiority was incorporated into battlefield strategy, and the use of aircraft to conduct offensive operations would change warfare as dramatically as the first firearms 300 years before. By the end of 1915, the basic formula of the armed scout settled on a single-seater with a machine gun synchronized to fire through its propeller blades. This heavily armed aircraft became the first true fighter plane whose primary function was to destroy enemy aircraft, whether scouts, balloons, bombers, or other fighters. A new glamorized "knight of the air" was born: the ace, a fighter pilot who brought down five or more opponents. From 1916 on, as the combatants relied on airplanes more, flying tactics and strategy—including mass formations—were developed for what would become a deadly struggle for complete air superiority. By 1918, the final year of the war, air battles could be as sprawling as those on the ground. In The Origin of the Fighter Aircraft, historian Jon Guttman tells the engrossing story of how one of the most amazing inventions became an integral component of warfare. Balancing technical description, personalities, and battle accounts, the author demonstrates that by the end of World War I most of the fundamentals for modern aerial combat had been established.