WWI Gallery

The XIII was designed in late 1916 to counter the twin-gun German fighters appearing over the front. The SPAD XIII had a powerful Hispano-Suiza engine and two proven Vickers machine guns. By the middle of 1917, the SPADs were arriving at French combat squadrons and by early 1918, they had become the standard single-seat fighter for France. After the experiencing the characteristics of their delicate Nieuports, French pilots couldn't help but notice that their new SPADs were solid as rocks.

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One can't look at the Sopwith Triplane without generating a whole list of questions. Though similar to the Pup, the Triplane, of course, has three wings. German flyers who encountered "Tripes" noted a few differences between the biplanes they were used to tangling with and these new "three-wingers." Triplanes could turn around -- and bring its gun to bear -- in a startlingly short amount of time. And if things got too rough for a Triplane flyer, he went up, and up, and up! And no one could follow him.

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The Snipe was specifically built around the newly developed 230-horsepower Bentley rotary engine. Used as a replacement to the legendary Sopwith Camel, the Snipe had mighty big shoes to fill.

Arriving for combat in late in the conflict, only two Royal Air Force and one Australian Flying Corps squadrons were equipped with Snipes by November, 1918. Flyers who got the rare chance to pilot a Snipe in combat said it was an amazing plane. British pilot H.A. Van Ryneveld called it, "vastly superior to any scout at the front."

Some pilots called it, "the perfect plane." The Pup was light, basic, and simply simple. "They were tiny little things," says a British pilot, "just big enough for one man and a machine gun." The machine gun was key -- a trusty Vickers gun equipped with a hydraulic synchronizing gear which allowed it to fire through the propeller. With a good weapon and not much else, it was said that, "a Pup could turn twice to an Albatros' once" -- an invaluable trait in a chaotic dogfight.

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With a Camel, a pilot would become an esteemed and experienced combat flyer, or he'd die trying. Built as a successor to the Pup, the little fighter was the first to carry two Vickers machine guns enclosed in a "hump" near the front of the cockpit -- that's where the Camel got its nickname.

The agile featherweight could run rings around many German fighters and was murder in the hands of a flyer who knew how to handle it.

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One of the best Allied fighters of World War I, the S.E.5 was considered fast, strong, and simple to fly. Flyers who commonly had nothing good to say about the designs of the Royal Aircraft Factory, had to admit that the S.E. was pleasantly different.

Though well-liked, the S.E. still had its quirks -- flyers found that the fighter was difficult to land, or at least, difficult to land in one piece. The S.E.5 wasn't as maneuverable as the Camel but was much more faithful, with docile handling characteristics that wouldn't kill a novice airman.

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The Pfalz D.XII often flew in the shadow of its very successful contemporary -- the Fokker D.VII. The design of the Pfalz was influenced by the other fighter and they had similar enough characteristics that some Allied airmen, upon seeing the Pfalz for the first time, reported encountering a new kind of Fokker.

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The Nieuport 28 was rejected by the French Air Service as not suited to be front-line equipment. At the time, the American Army was desperate for any airplane they could scrounge, and 297 Nieuports were delivered to the "Yanks."

The first airplane Americans flew into combat, it was loved by some and feared by others. Flying 28s, Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow each shot down a German fighter on April 14, 1918, becoming the first U.S. airmen to destroy a plane in combat. Famous ace Eddie Rickenbacker scored many of his twenty-six victories flying his Nieuport.

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The Nieuport 27 was the last of its type to be flown by the French, Italian, and British airmen in World War I. The small and agile Type 27 was an important aircraft flown by many famous French flyers during the last two years of the war.

The trend in fighter design was turning to the faster, stronger, and more heavily-armed aircraft, such as contemporary SPAD.

Many Type 27 scouts were acquired by the United States to be used as single-seat trainers before the pilots went on to fly the more complex, heavier SPADs in combat.

The Nieuport 24 is part of the famous line of French fighter aircraft established by Edouard de Niéuport. A preeminent Allied airplane type, the Nieuport fighters were flown by many famous aces including Mannock, Ball, Bishop, Lufbery, Nungesser, and Guynemer.

Unlike many of the models that came before it, the Type 24 was more streamlined and had a rounded fuselage instead of the slab sides seen on earlier machines. The 24s were not only used by France, but also by Russia, Belgium, Italy, and Britain. The United States purchased a number of 24s to use for flight training.

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