You are on page 1of 1

Tlie Unprecedented Problems and Perils Our Flying Men Must Face and Just How Tbey Are

Met Described by Oscar Rebel, tiie Famous Frenchman Wno Teaches tbe

Winged Fighters
jumping
an

How the Aeroplanes Are Now Being Used Gun


F1rt Instructor In the School of the Air Pilot
of the French

to

Firing Through a Tube in


Army.

the Trenches. Fight the

Body.

The Machine

By Oscar Rebel,
we

to the

AVIATION is differently organized


among the

have many different kind of aviators, devoted to distinct branches of the service. Some are directed for re connaissance and guiding attacks by tho ar tillery; others, for bombarding operations. ATI are protected by an escort of "hunting" machines, rapid and "well armed. The Germans, generally, employ all of their ap paratus for all operations of aerial warfare. Those which undertake the guiding of bom bardments and the direction of artillery are armed and able to defend themselves. * Only the Fokkers and "Walvets, guided by brave pilots, are exclu jr sively devoted to battling with ^ enemy aeroplanes. French aviation, from a*j technical point of view, is fully . ,, 4, "et*od f ,he .qoal to that o The ? nWalvet Machines, the Germans. The Patrol ln Pair9| Our pilots are a. at Walvetg 600 Feet Above and 600

for instance,

belligerents. In France,

^i.|| J
.

Germ wis. number of jn Watching the Zone of French "Aces" Combat, in order to Defeat (superior**' avia'- Any Surprise Attempt on the tors) increases Part o a New Adversary, constantly; almost all of them use Nieuport tar Spad machines, whose victories are already counted by the hundreds. Almost all of the successes of our "Aces" are due to the expcrtness with which perform acrobatic flights. One examplethey of a thousand will suf fice to show how necessary it is for every pilot to know how to "loop'the loop." In the course of a reconnaissance flight by a! Second Lieutenant ( jK a Navarre, he unexpectedly found jiimself surround ed by five or six German aero planes. Three or four around him,

suscientifically to the

perior

The -

Aeroplane

Feet Behind B.

(C)

When the Is Encoun-

days. or rapid ascent are es sential qualities in the "hunting" pilot. The aviator requires the power, at his will, of flying over his enemy so as to pounce down upon him at the" opportune moment and to reach him by fire when he is most lively. The Fokkers, Walvets, the L. V. G., which are encountered most frequently on our front, all have great speed, estimated at more than 150 kilometres (93 miles) per hour. These machines also have the power of ascending with enormous rapidity and the height'to which they may ascend in the course of a fight is some 4,000 metres (13,200 feet). As a rule, the German pilots the "hunting" undertaking especially those using Walvets, enter task, the combat in

for them where they must come." The Ger point of view is possibly interesting in the sense that in trying to triumph over the enemy at their base, they may also make a prisoner, if the machine is not destroyed, and it may be utilized. If, on the contrary, the enemy conquers, the beaten aeroplane does not risk falling into enemy hands and being examined by him, to the last details, to his great profit. The French aviator does not hesitate to fly above the German lines to prevent their aviators from performing their task, which is to observe what is going on in our lines. Very often the French aviator engages in combat ten or fifteen miles back of the Ger man lines and he attacks and forces the enemy aeroplane to retire if he cannot shoot it down. In the course of our offensives on the Somme and at Verdun, our aviators es tablished in advance of our front a real aerial barrier through which not a single German aviator was able to force his way for
man

mission is chiefly to prevent the spying aviators from doing their work. This is the reason that we prefer to wait
our

because

plan of our new Fokkers to lie hidden,

Speed

many

and power

chine around and performed a perfect loop, which brought Jbim in the rear of the group of aslailants. Then darting straight at the aero planes which were nearest, he discharged hi.s rapid-fire gun at them, knocking down two In succession. The others fled at full towards their lines, pursued by the speed intrepid Navarre. The Germans have an idea of the aerial ehase very different from ours. Boelke has said in an interview: "They say the Gorman aviators never go over the that lines of the enemy, and that they always remain over their own territory. As to the 4 Huntfrs,' this ia absolutely correct. This is due

The Tactics Aviator , The Object of the Aeroplanes C, D and E Is to Encircle the Adversary B. Boelke's Aeroplane, A, Which Up to This Moment Has Hidden Itself from the Enemy Flies Down Upon Him, Firing His Machine Gun*

one

B.ke

down. It appenred impossible for him to escape.


'

above, prevented from K'n6 to h.'mt "^ht0r ?K.P<>r

below and one

Nevertheless, t o Rrca^ surprise of his adversaries, he turned his

ma-

this fashion : Whether flying over their own lines or when fronting the lines of the enemy, they always patrol in groups or in pairs. If an enemy aeroplane is sighted, the first German aviator is to at tack; but the other who has supposed remained some two hundred yards behind and two hundred yards higher up, has the task Rolely of watching the zone of combat without, taking any direct part in the fight. Meanwhile, (movable gun on rotating base). if a second enemy aeroplane comes to the 4. In front of the keel (a movable gun, rescue, he attacks in his turn and tries to with varying angle of fire, a mono-motor ma drive him off. Naturally if his partner is chine, with driving pro defeated, he does not follow up the first but peller). regains his own lines as rapidly as possible. 5. In front of and be Often the manoeuvre takes on a broader hind the keel (movable character; the aeroplanes flyinj? in groups guns, bi-motor machine, mutually protecting one Tf nn with tractive propeller, isolated enemy aeroplane isanother. met with, it is central keel). quickly surrounded, and The mounting of the in the speed of its flight. can find safety only gun on the upper The tremendous speed of these "hunting" plane is generally aeroplanes has a tendency to increase greatly on those maadopted the danger of breaking the planes. A pilot of The Tactlca the chines where the piwho flics at a speed of 110 miles an hour, and German Immelmann. |0t \a placed back of who ascends more than 6,000 feet in Reven the P,an?3minutes, who descends almost vertically from on Its quently, in order to this height, subjects his machine to strains Adversary (B), and Firea Upon It reach the aviator which little by little dislocate Nearly Point Blank. himself the enemy parts of the aeroplane. An important * aeroplane try to be over j another aeroplane is com pursuing The arranging (A-i) and Does not pelled to assume most extraordinary positions, Return to the Attaek. of the fire through Copyrightt, 1917, by the Star Company, Oreat Britain Rights

conditions the air pressure may be so great as to break off the planes .with a snap. The state of the atmosphere plays a great part in these aerial battles. Calm days, without the least wind, when the sky is covered by large gray clouds, are very favorable for surprise attacks. The clouds act as a screen and allow the aviator to hide himself until the very moment which seems to him most opportune to dart upon his surprised enemy. The Germans seem to like a method which they introduced and which has served them well on occasion. When the clouds lie low, one of their aero planes dashes around below the clouds, only two or three hundred yards up. This machine acts as a bait. It is usually a slow machine, of an old model, with little armament. It seems a relatively easy prey for the enemy. As soon as it is seen by a Preach aeroplane it is pursued rap idly, even far over the lines of the enemy. But at the very moment when the fight is about to begin un der conditions most favorable for our pilot, unexpectedly three or four German aeroplanes of the latest model and fully armed surround him. Flying above the clouds, they had followed the two antagonists, only to appear at the stage when the Frenchman had been drawn ten or fifteen miles from his base. Before the war the question of arming aero planes was studied, but very superficially, in France at least. At the outbreak of hos tilities only a few machines were pro vided with rapidfire guns. Most of the aviators had only a rifle to de- ^2 fend themselves "Looplng-theagainst the attacks loop" In Aerof enemy pilots. At ial Warfare. Attacked by 4 or 5 G"the present time our i man Aeroplane!, the are aeroplanes .ench <x) i8 armed very effl- Completely Surrounded, as well for It Succeeds in Freeing Itciently, attack as for de- "f.by Which Brings It Behind fensc. All have cat tj,e Group least one rapid-fire Which Attacking It Attacka in Turn. (a). gun, and some have two and even three. The success of a fight depends largely upon the position of the rapid-fire gun on the aero plane. We understand that the Germans have studied this problem with particular care. On their machines the gun occupies one of the following five positions: 3. On the upper plane (gun firing below the propeller), 2. Along the aeroplane (fixed gun firing through the propeller). 3. At the rear of the supporting planes
.

angle of 90 degrees. Under these

at tlic other sometimes at

An Actual

of Photograph Most

an

Destroying Remarkable Pictures of the War.


a

Aeroplane

Zenoelin.

One of the

Bipl^e

Pto.g*"s?c."ht kp.

cnf

H*V" Aw;

the propeller implies the same principles of flight; we know that the inventor of this po sition was Roland Garros, made prisoner by tho Germans before he had a chance to dc-' stroy his machine. On the Fokker the gun is also fixed; it is set above the hood, a bit to the right, almost in front of the pilot. It can, however, fire only in the circle described by the propeller. On account of the fixed character of the gun. the pilot has to swing the entire aeroplane in orde/ to bring it to bear upon his opponent. Hence come the difficulties of aiming already mentioned. The original idea of the system of firing through the propeller lies in the fact that the mechanism of the rapid-fire gun is hindered during the passage automatically of the propeller in front of the barrel. This barrel is placed directly behind the propeller. The motor is attached to the by a cam reg ulated so as to fire the gun gun with a delay not exceeding 1-500 of a second. As soon as the blade of the propeller is not in the trajectory of the projectile the system is liberated. When the pilot wishes to fire he presses on a very small lever, placed in tho centre of the double handle of the directing lever, which acts by means of a device on the trigger of the gun. The German aeroplanes for two, like the L. V. G., for instance, are provided with two rapid-fire guns.one fixed, located on the up per plane, the other movable, placed on tho framework, behind the observer's station. Mounted on a revolving base, this gun has a wide range of fire. The guns in front and rear are both operated by the observer. On a more recent type the front, gun was placed between the two supporting planes, the barrel next to the motor and parallel to it. This is fired by the pilot, who controls it with his right hand. All the German aeroplanes are armed with one or two rapid-fire guns, Maxim, Lewis or Parabellum; some of them have three. These weapons have been specially adapted for and to aerial service. Some, such as the Parabel lum, are provided with belts of cartridges not less than a thousand loads. holding Two of the most serviceable French ma chines are the Nieuport and Spad biplanes. The Spad biplane is the fastest avion in the French service. It travels at the rate of 125 miles an hour. Another plane of the French type is a dreadnought, carrying two machino gunners and five machine guns. The post-graduate course in the school of instruction for French' army aviators calls for aerial aerobatics which a few years ago were used only for exhibition purposes. Looping-the-loop is one of the simplest

sought safety by climbing, and the The Downward airplane oursued. />* /. The Aiming Pursuit. of the Ma/ chine Gun Towards tho / Object Is Accomplished in This Case by the Di rection
of the Aero The at tacker Aims at His Ad versary While Plunging at an Angle of 6o De

the French army aviator has to do. He does flip-flops in the air, what are known as wing slips, vertical twists and spinning nose dives. In the last-named evo lution the aviator goes to a height of four thousand feet, cuts off his motor and crosses the controls. The machine first scoops up ward and then falls sidewise, the nose, down vertically, spinning around and around as it falls. The brevet test for the French avia tor comprises two short voyages army of twentyfive miles each, two long voyages of 135 miles each and an hour's flight at a mini mum altitude of 6,500 feet. An example of the feats performed by the aviators of the Allies is shown by. a recent combat between a Canadian triplane and a German two-seated aviatik. The battle was fought at an altitude of 20.000 feet, nearly four miles. The Gt?rman machine had dw
.

things that,

plane Itself.

grees or More. At a height of 20,000 feet the pilot of the German craft fell or jumped and disap peared at the moment of the first burst, of fire from the gun on the The German observer was thenCanadian. seen to climb out upon tho tail of his machine, where he lost his hold and plunged headlong. The aviatik turned its nose down and fell. We have a great many more brilliant fight aviators than the Germans. Their great ing est* fighting aviator, Captain Boelke, was killed on October 28, 1916, after he had down his fortieth brought Allied aeroplane. Since then they have developed figthing aviator who can compare to our no Guynemer
or

It is now merely a question of having sufficient numbers of machines in order to put the Germans in a hopeless state of in feriority, in which we can defeat them with out suffering disabling losses ourselvec. How near or far, we are from this i is point not permitted to me to say.

Navarre.