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World War One and the 'Scout Fighter'

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World War One and the 'Scout Fighter'

Old 31st Dec 2009, 11:52
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World War One and the 'Scout Fighter'

I was in a fairly spotterish discussion yesterday about World War One fighters, or 'scouts' and just which one was the best one Britain could offer, and how well i stacked up against the opposition - so gentlemen, I put it to you.

My view is that figures don't lie, and if the Sopwith Camel shot down the most, then surely it must have been the best, non? Yes it was tricky to fly, but the fact is that it was those same handling characteristics that made it so manoeuvrable, and therefore so successful. It was also better armed with twin belt fed guns, rather than that the SE.5a, which is the plane my companion was banging on about - something about climb rate, and speed to be honest I just ignored him as obviously wrong

So, what's the view?
Yeoman_dai is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2009, 13:01
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Bristol M1C - ahead of its time but not popular with their airships.

Sopwith Dolphin and Sopwith Snipe were superior to the Camel but didn't have the time in active service to better the Camel's score.

I don't hink the SE5/5a killed as many of its own pilots as the Camel.
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Old 31st Dec 2009, 16:22
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Originally Posted by Yeoman_dai
My view is that figures don't lie, and if the Sopwith Camel shot down the most, then surely it must have been the best, non? Yes it was tricky to fly, but the fact is that it was those same handling characteristics that made it so manoeuvrable, and therefore so successful. It was also better armed with twin belt fed guns, rather than that the SE.5a, which is the plane my companion was banging on about - something about climb rate, and speed to be honest I just ignored him as obviously wrong
No, he's not wrong.

Camel may have more in total, but, if you look at the list of the highest scoring British/Commonwealth aces, such as Ball, McCudden, Bishop and Mannock, they all flew, and preferred the SE.5a....

The Camel was at itís best at low and medium altitudes and coupled with the forward firing twin belt fed Vickers MGís, it was a formidable weapons platform once mastered by a pilot. For these reasons Camelís were also employed in the ground attack/strafing role which they were ideally suited for.

However, the SE.5a's speed and climb rate and easier handling meant that once above 10,000ft the SE.5a was superior to the Camel, and itís armament was better suited to high altitude air fighting, as was itís better pilot visibility and better handling characteristics.

One wasnít better than the other, they complimented each other.
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Old 1st Jan 2010, 12:08
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Yeoman dai

Whilst the Sopwith Camel served in greater numbers than some other aircraft its engine was either a 110 hp Le Rhone or a 130 hp Clerget rotary engine. The SE5A was powered by a 200 hp, 220 hp or 240 hp Hispano Suiza or a 200 hp Wolseley Viper engine. The Camel had a maximum speed of 118 mph whereas the SE5A had a maximum speed of 132 mph.

In addition, the exhaust fumes from the lubrication system of the Camel's rotary engine had such a deleterious effect on the physical processes of its Pilots that patrols were curtailed to enable the pilots to seek suitable toilet facilities.
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Old 1st Jan 2010, 12:55
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From what I've read the best 'fighter' was the SE.5.
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Old 1st Jan 2010, 20:24
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Another vote for the SE5a. The SE5a soldiered on into the 1920's, while the Camel, for all its combat stats, was already being replaced by the Snipe before war's end (although there were only 4 Snipe sqns operational at the time of the Armistice).

Happy New Year,

S.O.
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