By James F. Miller

Global warfare I aerial strive against went via classes of alternating aerial superiority according to expertise leaps. Sopwith Camels, Fokkers, and Spads grew to become recognized simply because they ruled later within the struggle, yet this was once an ongoing cycle for years.

In the spring of 1916 the deployment of the RFC's FE 2 - with its rotary engine 'pusher' configuration affording very good visibility for its pilot and observer, and elimination the necessity for synchronized desktop weapons - helped wrest aerial dominance from Imperial Germany's Fokker Eindecker monoplanes, after which contributed to protecting it during the Somme battles of that fateful summer season. even if, by way of autumn German reorganization observed the delivery of the Jagdstaffeln (specialised fighter squadrons) and the coming of the hot Albatros D scout, a graceful inline-engined computing device equipped for velocity and twin-gun firepower. therefore, for the rest of 1916 and good into the subsequent yr an epic fight for aerial superiority raged above the horrors of the Somme and Passchendaele battlefields, pitting the FE 2 opposed to the better-armed and speedier Albatros scouts that have been excited by attacking and destroying their two-seater rivals. after all the Germans might regain air superiority, and carry it into the next summer time with the employment in their new Jagdgeschwader (larger fighter groupings), however the FE 2 remained a tenacious foe that inflicted many casualties - a few of whom have been Germany's top aces (including 'The pink Baron').

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Additional info for FE 2b/d vs Albatros Scouts: Western Front 1916-17

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Without reliable synchronisation gear of their own, British aeroplane manufacturers tended toward development of pusher aeroplanes with engines and propellers mounted behind the pilot, bypassing any need for machine gun synchronisation. Focusing on pusher configuration led to the development of the FE 2a/b/d, the Aircraft Manufacturing Company’s single-seat DH 2 and the RAF’s single-seat FE 8. Thereafter, reliable synchronisation had been developed and implemented by all sides, and thus British aeroplane manufacturers evolved beyond the pusher concept and focused on tractor-powered aeroplane designs instead.

Chord (lower wing) 5ft 3in. 5ft 3in. 5in. Length 24ft 3in. 24ft 3in. 5in. Height 9ft 8in. 8ft 8in. 9ft 6in. com 160Ps Mercedes D III Albatros D III (OAW) and D V comparison specifications* D III (OAW) DV Wingspan (upper) 29ft 6in. 29ft 6in. Wingspan (lower) 28ft 10in. 28ft 8in. Chord (upper wing) 4ft 11in. 4ft 11in. 5in. 3ft 4in. 5in. 24ft 2in. Height 9ft 6in. 9ft 0in. 92mm IMG 08/15s Albatros Dimensions Weight (lb) Empty 1,463 Useful load 502 518 Loaded 1,965 2,018 Performance 1,500 Engine 160Ps Mercedes D III 160/180Ps Mercedes D III Maximum Speed 109mph 109mph Climb to 3,281ft – 4 min 20 sec Climb to 6,562ft – 8 min 20 sec Climb to 9,843ft – 14 min 30 sec Climb to 13,123ft – 22 min 40 sec *Figures are source dependent and vary.

Along with photographic missions, they were employed as offensive weapons, often bombing targets and then actively seeking enemy aeroplanes to attack, the ability of which was augmented in June when No. 20 Sqn outfitted its FE 2ds with a third fixed and forward-firing Lewis machine gun for the pilot, increasing firepower by 50 per cent. The shattered and broken-boned corpse of 25-year-old ace Karl Schaefer lies amongst the smashed wreckage of his Albatros D III. The aeroplane had been brought down by a burst of machine gun fire from FE 2d A6469, the German scout going into a vertical and at least partially wingless dive until it hit the ground.

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