Saturday, February 17, 2018

German Ace, Karl Allmenröder

Allmenröder was born in Wald, Rhine Province, Germany on 3 May 1896, the son of a Lutheran minister.
He was interested in the practice of medicine and was a medical student in Marburg. His reputation became one of a quiet, good natured, dutiful young man.
When war broke out in August 1914 he joined Field Regiment 62 before being posted to Field Regiment 20 following initial training, thereafter serving in Poland (out of which he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class in March 1915). Allmenroder was awarded his commission at the end of March 1915.
Along with his brother Willi, Karl applied for a transfer to the Air Service a year later in March 1916; both were successful and were consequently sent for training at Halberstadt, followed by a posting to FA227 and then on to Jasta 11 in November that year.

Allmenröder on the left

Manfred von Richthofen took command of Jasta 11 in January 1917 and as his protege Allmenröder scored the first of his 30 confirmed victories on 16 February 1917. Flying a scarlet Albatros D.III trimmed out with white nose and elevators.
Those 30 aerial victories were scored in the period from mid-February to the end of June 1917, including four 'kills' scored in just two days (24-25 May).

Allmenröder at #2

Allmenröder's brief (if spectacularly successful) aerial career came to an end on 27 June 1917 - the day following his 30th and final victory, all achieved with Jasta 11. Flying on patrol in the skies above Zillebeke his aircraft came under fire from Allied aircraft: he was killed when his 'plane crash-landed. He was aged 21 at his death.
Among Allmenröder’s awards were: the Iron Cross 1st Class in March, the Knight's Cross of the Hohenzollern Order, and - most prestigiously - the Pour le Merite in June.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Bristol M.1 Monoplane Scout

Bristol M.IC
In 1916, as a private venture, the Bristol Aeroplane Company had their chief designer, Frank Barnwell, design a new single-seat tractor monoplane fighter which would outperform the existing fighter aircraft. The result was the Bristol M.1.
The first prototype, the M.1A made its maiden flight in July 1916. It was of conventional wood and fabric construction, with a carefully streamlined circular cross-section fuselage.

The wing was shoulder mounted and was braced with flying wires running from the wing to the lower fuselage and landing wires from the wings to a cabane made of two semi-circular steel tube hoops positioned over the pilot's cockpit.
A 110 horsepower Clerget rotary engine which fitted with a large hemispherical spinner to reduce drag.
It was purchased by the War Office for evaluation, and demonstrated impressive performance during official testing, reaching a speed of 128 miles per hour and climbing to 10,000 feet in 8 minutes 30 seconds, although the forward and downward view was criticised by test pilots.

The War Office ordered four modified aircraft, designated M.1B, in October 1916. These differed from the first prototype in having a more conventional cabane consisting of a pyramid of four straight steel struts, a large clear-view cut-out panel in the starboard wing root to give improved view for landing and a single .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun mounted on the port wing root.

Despite excellent performance – it had a maximum speed some 30–50 mph higher than any of the contemporary German Fokker Eindecker and French Morane-Saulnier N monoplanes – it was rejected by the Air Ministry for service on the Western Front, allegedly because its landing speed of 49 mph was considered too high for small French airfields, but more likely because of a widespread belief that monoplane aircraft were inherently unsafe in combat.
The RFC had imposed a ban on monoplanes after the crash of one of the Bristol-Coanda Monoplanes in September 1912, and despite the subsequent 1913 Monoplane Committee clearing the design type there persisted a deep-rooted suspicion of monoplanes. This suspicion may also have been reinforced by the RFC's underwhelming experience with various Morane-Saulnier monoplanes, especially the Morane-Saulnier N, which was also criticised for its high landing speed.

Nevertheless, a production order for 125 aircraft, designated M.1C, was placed in August 1917. This version was fitted with a 110 hp Le Rhône 9J rotary engine and had a Vickers machine gun centrally-mounted in front of the pilot.

Thirty-three M.1Cs served in the Middle East and the Balkans in 1917–18, while the rest were used by UK-based training units, where they were popular as personal mounts for senior officers.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

German Ace, Hartmuth Baldamus

Baldamus was born in Dresden on 10 August 1891. He was in German aviation from the start of the First World War. Ranked as a Gefreiter, he flew for FFA 20 beginning March 1915 and in September 1915, he was commissioned a Leutnant.
of aAfter scoring five victories with FFA 20, he was reassigned to Jasta 5 but failed to score as a single-seat fighting pilot until he was posted to Jasta 9 in November 1916.

While with FFA 20 he scored his fifth confirmed victory in July 1916, he became an ace. Becoming an ace before being assigned to a fighter squadron was something of a rare feat.

In August of 1916 Baldamus was posted to fly fighters with Jasta 5. He moved on to Jasta 9 in early November 1916. On 2 December he closed out 1916 with nine victories.

Baldamus resumed scoring on 23 January 1917, and steadily more single victories, reaching 17 on April 2nd, 1917.
Shortly afterwards he was credited with his 18th victory but was killed in a mid-air collision with a Nieuport 17 near Sainte-Marie-à-Py, France.

At the time of his death, he needed two more victories to be eligible for the Pour le Mérite.
He had been awarded the Iron Cross, first and second class, and the Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Linke-Hofmann R.II heavy bomber.

The R.II was Linke-Hofmann’s second attempt at building a Riesenflugzeug (giant aircraft). Rather than redesigning their failed R.I bomber they based the R.II on an oversized fighter aircraft design approximately three times the size of a conventional single engined bi-plane. This avoided the drag created by traditional nacelles and additional structural elements such as struts and braces.

Power was supplied by four 260 h.p. Mercedes D.IVa engines, arranged in two tandem pairs inside the fuselage, driving the single propellor through clutches, shafts and gearboxes. Each of the four engines could be disconnected from the shaft by means of special couplings, and R. II was able to perform normal flight with two engines.

The airframe was constructed largely of wood with plywood covering the forward fuselage and a steel-tube v-chassis.

It had a wingspan of 138 ft, length of 66 ft and height of 23 ft. The design was powered by a single 22 ft. 7.5 in diameter propeller. It had a empty weight of 17,640 pounds and 26,460 pounds loaded.

Required a crew of six, with defensive guns placed in two dorsal and one ventral position.
According to the Guinness book of records, it was the largest single-propeller aircraft ever flown.
Only two R.IIs were completed before the Armistice. Some test flights were performed after the Armistice but the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty ended further development and the aircrafts were destroyed.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

French Ace, André Herbelin

Herbelin shown here on the left, with Maurice Boyau and Marcel Hugues at SPA 81.

André René Celestin Herbelin was born in Le Havre on 9 December 1889.
Herbelin was a non-commissioned officer in the French infantry's inactive reserves when World War I began. On 19 August 1914, he was called to the colors again and assigned to the 8e Regiment du Train des Equipages as a Sergeant.
He transferred to aviation service on 28 January 1916 for pilot's training at Avord and granted his Pilot's Brevet in March. He then underwent advanced training at Pau and Cazaux before reporting for assignment on 20 August 1916. On 4 September, he was forwarded to Escadrille 102.

Herbelin flew a Nieuport to score his first victory on 25 January 1917, and followed it up with two more, on 16 and 19 March. A promotion to Adjutant came on 25 March 1917. On 8 April, he transferred to Escadrille 81, which also operated Nieuports. He resumed scoring in August and by years end had eight victories.
Herbelin's ninth triumph came on 30 January 1918, his tenth on 5 March. A month later, on 6 April 1918, he was appointed a Chevalier in the Légion d'honneur. 

He transferred to Escadrille 97 on 22 May 1918 to fly Spads. On 15 July, he tallied his final victory. By the end of the war, he had eleven confirmed victories to show for over 1,400 combat hours flown. (some historians feel he had numerous victories that went unclaimed)

He was the recipient of the Medaille Militaire, the prestigious Legion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Blackburn AD Scout

The AD Scout (later known as the Sparrow) was designed by Harris Booth of the British Admiralty's Air Department as a fighter aircraft to defend Britain from Zeppelin bombers.
It was built to meet an Admiralty requirement for a fighter built from commercially obtainable materials.

The aircraft was an unconventional heavily-staggered, single-bay biplane with a fuselage nacelle mounted on the upper wing. A twin-rudder tail was attached by four booms, and for reasons unknown, it was designed with an extremely narrow-track undercarriage.
It was powered by a 100 hp Gnôme Monosoupape rotary pusher engine driving a 9 ft propeller. The pilot had a excellent view in nearly every direction.

It was to be armed with the Davis two-pounder quick-fire recoilless gun mounted in the bottom of a short, single-seat nacelle.( the gun was never fitted)
Four prototype aircraft were ordered in 1915. Two built by Hewlett and Blondeau Ltd of Leagrave, Beds. The other two were built by Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company.

All four prototypes were delivered to the Royal Naval Air Service at Chingford. The test trials flown by pilots of the RNAS were not favorable. The aircraft proved to be seriously overweight, fragile, sluggish, and difficult to handle, even on the ground. All of the examples were scrapped.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

German Ace, Hermann Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer was born July 24th, 1890 in Tengen, Baden, Germany.
Not much has been written about Pfeiffer as he was one of the many Great War aviators who gained ace statis in a manner of months only to lose their lives too soon.
He joined the German army in October 1913 and rose to Unteroffizier in the 114th Bavarian Infantry Regiment. While fighting in the trenches he won an Iron Cross Second Class in May 1915.
He then transferred to aviation, and in July, he began pilot training. Once qualified, he was posted to FFA 10, where he was promoted to Vizefeldwebel. Later that month, he transferred to FFA 10, which was attached to AOK 3, to fly single-seated Fokker fighters. Here he came under the command and tutoring of Kurt Student.
Pfeiffer promptly achieved his first victory August 6th,1916 earning the Iron Cross First Class as a consequence. On 7 October 7th, AOK 3 morphed into Jasta 9 and here he was commissioned Leutnant in November 1916. He would finish the year with eight victories.

Pfeiffer’s eleventh victory came on May 14th, 1917. Six days later he was killed in a crash, near Lessincourt Wood, France, during the test flight of a captured Nieuport fighter.