The Sopwith Camel

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    The Sopwith Camel was produced by Thomas Sopwith and his Sopwith Aviation Company in 1916. Designed by Herbert Smith, the Camel was the first British fighter to be equipped with two fixed synchronized forward Vickers machine guns.

    The Camel arrived on the Western Front in May, 1917 and went into action two months later. The aircraft quickly achieved a reputation as a deadly trench-strafer. With its fixed guns, pointing downwards though the floor of the fuselage, it could rake enemy troops with fire while flying fast and level above their trenches.

    The Sopwith Camel was a difficult plane to fly, tending to spin out of control during tight turns, and caused the deaths of many young pilots during their training period. However, the Sopwith Camel, with its great agility and good rate of climb, made it a popular fighter plane with experienced and talented pilots. It has been claimed that the Sopwith Camel was responsible for shooting down 1,294 enemy planes during the war.

    The Admiralty ordered the Camel for the Royal Navy Air Service and they served on four carriers, 10 battleships and battlecruisers and 17 cruisers.

    Some Sopwith Camels had racks for four 25-pound bombs installed under the centre fuselage. These planes were used for ground-attack operations at were active at the battles of Passchendaele and Cambrai. After suffering heavy losses due to ground fire this strategy was abandoned.

    By November 1918 over 2,500 Sopwith Camels were being used in France and Belgium. A total of 5,140 were built but they were rarely used by the RAF after the end of the war

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