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Thread: World War 1 Aircraft - Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 Model B

  1. #1

    Default World War 1 Aircraft - Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 Model B

    .. and a clip about Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 Model B

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4J3B...eature=related

    This film comes from No. 23 Squadron and is from October 1916. By that time, the FE2b was a rare thing to see, but we'll get to that shortly. At the time this was taken, 23 Squadron was located at the Somme in France, and they were one of the first squadrons to actually use the FE2b.

    Here we see a particularly good recon plane from the early war. It was first introduced in September 1915 for use in the Royal Flying Corps and it first saw action on September 15th of that same year, when a German Taube monoplane strayed close to one (the observers and pilots shot at each other with rifles and pistols back then, just so you know; it was a rare thing to see a plane go down then). The actual airframe is influenced by the early French recon planes of the era, and the Farman Brothers actually had a hand in building the FE2.

    It had a very distinguished career at the first half of the war, but when the Germans began introducing fighters such as the Albatros D.I and the Halberstadt D.II, the British knew they couldn't keep these planes up and going for much longer. They built several versions throughout the course of the war, but it really started to lose its appeal by 1916. Still, it was used until November 1918.

    Like many early war planes, the FE2 family consisted of "pushers", planes which have the propellar at the back, meaning its pushed along (whereas planes with the propellars facing forward are actually pulling themselves along).

    You'll note the Lewis MG mounted on the upper wing and facing back. The British commanders didn't think that a forward-firing machine gun was necessary (saying it would just be a waste of MGs to attach two when one was all that was necessary... big mistake, but anyway). Commanders also had them assigned to bombing missions, and late war variants had bomb racks on the bottom of the fuselage.

    GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

    Crew: Two (pilot & observer)
    Length: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
    Wingspan: 47 ft 9 in (14.55 m)
    Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.85 m)
    Wing area: 494 ft² (45.9 m²)
    Empty weight: 2,061 lb (937 kg)
    Loaded weight: 3,037 lb (1,380 kg)
    Powerplant: 1× Beardmore 6-cylinder inline piston engine, 160 hp (119 kW)

    PERFORMANCE

    Maximum speed: 80 knots (91.5 mph, 147 km/h)
    Service ceiling: 11,000 ft (3,353 m)
    Rate of climb: 39 minutes 44 sec to 10,000 ft (3,048 m)
    Wing loading: 6.15 lb/ft² (30.1 kg/m²)
    Power/mass: 0.053 hp/lb (0.086 W/kg)
    Endurance: 3 hours

    ARMAMENT

    1 or 2x .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun for observer
    Up to 517 lb (235 kg) of bombs

    This video also features a very powerful shot: when the ground crewman is handing the observer a revolver. Pilots on both sides carried pistols for several reasons:

    1) Defense. If a plane ran out of ammo in the air, there was really just one way left to fight back. Also, crewmen needed a weapon if they found themselves crashed behind or near enemy lines to fight back. A prime example of this would be when Frank Luke, an American ace, was shot down behind German lines; he drew his Colt 1911 and shot five enemy soldiers before they killed him.
    2) Alleviation: Planes at this time had a habit of catching on fire very easily. If the men manning them had an engine fire, they could either shoot themselves or jump to their deaths. In some cases, they simply couldn't get themselves out of their safety straps in time, and so they burned to death.

  2. #2

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    And another clip on the some plane type:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI2Ci...eature=related

    The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 (Blériot Experimental) was a British single-engine two-seat biplane in service with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) during World War I. About 3,500 were built, used as fighters, interceptors, light bombers, trainers and reconnaissance aircraft.

    A B.E.2a of No.2 Squadron RFC was the first aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps to arrive in France after the start of the First World War, on 26 August 1914.

  3. #3

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    You'll note the Lewis MG mounted on the upper wing and facing back. The British commanders didn't think that a forward-firing machine gun was necessary (saying it would just be a waste of MGs to attach two when one was all that was necessary... big mistake, but anyway). Commanders also had them assigned to bombing missions, and late war variants had bomb racks on the bottom of the fuselage.
    Actually a lot of `Fee`s` had two guns. One mounted on a scarf ring firing forwards and the rearward firing one mounted on a telescopic mount that required the gunner to stand up in the cockpit to fire backwards over the wing.
    The telescopic mount gun could, on occasion also be used by the pilot.
    You can actually see both guns in the film.
    It wasn`t particularly fast but it was maneuverable enough to take on the earlier German scouts like the Eindekker (it was an FE2b that shot down Max Imelmann) and could still give a good account of itself against later types.
    One of them almost got Richthofen when he was flying the Albatross III!
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-03-2011 at 03:25.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit 3 View Post
    Actually a lot of `Fee`s` had two guns. One mounted on a scarf ring firing forwards and the rearward firing one mounted on a telescopic mount that required the gunner to stand up in the cockpit to fire backwards over the wing.
    The telescopic mount gun could, on occasion also be used by the pilot.
    You can actually see both guns in the film.
    It wasn`t particularly fast but it was maneuverable enough to take on the earlier German scouts like the Eindekker (it was an FE2b that shot down Max Imelmann) and could still give a good account of itself against later types.
    One of them almost got Richthofen when he was flying the Albatross III!
    G'day Rabbit! Mate he was talking about the BE not the FE.
    The poor old BE2c's etc were known as the "Quirk" & originally had no armament at all. Then Pilots & Observers tried fitting Lewis Guns mounted on fuselarge sides, Wings etc firing at an Arc outside the Prop zone to try to counter the Eindekkers.
    There was great coverage of this period in the BBC "Wings" series back in the 70's (If I remember correctly).
    The FE 2b's & DH-2s were the Brits answer to a forward firing gun when they had no interuptor gear.

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  5. #5

    Default Feetubi !

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1 fetubi with crew.jpg 
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ID:	11217Not sure i`ve ever seen an FE with a scarf ring,
    On occasion the pilot would stand on the seat and fire a second lewis over
    the top plane.
    The FE2`s were very stable !

    here`s mine, with paper crew !

  6. #6

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    http://www.theaerodrome.com/aircraft...in/raf_fe2.php

    The aerodrome (not usually wrong) has an option for the Fee to carry a fixed MG for the pilot - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ro...E2d_gunner.jpg

    So at close range from the front that's 4 B cards. OW! - any of you geek/guru's modify the card please? I've got a skytrex FE2 on the blocks

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    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-04-2011 at 12:52.

  8. #8

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    Two `Candlestick` mounts on `Zanzibar` This is a replica built in new zealand...
    There is some fabulous footage of this bird on their website...see if i can track it down...
    Think they`re called the vintage aviation company...
    Yep !
    look them up you`ll be amazed !
    Last edited by batesyboy; 04-04-2011 at 13:01. Reason: update

  9. #9
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

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    Looks like two `Candlestick` mounts was the standard configuration but there were a lot of `Fee`s` with some additional firepower fitted.
    The guy who did the original filmclip write up was even further off than I originally thought.
    He clearly didn`t even watch his own film closely!

    HE HE...
    Now I know precisely what Fe2 to model for WoW.
    20 sqdn`s A6516 `Presented By The Colony of Mauritius No 13` as flown by Capt Frank Douglas Stevens and Lt William C Cambray.
    You can find a couple of other photos of the same plane in Osprey`s `Pusher Aces of World War 1` which must have been taken at the same time as that one.
    Seems like the third fixed lewis was a configuration adopted by a number of 20 Sqdn crews.
    It`s actually an Fe2d rather than a `b` but the only visible difference appears to be a more `cut down` pilots cockpit and a big radiator in front of the engine instead of the two smaller ones either side of the nacelle.
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-04-2011 at 13:53.

  11. #11

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    There seems to be quite a few of these film clips available, more than one would imagine given the date.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by batesyboy View Post
    On occasion the pilot would stand on the seat and fire a second lewis over
    the top plane.
    The FE2`s were very stable !
    ... but not that stable! I think you'll find it was the observer (in the front cockpit as you've shown on your neatly made model) who operated the rearward facing lewis.

    On the subject of the kit, Skytrex has left out an additional set of horizontal struts on the top and bottom of the 'middle' set of lattice struts. These form a square, and would actually increase the sturdiness of the model by making the lattice more rigid.

  13. #13

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    I`m sure the story of the pilot standing on the seat came from Cecil Lewis`s `Saggitarius Rising` I`ll look it up...
    Now i think of it, i remember those extra cross braces from a balsa scratch built...The drawings came with
    the `Richthovens War` board game (all those years ago !)
    My Fee was based on a 1/48th scale card model by Ladndad...One of the few i didn`t have to design myself !
    Last edited by batesyboy; 04-04-2011 at 15:09. Reason: incomplete

  14. #14

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    From Cecil Lewis`s Saggitarius Rising.....
    `The FE2b was a pusher, a development of the Vickers Fighter, made by the Royal Aircraft Factory. It had a 160 hp Beardmore engine and an Oleo telescopic undercarriage. This, in the air, hung down like a pair of stilts on wheels; but when you touched the ground, it shut up, taking the weight and the shock of uneven landings and settling the machine on to the ground in a long comfortable rumble. It was a fine machine, slow, but very sturdy, and carried a pilot, and an observer before him, in a boot which stuck out in front of the machine. Forward, therefore, it had a very fine arc of fire and, attacked head on, was extremely formidable. Attacked from the rear, it was necessary for the pilot to stand up in his seat, hold the stick with his knees and use his own gun which fired backwards over the top plane - not an easy job...`
    Last edited by batesyboy; 04-04-2011 at 15:18. Reason: left out quotiation marks

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    Quote Originally Posted by batesyboy View Post
    From Cecil Lewis`s Saggitarius Rising.....
    `The FE2b was a pusher, a development of the Vickers Fighter, made by the Royal Aircraft Factory. It had a 160 hp Beardmore engine and an Oleo telescopic undercarriage. This, in the air, hung down like a pair of stilts on wheels; but when you touched the ground, it shut up, taking the weight and the shock of uneven landings and settling the machine on to the ground in a long comfortable rumble. It was a fine machine, slow, but very sturdy, and carried a pilot, and an observer before him, in a boot which stuck out in front of the machine. Forward, therefore, it had a very fine arc of fire and, attacked head on, was extremely formidable. Attacked from the rear, it was necessary for the pilot to stand up in his seat, hold the stick with his knees and use his own gun which fired backwards over the top plane - not an easy job...`
    Of course if you look at any picture or photograph of the type it becomes obvious that this is wrong.
    It was the OBSERVER that had to stand up, for the pilot it would just be impossible though the gun was capable of being turned round and fired forward by the pilot.

  16. #16

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    Right she`s got the extra cross braces, and the booms (or outriggers) are painted to represent spruce....
    New pic`s tomorrow
    Cheers
    Batesyboy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naharaht View Post
    There seems to be quite a few of these film clips available, more than one would imagine given the date.
    Not as much as you might think.
    By then the film industry had ben in existence for something like twenty years or more.
    Hollywood was in full swing by then, some of the (silent) movie stars were at least as big names as modern ones.
    Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and so on.
    There were Cinemas in just about every town and city in the industrial world and a huge demand for newsreel footage from the battlefronts from the public at large.
    So consequently there are enormous amounts of seldom seen film and still-camera footage surviving in archives, even some very early experimental colour shots.
    Since everything was shown silently no sound equipment was needed so the camera equipment, while bulky was fairly easy to get to difficult locations.
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-04-2011 at 16:03.

  18. #18

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    Never say never concerning the pilot firing over the top wing , etc...
    Cecil Lewis flew every aircraft from both the entente and axis during ww1.
    He had plenty of time to edit his book and correct any anomaly...he did fly the FE2b and FE2d
    We have no way of knowing how many different gun mounts were used over the course of ww1.
    Remember, he saw the first predominantly clear doped Fe`s leave the country for France, and the Fe`s were still used as night bombers in 1918.
    It seems unlikely, if not imposssible that this feat was performed with the standard `Candlestick mount` Perhaps there were
    different mounts that allowed this capability.
    The pilot did often fire a Lewis gun, and some were fixed for the pilots use.
    Who`s to say that the Lewis guns were not popped from mount to mount (as they were on the BE2) at some stage.
    It would be wrong to include this capability into the game (wow) without proof
    I`m still to be convinced either way !
    And there may have been an Fe fitted with a scarff ring mount as well, i just haven`t seen one !
    Cheers
    Batesyboy
    Last edited by batesyboy; 04-04-2011 at 21:36. Reason: omission

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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by batesyboy View Post
    Never say never concerning the pilot firing over the top wing , etc...
    Cecil Lewis flew every aircraft from both the entente and axis during ww1.
    He had plenty of time to edit his book and correct any anomaly...he did fly the FE2b and FE2d
    We have no way of knowing how many different gun mounts were used over the course of ww1.
    Remember, he saw the first predominantly clear doped Fe`s leave the country for France, and the Fe`s were still used as night bombers in 1918.
    It seems unlikely, if not imposssible that this feat was performed with the standard `Candlestick mount` Perhaps there were
    different mounts that allowed this capability.
    The pilot did often fire a Lewis gun, and some were fixed for the pilots use.
    Who`s to say that the Lewis guns were not popped from mount to mount (as they were on the BE2) at some stage.
    It would be wrong to include this capability into the game (wow) without proof
    I`m still to be convinced either way !
    And there may have been an Fe fitted with a scarff ring mount as well, i just haven`t seen one !
    Cheers
    Batesyboy
    I know what you mean about `never say never`.
    For all we know, Lewis might have flown an Fe with a telescope mounted Lewis behind the pilots cockpit and there is just not any photographic evidence available that we know of.

    It scares the willies out of me just thinking how that would work though.
    The pilot would have to stand up in the cockpit with the stick held between his knees.
    Somehow turn himself round 180 degrees without disturbing the controls, then operate the gun without having any idea whats going on on front of the plane.

    On one level its no crazier than some things that were tried but on the other hand it just seems unlikely when they could get the observer to do it with a slightly better field of fire and leave the pilot to concentrate on flying the plane!
    I can by the pilot standing up and firing forwards but remaining in control while facing backwards?

    For WoW, perhaps what we should do is just rotate the standard two-seater fields of fire 180 degrees so that the flexible mount is forward and just assume a single gun is firing in to each arc.
    That seems to conform to how we know how the average FE was supposed to work.

    There is plenty of evidence that the Lewis guns were easily dismountable, on the ground at any rate. Not so sure if it would be so easy in a forward-facing open cockpit in the air!
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-05-2011 at 12:59.

  21. #21

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    Spot on Rabbit !
    As far as `stranger things` there was Louis Strange hanging upside down like a trapeze artist from the drum of a Lewis gun (top wing mounted Martinsyde S1, that appeared more stable flying inverted)
    and Willy Coppens flying into and getting temporarily tangled in a observation balloons cables. sliding down the side of the balloon and dropping
    away...His plane just carried on flying regardless....
    Perhaps there`s scope for another thread for all these tales !
    Last edited by batesyboy; 04-05-2011 at 12:50. Reason: incomplete

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    Has anyone already worked out any game stats for the Fe yet by any chance.

  23. #23

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    Nice, and very quick, work adding the extra struts to the FE2b. Can you confirm which kit manufacturer you got it from (Skytrex?) or is it a scratchbuild?

    Quote Originally Posted by batesyboy View Post
    Never say never concerning the pilot firing over the top wing , etc...
    Cecil Lewis flew every aircraft from both the entente and axis during ww1.
    He had plenty of time to edit his book and correct any anomaly...he did fly the FE2b and FE2d
    We have no way of knowing how many different gun mounts were used over the course of ww1.
    Remember, he saw the first predominantly clear doped Fe`s leave the country for France, and the Fe`s were still used as night bombers in 1918.
    It seems unlikely, if not imposssible that this feat was performed with the standard `Candlestick mount` Perhaps there were
    different mounts that allowed this capability.
    The pilot did often fire a Lewis gun, and some were fixed for the pilots use.
    Who`s to say that the Lewis guns were not popped from mount to mount (as they were on the BE2) at some stage.
    It would be wrong to include this capability into the game (wow) without proof
    I`m still to be convinced either way !
    And there may have been an Fe fitted with a scarff ring mount as well, i just haven`t seen one !
    Cheers
    Batesyboy
    If you believe 'Cecil Lewis flew every aircraft' from both the Entente and Central Powers during WW1, you'll believe anything! I think you may be confusing things (ever so slightly)! From The Aerodrome, talking about Lewis' reprise to Sagittarius Rising - 'In this book, Lewis reminisces about what it was like to fly 24 different aircraft of the Great War period, along with a review of the unique problems of formation flying at that time. Aircraft cover the gamut from the Longhorn to the Vickers Vimy, including even a captured Albatros.'

    Yes, he did fly the FE2b with 22 Sqn in training, and possibly the FE2d as a ferry pilot, but he never flew them operationally. From Sagittarius Rising, his operational flying was:
    9 Sqn - BE2c
    3 Sqn - Morane Parasol (L or P)
    56 Sqn - SE5/5a
    44(HD) Sqn - Camel
    61(HD) Sqn - Pup
    152(NF) Sqn - Camel

    I agree that there were all sorts of field modifications done to aircraft, but I don;t know of any evidence, beyond Lewis' 20 year old recollection, of an FE2 with a gun mounted rear-facing over the top wing, and Rabbit has already talked about the gymnastics required for the pilot to use it. And as for climbing around the candlestick mount...

    Later FE2ds certainly did have a forward-firing Lewis for the pilot, and the observer's rear-mounted gun could probably have been used as a forward-firing gun by the pilot in extremis. Perhaps this is what Lewis was thinking of in Sagittarius Rising?

    Lewis guns were certainly moved from mount to mount on FE2bs to save weight of carrying extra weapons. There are numerous photographs of FE2bs with only a single Lewis but multiple mountings.

    In Windsock DF 18, there is a photograph captioned '... as far as is known, no operational FE2b ever has the advantage of a Scarff ring mounting for the observer's gun.'
    Last edited by Baldrick62; 04-06-2011 at 13:23. Reason: italics

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbit 3 View Post
    Has anyone already worked out any game stats for the Fe yet by any chance.
    Z B 14 IIRC - Ah!

    http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/sho...k+degree+turns

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    A `Z` deck? Well ok, I can see the point of decreasing the rate of turn.
    The Fe wasn`t apparently all that unmaneuverable though so I`m thinking that just staying with the existing two-seater `K` deck is a better idea.
    Saves a lot of mucking about to create a new `house rule` deck.
    Unless there`s a better option in any of the new bomber decks.

    B fireing makes sense but, as we have been discussing at length already the Fe`s seem to have two guns mounted as a more or less standard arrangement. So B/B might be a better way of representing that.
    As for the arcs, the angle looks a bit too generous and dosn`t take into account the `shooting over the wing` ability we have been discussing in this thread.
    As I`ve already mentioned, a `quick and dirty` solution if you are using a minature is to just take the DH-4 arrangement, rotate it 180 degrees and perhaps apply the special rules already used for the Roland for the rear gun.

    14 damage seems reasonable enough.

    11 maximum ceiling ? If anything I think its a bit generous, the Fe had rather a low ceiling compared with later types so I`d rather go for 9.

    Whats the climb rate? I`d go for about 5 myself. Perhaps 4 for the later Fe2d version.

    So I think K, B/B, 14 Ceiling 9, Climb 5

    This post has been modified somewhat after some `back of an envelope` calculations based on comparing Fe2 flight data with that of some of the stock aircraft.
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-08-2011 at 14:43.

  26. #26

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    The Fe2b is a card model, I have my own thread with many more examples ......Card Models in 144th Scale....

    I have read the Sagittarius Rising book many times, though not for a good while...most of my comments are from memory rather than
    direct quotes from wikipedia.
    Perhaps if i had included the word `almost` every type or every `available` type that would have been more accurate.
    Flown `operationally` Does that include him crashing 9 sqn`s Bristol Scout, Or his blue and pc10 diamond liveried Se5a (flown on home defence)
    He flew many prototypes too, and from the descriptions the FK10 quadruplane, the Austin Osprey Triplane and the Austin `Ball` Scout were amongst them.
    His Home defence Se5a is on my build list...but i may give the minatures a break for a while as i have an RAF FE8 flying model on the go.
    Do have a gander at the other thread...see how many cans of worms they open up too !
    Cheers
    Batesyboy

  27. #27

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    Lee,
    Never tried card models, but after looking at your thread, I may have to start. Particularly in 1/144th, they appear to compare very favourably with plastic/resin/metal models. Thanks.

    And, as biblio'd in my previous, none of my quotes are from Wikipedia.

  28. #28

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    Default F.E.2b Card

    Well, here`s my suggestion for an F.E.2b card.
    Attachment 11439
    In addition, the plane uses the special Roland firing arc rules for the rear gun and, if you are using the optional two-seater blind spot rule allow it to engage at the same level as well as above. This is to take in to account the `over the wing firing` ability.

  29. #29

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    With all our `Gaffe` about the rear firing ability (observer/gunner or pilot/gunner !) It appears that the main strength of the Fee`s was to fly in numbers.
    They would often do a `here we go `round the mulberry bush` or `magic roundabout` (nothing to do with Zebedee...lol)
    Where they flew in a circle to guard each others tailfeathers.
    In this scenario it was far more important to keep eyes to the front, with both guns concentrating firing forward....
    This would in effect turn the Fe into a A deck gunnery plane, and would prohibit the enemy `tailing`
    This tactic was later used by American `lightnings` in ww2, and with a few variations Phantoms vs Migs played out similar defence and attack regimes...
    However, when all this is said and done, your card reflects the arcs of the fee as accurately as possible within this game`s structure.
    And would certainly apply in a one on one encounter.
    Bear in mind how difficult and precarious the rear arc would be to cover !
    Am i right in thinking that the crew and aircraft your card represents was the combo` that wounded `The Baron`?
    Batesyboy
    Last edited by batesyboy; 04-15-2011 at 13:51. Reason: spelling !

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    I think a better idea would be to give the F.E a `second shot` in to the forward arc in those circumstances.
    So you just draw an extra card from the `B` deck rather than go to the `A` deck.
    It`ll be interesting to see what happens when people start playtesting this !

    The `merry-go-round` tactic was also used by German Bf 110`s in the Battle of Britain, wonder if they got the idea from the Fe?
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-15-2011 at 13:54.

  31. #31

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    Mostly agree with your stats. Going by the data in the OP, you'd have to drop the ceiling to 7 (each level represents 500m). The forward gun looks fine, but going by photos and the model it looks to me like the rear gun couldn't fire at targets at the same level (not without shooting holes in your propellor and wing struts anyway ). I'd be generous and say the rear gunner can fire on rear targets with more climb counters than the Fee if at the same level. Don't think the gunner has room to fire much outside the normal rear arc either (the model's a little misleading there) so I'm not convinced about letting it use the Roland's rule.

    Last edited by IRM; 04-15-2011 at 14:24.

  32. #32

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    What a terrific picture !
    now try that in the air, being chased by an Eindecker....or worse !

  33. #33

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    I would guess that this picture is of an FE2d (big radiator)
    which would mean that this particular bird wouls have the extra grunt of the `Rolls`
    Engine, and the fixed pilot`s gun.
    Not sure if the old Beardmore engine would allow the carrying of three guns

  34. #34

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    I think that the rear firing gun should have a wider firing arc when firing level or upwards, Rabbit 3.

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naharaht View Post
    I think that the rear firing gun should have a wider firing arc when firing level or upwards, Rabbit 3.
    Thats why I`m suggesting using the Rolands special rules.
    It allows the ignoring of firing arcs when shooting at a target at a higher level.
    What I`m thinking of here is that the Observer is firing the gun when shooting to the rear but the gun is rotated on the mount and its the Pilot that fires this gun when firing forwards.
    So the Observer can use the front gun when the Pilot is firing the rear one forward!

    That arc I`ve put on the card would only really apply if the game being played is just using the basic rules only.
    Once you bring in the advanced and optional rules it gets a bit more complicated.
    Using just the base altitude rules then I suggest using the arc but dont allow firing if the target is a peg lower than the FE.
    With the blind-spot rule, I think now I`m going to go with IRM`s suggestion and allow firing only if the target has more climb counters than the FE.

    With the altitude rating, I was being a little generous and rounding figures up when giving the FE a max ceiling of 8.
    7 is a lot more accurate, though if you work out the ceilings of some of the ratings for a number of the standard planes in the game you realise that Nexus are also a bit generous sometimes!
    Last edited by Rabbit 3; 04-16-2011 at 06:06.

  36. #36

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    Ahh, I see what you were going for now. That works better with altitude in use, certainly for the FE2d at any rate. I was under the impression the B model only had one Lewis gun which the observer moved as needed, but I'm less than certain about that.

  37. #37

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    You really would wabt to be the Observer in a Fe2D when the Pilot fired his gun. The barrel is running past your right side real close.
    As for the Fe2B from the data I have collected they came out both with 1 or 2 guns. There are a good number of photos showing the 2 gun model. also logic would say that the Fe2B had 2 guns as the later Fe2D had a THIRD gun fitted for the Pilot.
    I havn't seen any evidence for a scarf ring for the front mout Lewis only a post mount.
    Linz

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRM View Post
    Ahh, I see what you were going for now. That works better with altitude in use, certainly for the FE2d at any rate. I was under the impression the B model only had one Lewis gun which the observer moved as needed, but I'm less than certain about that.
    It actually looks that, while the `standard` layout was for two guns, one on each mount, a good number of crews left one behind to save weight.
    They normally had it mounted on the front at the beginning of a mission, then switched it to the rear mount when running for home.
    Judging by photo`s, the late night-bomber versions just had the one gun normally mounted at the front.
    If you have Osprey`s `Pusher Aces of World War I` take a look at the two photo`s on page 78 and 79.
    There are two photo`s of a F.E.2d of 20 Sqn taken in July 1917.
    A close look reveals that this is the same plane in IRM`s photo and, since the angle of the photo in the book showing the observer in position to use the camera is identical and moreover the two crew-members appear to be the same people then this picture must come from the same publicity photo-shoot.
    Acording to Osprey, this plane is F.E.2d Snr A6516 of 20 Sqn crewed by Capt Frank Douglas Stevens and Lt William C Cambray photographed at Clairmarais in July 1917.
    From the info it would appear that the third gun was used by several pilots of 20 Sqdn at this time.
    A post `Bloody April` squadron `lash-up` perhaps?

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naharaht View Post
    I think that the rear firing gun should have a wider firing arc when firing level or upwards, Rabbit 3.
    I think people are being rather too generous about the rear firing arc - consider that to *aim* the gun you need to get your body behind it, then picture the position you'd have to be in when firing off to one side.... I'd stick to effectively having a standard "front" firing arc to the rear as it were (ie. quite a narrow cone) - anything wider and the observer's going over the side.... (This also tallies with photos of observers showing their firing positions - rearward poses have the gun pointing in a fairly narrow arc aft, not off along the wing or anything like that.)

    Dom.

  40. #40

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    In addition to what Dom has opined on the restrictions of using the rearward-facing mount, have a good look at the photo at #31; that projection above the top wing that the observer is pointing his Lewis toward is the gravity-fed fuel tank!

  41. #41

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    I'm sorry I would have to disagree with you on the rear firing arc for 2 reasons
    1 The machine gun is mounted forward of the centre of the aircraft so the arc would start further forward.
    2 Check out this Video
    http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/proje...ying-masterton
    If they can hang over the side like this when nobodies firing at you I'm sure the crew will hang further out to ward of an attacker.
    Linz

  42. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by batesyboy View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1 fetubi with crew.jpg 
Views:	619 
Size:	209.1 KB 
ID:	11217Not sure i`ve ever seen an FE with a scarf ring,
    On occasion the pilot would stand on the seat and fire a second lewis over
    the top plane.
    The FE2`s were very stable !

    here`s mine, with paper crew !
    Kewl!

  43. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linz View Post
    I'm sorry I would have to disagree with you on the rear firing arc for 2 reasons
    1 The machine gun is mounted forward of the centre of the aircraft so the arc would start further forward.
    2 Check out this Video
    http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/proje...ying-masterton
    If they can hang over the side like this when nobodies firing at you I'm sure the crew will hang further out to ward of an attacker.
    Linz
    Linz, unfortunately my very slow broadband connection has a heart attack if I try to play your 64Meg monster. I did find some clips on Youtube of the FE2b at Masterton though, and if they are of the same flight, I'd put it to you that while the observer may have been hanging over the side, a/ the aircraft was in straight and level flight rather than being thrown around the sky in evasive manoeuvres and b/ I'm certain that 'elf and safety would require the modern day observer to be secured to the aircraft via a harness of some sort, which was not the case in WW1.

    Anyway, the flying piano is still a great looking aircraft, and it's fantastic that there is one flying (albeit a new build) nearly 100 years on.

  44. #44

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    After seeing Linz' clip there's one thing I'm certain of: I don't envy the observer...It must have been terrible to hang on a Lewis machine gun in a pitched aerial battle. You are exposed to the elements and most of all to the bullets of the enemy. There were no parachutes available, no safety belts... and the G-forces must have made things even more difficult when the aircraft was thrown about in a dogfight. I can imagine that in the heat of battle one would take more risks to have a chance to fire at the ennemy but even so I think the rear-arc must have been limited.
    Last edited by Bluedevil; 04-19-2011 at 03:48. Reason: *sigh*...typo's...again :p

  45. #45

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    They actually got an orginal Breadmore engine and had some orginal parts. Must take a trip up and have a look. It is certianly a beautiful machine.
    They seem to have a number of aircraft including a Tripe as well.
    Linz

  46. #46

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    Should be like travelling back in time

  47. #47

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    Wonder if I could get them to take me up. Oh well we can all dream.
    Linz

  48. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRM View Post
    Mostly agree with your stats. Going by the data in the OP, you'd have to drop the ceiling to 7 (each level represents 500m). The forward gun looks fine, but going by photos and the model it looks to me like the rear gun couldn't fire at targets at the same level (not without shooting holes in your propellor and wing struts anyway ). I'd be generous and say the rear gunner can fire on rear targets with more climb counters than the Fee if at the same level. Don't think the gunner has room to fire much outside the normal rear arc either (the model's a little misleading there) so I'm not convinced about letting it use the Roland's rule.

    I found the same photo (a little larger with the landing gear visible) at page 142 of the wonderfull book "Dog-Fight Aerial Tactics of the Aces of World War I" written by Norman Franks.

    There are some nice additional info:

    This machine, from No.20 Squadron, has three machine guns, two used by
    the observer to fire forward and back over the top wing, with another fixed gun for the pilot. Note,
    too, the camera on the left side of the nacelle. The crew are Lts. D. Stevens and W.C.
    Cambray, MC, summer 1917

  49. #49

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    From what I have read it was the observer firing the flexible MG's I don not belive that it was physically possible for the pilot to fly the plane and fire a rear mg particular when you hear tales of observers falling out of aircraft during evasive maouvers, the phote above illustrstates my point there is not a lot for the observer to hang on to! Robert are you going to post your FE card in the files section, as I belive it is spot on.

  50. #50

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    There has been quite a debate going on concerning wether or not the pilot could fire a rearward facing gun....
    According to Cecil Lewis (who flew this aircraft) Yes he could and did !
    Everybody else (except me) thinks otherwise....
    Batesyboy

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