WWI AIR COMBAT – WHAT IT CAME DOWN TO

What is more natural than looking back over major aviation innovations of the Great War today, the anniversary of the Armistice? Here is a very interesting video posted by the BBC on how the fighter pilots dealt with reconnaissance, bombing missions and dogfight techniques. Primitive flight controls are well explained as is the interest of performing missions with a triplane aircraft – three sets of wings are necessarily more narrow, providing the pilot with a better visual field.

From the flimsy Blériot XI to Sopwiths and Fokkers, the first aces developed early methods that are always taught in fighter schools even though beyond-visual-range air combat has taken over since. Major Charles Tricornot de Rose was considered by many as the father of air fighting as early as 1914. Then as shown in this video, the German ace Oswald Boelcke laid out a first set of rules for dogfighting called the Dicta Boelcke. Pilots’ life expectancy was not measured in years but in weeks.

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Mil Mi-35 Hind Multipurpose Attack Helicopter

The Mi-24, Mi-25/35 « Hind » multipurpose combat helicopters are intended for destruction of armoured vehicles; low-speed air targets; enemy manpower; fire-support of land forces; delivery of technical troops; evacuation of the wounded; as well as for transporting some special-purpose loads. Watch – you can listen to the comments only after 1’34 » of this video:

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A MUST in chivalry history – When Guynemer spared Udet after strafing through his wing

Here is a tribute to CPT Georges GUYNEMER who was killed in action on September 11th, 1917. Three months earlier, he fought with Ernst Udet, the ace who came up 2nd after the Red Baron. You can watch hereafter how this dogfight reportedly happened, and how these fighter pilots had the gut to keep honor above all:


Georges Guynemer, French Air Force pilot and WWI ace
Georges Guynemer by "Lucien" - Jebulon https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jebulon

Remember Guynemer’s mottos: FAIRE FACE (face up to it) was then adopted by the French Air Force Academy (FAFA) as their motto. A few words that well expresses the French pilots’ bravery.

The WWI French ace Georges Guynemer used to say:

– « Il y a une limite à toute chose, et il faut toujours la dépasser. « Everything has a limit which has always got to be surpassed. »
– « Lorsque l’on n’a pas tout donné, on n’a rien donné. » « As long as you have not given your all, you have given nothing »

Loyal to these principles, the French ace took part in several hundreds of aerial combats, crediting 53 victories. He was shot down seven times, and he was admired for he always survived, but that September 11, Ninety-three years ago. The hero took off once again. Outnumbered by German warplanes in a last dogfighting over Belgium. Then, he fell.

Since then, the French Air Force aviators have worn a black tie in sign of mourning.

RIP

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