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Early Aviation
Discuss World War I and the early years of aviation thru 1934.
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REVIEW
Sopwith Camel & Fokker Dr.I
JackFlash
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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 03:36 AM UTC

The fighters that faced each other is always a good source of research and info. Here Jon Guttman has given us a fine historical resource on two popular WWI subjects.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 01:16 PM UTC
Stephen,

You lucky guy! So what is the conclusion of the author as to how well these dogfighters matched up? I'll have to acquire my own copy and find out.
JackFlash
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Colorado, United States
Joined: January 25, 2004
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AeroScale: 11,012 posts
Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 01:07 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Stephen,

You lucky guy! So what is the conclusion of the author as to how well these dogfighters matched up? I'll have to acquire my own copy and find out.



Greetings Fred. The conclusions Mr. Guttman draws is mostly from actual accounts of British pilots and the statistics of known Dr.I victories during the German Kaiserschlacht Offensive "Operation Michael". These of course found in the Combat and Statistics. . . chapters. The Dual series of books is one of the few publications that actually tries to draw these conclusions. The truth is the Camel killed a fair amount of British pilots too. The tricky beast as it was known needed a capable pilot. The Dr.I had to be flown at all times. And when the Dr.I had both guns triggered in flight it could actually stall the aircraft in flight. They both took decent pilots to operate.

32 Sopwith F.I aircraft fell to German Dr.I pilots.
45 Dr.I aircraft aircraft fell to British Camel pilots.

Note! These included "forced to land" or "out of control" accounts.

My two cents:
The one advantage the Dr.I had was that the premier Fighter wing JG I & some of its components (Jasta 4, 6 & 11), had excellent pilots gleaned from other Jastas by its commander Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen. His operational dicta was designed for success. It was then followed by JG II Jasta (12, 13, 15 & 19) had Hauptmann Adolph Tutscek another well known leader and finally JG III with JASTA (2, 26, 27, 36) commanded Hauptmann Bruno Loerzer. All had the Fokker Dr.I to one extent or another with a solid leadership that co-ordinated their efforts. The Germans focused on 2 seters. They seemed to do more with less. 320 Dr.I airframes manufactured.

The British had some great leadership in Major officers in individual units. Yet fighter wing operations seemed to be lead by desk bound Colonels. They seemed to do less with more. 5,490 Sopwith Camel airframes manufactured.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013 - 10:55 AM UTC
Stephen,

Thanks for it summary. I recall that more Camel pilots were KIFA (Killed in Flying Accidents) than combat. Osprey's Air Vanguard book on the Camel has some pilot quotes about what a beast it was; Dr.I was also a handful but I don't recall it having such a operational accident rate. Vanguard book also relates that during Op. Michael that Camel pilots said they could out-turn the Dr.I, while Dr.I pilots reported they could out-turn the Camel!

I've gleaned that both aircraft are steeped in mystique, both capable fighters, yet both were operationally eclipsed quicker than their legends.
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013 - 11:05 AM UTC
That is why I stay with first generation accounts.