French Top Gunner: WW1 bombers

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by papiermache, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    A five minute film at NARA entitled Artillerie Francaise Aerienne. Gun testing and dogs being dogs, also unidentified.

    I have tried but I can't find the name of the plane with the ladder leading to the machine gun pod on the upper plane. For that matter, I can't find the others.

    Feel free to register at NARA and post the identities on their website.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    The aircraft with the gun in a circular position on top of the wing is an Italian built Caproni Ca 3, the French had over 100. The first aircraft with the big gun in the nose is the Breguet Michelin BR M5 C2
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  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  4. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thanks Robert. That just leaves the white machine taking off at about 2 minutes which has single-acting ailerons on the lower plane. I think it is a Farman because of the high tailplane, but there seem to be a lot of variants.
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Based on the shape of the nacelle I think it is a Voisin Type 4 which was also armed with a 37 mm Cannon. The aircraft with a 1 on the side which is shown firing its cannon whilst on the ground is also a Voisin Type 4. The Voisin 4 should not be confused with the Voisin Types 8 and 10 which were an entirely different beast. The machine we see at first with the 7 on the side is the Breguet
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
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  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    The Voisin 4 was used for train busting. The Pom Pom armed version of the British FE2b was used in a similar role. Trains were easily spotted by day because of the smoke and at night because of the glow from the fire box.
  7. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Robert, Thanks for all this plane spotting and I hope your eyes aren't suffering.

    It is the aircraft with the distinctive ailerons that I find confusing.

    At 0.11 Dark paint aircraft with BR on tail and 7 on fuselage being turned on the ground = Breguet Michelin BR M5 C2

    At 0.41 White aircraft with no distinctive ailerons ( we never see a full view, mostly the left lower wing but the right lower does appear ) and 1 on fuselage on ground firing several shots in the butts fired by a man wearing a beret with a pompon ( not a gun ! ) Is he a French sailor ? = Voisin Type 4 ?

    At 1.56 White aircraft with distinctive ailerons. On fuselage a Z (?) and a name "Le C...." at the front and on top of tail what appears to be "V982" takes off and returns overhead showing distinctive ailerons. The ailerons extend beyond the plane. = ?

    At 2.14 another aircraft flies towards the camera and overhead without distinctive ailerons = ?

    At 2.42 et seq the plane is a Caproni Ca 3 on the ground, taking off, and dropping bombs on meadows and what appears to be sand dunes ( by the sea ? )

    Any ideas on the breeds of the dogs, shown when the Caproni takes off, anybody ?
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Firstly a Pom pom is a gun - pom pom was merely a nick name for a large automatic or semi automatic gun firing shells somewhere between 1 pound and 2 pounds in weight. The first pom pom was made by Maxim and got its name from the characteristic noise it made but other manufacturers made similar (but not identical) weapons - they were all called pom poms but only by the British not the French. The first use of the pom pom in war was probably in the South African war when Transvaal forces used them against the British. Not sure that the bobble on the hat was called a pom pom. Pom poms were decorations on clothes:)

    Secondly don't get hung up on the ailerons. I think you may be misinterpreting some of the poor quality photos. The aircraft in the butts and the white one taking off both have distinctive invertd V radiators ahead of a water cooled radial engine. This is characteristic of the Voisin types 1 - 6 which had water cooled engines (some inline some radial) with inverted V radiators. The Farman HF 20 series had air cooled rotaries. The Farman HF 40 series had a high mounted bulb shaped nacelle and the Farman MF 11 never mounted anything heavier than a standard calibre machine gun (not powerful nor robust enough) and didn't have a V radiator configuration

    The French navy did operate some Voisins but AFAIK no Farmans. Can't help with les cheins I'm afraid
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
  9. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Fair does on pom pom, so I've edited my post. I've checked my ancient Harraps and it should be pompon= a tuft , but my wife says a pompon is at the end of a string for a decoration on clothes.. Harraps says "Avoir son pompon" means "to be tipsy" and "A lui le pompon"= "he is easily first." Also pompon= powder puff, not quite the thing to associate with a matelot. Perhaps it's a bobble.

    Thanks for the pun about hanging ailerons. I'll have to look in at the Shuttleworth collection library and find some outlines. I hope you have visited, given your knowledge you would enjoy the place. I used to have a reproduction of a Jane's Fighting aircraft for 1917 but I can't find it.
  10. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Its about 35 years since I first went to the Shuttleworth. I have a copy of the Janes reproduction but I don't rely on it.
  11. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    When you can see a bit better you will have to visit again because the place has improved greatly since the 1980's. I first went in the mid-1970's.

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