WW1 Series - RE8
Intelligence gathering was paramount in WW1 and from the earliest days the fledgling air forces were tasked to keep tabs on enemy formations and changes in their fortifications. The RE8 was designed as a specialist recce and bomber aircraft, supposedly stable and easy to fly to allow the crew to concentrate on photography and mapping updates. Equipped with a rudimentary radio set operated by the pilot with a Morse key, recce updates could be sent in near real time - a huge advance for the day. Disadvantages were the horrible flying characteristics with only 20mph separating the top speed and stalling speed - fatal spins were a regular event - and poor manoeuvrability with 59 Sqdn losing all six of a sortie in one classic combat. Despite this over 4,000 were built and served well once the crews came to grips with the ‘brute’ and fighter escorts were provided.
Image shows an escorted sortie over German lines with the observer/gunner kneeling on his stool to check ground details. My thanks to Alex Kew for the RE8 pics (from Duxford) much appreciated as this image has a special meaning for me - my father served as armourer/gunner in France on RE8s in 1917-18.
Tags: Digital art
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