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RE8 - Recce Mission

By patspeirs  
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

Voters: NaturesHaven, morpheus1955, doolittle and 16 more

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RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
1 Oct 2012 3:04PM
Very expertly done again, Pat, and as ever a good history lesson to further let one appreciate the image and what's going on the more.

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1 Oct 2012 3:33PM
Very well done, you could be there. Expert use of Photoshop, wish I could get to grips with it like this.
RTR 9 8 8 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2012 8:21PM
Lovely aircraft this, a treat to see it in the air. Rich
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
1 Oct 2012 10:04PM
Hi Pat.
This is really good, even by your standards.
Shall we discuss the difference in colour between allied and axis "archie . . . ? !"

1 Oct 2012 10:37PM
Hi Bren - would be delighted to make a deeper acquaintance with 'archie' - look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for all your input to-date.

alansnap 14 577 26 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2012 9:56AM
Another interesting composite Pat. My great uncle was killed in France in 1917 and I once checked up on the event. I was amazed to receive copies of aerial reconnaissance photos of the trenches involved in the raid on which he was killed. These photos were of course one of the greatest advances of the First World War.
2 Oct 2012 11:00AM
Thanks Alan, there is a quite astonishing amountof data available from WW1 sources. My own and my wifes immediate families were deeply involved - seven served, three killed, one wounded, one POW - tracking the facts behind this for the family genealogy was a fascinating (and sobering) experience. Thanks for your input, much appreciated. Pat
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
2 Oct 2012 11:12AM
Hi Pat,
The reason that I mentioned 'archie,' or anti-arcraft fire was that, as soon as I saw this, I was reminded of all of the 'Biggles' books that I read as a child.
In his earliest incarnation, as I'm sure you're already aware, he was flying, firstly an Fe.2b, then a Bristol Fighter and later in the war, he flew a Sopwith Camel in 266 squadron.
The 'archie' connection comes about as, in every book, as I remember it, the author, Capt. W. E. Johns, goes to great lengths to point out that the shells from one side exploded with white smoke, while the shells from the opposition created black smoke.
Consequently, Biggles, Ginger and their mates could tell whether distant aircraft were friend or foe by looking at the colour of any 'archie' being fired at them.
I read those books some fifty years ago and I've just regurgitated all of that from my memory!
Unfortunately though, I can't remember which colour belonged to which side!
helenlinda Plus
10 360 22 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2012 9:49PM
A wonderful compilation SmileSmile
2 Oct 2012 10:32PM
Hi Bren
My memory re Biggles is dimmed by some 70+ years so even if I had noted the smoke difference at the time it is now long gone. Sods law says, of course, that by choosing dark brown (lyddite ??) I picked wrong - could of course be 'blue on blue' if it was late in 1918!! Will try some research, thanks for the info, am really pleased to get technical etc inputs.

Cheers ...........Pat
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
3 Oct 2012 7:43AM
I'll have a look too Pat.

I rather enjoy these little projects. I think that I'll visit the library and see if they've got any appropriate 'Biggles' books. I used to love those books. I wonder what I'll make of one now ! ?
4 Oct 2012 11:33AM
Bren - quite coincidentally I have been re-reading some of Wilbur Smith's novels - last night started 'The Burning Shore' - in the opening sequences set in Flanders 1917 in an RFC squadron the following appeared telling of German AA defences at a balloon strike -"they burst in bright silver balls of smoke some three or four hundred feet above him" - looks fairly conclusive when added to your recollection, may need to go back to the drawing board!!

Thanks again..........Pat
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
4 Oct 2012 2:31PM
Hi again Pat.

I stopped reading seriously years ago and it's something I'm quite keen to get back into.

On the subject of WW1 aviation reading, one of the best books that I've ever read (and there have been very very many) was a book entitled "Wind in the wires" by Duncan William Grinnell-Milne. It recounts his activities, how he became involved with flying and combat flying during WW1.
It was originally published in the nineteen thirties, I read while I was still at school, some time during the sixties and I believe it's still in publication now.
I no longer have a copy and I might just have to track one down. It's worth the bother.

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
11 Oct 2012 5:27PM
Update Pat!

I've found copies of "Biggles learns to fly" and "Biggles of the fighter squadron" in my daughter's school library.
Being a governor there entitles me to a certain amount 'special' treatment and I've managed to borrow both of them for as long as I want to, or until someone else asks to use the them.

I haven't started yet but I shall be reading them both pretty thoroughly over the next few days!


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