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"Best Fighter Aircraft of the 1910’s" Topic

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1,123 hits since 25 May 2022
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Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2022 7:15 p.m. PST

(Was double posted.)

Bill can make this a poll if he likes, but I like the discussion. Doing a decade a day, and starting with the first decade of fighter aircraft, what is your favorite fighter aircraft of the decade 1910-1919? Can be from any theater or country. There is no wrong or right answer. This is purely an excuse to talk up the greatest fighters of the 20th Century one decade at a time.

To lay ground rules for future decades, the aircraft should be operational within the time span, so an aircraft designed earlier than the decade is still eligible as long as it was operational during the decade. (This means you might pick the same aircraft twice in different posts to come.)

There are a lot of great aircraft to discuss during this era. I could make a case for the Fokker Eindecker, the S.E. 5a has a spot near and dear to my heart and I am impressed by the engineering that made the Fokker DVII a fighter specifically banned by the Versailles Treaty. However, for me the fighter that defines this decade is the Fokker Dr 1. The Allies fielded a lot of good designs, but the classic triplane of The Red Baron inspired me as a kid and though it wasn't the easiest aircraft to fly by all accounts, the compact and agile design made it a real master of the skies at its height and an instant icon of World War One.

What is your favorite fighter of this decade and why?

JimDuncanUK26 May 2022 2:14 a.m. PST


no, I mean the Camel,

oops, the SPAD

or probably the Fokker D VII.

So many to choose from.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 2:55 a.m. PST

Bristol M.1C ("the Bristol Bullet")

Had the speed and the altitude to be dominant in 1917, but having only one wing was not adopted in numbers.

Tom Molon Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 4:18 a.m. PST

Not an easy choice, but I think I'd have to go with the Camel. Tricky to fly? Absolutely, because of the high-torque pull to the right. But that same pull gave it a quick turn capability matched only by the triplanes. Pretty robust aircraft, not delicate or particularly fragile. And it had excellent speed, better than the triplanes, and only a little less than the SE5-A or Fokker D VII. Climbing ability was also good, others were better, but the Camel was respectable. It seems to rate high in just about every category, with few drawbacks, and a respectably long service life at the front. IIRC it was also responsible for downing more A/C than any other WWI fighter.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 6:16 a.m. PST

The best is probably the SE5a, but the Camel is my favorite.
The Dr. 1 is overrated. Maneuverable, yes, but speed is the winning factor in dogfights. In the end, the maneuverability didn't do the Baron any good, did it? He bet on the wrong flying horse.

Londonplod26 May 2022 6:50 a.m. PST

RFC SE5a has always been my favourite, fast,steady and manoevreable, Fokker DVII on the German side, SPAD XIII on the French.

skedaddle Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 6:58 a.m. PST

I've always been partial to the Siemens-Schukert. Just really like the lines of the plane.

Blutarski26 May 2022 7:37 a.m. PST

If you want to survive the war: SE5A or SPAD XIII

If you want to dominate the dogfight: DVIIF

If you don't care about old age: Camel
(IIRC, more pilots were killed in flying accidents than died in combat)

If it's 1917 and you are an extraordinary aerobatic pilot: Fokker Triplane (interesting sidebar – The Triplane came in two flavors: early model with "speed" prop; late model with "climb" prop)


Rich Bliss26 May 2022 8:32 a.m. PST

SE 5A is my favorite
The Fokker DVII is the best

OSCS7426 May 2022 8:57 a.m. PST

Albatros D.III is one of my favorites.
and of course Fokker D.VII, SE-5a, Spad VII.

If you want to include a ground support Fighter I would say the Camel is king in that category.

Why I exclude the Fokker Triplane: limited production, slow and short service time.

Blutarski26 May 2022 11:53 a.m. PST

The Fokker was handicapped by its low-powered Oberursel rotary engine. By 1916, the German Air Force had committed to the water-cooled Mercedes in-line 6-cylinder for just about all its front-line combat aircraft and nothing was really done to develop the Oberursel design or a replacement model with improved performance.

Interesting factoid -
Le Rhone rotaries, when they could be recovered intact in operating condition from a shot down or forced down Allied aircraft were sometimes installed on Fokkers in place of the Oberursel (which IIRC was actually a copy of the original Le Rhone design). The Oberursel was rated at about 110hp; the French Le Rhone had an output of about 120hp and was more reliable.


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 2:12 p.m. PST

I am going with the Camel for the reasons stated above – a second would be Albatross DIII

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 3:16 p.m. PST

Definitely the SE5a, though I am surprised there is no love for the Sopwith Snipe/Dolphin?

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 6:58 p.m. PST

Love the Snipe- it was in the running for me. I'm surprised no one is listing the French Fighters. They never really excited me, but the Spad VII and XIII and the Nieuport 17 were formidable fighters.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2022 9:58 p.m. PST

It was "best" briefly in the early war, but got superseded as the aircraft tech and designs got better, but I still have a love for the Airco DH.2:


I have multiples of these in my WoW/WoG collection, just ‘cause they're cool looking.

BW195927 May 2022 1:40 a.m. PST

Another vote for the SE5a but I also liked the Sopwith Pup and Hanriot HD2

Personal logo chicklewis Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2022 7:13 p.m. PST

Fokker DVII for the win !

advocate30 May 2022 12:07 p.m. PST

'Best' : my uneducated pick would be the Fokker D VII
'Favourite' : Camel, because Biggles.

Blutarski30 May 2022 7:23 p.m. PST

The DVII F Version with the BMW or Mercedes high-altitude motor for "best results".



Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2022 4:33 a.m. PST

Sopwith Triplane. Outclassed later in the war, it was a fantastic fighter for its time and helped re-balance the air superiority scales. It was also the favourite mount of a lot of top RNAS and RFC aces.

From Wiki:

Blutarski31 May 2022 6:48 a.m. PST

Sopwith Triplane – one of my great favorites. Saw an original at the RAF Museum in Hendon way back when. Took a zillion photos. I think there is at least one airworthy replica in Canada.

Made famous as the RNAS "Black Flight".

Like a swan in the air.


Timbo W31 May 2022 4:29 p.m. PST

Someone once did a ranking of fighters on a points system based on usual stats, armament, range etc. So I will go through and post the top fighters per decade here.

1910s Sopwith Camel 44.08 points

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