Nieuport Fighters

J.Bruce - Nieuport Fighters /Albatros/

It was agreed on October 19 1917, that a few British built Nie.17bis could be handed over lo Handley Page to provide training in aircraft erecting for girls who had been engaged by the company for that task. That N5904 was one such aircraft appears to be confirmed by this photograph of the fuselage of N5904 beside that of a Handley Page O/100 (probably one of the six numbered B9446-B9451).
Two Nie.11s and a Morane-Saulnier Type N of a Russian fighter squadron.
"Ньюпор" 10 в начале войны. Единственное оружие - винтовка.
Primogenitor of the historic line of Nieuport fighting biplanes was the Type XB, initially flown and produced as a two-seater with the observer in the forward seat, on which he had to stand to take up his firing position, the upper wing about his waist, as seen here. Later two-seat Type XBs had the pilot in front, but the single-seat conversions of this design were more readily made from the basic type. This is believed to be the, or a, prototype, devoid of any markings, and powered by an 80-hp Gnome engine.
N209 was a typical single-seat conversion of the Nieuport XB, armed with an overwing Lewis gun. The forward centre-section struts, of inverted-V form, were characteristic of the type, and photographic evidence suggests that, in common with later Nie.10 two-seaters, the single-seat variant had its 80-hp Le Rhone engine on an overhung mounting and with the cut-away cowling seen here. The early Nie.10s had had fore-and-aft engine mountings.
This photograph of Nie.10 N237 indicates that the Lewis gun mounting was a simple affair. The presence of a roundel on the fuselage side was unusual in a French-operated aircraft.
Known single-seat conversions in the second RNAS batch of Nie.10s were 3964-3966. The first of these was delivered to Eastchurch on September 30 1915, and was initially flown as a two- seater. Its conversion to single-seat form probably took place in early 1916.
Disappointing though the quality of this photograph is, it is of interest because its subject, No.3168 of the RNAS, was an example of a single-seat conversion of an aircraft of the first batch of Nie.10s to be supplied to that Service. Initially delivered, doubtless as a two-seater, to No.l (Naval) Squadron, St-Pol, by mid-May 1915, No.3168 was soon shipped to Mudros, and was with No.3 Wing at Tenedos by late July. Although reported missing on December 20 1915, it was evidently recovered and repaired by May 1917. Perhaps the repair process included conversion to the single-seat form seen here. The Nieuport was with ‘G’ Squadron of No.2 Wing by August 1917, and was finally deleted, damaged beyond repair, on October 2 1917.
An RNAS Nie.10 single-seater armed with two Lewis guns. It is not clear whether the side-mounted gun had any range of movement.
N.188 was another of Belgium’s Nie.10s. It had a more substantial mounting for its Lewis gun.
The Nie.10 single-seater was used by several Allied flying services. This one wears Belgian markings, and its Lewis gun evidently could be swivelled. This aspect of the aircraft provides a clear impression of the type’s characteristic proportions.
This single-seat Nie.10 was the first Nieuport biplane to go into Italian service; it was the first of a batch of six (Ni.383-388). By September 18 1915, it was with the Squadriglia Biplani Nieuport, and was flown by Tenente Francesco Baracca, who went on to become Italy’s leading ace. The Nie.10 was produced in Italy by Macchi, who built 240. Many survived the war to serve as trainers.
The Finnish air service acquired several Nieuports of various types from Russia; most, if not all, had been built by the Duks concern. Two were aquired direct from Russia and a third was captured from the Bolsheviks. Here a Nie.10 is pushed out at Lappeenrannassa in 1918.
Diagrammatic illustrations from French Patent No. 477.457. The large drawing is of the variable-incidence installation for the lower mainplane of the Nie.XB; this was to be actuated by the impressive lever on the starboard side of the cockpit. ‘Fig. 10’ is a section through the ball-and-socket joint at the root end of the lower-wing spar; 'Figs 11 and 12’ are side and front elevations of the V-strut attachment point on that spar, in which the annular fitting is clearly seen.
NIEUPORT 11, N.576, Sous Lt. J Navarre, Escadrille N.67, 1916.
Finished in clear-doped fabric or pale yellow overall with natural metal cowling and cheek fairings. All surfaces outlined in an undefined colour, French roundels in six positions with white areas of upper wing markings apparently omitted. Fuselage and wheel decor emphasises the nationality of both machine and pilot.
NIEUPORT 11, 3983, Flt. Cmdr. K S Savory, No. 2 Wing RNAS, 1915.
Finished in clear-doped fabric or pale yellow overall initially, 3983 was modified and had some areas repainted blue as shown. Photographic evidence reveals that in RNAS service the aeroplane retained its original French identity markings, at least for a time.
NIEUPORT 16, 5172, Lt. WJC Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick, No.l AD, 1916.
Upper surfaces in sprayed green/brown camouflage (pattern undefined) with clear-doped or pale yellow under surfaces, the latter narrowly outlined in an unspecified dark colour. Natural metal cowling, cheek panels and spinner, RFC roundels in six positions, absent on fuselage sides.
NIEUPORT 11, serial unknown, Adjt. T Franchomme, 5eme Escadrille, 1916.
Finished in clear-doped fabric or pale yellow overall with natural metal cowling and cheek fairings. Belgian roundels in six positions, wheel discs painted in a red and white chequerboard pattern.
NIEUPORT 11, Ni 1763, pilot unknown, 75* Squadriglia, 1916.
Finished in clear-doped fabric or pale yellow overall with natural metal cowling and cheek fairings, upper area of forward fuselage may have been varnished. National colours applied to rudder, wing under surfaces and additionally behind cockpit - no upper wing roundels. All surfaces narrowly outlined with an unknown colour - shown here dark brown.
NIEUPORT 16, N.1407, Adjt. E Robaert, Unit unknown, 1916.
Upper surfaces in sprayed green/brown camouflage (pattern undefined) with clear-doped fabric or pale yellow under surfaces. Natural metal cowling and cheek fairings. Belgian roundels in six positions; photos indicate that the original French rudder stripes and serial were retained for a while before being overpainted in Belgian colours.
The prototype Nie.11 was unarmed and unnumbered. Its rear central support for the upper wing was of inverted-U form, possibly to minimize obstruction of the pilot's forward view. In side elevation the V-struts of the undercarriage were rather wide, and the elevators were small.
The modified Nie.11 that had the revised wing-bracing configuration illustrated diagrammatically in Maurice Percheron’s book mentioned in the text, and unreliably attributed by him to a probably non-existent Nieuport Type 18.
N1324 was a Nie.11 of Escadrille N.35 that came down intact in German-held territory on July 6 1916, when Lt. Jean Raty was shot down by Lin. Kurt Student of the Fokker-Staffel of the III Army. It had no roundels on the upper surface of the top wing.
N1817 was a Nie.11 of a French unit in the Dardanelles area.
It is said that the occupant of this Nie.11 is Jean Navarre. This aircraft was armed with a fixed Lewis gun, presumably with the Alkan synchronizing mechanism.
On July 3 1916, Capitaine le Comte J L V de Plandes Sieyes de Veynes of Escadrille N.26 was brought down in the German lines between Flers and Douai. His Nie.11 N1135, broke its tailskid but apparently was otherwise undamaged.
It soon became evident that the Nie.11 was underpowered. In what might now seem to have been a quick-fix expedient, the airframe was modified to take the 110-hp Le Rhone 9J engine. Apart from the engine, the only visible difference was the addition of a head fairing behind the cockpit. This was the Nie.16, which began to enter service in Spring 1916. N830, the subject of this photograph, was one of the Nieuports flown by Jean Navarre.
The installation of the 110-hp Le Rhone in the Nie.16 of Sergent Bernay, its cowling bearing the somewhat macabre marking of a winged skull, flanked by a plus sign to starboard and a minus (concealed by the airscrew blade) to port. Visible in this photograph are light chordwise battens securing the fabric to the ribs of upper and lower wings in the flow of the slipstream.
This photograph have as its subject an unusual Nie.11. This aircraft had, under its lower wings, brackets for flares: these appeared to be very similar to the Holt flare brackets fitted to many British aircraft of the time. The front view shows an unusual supplementary under-cowling fitted under the gap in the otherwise cutaway engine cowling. It seems possible that this might have been a flame shroud or damper, and that the Nieuport had been modified to serve as a night fighter. Unfortunately, the identity of the aircraft’s unit is not known, but it is thought that the photographs might have been taken in the Dunkerque area.
This photograph have as its subject an unusual Nie.11. It seems possible that the Nieuport had been modified to serve as a night fighter. Unfortunately, the identity of the aircraft’s unit is not known, but it is thought that the photographs might have been taken in the Dunkerque area.
Contemporary captions stated that this distinctively marked Nie.11 was one of the aircraft flown by Jean Navarre of Escadrille N.67 in his unremitting defensive flying during the Battle of Verdun.
Serving with the RNAS, 3983 was delivered to the Dunkerque Depot late in 1915. Initially allocated to No.l Wing by December 2 1915, it was soon transferred to No.2 Wing. For a time at least it was flown by Flight Commander K S Savory and was known as his Blue Bird. The aircraft's fuselage was refined by fitting side fairings behind the engine cowling in place of the original oil deflectors: these fairings resembled those of (and might have been taken from) the contemporary Bristol Scout C. This photograph suggests that the forward fuselage and mainplanes were coloured, doubtless blue, though here a replacement starboard aileron had not been painted to match the wing. This Nie.11 was lost on January 14 1917, when Flight Lieutenant W H Peberdy failed to return from a mission over Born Lake.
The known Service history of Nie.11 3993 indicates that it spent most of its RNAS life at or near Dunkerque, where it was with No.l Wing by February
Second aircraft of the batch of Nie.16s received by the RFC from the RNAS, No.5172 had originally had the RNAS serial 9155. Here it is seen at No.1 AD, St-Omer, on April 26 1916; the cheerful occupant of its cockpit is Lt. W J C Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick, one of the finest pilots of his time. Remarkably, the Nieuport had a conventional spinner, not a cone de penetration. No.5172 went to No.l Squadron RFC, on July 4 1916, and was struck off the squadron’s strength on August 5. It was reported at No.1 AD on September 1, and was issued to No.60 Squadron from No.2 AD, Candas, on September 25. Five days later, 2/Lt. C H M King crashed fatally during air-to-ground firing practice; the wrecked airframe was sent to No.2 AD on October 1 1916, and was written off next day.
Twin overwing Lewis guns on a double mounting on an RNAS Nie.11. Also of interest is the fact that the instruments appear to be grouped together on a panel in the cockpit, which was not the case on early Nieuports when they left the factory.
Another twin-gun installation on an RNAS Nie.11, demonstrating that the guns could be lowered for magazine changing and upward firing. The staining on the fuselage suggests that the oil deflector was not doing as much deflecting as was desirable.
The RNAS pilots at Dunkerque made various attempts to improve and increase the armament of their Nieuports. This installation of twin Lewis guns on 3981/N593 must have taxed the Nie.11's 80-hp Le Rhone severely. No.3981 had a considerable career, operating from Dunkerque as an aircraft of ‘A' Squadron. On February 20 1916, Flight Sub-Lieutenant R S Dallas destroyed an enemy two-seater, and nine days later FSL H R Simms shot down an LVG two-seater in flames. Dallas destroyed another two-seater on April 23.
No.3981 survived combat damage on that date, and a later crash that Summer. By January 11 1917, it was with No.6 (Naval) Squadron, but FSL G P Powles had to make a forced landing in Dutch territory on February 26. The Nieuport was taken over by the Luchtvaarl Afdeling, initially as LA40 and subsequently as N213 and N230.
One of No.11 Squadron’s Nie.16s flown by Albert Ball, A134 (ex-N995) had been transferred from the RNAS on April 14 1916. It went to No.11 Squadron from No.2 AD on June 21; and on July 2 Ball shot down a Roland C.II and an Aviatik two-seater, both of which crashed. Next day, with A134 armed with Le Prieur rockets, Ball attacked an observation balloon near Pelves but failed to set it alight. A134 returned to No.2 AD on August 11.
Nieuport Type 11 N1290, flown by Sergent Lawrence Rumsey of the Escadrille americaine, photographed at Behonne, near Bar-le-Duc, in September 1916. Each upper mainplane has a swept-back diagonal white stripe, but no roundel. It is not known whether the (apparently) white elevators and port lower mainplane were intentionally so coloured or left unpainted; or were so merely because they were recently-fitted replacement components.
Typical of French-built Nie.11s in Russian service was N1161 of the 12th Fighter Squadron at Riga, photographed during Winter 1916-1917. Its pilot was Staff Captain Nadeshdin.
Two Nie.11s and a Morane-Saulnier Type N of a Russian fighter squadron. The Nieuports, which are of standard form without head fairings and have Moreau gun mountings, were probably French-built. Nieuports 10, 11, 16, 17, 23 and 24bis were produced in Tsarist Russia, the Nie.11 by the Duks, Shchetinin and Anatra concerns. Russian-built Nieuports were some 30kg (66 lb) heavier than their French counterparts, largely because pine replaced much spruce in the airframe, and heavier linen fabric was used for the covering. They also had a head fairing behind the cockpit, a detail that can make it difficult to distinguish Russian Nie.11s from Nie.16s. On some Russian Nie.11s the Lewis gun was on a mounting devised by Vasili V Yordan, Chief of Aviation Base of the 8th Russian Field Army.
A Belgian Nie.16 with twin overwing Lewis guns, an unusual weapon installation on this particular type of Nieuport. The occupant here is believed to be Jan Olieslagers.
Two Nie.11s of contrasting hues but bearing the same legend Soil! (So be it!). The officer beside the dark-coloured Nieuport is said to be Edmond Thieffry.
This Belgian Nie.11 flown by Teddy Franchomme had on its wheel cover a red/white checkerboard marking.
An Italian Nie.11 with its engine cowling patriotically painted in red, white and green. Here Tenente Giorgio Pessi-Parvis stands before his aircraft of the 78" Squadriglia Caccia in 1917. He later went to the 81" Squadriglia and had a final victory tally of eight.
Caporale Paolo Benvenuti of the 82" Squadriglia with his Macchi-built Nie.11. The green, white and red segmentation of the engine cowling is clearly seen here.
An Italian-built Nie. 11, Ni.1763. The coloured bands round the fuselage behind the cockpit must have been in the Italian national colours of red, white and green.
The Nie.11 was produced in Italy by the Macchi company, which built 450. This impressive photograph of the interior of the Macchi works at Varese shows a remarkable number of Nieuport 11s and 17s in the course of assembly, their engine cowlings painted in red, white and green segments. Note the early doped flag markings on the suspended upper wing at right.
Following the Luchtvaart Afdeling's acquisition of the forced-landed RNAS 3981, the Dutch authorities ordered the production of 20 Nie.11s from the Nederlandsche Automobil en Vliegtuigfabriek Trompenburg. Twelve, originally numbered N214 - N225, and powered by 80-hp Thulin A engines, were delivered. It has been reported that these Dutch Nie.11 never entered service, being considered unsafe. At least two, one of which is seen here, nevertheless managed to acquire individual markings. Although renumbered N237 - N248, the Trompenburg Nieuports were written off in 1925.
The overwing Lewis gun was still in place on this captured Nie.11 when it was photographed. Its port lower wing had been broken, presumably in a landing mishap.
The Austrians, too, flew several captured Nieuports and gave them Austrian serial numbers. This Nie.11 was probably Italian-built.
A Nie.16 conspicuously marked Bebe, fully armed with eight Le Prieur rockets and the standard overwing Lewis gun.
N1407, a Nie.16 of the Aviation militaire beige, with full pyrotechnic complement in place. Its pilot, Adjudant Egide Robaert, is seen with the aircraft, conspicuously named Fox-Trot.
N959, a rocket-armed Nie.16, fell into German hands intact on May 22 1916, when Adjudanl Henri Reservat of Escadrille N.65 was shot down. The Germans studied N959 with great thoroughness, and the Nieuport was flown by German pilots. When this photograph was taken, the aircraft had a German airscrew.
Пусковая установка ракет Ле Прие представляла собой ряд алюминиевых трубок, закрепленных на межкрыльевых стойках. В эти трубки вставлялись штыри-стабилизаторы ракет.
The starboard rocket launching tubes on N959. The installation of launching tubes, wiring, switches and Tudor BR.2 accumulator on the Nie.16 weighed approximately 14 kg (31 lb). Each tube was lm.500 in length; all were mounted at an angle of 17° 30' to the line of flight. The aircraft is N959 of Escadrille N.65. It was captured by the Germans on 22 May 1916.
The forward fuselage of a Nie.11, a photograph that reveals details of the engine installation and of the provision of a fixed Lewis gun, presumably regulated by the Alkan mechanism, though the presence of a shoulder stock on the gun might indicate that this was an experimental mounting, or even a mock-up.
A German photograph of the 80-hp Le Rhone engine and its cowling on a captured Nie.11.
In the examination of captured Nieuport N959 the airframe was subsequently stripped and photographed.
The undercarriage of Nie.11 N653, seen in a German photograph of the captured aircraft.
The starboard interplane struts and cable bracing on captured Nie.11 N653.
N959’s cockpit area, a photograph that illustrates the upward angle of the Lewis gun permitted by its mounting, which is of a later type than the Moreau mounting. The two small ring-sights, probably of Le Prieur design, were presumably used for both gun and rockets, though French practice allowed for a rear sighting mark in paper, attached under mica to the windscreen transparency.
A clear picture of the Moreau type of mounting for the Lewis gun on a captured Nie.16. On this aircraft a bead sight was mounted on an arched cross-piece within the inverted-V strut.
Close up of the Moreau type mounting for the overwing Lewis gun on captured Nieuport 11 N1324 of Escadrille N. 35
Bolder, or perhaps more desperate, spirits in No.2 Wing, RNAS, created this installation of twin fixed Lewis guns firing through (literally, one suspects) the airscrew on a Nie.11. Directly under the mostly opaque windshield can be seen storage for spare ammunition magazines. As these were all of only 47-round capacity, changes would have to be made frequently.
The other Nieuport on the cover is this Type 11 flown by Edmond Desclee - the wheel covers are marked with a red stripe over clear-dope or white.
Comets in the Sky Adjudant ‘Teddy’ Franchomme flying Nieuport 23 N5017 of the 5 Escadrille, Aviation Militaire Beige over the Front in 1917; his companion flying the Nieuport 11 is Edmond Desclee. The aeroplanes bear the unit's famous red comet marking the tail of which on Desclee’s machine bears the legend ‘ Va ou je te pousse’.
Nieuport Types 11 and 16
Nieuport Types 11 and 16
Nieuport 17 B1690 of No. 1 Squadron RFC, August, 1917. Machine is doped overall aluminium with natural metal cowling which bears either black or red stripes. Fuselage numeral ‘4’ repeated on upper decking and probably applied in blue as depicted. B1690 featured a mixture of roundel proportions at one stage.
NIEUPORT 17, N.2778, Serg. Carre, Escadrille N.112 (?), 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling; French roundels in six positions with red (?) wing and fuselage bands suggesting service with Escadrille N.112. Rene and initial R shown black but may also have been red.
NIEUPORT (MACCHI-built) 17, Ni 3647, pilot and unit unknown, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. Stripe behind cockpit is depicted as red, under surfaces of wings divided into national colours. Small upper wing roundels (see detail I).
NIEUPORT (MACCHI-built) 17, Ni 3656, Serg. E Liut, 77" Squadriglia 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. Under surfaces of wings divided into national colours with medium sized upper wing roundels. On this machine the fuselage roundel has been overpainted in white and a red heart added.
Nieuport 17, pilot and serial number unknown. No.19 Squadron, Imperial Russian Air Service, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. The aeroplane bears the name 'Bob’ in white and black characters, yin-yan wheel markings in the same colours and fuselage pennant in orange and black stripes representing the colours of the Order of St. George. Rudder markings are black and white. Russian roundels in six positions.
Nieuport 17, serial, pilot and unit unknown, Estonian Air Force, 1925.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling, this aeroplane was particularly well-worn when photographed. Estonian triangular markings of white/deep blue/black/white applied to upper surfaces (and possibly lower surfaces) of upper wing, together with under surfaces of lower wing and fuselage sides. Rudder and elevators in equal bands of the national colours.
NIEUPORT 21, N.1645, Sgt. R Lufbery, Escadrille Americaine, 1916.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. French roundels in six positions. Personal marking believed to be in red.
NIEUPORT 23, serial unknown, Adjt. E Thieffry, 5eme Escadrille, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. Upper surfaces of wings, tail and fuselage overpainted in an unspecified dark colour, probably green. On the upper wing the overpainted roundels can still be discerned. Red/white Comet insignia is well worn, wheels and upper fuselage are marked with a white disc divided by a broad red stripe.
NIEUPORT 23, A’ 6786, pilot unknown, No.40 Sqn. RFC 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. RFC roundels in six positions with black and white fuselage and wing markings. NB: This machine was also used by No.29 Sqn, May 1917. It had gone to No.40 Sqn on 23.3.17 and was struck off charge on 30.3.17, so it wasn't with 40 Sqn for long. It survived at least until January 12 1918, when it was recorded at No.l AD St-Omer.
Bearing the serial number of the original Nie.17 flown by Lt. W A Bishop in No.60 Sqn, RFC, this exquisite airworthy reproduction aircraft was built in 1962 by Carl Swanson at Sycamore, Illinois, and is in the collection of Canada’s National Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe, Ontario.
Inset: one observation about the Nieuport 17 that almost certainly applies to the 11 and 16 concerns the fuselage covering. Whenever the NAM Nieuport 17 had the engine running on the ground, or was flying, the fabric on the sides of the fuselage behind the cockpit ‘sucked-in’ making the vertical fuselage members stand out in relief. In bright light conditions the shadows this caused were quite noticeable while the aircraft was in flight as this photo shows.
This aspect of Nieuport 17 N1424 shows application of sprayed camouflage seen on early examples of the type. Patterns varied widely and although this is one of the best photographs available, high reflectivity and lighting conditions still make defining the disposition of colours extremely difficult.
A line of Nie.17s of Escadrille N.26. The two nearest aircraft are armed with Vickers guns; the others appear to have overwing Lewis guns.
The marking on the fuselage of N1741 suggests that the aircraft belonged to Escadrille N.26. The individual numeral 3 was repeated on the starboard upper wing, and a cone de penetration was fitted.
N1803 was typical of the Vickers-armed version of the Nie.17 with overall ‘silver’ finish. A narrow (one rib-space) transparent area at the root end of each upper mainplane allowed more light to fall on the centrally-placed Vickers gun.
A splendidly evocative impression of N1177 of Escadrille N.76, usually flown by Lt. Emile-Louis-Albert Paumier. His personal marking was a white eight-pointed star just visible towards the rear of the fuselage. The escadrille's emblem was a blue and gold fanion.
N3509’s SFA serial number was applied in such small characters (in the rudder’s white stripe) that it is all but illegible in this photograph. The wasp emblem of Escadrille N.89 is eminently visible, however, and the aircraft is a Nie.17.
Lt. William Thaw's Nie.17, N1582, photographed at Luxeuil, displays typical French rudder serial and weights stencil application. Armament is a centrally-mounted Vickers gun. The intersections of the interplane bracing cables provided parking places for items of flying clothing.
Nieuport 17 N2779, believed to be of Esc. N.112, fell into German hands intact on April 12 1917, when Sous-Lt. Carre was obliged to make a forced landing at Leffincourt. It did not survive for long: on May 20, Ltn. Hermann Pfeiffer of Jasta 9 was killed while he was flying this aircraft.
This captured RFC Nieuport 17 was B1514 (though some official records list it as a Nie.23). It had been at No.l AD by April 4 1917, and was with No.60 Squadron by April 22. On May 6 2/Lt. C W McKissock was obliged to land in enemy territory, and was made PoW. His aircraft had a cutaway cowling, and rocket-tube attachment points were on the interplane struts.
B1640 went to No.40 Squadron, RFC, on May 3 1917, but its operational career was brief. On May 13, Lt. A B Raymond was obliged to land in German-held territory, shot down by Ltn. Ermecke of Jasta 33.
A Nieuport of No.40 Squadron, RFC. In the cockpit is (it is believed) Lt. Gordon T Pettigrew, who is known to have sent down an Albatros D.V out of control on June 25 1917, while he was flying B1683.
The first of the RFC’s many Nie.17s was, like the Nie.16s that preceded it, a transfer from the RNAS. This was SFA N1553, which came to the RFC on July 19 1916, and was numbered A200. It had a cone de penetration and transparent panels in the upper wing. A200 went briefly to No.11 Squadron, RFC, but on August 28 1916, was transferred to No.60 Squadron. Albert Ball flew it on September 15, armed with Le Prieur rockets, bent on destroying enemy balloons. Frustrated because the balloons were hauled down, he fired his rockets at a German fighter; all missed, but Ball closed and shot down the enemy. His Nieuport must have been hit, possibly by defensive ground fire, for it was sent to No.2 AD for repair on September 16. The aircraft returned to No.60 Squadron on December 16. Early in February 1917 it suffered the wing distortion that affected several Nieuports but evidently survived. Following damage late in March, it went to No.2 AD on March
The size and proportions of the cone de penetration of the Nie. 17 can be assessed from this photograph of Lt. Albert Ball, taken in the garden of his Nottingham home while he was on leave. The RFC seemed to be quick to discard this refinement from its early Nieuports, which is probably why Ball was allowed to have his as a souvenir. It was painted red.
The Nie.17s of ‘C’ Flight, No.29 Squadron, RFC. The aircraft at right, marked 5C, is A6788, which was at No.l AD by March 30 1917. It went to No.29 Squadron on April 9, was sent to No.2 AD for repair on May 19, but evidently returned to the unit and was finally sent to No.l AD on December 2 1917. Beside it stands A6787, which was at No.l AD by March 27 1917, and went to No.29 Squadron on April 9. On May 11, Lt. A S Shephard on this aircraft destroyed an Albatros D.III; and the Nieuport was sent to No.2 AD for repair on June 15.
Most of the assorted Nieuports acquired by the United States Air Service were used for training purposes in France. This Nie.17 was photographed at Issoudun, wearing on its fuselage the number 31 in large characters, plus ‘15m’ in smaller characters, presumably to intimate that this was a Nieuport with 15 sq. m. wing area.
An Escadrille Lafayette pilot, Dudley Hill, in a Nie.17 that had both a Vickers gun and an overwing Lewis. The increased fire-power was doubtless valuable, but the additional gun must have reduced the aircraft's performance seriously.
A close-up of a Duks-built Nie. 17 said to have been taken at the firm's Moscow factory.
Believed to be in Belgian service, this Vickers-armed Nie.17, evidently in use in July 1917, had a quartered square marking, probably in red and white.
With a name perhaps chosen to proclaim the bloodthirstiness of its pilot, this Belgian Nie.17 had, by way of emphasis, both Vickers and Lewis guns.
A Macchi-built Nie.17, presumably Vickers-armed. The presentation of the serial number, Ni.3647, is typical of Italian practice, and it is noteworthy that the roundels on the upper wing do not extend over the ailerons.
A portrait study of Sergente Ferrucio Zampieri of the 77" Squadriglia in Ni.2656, a Nie.17 bearing the unit’s emblem of a red heart on white disc, superimposed on the position of the fuselage roundel.
A Nie.17 of uncertain nationality, possibly in an Italian unit, or a French escadrille in Italy. The skull-and-crossbones emblem might even suggest a connexion with the 19th Squadron of the Imperial Russian Air Service. What is clear here is the centrally placed securing point for the absent Vickers gun.
A Nie.17, formerly of Escadrille NAS (the cockerel’s head part of the escadrille’s well-known marking can be seen to left of the German cross on the fuselage) but here pressed into instructional service with the Jastaschule at Valenciennes.
A Nie.17 of the Estonian air force, photographed at Tallinn in 1925.
Among the motley collection of Nieuports operated by the Finnish air service in its earliest years was this Duks-built Nie.17. Initially numbered D86/18, it was given the new identity of ID453, and was in service during the period 1918 - 1923. In Winter it was flown with a ski undercarriage. It could have been one of two Nie.l7s (N1899 and N1900) that were flown to Finland in April 1918 by two White Russian officers, Captains Igor and Oleg Zaizewsky.
In the Nie.23 the Vickers gun was slightly to starboard of centre, its interrupter gear being actuated by a cam on the engine’s distributor ring. The disposition of fuselage cross members was revised to serve as a mounting for the gun. The Nie.23 in this photograph was an aircraft of Escadrille N. 506, the Escadrille d’Athene.
Charles Nungesser with his Nie.17, N1480, during a brief temporary attachment to Escadrille Ml 24, the Escadrille Lafayette. Like N1420, Nungesser’s aircraft had a natural-metal engine cowling and a cone de penetration. On it he shot down an Aviatik over Seuzey on July 21 1916.
A Nie.23 of No.40 Squadron RFC; believed to be A6786. The RFC found that in the Nie.23 there was a different disposition of packing pieces at the inboard ends of the upper wing panels, consequently different drillings had to be made for the securing bolts of the Foster gun-mounting.
B3494 had been with No.29 Squadron, RFC, in France in July 1917; on July 31 2/Lt. D F Hilton, flying this Nieuport 23, destroyed two balloons, one at Westhoek that morning, the other at Polygon Racecourse that evening. On August 9 he drove down an Albatros D.V out of control near Langevarde, another east of Houthulst Forest two days later, and a third east of Zonnebeke on August 16. By January 21 1918, B3494 was in Egypt and was in the Repair Park; as at February 12 it had engine No. 100939/ WD9025. This photograph was reported to have been taken in Palestine: if correct, that could imply possible use by No.14 or No.111 Squadron.
This Nie.23, thought to be of No.l Squadron, RFC had what looked like a variant of one of the French types of Lewis-gun mounting, not a Foster mounting, despite the instructions of June 13 and November 20 1916, that RFC Nieuport scouts were to be fitted with the Foster.
Although in Russian service, this Nie.23 had apparently retained its French roundels and rudder stripes, but had supplementary flying wires. The pilot's flying suit was generally similar to the British Sidcot.
N3389 was another Russian Nie.23 with its French markings unchanged. In this case the aircraft had been captured intact by the Germans.
Sous-Lieutenant P Braun of the Aviation militaire beige in his Nie.23, armed with twin Lewis guns. The parallel forward attachments for the missing Vickers gun clearly show the extent to which that gun was offset on the Nie.23.
S/Lt Pierre Braun scored his first official victory on 20 August 1917.
The presence of the emblem of the Escadrille Comete leaves little doubt of the identity of this Nie. 23 flown by Thieffry. Its upper surfaces are overpainted in a dark colour and the machine bears the familiar red/white markings on the upper fuselage repeated on the wheel covers.
A Nie.23 of the Czechoslovakian air service in the early inter-war years.
Details of the cockpit area and Vickers installation can be seen in this photograph of Stephen Bigelow of the Escadrille Lafayette, notably the inconveniently-placed firing lever for the gun. A rear-view mirror is mounted in the cutout in the wing trailing edge.
Probably an early Nie.21, possibly of an operational escadrille. A Lewis gun is present, and the numerals might have been unit identification numbers.
In its official lists of Royal Naval aircraft the RNAS had a regrettable practice of using the vague description ‘Nieuport 1-seater, 80-hp Le Rhone' for aircraft that were not identical. Statements of squadron aircraft would generally indicate that those numbered 3956 - 3958 and 8745 - 8751 were known in the Service as Nieuport 17B. All were in use by August 1916, just before the French SFA designation Type 21 was introduced, so it is hardly surprising that the RNAS did not use it. In a minute dated February 26 1917, Acting Wing Commander Alec Ogilvie of RNAS Dunkerque confirmed that, . . the 17B type of 80 Le Rhone Nieuport. . . is a machine with 15 sq. m. of surface in place of the 13 sq. m. of the old Nieuport 80 Le Rhone Baby'. This leaves little doubt that the RNAS’s Nieuport 17Bs would have come as Nie.21s had they been delivered later. No.3956 had reached the Dunkerque Depot by August 10 1916, and was initially allocated to No.2 Flight of ‘A’ Squadron in No.l Wing at Fumes. Flight Lieutenant G V Leather was flying it on October 20 when he shot down a twin-engine seaplane off Ostend. Six days later 3956 was in ‘A’ Flight of the Detached Squadron that became No.8 (Naval) Squadron; and on December 4 Flight Sub-Lieutenant G G Simpson on 3956 shared with Flight Lieutenant C R Mackenzie on 8750 in the destruction of an Albatros D.I near Bapaume. By January 5 1917, 3956 was with No.3 (Naval) Squadron and acquired the name Binky. Subsequent moves took it to No.9 (Naval) by February 1, and to No.11 (Naval) by March 28. Flight Sub Lieutenant A E Hall was injured in a crash on May 12 1917, and 3956 was sent to the Dunkerque Depot that day. Its deletion was approved on May 16 1917.
N1645 was a Nie.21 of the Escadrille americaine that was flown by Sergent Raoul Lufbery, and bore his personal markings. It is believed that this photograph was taken at Behonne, near Bar-le-Duc, in September 1916.
An elaborately marked Nie.21, probably Duks-built, in Russian service.
An unusually interesting Duks-built Nieuport 21 of the Russian naval air station at Tserel on Osel island in the Baltic. One of a sub-Flight of four (the three others were numbered 6, 7 and 8), it was flown by Ensign Vsevolod Leonidovich Yakovlev in August 1917. The Nieuport’s naval ownership is marked by the small representation of the Russian naval ensign (a blue cross of St Andrew on a white background) on the fuselage side midway between the roundel and the tailplane. That fact notwithstanding, Yakovlev was an army officer.
These close-ups of the sole genuine Nieuport 'vee-strutter’ single-seat fighter survivor, Type 23 N5024, currently being restored by Belgium's Musee Royal de l’Armee, provide some rarely-appreciated details. On the photo, three views reveal cowl lip, slots and flanges and the fuselage underside cut-out behind the engine.
Port upper wing showing fabric strip covering the aileron gap; next, a general view of N5024 with the famous Comet insignia of 5""' Escadrille; next, the wooden tail skid fairing was usually plain varnished not doped aluminium as here; lowest, port undercarriage leg and axle detail.
Frontal aspect of the Brussels’ Nieuport 23 showing the cowl lip and riveting to advantage; centre, windscreen, cockpit padding and aileron crank - wood strip covering of forward fuselage visible in cockpit; lowest, starboard aspect of the same area with rear cabane and wing cut-out detail.
This view of the forward fuselage emphasises the offset position of the Vickers gun on the Type 23; centre, two views of the cockpit (incomplete). There was no dashboard, instruments being attached to various fuselage members. Finally, at foot, the varnished ply seat.
Forward fuselage and cockpit area of a Nieuport 17. The control column is well over to port, and the cross member that actuated the aileron connecting rods is at a considerable angle.
Forward-fuselage structural details of one of the later 110-hp variants, probably a 17 or 23. The steel band visible under the fuselage was the retaining strap that secured the engine cowling.
A fixed Lewis gun, regulated by the Alkan-Hamy synchronizing mechanism, on what was probably an early production Nieuport 17. Such an installation must have been rare on the type.
Comets in the Sky Adjudant ‘Teddy’ Franchomme flying Nieuport 23 N5017 of the 5 Escadrille, Aviation Militaire Beige over the Front in 1917; his companion flying the Nieuport 11 is Edmond Desclee. The aeroplanes bear the unit's famous red comet marking the tail of which on Desclee’s machine bears the legend ‘ Va ou je te pousse’.
Drawing of the Nieuport cone de penetration in the French Patent No. 492.971, which was applied for on November 7, 1916. This shows clearly how this stationary fairing was secured to a forward extension of the engine’s crankshaft. All known photographs show a more nearly hemispherical unit than the somewhat ogival cone depicted.
Nieuport Type 17
NIEUPORT 17bis, serial and pilot unknown, No.6 (Naval) Squadron, April 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with British roundels in eight positions. Narrow chord cowling, wheel covers (both sides) and rear fuselage numeral are depicted in red, possibly a Flight identification colour.
NIEUPORT 17bis, N5874, pilot unknown, East Fortune, September 1917.
Upper surfaces of fuselage wings, tailplane, elevators in PC 10 Khaki, natural metal cowling with clear-doped under surfaces and wheel covers. PC 10 wrapped around flying and control surfaces to leave a two inch border. British roundels in eight positions, white-outlined on PC 10 doped surfaces.
NIEUPORT 24 N3961, pilot unknown, Escadrille N.91 Aviation Militaire, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. French roundels in six positions. Wheel covers doped in national colours, black fuselage numeral and Escadrille N.91 insignia of a red eagle bearing a golden yellow skull.
NIEUPORT 24, N5424 Lt. A Jurkiewicz, 4th Squadron, Polish Air Service, 1919.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling and white rudder. National insignia in eight positions; red devil marking on both sides of fuselage.
NIEUPORT 24, serial, pilot and unit unknown, JAAF, Tokorosawa, Japan, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope or very pale grey with national insignia in eight positions - there are no fuselage markings.
NIEUPORT 24bis, serial and pilot unknown, Escadrille N.97, Aviation Militaire, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. French roundels in six positions. Escadrille N.97 insignia in plain red over fuselage sides, normally in red and white as depicted on the wing profile at right.
Nieuport 24bis N5170 of N.512, 'The Crocodiles’.
NIEUPORT 24bis, N3305, Caporal Six, Escadrille N. 159 Aviation Militaire, February, 1918.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. French roundels in six positions. Personal numeral colours are speculative. The unit marking was often repeated on upper wings of other Nieuports with N.159.
NIEUPORT 24bis, N5086, Lt. J. Gilewicz, 5th Squadron, Polish Air Service, 1919.
Finished in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling; red/white striped tailplane and elevator. National insignia in six positions; not applied beneath upper wings. Personal marking applied to both sides of the fuselage.
NIEUPORT 24bis, N4301, pilot Popow, unit unknown, Polish Air Service, 1919.
Finished in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling, white rudder and broad white stripes on wings and fuselage. At a later date national insignia was applied to rudder and wing surfaces. Personal marking originally applied to both sides of the fuselage.
NIEUPORT 27, N5532; Capt. R de Richenout, Escadrille N.99, Aviation Militaire, 1917.
Finished overall in aluminium dope with natural metal cowling. National insignia in six positions with black fuselage numeral. Unit insignia was usually white but shown here in blue, a speculative colour not confirmed by any documentary evidence.
NIEUPORT 27, N5800, Sergente A Retorri, 81a Squadriglia, Aeronautico del Regio Esercito, 1918.
Upper surfaces camouflaged in Dark Brown, Dark Green, Light Green, Beige and Black with clear-doped ‘yellow’ or aluminium doped under surfaces. Retained French insignia in six positions, aeroplane number and unit numeral 81 in white.
Two views of N2576, a production Nie.17bis. Its principal identifying particulars are the Clerget engine in the characteristic short-chord cowling, the faired sides of the fuselage, and the straight trailing edges of the ailerons.
Nungesser in front of his Nie.17bis, its Clerget engine clearly seen in this photograph.
At one time Charles Nungesser flew this Nie.17bis, photographed at Dunkerque. This was one of several Nieuports flown by him and, although of different types, all marked with the number N1895. Nungesser's Nie.17bis had, or acquired, ailerons of the more rounded form that was standardized for the Nie.24 and subsequent types; this is probably why this particular Nie.17bis has been wrongly identified as a Nie.24bis in the past.
One of the earliest French-built Nie.17bis to be delivered to the RNAS received the British serial number N3102. It was at the Dunkerque Depot by April 19 1917, and was delivered to No.6 (Naval) Squadron on April 23. It was back at the Depot by June 13, and was deleted later that year. When photographed it had the unusual (for the type) feature of a British roundel on the fuselage.
Marked, not with an SFA number, but with the British serial N3195, this French-built Nie.17bis was an aircraft of No.6 (Naval) Squadron. It had been delivered to Villacoublay by February 27 1917, to the RNAS Depot at Dunkerque during the first week of March, and to No.6 (Naval) on March 9. On May 3, N3195 crashed on the aerodome of No.52 Squadron, RFC, at Longavesnes; its pilot, FSL R W Berridge, sustained fatal injuries. The wrecked aircraft was taken to the Dunkerque Depot and was deleted on June 27 1917.
Wearing the RNAS serial number N3204, this Nie.17bis had been completed by March 2 1917, and arrived at the Dunkerque Depot of the RNAS during the week ending March 8. It was with No.6 (Naval) Squadron by March 15, and acquired a marking of a broad band, possibly red, round the rear fuselage. Its engine cowling and wheel covers were also painted in a dark, and presumably matching, colour. When photographed, it was armed with both a fixed, synchronized Vickers gun, and an overwing Lewis gun. N3204 was lost on June 6 1917, when its wings came off during combat with Vzfw. Riesinger of Jasta 12, to whom its destruction was credited; the Nieuport’s pilot, Flight Lieutenant F P Reeves, was killed. Apparently the remains of the aircraft fell in the Allied lines, for the wreckage was sent to the Dunkerque Depot next day for survey, and it was deleted on June 25 1917.
This British built Nie.17bis appeared to have clear-doped fabric on its fuselage, with its British serial number in black, but only partly visible in this photograph. It had a non-standard mounting for a sprung tailskid, and its engine appeared to be a 110-hp Le Rhone. If so, the aircraft was something of a hybrid.
Two of No.6 (Naval) Squadron’s Nie.17bis. The nearer appears to have only the Vickers gun in place; its engine cowling and wheel covers are in a dark colour. The other Nie.17bis beyond appears to be finished in PC10.
When photographed, aircraft 2 of No.6 (Naval) Squadron had its overwing Lewis gun in place. Its engine cowling and wheel covers appear to be unpainted, but the wing roundels seem to be in the French style and colouring.
The Nie 17bis saw only limited French service, but was used in some numbers by the RNAS.
When photographed at East Fortune, N5874 had its serial number in black on fuselage and rudder, in different styles of characters. This 130-hp Nie.17bis was delivered to Hendon on August 9 1917, and by September 22 was at Fast Fortune as a defensive aircraft. On January 3 1918, it was deleted to become a source of spares, but was apparently reprieved in Spring that year when selected for museum preservation. On April 30 it was delivered, engineless, apparently from the Southern Aircraft Repair Depot, Farnborough, to the Agricultural Hall, Islington. Inevitably, it was subsequently destroyed, with virtually all of the several score other types that had been set aside for preservation.
As seen in this photograph, the Nie.17bis that bore the name Tweedledum had its serial number on the rudder only. Regrettable this is nol legible on the original photograph.
A Flight of Nie.17bis of No.6 (Naval) Squadron. N3196 (RNAS serial number) had readied Villacoublay by February 27 1917, and was at the Dunkerque Depot early in March. It went to No.6 (Naval) on March 10, and was back at the Depot by June 7.
Nieuports 17bis of No.6 (Naval) Squadron at rest in Spring sunshine. The four at left all have their Lewis guns mounted: aircraft I seems to have French-sequence roundels; the more distant Nieuport at right has two dark-coloured bands (possibly red) round its fuselage.
View of N5875 (110 hp Clerget), which was delivered to Hendon for erection on August 8 1917, and was allocated to Chingford as a defensive aircraft on August 27. Both it and N5876 were still there on March 30 1918.
View of N5875 (110 hp Clerget), which was delivered to Hendon for erection on August 8 1917, and was allocated to Chingford as a defensive aircraft on August 27. Both it and N5876 were still there on March 30 1918.
There appeared to be a curious lack of uniformity in the manner of applying serial numbers to the Nie.17bis of the British-built batch N5860 - N5909. Here N5872 displays white numerals and minor markings on a PC10 painted fuselage. This aircraft had been delivered to Hendon on July 11 1917, and by July 20 was at Eastchurch as a home defence fighter; it had a 110-hp Clerget 9Z engine. It was deleted during the week ending February 9 1918.
An interesting size and style of serial number presentation appeared on N5876, which, when photographed, also had its number painted on the underside of the lower wings. At least one of these photographs was taken at Old Sarum on an unknown date, but probably after the formation of the Royal Air Force.
An interesting size and style of serial number presentation appeared on N5876, which, when photographed, also had its number painted on the underside of the lower wings. At least one of these photographs was taken at Old Sarum on an unknown date, but probably after the formation of the Royal Air Force.
It was agreed on October 19 1917, that a few British built Nie.17bis could be handed over lo Handley Page to provide training in aircraft erecting for girls who had been engaged by the company for that task. That N5904 was one such aircraft appears to be confirmed by this photograph of the fuselage of N5904 beside that of a Handley Page O/100 (probably one of the six numbered B9446-B9451).
The forward fuselage of a Nieuport 17bis
The next production Nieuport fighter to receive an SFA designation and to be built in quantity was the Nie.24. This development had the faired fuselage and retained the original and structurally unsatisfactory rigid tailskid. The all wood tail unit resembled that of the experimental type with the Hispano-Suiza engine, but on the Nie.24 the rudder had a modest balance area. The basic armament was still a single Vickers gun, desaxee as on the Nie.23, and in the undercarriage a one-piece axle was retained.
N4641, a Nie.24bis of Esc. N.92, brought down in German-held territory on September 5 1917, by K Flak 83 in Flakbatterie 563. Its pilot was Sergent Louis Charton.
The pilot of N3305, Caporal Six, had evidently persuaded his commanding officer to allow him to have Ihe appropriate individual number allocated to his Nie.24bis of Esc. N.159. Unfortunately, it was not his lucky number, for his aircraft was brought down on February 20 1918, by Flakzug 18 at Ercheu. Obviously the Nieuport had overturned on landing, and Six was made PoW.
Nieuport 24bis N5170 of N.512, 'The Crocodiles’.
Clearly exemplifying the Nie.24's retention of the basic Nieuport rigid tailskid with the revised all-wood tall unit, N3961 displays the striking emblem of Esc. N.91, an eagle in flight carrying in its talons a human skull. This escadrille was formed in April 1917, and in the original form of its marking the eagle was depicted carrying an ignited grenade.
The marking of Esc. N.89 was a wasp in flight, as seen here on this Nie.24. The other marking, a fish, was probably a personal device applied by the unknown pilot. Esc. N.89 had formed as a Nieuport unit in March 1917, and was redesignated SPA.89 on March 3 1918, on re-equipment with Spads.
N5340 was a production Nie.24 that fell into German hands intact near Chateau Salins on February 8 1918. The marking on its fuselage is that of Escadrille N.314, the Escadrille de Protection de Nancy. German reports named the pilot of this aircraft as a 'Lt. Moke', but he was in fact Sergent Herschel J McKee, an American serving in the Aviation militaire, who was made PoW.
Sous-Lieutenant William Herisson, an 11-victory ace of Esc. N.75, stands before his Nie.24 N3987, with a Spad 7 for company. The unit marking represented a gliding falcon; on this camouflaged Nie.24 it was painted dark on a light-coloured (perhaps blue or white) ellipse, though on buff or silver finished aircraft the falcon would more probably be in golden yellow on a red ground.
Possibly N4495, this Nie.24bis was armed with the single Vickers gun, slightly desaxee to starboard.
A group of Nie.24bis of Esc. N.97. The nearest aircraft has the SFA number N4479; none has an overwing Lewis gun.
The Nie.24bis actually preceded the Nie.24 in operational service. It differed from the Nie.24 only in reverting to the normal Nieuport tall unit, with 'angular-comma' shaped rudder without fin, and rectilineal tailplane and elevators, all surfaces being fabric covered. This reversion hinted strongly at problems with the revised all-wooden tail unit of the Nie.24. The Nie.24bis seen in this photograph, N4359, had a perceptibly 'used’ look, and appeared to have no armament.
One of 15 Nie.24 and 24bis handed over by the French authorities during the week ending July 28, 1917, N4662 become B3601 in the RFC. It was flown from Villacoublay to No.2 AD Candas on July 27, and these photographs taken there were dated July 28. It went first to No.40 Squadron on August 15, and on August 20 2/Lt. A E Godfrey took it to other squadrons of the 1st Brigade to show it as a new type to their members. On August 22, Godfrey on B3601 claimed an enemy two-seater out of control near Hulluch. Following a landing crash on September 21, B3601 presumably went to an AD for repair, for it was not on No.40 Squadron's strength on October 5, nor was it among the 17 assorted Nieuports that the squadron returned to No.2 AD on October 12, 13 and 15, when No.40 re-equipped with SE5as. B3601 was recorded as on the strength of No.2 ASD on February 5 1918, and was issued to No.29 Squadron on March 30. On April 7 Lt. A G Wingate-Gray failed to return from a special mission on B3601, a loss not reported by the Germans, but Wingate-Gray survived to be made PoW.
B3591 of the RFC was with No.111 Squadron in Palestine by January 1918, when Lt. W S Lighthall flew it for the first time. He made many flights in this Nie.24bis while with the squadron. The background to this photograph, which includes a Sopwith Pup, suggests that it might have been taken at Abu Qir, perhaps at a time when B3591 had been relegated to training duties.
A closer look at B3591's cockpit area, a photograph taken when, armed and equipped with an Aldis sight, it was operational with No.111 Squadron. The name Frances was painted in small characters just abaft the roundel on the port side, and the top decking was apparently painted in two colours, perhaps by way of camouflage. The coloration of the wings is indistinct, but might also have been in corresponding colours.
Lt. A Eckley in the cockpit of No.111 Squadron's Nie.24bis B3591, evidently at a different time, for here it has both a Vickers and a Lewis gun. A semi-conical fairing has been fitted over the belt feed to the Vickers, and the Aldis sight is aligned with that gun.
Contemporary with B3591 in No.111 Squadron was its sister Nie.24bis B3592, here photographed with Lt. R J P Grebby, its pilot. At this time the Vickers gun (but not its belt feed fairing) had been removed. Four narrow bands, probably red, were painted round the rear fuselage, space being allowed for the name Demoiselle just behind the roundel. The mainplanes were in dark colours on the upper surfaces, and on the fuselage top decking there was a coloured (blue?) area about the cockpit and the head fairing.
Another study of B3592, here seen with its the Vickers gun in place, the alignment of the Aldis sight varying with the presence or absence of that weapon.
A well-known but informative photograph of Lt. T O Clogstoun of No.111 Squadron in a Nieuport, probably a 24bis, of that unit. His aircraft is armed with twin lewis guns on parallel Foster mountings and separate forward supports, an unusual installation. The visible gun is a Mark II Lewis that has had most of the casing cut away; the Aldis sight is on struts suspended from the upper wing, and is supplemented by ring-and-bead sights, the bead apparently mounted on the inboard side of the starboard half of the inverted-V strut. Still in place are the forward supports for the Vickers gun, offset to starboard. The weighty and drag-creating combination of guns, stays, bungee cards, firing and release cables, and sights must have impaired the Nieuports performance severely.
This study of B3604 leaves no doubt that, when photographed, this Nie.24bis was in overall aluminium finish. Originally numbered N4666 by the SFA, it was one of 15 Nie.24s and 24bis that were handed over at Villacoublay for the RFC during Ihe week ending July 28 1917. lt was flown to No.2 AD Candas on that date, but probably did not go to a squadron. In September 1917 it was in use at the Scout School at No.2 AD.
The US Air Service acquired 140 Nie.24bis in November 1917 for training purposes. One of these was SFA N3263, here seen at Issoudun with its local station number painted large on the fuselage side. When photographed it still had its Vickers gun in place.
Liberally decorated with fanciful scaly (?) markings, including a representation of teeth on the engine cowling, and an eye on the fuselage side. This Nie.24bis was another of Issoudun's aircraft.
This Nie.24bis of the Soviet Szyrynkin Group was flown to Polish territory by Col. P Abakanowtcz, who landed his aircraft at the airfield of the 14th Polish Squadron.
During the post-armistice fighting between Polish and Bolshevik forces a considerable number of Bolshevik aircraft were captured by the Poles and pressed into service in Polish squadrons. These included six Nie.24bis, at least some of which were evidently French built. N5086, flown and probably owned by Juliusz Gilewicz of the Polish 5th Squadron, had a strikingly artistic painting of the mythical huntress Diana on the fuselage.
Also adorned with a portrait-type marking was N4301, a Nie.24bis flown by Popow. There were white stripes on the wings and fuselage, and the tail surfaces were also painted white.
N4301 was later given new markings, as seen here, with the distinctive Polish red/white quartered square.
It seems that Poland managed to acquire only one Nie.24 during the fighting against Bolshevik forces in 1919-20. Originally N5424, it is here seen without armament, but with an image, dramatic in its size and posture, of a spear-armed, winged devil, painted in red on the fuselage. This aircraft was flown by Lt. Artur Jurkiewicz, who commanded the 4th Squadron from May to October 1919. This was a reconnaissance squadron, but it had at least one Nieuport, possibly this one, that proved to be its last serviceable aircraft in July 1920, and was then transferred to the 1st Squadron.
N4301 was later given new markings, as seen here, with the distinctive Polish red/white quartered square.
A Nie.24, possibly French-built, in Japanese service, probably at Tokorosawa. The first Nie.21 to go to Japan arrived there in 1917, and the type was adopted for use by the Japanese Army Air Force.
By 1925, when these Nie.24s were photographed at Tokorosawa, the type had been produced in Japan at the Japanese army aircraft Factory situated there. Production began in March 1919, and, with the Japanese designation Ko.3, the aircraft entered service with fighter squadrons in May 1922. Ironically, the Ko.3 replaced the SPAD 13 (Hei.1) in the squadrons, and remained in service until December 1926.
Presumable a superannuated Japanese Army Air Force Ko.3, this civil registered Nie.24 is said to have belonged to a Mr. Sigimoto, and to have been powered by an 80-hp Le Rhone 9C engine.
Charles Nungesser’s Nie.25, N5324, photographed at Dunkerque with some RNAS DH4s behind. The type number 25 can be seen in small characters just under the tailplane. Also discernible in this photograph are the tricolour stripes that Nungesser had painted on the fuselage decking and the wings.
It is not known how many Nie.25s were built, nor how many were allocated to Charles Nungesser. His seeming personal attachment to the number N1895 has been mentioned elsewhere; here it reappears on a Nie.25, but it is not known whether this was N5324 renumbered or another Nie.25. This photograph shows the very deep engine cowling and broad-chord fairings on the undercarriage V-struts, distinguishing features of this rare variant.
Presumably the same Nie.25, showing the tricolor diagonals on wings and fuselage that distinguished Nungesser's aircraft. The type number 25 is just within the frame of this photograph, painted in small characters on the rudder.
The Nie.25 in a hangar with its starboard access panel removed. This photograph indicates that the Nie.25 had, in its undercarriage, the articulated two-piece axle that was subsequently to distinguish the Nie.27.
Nungesser in his Nieuport 17bis.
Believed to be the prototype Nie.27, this numberless aircraft had the faired fuselage, all-wood revised tail unit, rounded ailerons, sprung tailskid, and half axle undercarriage that were the external characteristics of the type.
A production Nie.27. It bears what might be an escadrille marking, but it cannot be seen clearly enough to be identified.
A Nie.27 used for training purposes, but seemingly devoid of any unit or station markings. It did have small 'mudguard' attachments over the wheels, doubtless to prevent thrown-up stones from striking the airscrew.
The emblem of Esc. N.99 was a delicately drawn and elegant Pegasus, here seen in a somewhat weatherbeaten state on Nie.27 N5532. In the cockpit is Capitaine Roger de Richemont, commanding officer of the escadrille.
This somewhat indeterminate aircraft is probably a Nie.27 with a Nie.24 undercarriage. It is an aircraft of Esc. N.92, and its occupant is Adjudant-Chef Miserolle.
When this photograph was taken, N6060 was in full French camouflage, but carried no unit marking or other identification. Although it had provision for a fixed Vickers gun it is not known whether one was fitted.
The nearest aircraft in this photograph is a Nie.27 fitted with flare brackets under the lower wings. It belonged to a French escadrille in the Dunkerque area, but the nature and extent of its nocturnal activities are unknown.
Seen from this viewpoint, Nie.27 N5295 provides a clear impression of the rounded ailerons and all-wood tail unit, together with one of the overall camouflage patterns applied to the type.
Formerly N5748, this Nie.27 passed into private ownership as F-AIB.
All the principal identifying characteristics of the Nie.27 can be seen in these views of the RFC's B3650. It was at No.I AD. St-Omer, by September 13 1917, by which date some 38 Nie.27s had been delivered to the RFC. B3650 went to No.l Squadron that month, and was back at No.l AD by November 21. It went to No.29 Squadron on March 16 1918, but the squadron's re-equipment with SE5as began next month, and B3650 was one of the 14 Nie.27s that were sent to the Reception Park at Marquise on April 19. It was flown to England next day.
All the principal identifying characteristics of the Nie.27 can be seen in these views of the RFC's B3650. It was at No.I AD. St-Omer, by September 13 1917, by which date some 38 Nie.27s had been delivered to the RFC. B3650 went to No.l Squadron that month, and was back at No.l AD by November 21. It went to No.29 Squadron on March 16 1918, but the squadron's re-equipment with SE5as began next month, and B3650 was one of the 14 Nie.27s that were sent to the Reception Park at Marquise on April 19. It was flown to England next day.
B3637 was another of No.29 Squadron's Nie.27s that went to Marquise Reception Park on April 19 1918. It had been one of the first six Nie.27s to go to No.29 Squadron on September 7 1917, when it had engine No. T6203Jb. It was sent to No.l AD for repair on October 16, and returned to No.29 Squadron on January 10 1918. On January 2d Lt. E S Meek, on B3637, sent down a Fokker Dr.l out of control south of Roulers; and on January 29 Meek destroyed an Albatros D.V east of Moorsede.
B6768 was a Nie.27 of No.l Squadron in Autumn 1917. On October 5, Sergeant G P Olley on B6768 destroyed a German two-seater west of Roulers; and on October 24, 2/Lt. W D Patrick shared with Captain P F Fullard's B6789 in the defeat of another two-seater sent down out of control. On January 9 1918. Lt. R C Sotham, flying B6768 (then with engine No.51270), was reported missing in action. He was made PoW, and the Nieuport was lost.
Again like B3650, B3637 was flown to England on April 20 1918. By May 9 it was at the RAF Farnborough, and was flown by Major Roderic Hill, here seen with B3637 in a photograph dated March 11 1919. By that time, it had been fitted with anti-twist stays to the lower wing at the struts.
Seen in this photograph in overall aluminium finish, B6821 went lo No.29 Squadron on October 18 1917. On November 8 Lt. J G Coombe, on B6821, sent down a German two-seater out of control over Houthulst. The Nie.27 might have suffered combat damage, for it was sent to No.l AD for repair next day. It returned to No.29 Squadron on January 4 1918, but was struck off squadron charge on February 20 after a crash, and was struck off RFC strength three days later.
Likewise finished aluminium overall, this anonymous Nie.27 had no armament fitted when it was photographed on a spacious airfield, probably in England, with a distant Handley Page O/100 just visible.
Immaculate and unmarked, probably because it had been entirely recovered, this Nie.27 was photographed in the USA. It probably was one of the 287 Nie.27s acquired by the US Air Service in November 1917, and could have been the Nie.27 that had the McCook Field number P153 and the American serial number 94098. P153 was dispatched to Museum storage on November 11 1924.
Indubitably in Italian service, and wearing the Italian serial number Ni.19821, this Nie.27 was obviously of the 79* Squadriglia. It was reported to be the aircraft of Tenente Degli Esposti.
The Nie.27 was also used by the Italian 81* Squadriglia, and N5800 was one of its aircraft. It is here seen after being raptured intact, with crosses patees roughly painted over the roundels.
N5800 was armed with both Vickers and Lewis guns, and had what looked like a Le Chretien optical sight. Presumably the Lewis gun's magazine was not normally changed in flight.
Believed to be in Italian service, this Nie.27 bore the name Jane on the fuselage side.
Official German photograph of a captured Nie.27, possibly taken at Adlershof. All traces of armament had been removed, but a related German report stated that the armament was a fixed Vickers gun.
Another hybrid Nie.24/27, this time in Turkish service, probably shortly after the Armistice. Again it seems probable that this was a Nie.27 that had acquired a Nie.21 undercarriage.
The advent of the Spad 7 obviously posed a competitive threat to the Nieuport single-sealer, and probably inspired Delage to design this combination of the V-strut sesquiplane with the Hispano-Suiza engine. In a report to the Senior Officer, HQ RNAS Dunkerque, dated November 11 1916, Squadron Commander C I. Courtney, who had visited the Nieuport works, stated that construction of this single-seater had begun. It was virtually a new design, no mere modification of the basic Nie.17. Its faired fuselage and entirely redesigned tail unit gave it clean lines; the lower wings were of proportionately greater chord than those of earlier Nieuports, and the gap was reduced; the ailerons had straight trailing edges. The stern view shows how remarkably wide the fuselage was, and how poor the pilot's downward view must have been. Sqn. Cdr. Courtney wrote in his report. 'M Delage expects great things from this machine' - , but Delage's expectations were not realised. No development nor production ensued; presumably this Nieuport was considered to be no improvement on the Spad.
This unnumbered fighter prototype appeared to be a somewhat tentative attempt by Delage to break away from the basic design formula that he had squeezed dry. To a fuselage and tail unit that apparently were of more-or-less standard Nie.27 form were attached broad-chord lower wings with two spars. The upper wing apparently had a separate centre section, but seemed to be without sweepback; its ailerons still had straight trailing edges. A more voluminous engine cowling was employed, but the power unit itself was still at Le Rhone of the basic 9J type, though perhaps of enhanced output.
Underside of lower wing root, said to be of a Nie.27. The inter-rib curve at left is the rear edge of the plywood nosing applied to the upper surface of the leading edge.
Structure of lower wing, again said to be of a Nie.27, showing the notorious annular fitting for the attachment of the inlerplane V-strut.
"FLYING THE FLAG". French ace Lieutenant Charles Nungesser was one of few pilots to fly the rare Nieuport 25 with its more powerful 150-200hp Clerget engine. This particular machine, N.5324, bears Nungesser’s familiar black heart insignia on the fuselage. French colours adorn the wings and fuselage to aid recognition. Beyond, a Nieuport 17bis of No.6 (Naval) Squadron provides escort.
An exquisite German drawing of the attachment of the interplane struts to the main spar of the lower wing. Its principal, and most vulnerable, feature was the annular component to which the securing socket was attached.
Strut attachment point on the front spar of the upper wing on the French Nieuport single-seater fighter [Nie.27].
Nieuport 24/24bis
Nieuport 25
Nieuport 27