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RAF R.E.8

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1916

Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay biplane corps reconnaissance bomber

RAF - F.E.4 - 1916 - Великобритания<– –>RAF - R.E.9 - 1916 - Великобритания


В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны


РАФ R.E.8 ("АРИЭЙТ") / RAF R.E.8

  Осенью 1915 года завод РАФ получил заказ на разработку нового разведывательного аэроплана для замены B.E.2c, который оказался неспособным к эффективной самозащите от вражеских истребителей. В ответ на это задание инженер У. Эйч. Бэрлинг спроектировал двухместный цельнодеревянный полутораплан с классическим расположением экипажа (летчик спереди, летнаб сзади) и пулеметной турелью в задней кабине.
  Самолет, обозначенный R.E.8, прошел фронтовые испытания во Франции в июне 1916-го. Благодаря достаточно мощному мотору и неплохой аэродинамике он продемонстрировал хорошие для своего времени скоростные данные. При этом маневренность и скороподъемность характеризовались как весьма посредственные. Но наиболее опасными дефектами новой машины была неустойчивость, сложность управления и тенденция к сваливанию в штопор. Самолет отправили на доработку, выразившуюся в изменении центровки и переделке хвостового оперения. Пилотажные свойства улучшились, и R.E.8 запустили в серию. Всего за 18 месяцев построено 4077 аппаратов.
  Первый дивизион на западном фронте получил новый разведчик в ноябре 1916 года. В дальнейшем их количество стало быстро расти. Освоение машины сопровождалось чередой аварий и катастроф. Помимо непривычной строгости в управлении, пилоты отмечали и повышенную пожароопасность R.E.8. Доходило до того, что многие экипажи отказывались пересаживаться на него с устаревших B.E.2c. Но постепенно летчики привыкли к новому самолету и стали ценить его защитное вооружение, позволявшее успешно сражаться с германскими истребителями. А после того как известный немецкий ас фон Достлер (26 побед) был сбит стрелком с R.E.8, авторитет машины еще более возрос.
  R.E.8 широко применялся до конца войны на Западе, в Италии и Палестине в качестве разведчика, аэрофотосъемщика, артиллерийского наблюдателя и фронтового бомбардировщика. На нем воевали в разное время 17 дивизионов RFC и RAF. 22 аппарата с двигателями "Испано-Сюиза" использовала бельгийская военная авиация.
  За годы гражданской войны в России некоторое количество сильно изношенных R.E.8, названных здесь "Ариэйтами", англичане передали белогвардейцам на Северном Кавказе. Об их применении мало что известно. Несколько этих машин, находившихся в негодном состоянии, в начале 1920-го было оставлено белыми при отступлении из Новороссийска. Еще 5-8 аппаратов с мая по ноябрь того же года составляли 8-й авиаотряд в армии Врангеля.


ДВИГАТЕЛЬ

  РАФ 4а - 12-цилиндровый, двухрядный, воздушного охлаждения, 150 л.с.


ВООРУЖЕНИЕ

   Стрелковое: 1 х 7,7-мм синхронный пулемет "Виккерс" и 1 (или 2) х 7,7-мм турельный пулемет "Льюис"
   Бомбовое: 118 кг


ЛЕТНО-ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ ХАРАКТЕРИСТИКИ
R.E.8

  Размах, м 12,98
  Длина, м 8,50
  Высота, м 3,49
  Площадь крыла, кв.м 35,00
  Сухой вес, кг 818
  Взлетный вес, кг 1215
  Двигатель RAF-4a
   мощность, л.с. 155
  Скорость максимальная, км/ч 164
  Дальность полета, км 640
  Время набора высоты, м/мин 2000/21
  Потолок, м 4100
  Экипаж, чел 2


P.Hare Royal Aircraft Factory (Putnam)


R.E.8

  Design work on this general-purpose two-seater, which was conceived as a replacement for the obsolescent B.E.2c, started late in 1915, the drawings being finalised early the following year. It owed little or nothing to any previous R.E. type, except perhaps that the powerplant was the R.A.F.4a, the lubrication problems of which were now believed to be solved. As the wings and tailplane of the new design were virtually identical with those of the B.E.2e, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the designation R.E.8 was deliberately chosen to avoid any prejudice which may have been caused by placing it within the now discredited B.E. series where it really belonged.
  The fuselage was a conventional wire-braced wooden structure, the cross-sectional area of the aft end being kept as small as possible to reduce the vulnerable 'blind spot' and to increase the observer's field of fire. The engine was mounted to give downthrust which, together with the mainplanes' generous angle of incidence, would reduce the landing run, obviating the need for the airbrake which had been a feature of earlier designs. This inclination, visually exaggerated by the scoop which admitted cooling air to the engine, gave the machine a somewhat 'broken-backed' appearance which was not immediately attractive.
  Rudimentary dual control was provided in the rear cockpit, but was arranged so as not to interfere with the observer's normal duties. His control column, which operated the elevators only, was on the starboard side, convenient to his right hand, and was normally clipped to the fuselage framework when not in use. On the port side of the cockpit there was a conventional throttle, below which was a hand grip attached to the rudder cables.
  The pilot's instrument panel included only a compass, an oil pressure gauge, a revolution counter, an airspeed indicator, an altimeter, a clinometer and a watch. The tailplane incidence could be adjusted by a wheel in the pilot's cockpit to trim the aeroplane, which could be made to fly 'hands-off', the inherent stability beloved by Farnborough's designers being provided by generous lateral and longitudinal dihedral. To offset the machine's normal tendency to turn slowly to the right as a torque reaction to the rotation of the propeller, a rubber cord was attached to the rudder bar, its tension being adjustable via a Bowden-type lever. This relieved the pilot of the need to apply constant foot pressure to keep the machine on a straight course.
  The rudder was of high aspect ratio and adequate area, but the fin, although of generous proportions in the preliminary layout drawings, was reduced in size in the final design and appears, in hindsight, to have been dangerously small.
  The initial design work was completed before any gun synchronization system became available, and preliminary drawings included provision for a fixed forward-firing Lewis gun, deflector blocks being attached to the propeller blades to prevent damage. The R.E.8 was equipped with a mounting for a Thornton Pickard camera.
  Two prototypes, 7996 and 7997, were built, the former taking to the air for the first time on 17 June 1916, piloted by Frank Goodden. The second machine made its first flight on 5 July, and on the 16th Goodden flew it to France for the all-important service trials. It was tested by an unusually wide range of personnel, ranging from Gen Brooke-Popham to pilots from front-line squadrons, and although a number of small details were criticised, all reported favourably. Brooke-Popham was particularly impressed by its speed range, but insisted that its offensive armament should be a belt-fed Vickers gun, not the Lewis as originally planned.
  The necessary modifications were speedily incorporated into the drawings, and into the batch of approximately fifty machines already under construction in the Farnborough workshops. Within a matter of weeks production orders for over a thousand more had been placed with numerous contractors.
  The engine's air scoop made it nearly impossible to mount the Vickers gun in the usual position, on the cockpit coaming immediately in front of the pilot, and several alternative, locations were tried before an external mounting low on the port side of the fuselage was adopted as standard. The Vickers-Challenger interrupter gear used in early installations was later replaced by the hydraulically operated Constantinesco gear, and the far more effective Scarff ring eventually replaced the simple pillar mounting which originally carried the observer's Lewis gun.
  The first, Royal Aircraft Factory-built, production R.E.8 was completed by 13 September 1916, and by November 52 Squadron had been fully equipped with the type. However, it appeared not to live up to its initial promise, and the squadron's pilots encountered difficulties both with the engine, which was still not totally free of its earlier problems, and with involuntary spins. Totally disillusioned with the new machines, they were allowed in January 1917 to exchange their R.E.8s for the B.E.2es then being operated by 34 Squadron, whose much more experienced pilots were considered better able to cope with the R.E.8's alleged 'trickiness'. Maj J A Chamier, who was on the staff of the Third (Corps) Wing, to which both squadrons belonged, prepared the following notes for the guidance of pilots, describing the characteristics and handling of the R.E.8:
   ". . . the chief thing to remember is that the machine gives very little indication of losing its speed until it suddenly shows an uncontrollable tendency to dive which cannot be corrected in time if you are near the ground . . .
   "You will find that the rudder control in every case of spinning or swinging tail will become very stiff, and you may not be able to get it very central but you should aim (without putting on sufficient pressure to break anything) to do this.
   "With the engine off the only thing is to avoid gliding too slowly . . . at 65mph or below, when gliding, the machine suddenly loses speed. This is particularly the case when making a turn to enter the aerodrome as the extra resistance caused by the rudder is sufficient to bring down the pace . . .
   "One more point as regards losing speed. Observers must be cautioned that when an aeroplane is gliding down from work over the lines they must not stand up in order to look over the pilot's shoulder for the fun of the thing, as the extra head resistance caused may lead to the aeroplane falling below its critical gliding speed, and so bring about an accident."
  At the request of Lord Cowdray, Chairman of the Air Board, the Factory conducted a series of spinning trials in February 1917 to determine the cause of the difficulty. Three machines were tested; a standard production example, another with an enlarged fin, and a third in which the engine thrust line was less inclined. The report of these trials, dated 5 March, concluded that the standard R.E.8 could only be spun either by a determined effort or by serious misuse of the controls. The report also criticised standards of training, for many new pilots reached the Front after only a few hours' instruction, and with no knowledge of spin recovery.
  As with the F.E.8 the previous summer, the publication of this report appeared sufficient to restore confidence in the machine. Its production and introduction into front-line service continued, a total of fifteen Corps Squadrons eventually being equipped with the type, as well as units in Palestine and Mesopotamia.
  However, the Farnborough staff did not rest upon their laurels, but continued to investigate the R.E.8's spinning characteristics, experimenting with various forms of fin and rudder, some of which were balanced. They finally settled for a small increase in the area of both the dorsal and ventral fins, the original rudder being retained. These changes were incorporated into production machines as soon as possible. If the report was correct in asserting that the R.E.8 could only be spun deliberately, it is tempting to speculate that the change was made only to appease popular opinion. A similar lack of explanation surrounds the fin of greatly increased area fitted to some machines in use at training establishments. If such a modification was considered advantageous for training, why was it not thought necessary for active service?
  Regardless of these uncertainties, RFC crews generally thought well of the R.E.8. One man who flew it, Phillip Townsend, said, 'It was a fine aircraft; easy, comfortable, lovely to fly. It would do anything asked of it up to its limited ability. It was very good on side slips, I never had any difficulty, the engine never let me down.'
  A number were equipped, in service, with underwing bomb racks, and could carry either two 112lb bombs or up to eight 20lb bombs.
  Affectionately known as the 'Harry Tate', after the contemporary music hall performer of that name, the R.E.8 remained in service and in production up to the end of the war, a total of 4,077 being built. Apart from modifications to the fin, very few detail changes were made to its design during its career, but those which were made included the substitution of all-wooden undercarriage legs for the faired-steel-tube units originally fitted, a deeper sump cowling and, in July 1917, a change of carburetor which marginally improved engine performance.
  One batch of seventy-five was ordered with the Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, but the Eagle was never available in sufficient quantities to meet the need of those aeroplanes which were unable to accept any other power unit, so no R.E.8 was ever thus powered.
  One example was retained by the Factory, and was used to test an experimental R.A.F.4d engine which had its output boosted to 200hp by supercharging via an exhaust-driven Rateau turbine. Initial overheating problems were solved by fitting a hugely enlarged air scoop over the cylinder heads. Testing was cut short when the turbine burst on 4 May 1918 and the experiments were discontinued. A four-bladed variable-pitch propeller was also tested with this engine, but was removed after two flights because its adjustment mechanism was unsatisfactory.
  A small number of R.E.8s was supplied to Belgium, and these were converted upon arrival to the water-cooled Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine, enclosed within a neat, extensively louvred cowling.
  Like many of its contemporaries which were designed for a specific role in war, the R.E.8 found virtually no use after the Armistice, either with the RAF or on the civil register.

  Powerplant: 140hp R.A.F.4a V-12
  Dimensions:
   span
   42ft 7in (upper);
   32ft 7 1/2in (lower);
   chord 5ft 6in;
   stagger 2ft 0in;
   wing area 377 1/2sqft;
   gap 6ft 3 1/2in;
   dihedral 31/2;
   length 27ft 10 1/2in;
   height 11ft 4 1/2in.
  Weights
   1,803lb (empty);
   2,869lb (loaded plus 2 x 112lb bombs).
  Performance
   max speed 103mph at sea level;
   stalling speed 47mph
   ceiling 13,500ft;
   climb 21min to 6,500ft (with 2 x 112lb bombs);
   endurance 4 1/4hrs.


R.E.8a

  In December 1916 a 200hp Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine was experimentally installed in R.E.8 A95, one of the original Farnborough-built batch. In this form the machine was referred to as the R.E.8a. It had a neat radiator and engine cowling reminiscent of that of the S.E.5.
  Although no performance figures survive for this variant, the almost fifty per cent increase in power can only have brought about a significant improvement. However, production difficulties with the Hispano-Suiza were already delaying the completion of S.E.5as, for which there was no effective alternative powerplant, and there were never any engines to spare to enable the R.E.8a to be put into production.

  Dimensions
   As R.E.8
  Weights and performance unknown


O.Tapper Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 (Putnam)


The R.E.8

  The R.E.8, which followed the R.E.7 on the production line at the Siddeley Deasy Coventry factory, although designed for reconnaissance duties, bore little resemblance to any of the R.E. series of aircraft that had gone before. Unfortunately for those who had to fly in it, the R.E.8 perpetuated the philosophy that a reconnaissance aeroplane should be inherently stable, and it therefore lacked the manoeuvrability which would have improved its defensive capabilities; it did, however, have the crew correctly placed, with the pilot in front of the observer, who could thus use his gun to protect the aircraft from stem attacks.
  The R.E.8 gained a bad reputation from the start: its performance was not up to expectations and it seemed to have a dangerous tendency to spin; furthermore, when it appeared on the Western Front during 1917 it suffered heavy losses from enemy fighters. It was, nevertheless, produced in large numbers, more than 4,000 being built by numerous contractors, and it remained in front-line service until the end of the war, giving invaluable support to the army both in France and in the Middle East by artillery spotting, photography and bombing.
  The R.E.8 was conventional both in design and construction and was built of wood with fabric covering. The heavily-staggered, single-bay biplane wings were of unequal span, with the extension wings braced by wires. The engine was the 150 hp RAF 4a. Ailerons were fitted to all four wings and the tail surfaces were conventional with a rather small vertical fin. Later production models had a larger fin with a consequent improvement in the aircraft's spinning characteristics.
  The Siddeley Deasy Motor Car Co, having already proved its capabilities with the R.E.7, was an obvious choice as contractor for the R.E.8, particularly as the RAF 4a engine was being built in the company's Parkside factory. Siddeley Deasy received its first order, for one hundred R.E.8s, towards me end of 1916, and this was followed by eight repeat orders, the total output by Siddeley Deasy amounting to 1,027 aircraft, with the production rate rising eventually to about twenty machines a week.
  The R.E.8s built by Siddeley Deasy were numbered as follows: A3405-3504, A3681-3830, B6451-6624, B6628-6630,* B7681-7730, E1-300, E1151-1250, F 1553-1602 and F3246-3345
* These three aircraft were included in the contract for conversion to R.T.Is. but were probably completed as R.E.8s.

Span upper: 42 ft 8 in (13.00 m)
Span lower: 32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)
Length; 27 ft 10 in (8.48 m)
Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.30m)
Wing area: 377.5 sq ft (35.02 sq m)
All-up weight: 2,870 lb (1.302 kg)


O.Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 (Putnam)


R.E.8

  Designed by the Royal Aircraft Factory, the R.E. 8 (colloquially known as the 'Harry Tate') became from 1916 onwards the most widely used type of corps-reconnaissance aircraft with the R.F.C. and R.A.F. In October 1918 it equipped Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 30, 34, 42, 52, 53, 59, 63, 105, 106 and 113 Squadrons of the R.A.F. Post-war, it served with Nos. 6, 30 and 208 Squadrons, overseas. One 150-h.p. R.A.F. 4A engine. Loaded weight, 2,678 lb. Max. speed, 102 m.p.h. Climb, 340 ft. min. Endurance, 4 1/2 hours. Service ceiling, 13,000 ft. Span, 42 ft. 7 in. length, 27 ft. 10 in.


F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)


Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8

  Despite its designation, the Royal Aircraft Factory's R.E.8 was in no respect a development of the R.E.5 or R.E.7, and it is said to have carried that designation so as to avoid any obvious connotation with the discredited B.E. family to which it was in fact closely related. It was unfortunate in acquiring ill-repute through flying accidents and combat casualties, and it has to be said that a very high proportion of these were more the result of poor pilot training that any specific fault in the design.
  Design of the R.E.8 (inevitably dubbed the Harrv Tate by the RFC, after a popular music hall comedian) started in the winter of 1915-16 in response to an RFC requirement for a reconnaissance aircraft capable of defending itself from German fighting scouts. The aircraft was of all-wood construction, a distinctive feature being the rear longerons, which appeared to slope upwards aft of the rear cockpit; this, combined with the large air scoop above the R.A.F.4A engine (a feature common to the B.E. 12), bestowed on the R.E.8 a curious upward curving profile. The heavily staggered wings of unequal span and large overhang were reminiscent of those of the B.E.2E, and were probably adopted in the belief that this was the feature mainly responsible for the B.E.2E's apparent superiority over the despised 2C. The tailplane was also similar to that of the B.E.2E, and its incidence was adjustable by a handwheel in the pilot's cockpit. The most prominent difference between the two aircraft was the R.E.8's much smaller fin, and herein lay one of the causes of the handling difficulties experienced by fledgling pilots of the RFC.
  In an effort to improve the observer/gunner's field of fire forward in level flight, the engine was mounted to provide a downward thrust line (ie tail-up in level flight); however, in the event of the aircraft stalling, the tail surfaces were so far above the propeller's slipstream as to be useless, and a spin frequently proved fatal. Moreover, the steeply sloping engine air scoop, forward of the front windscreen, produced an unfamiliar illusion when approaching to land that the aircraft was on the point of stalling and, on moving the stick forward instinctively, the pilot would either crash on undershooting or land too fast and crash on overshooting. In either instance there was a likelihood that the engine would be forced back and rupture the fuel tank, which was located immediately in front of the pilot. In these circumstances, fire was a not unnatural consequence, and the R.E.8 quickly earned a reputation as a 'flaming coffin' - indeed it was probably no more prone to fire than any other combat aircraft of the period.
  Two prototype R.E.8s, No 7996 and 7997, were built, the first being flown by the Factory's chief pilot, Frank Goodden, on 17 June 1916. The second was quickly despatched to France for assessment by the Service's airmen. Being experienced pilots, they approached the new machine with caution, but soon recognised and accepted its idiosyncrasies, reporting very favourably on its performance; the one important requirement was that the observer's Lewis gun should be replaced by a belt-fed Vickers (this was not put into effect).
  On the strength of this report (endorsed by Col H R M Brooke-Popham, later Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert, GCVO, KCB, CMG, DSO, AFC, RAK), the War Office immediately placed orders for no fewer than 1,475 RE.8s, of which only 75 were to be built at the Royal Aircraft Factory; apart from 200 (which were intended to be produced by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, but which were cancelled), the remaining 1,200 were built by six commercial subcontractors. Further substantial orders were to follow during the next eighteen months.
  The first RFC- Squadron to receive R.E.8s was No 52, which began converting from B.E.2Cs at Hounslow Heath in October 1916, and transferred to France the following February. However, owing to a spate of flying accidents and a consequent drop in morale on the Squadron, it was decided to revert to B.E.2Cs. In the meantime. No 34 Squadron gave up its B.E. 12s at Alonville in Januarv in favour of the R.E.8, and by April six squadrons had been fully re-equipped in France.
  There could have been no more unfortunate time for an aircraft to receive its baptism of fire than 'Bloody April', the worst single month of the War for the RFC in terms of combat casualties over the Western Front, and the ferocity of the air battles served to demonstrate just how unsuited for corps reconnaissance the R.E.8 was. For instance, on the 13th a formation of six aircraft from No 59 Squadron set out from Bellevue on a reconnaissance sortie, two of the aircraft being camera-equipped and escorted by the other four; the formation was also to have been covered by about a dozen genuine fighters, but these evidently failed to reach the area of reconnaissance. The R.E.8s were attacked by six German single-scat scouts, led by Manfred von Richthofen, which shot down every one of the British machines, ten of the twelve airmen being killed. The following month five further squadrons were re-equipped with RE.8s, and by the end of the year no fewer than seventeen R.E.8 squadrons were in action over the Western Front, as well as four in Greece and the Middle East.
  Of course there were those experienced pilots who mastered the R.E.8's handling difficulties, and not only survived the depredations of enemy fighters but gave good account of themselves in combat. And during the great battles of Messines and Ypres the R.E.8s of Nos 16 and 21 Squadrons achieved excellent results when assisting Allied gunners to silence enemy gun batteries.
  On 6 September 1917 R.E.8s began night bombing attacks in support of the Ypres offensive, statistics showing that in the following 90 days a total of 260 such sorties were flown, during which 390 112 lb and 65 lb bombs were dropped. Thereafter the aircraft continued to divide their efforts between bombing and reconnaissance, although the greatest care had to be taken to ensure their close protection by fighters when operating by day.
  R.E.8s were used on a number of occasions towards the end of the War to lay smokescreens in support of ground forces; on 8 August 1918 aircraft of Nos 5, 9 and 3 (Australian) Squadrons used 40 lb phosphorus bombs to provide screens during the Amiens offensive, and in Palestine the following month No 113 Squadron's R.E.8s dropped smoke candles in support of Commonwealth infantry during the great Turkish retreat; shortly afterwards the Squadron dropped many 20 lb fragmentation bombs when the Turks were caught in the open on the road to Amman.
  However, for the sake of dropping small numbers of relatively light bombs, whether by day or night, such operations were seen to be a waste of resources, and it had been proposed to withdraw R.E.8s from front line duties as early as April 1918, replacing them with Bristol F.2B Fighters. This plan failed to materialise and the R.E.8 continued in operational service right up to the Armistice (when there were still 21 squadrons in the field), and for many months after. 'The last RAF squadron to give up its R.E.8s was No 208 in November 1920, then stationed at Ismailia in Egypt.
  Despite its poor reputation both as a flying and fighting aeroplane, the R.E.8 underwent very little remedial treatment, due largely, it is said, to the gradual dispersion of the design staff at the Royal Aircraft Factory from the summer of 1917 onwards. The obvious lack of directional control attracted attention, and when minor increases in ventral fin and rudder area were seen to provide only marginal improvement, the upper fin area was almost doubled; yet, despite this modification being found to effect an almost complete remedy, it was very slow to be introduced in production aircraft.
  Relatively early in its life the R.E.8 came to be used in a number of interesting experiments, although few were pursued as serious efforts to improve the aircraft in service. For instance, an R.E.8 was fitted with a 200hp R.A.F.4D engine with exhaust-driven turbo-supercharger and four-blade variable-pitch propeller of Factory design; the aircraft was easily distinguishable by its enormous air scoop (some three feet in diameter) above the engine. A variant, known as the R.E.8A, was produced by replacing the customary R.A.F.4A engine by a 200hp Hispano-Suiza; however, with the majority of these engines earmarked for the Factory's S.E.5 fighter, the R.E.8A was not built in quantity.

  Type: Single-engine, two-seat, single-bay biplane corps reconnaissance bomber.
  Manufacturers: The Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, Hampshire; The Austin Motor Co (1914) Ltd, Northfield, Birmingham; The Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd, Coventry; The Daimler Co Ltd, Coventry; D Napier & Sons Ltd, Acton, London; The Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co Ltd, Park Side, Coventrv; The Standard Motor Co Ltd, Coventry.
  Powerplant: R.E.8 Production. 150hp R.A.F.4A. Experimental. 200hp R.A.F.4D; 150hp R.A.F.5. R.E.8A. 200hp Hispano-Suiza.
  Dimensions: Span, 42ft 7in; length, 32ft 7 1/2in; height, 11ft 4 1/2in; wing area, 377.5 sq ft.
  Weights: Tare, 1,803 lb; all-up (two 112 lb bombs), 2,869 lb
  Performance: (With two 112 lb bombs). Max speed, 109 mph at sea level, 95 mph at 10,000ft; climb to 10,000ft, 39 min 50 sec; service ceiling, 11,000ft; endurance, 2 3/4 hr.
  Armament: One synchronized 0.303in Vickers machine gun on port side of nose, and one Lewis gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit. Bomb load usually two 112 lb or four 65 lb bombs.
  Prototypes: Two, Nos 7996 and 7997; first flown at Farnborough by Frank Goodden on 17 June and 5 July 1916 respectively.
  Production: A total of 4,180 R.E.8s and R.E.8As (excluding prototypes) was built. Royal Aircraft Factory, 75 (A66-A115 and A3506-A3530); Austin, 250 (A3169-A3268 and A4261-A4410); Siddeley-Deasy, 685 (A3405-A3504, A3681-A3830, B6451-B6625, B7681-B7730, E1151-E1250, F1553-F1602 and F3246-P3305); Daimler, 1,450 (A3531-A3680, A4161-A4260, B3401-B3450, B5001-B5150, C2231-C3030 and F3548-F3747); Napier, 400 (A3832-A3931, B2251-B2300, C4551-C4600, D4811-D4960 and E1101-E1150); Standard, 570 (A4411-A4560, A4564-A4663, D1501-D1600, D4661-D4810 and F1665-F1734); Coventry Ordnance Works, 750 (A4664-A4763, A6631-B6730, C5025-C5125, D6701-D6850 and El-E300). In addition 49 R.E.8s underwent rebuilding, as follows: No 1 (Southern) Aircraft Repair Depot: B737, B738, B742, B765, B814, B821, B832, B836, B845, B853, B7808, B7893 and B7917; No 2 (Northern) ARD: B4048, B4069, B4105 and B4134; No 3 (Western) ARD, B8884, B8885, B8886, B8887, B8900, D4980 and D4998; contractors not known: F5879, F5897, F5902, F5909, F6016, F6018, F6044, F6049, F6050, F6277, H6843, H7018, H7022-H7027, H7033, H7038, H7042, H7055, H7057, H7262 and H7265.
  Summary of Service: R.E.8s served with Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 21, 52, 53, 59 and 69 Squadrons, RFC and R\F, on the Western Front; with No 6 Squadron, RAF, in Iraq after the War; with Nos 30 and 63 Squadrons in Mesopotamia; with Nos 34 and 42 Squadrons, RFC and RAF, on the Western Front and in Italy; with Nos 67, 113, 142, 144 and 208 Squadrons, RFC and RAF in Egypt and Palestine; and with Nos 37, 50, 89, 91, 106, 110 and 117 Squadrons in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


R.E.8. The development of the pilot's fixed-gun installation on the R.E.8 two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, first flown in the summer of 1916, involved at the beginning a crude installation of deflector plates and towards the end the latest type of Constantinesco synchronising gear. As originally schemed early in 1916 there was provision for a Lewis gun inside the cockpit on the starboard side. This gun was sited low and considerably ahead of the pilot and was fired remotely by a lever on the top longeron. Five 47-round drums were specified. A Lewis gun for the pilot appears to have been actually installed on the first two R.E.s. though there is no evidence of deflector plates; but by October 1916 the first installation had been made of a Vickers gun with Vickers synchronising gear. This gun was at first internal, on the port side of the cockpit, firing through a triangular port, below which was a long casing for the actuating shaft from the engine. What it possessed in neatness, however, this installation lacked in accessibility, and the gun was quickly transferred to the outside of the fuselage. In the standard installation, the gun was carried on two triangular brackets. Constantinesco gear eventually succeeded the Vickers gear, the trigger motor being of the Type B. The loading handle was the Hyland Type C, and both a ring-and-bead and an Aldis sight were fitted, the latter being to starboard of the pilot's windscreen. By 1917 these sights had become standard in the British flying services, though late in 1916 a Le Prieur frame-type sight had been installed experimentally. This type of sight, of which more will be said in Volume 2, was considered complicated, clumsy and a source of danger to the pilot in the event of a crash, and was accordingly abandoned.
  The installation of the rear Lewis gun likewise underwent considerable development. In the original design already mentioned, this was shown as being of extensible 'lazy tongs' form, allowing the gun to be fired forward over the top wing, and this is how it materialised on the first prototype. The basis of the mounting was a ring, and a ring-mounting of different form, incorporating a simple pillar, was fitted on early production R.Es. The Scarff ring-mounting was eventually standardised, and sometimes this carried twin Lewis guns. In one such installation the drums were of 'single' (47-round) type. A point to the credit of the R.E.8's designer(s), which may not previously have been made, is that, in order to secure the widest possible field of fire from the mounting, the fuselage in the immediate vicinity was contoured with extreme care and the rearmost portion was made very small in cross-section.
  The bomb-carriers were attached to rails under the lower inner wings. Identified loads were two 112-lb, four 65-lb or eight 20-lb. The bombsight was of C.F.S.4B pattern. One bomb installation made by a squadron in the field has been described in these terms by one acquainted with it: 'For the R.E.8 we improvised a most effective device for bombing the enemy transport on roads. It consisted of a 48-compartment box with a chain and sprocket-operated sliding base, cut off at an angle. Each division of the box was loaded with a Hale's rifle grenade and, as the aircraft flew up the line of enemy traffic, the observer turned a bicycle crank to withdraw the base and release the grenades one by one.'
  Better known than this installation was the fitting of a Davis recoilless gun on an R.E.8 of 'A' Flight, No.30 Squadron. The gun was fixed to the starboard side of the fuselage, firing forward and downward at 45 degrees, and was reloaded by the observer gunner, whose Scarff ring-mounting retained its Lewis gun. The forward muzzle of the Davis gun was roughly on the level of the undercarriage axle; the rear muzzle was above and behind the rear cockpit. The installation was considered successful, although the gun could not be sighted accurately.

В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF R.E.8 13-й дивизион RFC, 1917г.
А.Шепс - Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Разведчик/легкий бомбардировщик R.E.8 RAF
F.Manson - British Bomber Since 1914 /Putnam/
One of the two R.E.8 prototypes, either No 7996 or 7997. The aircraft was armed with a Lewis gun of the observer's cockpit, a feature that was criticised by the RFC when the type was first flown in France.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Work on the RE8 general purpose two-seater to replace the BE2c began in late 1915 and the prototype (7996) first flew in June 1916; the type entered service with 52 Squadron in November.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An early R.E.8 with a pillar mounting for the observer's Lewis gun. Later machines were fitted with the Scarff-ring mounting.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Fig. 15. - Reconnaissance machine. R.E. 8.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
R.E.8 A3433 with 130 h.p. R.A.F. engine, built by the Siddeley Deasy Motor Car Company, with the initial form of fin and the small sump cowling. This machine was still in use at the end of the war, as an artillery observation machine and as a night bomber.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
The R.E.8. With 130 h.p. R.A.F. engine. Note the big engine, the heavier aileron strut, and the less overhang to the upper planes than in the B.E.2e. The pilot sits in front, and the gunner has a gun-ring round the after seat.
L.Andersson - Soviet Aircraft and Aviation 1917-1941 /Putnam/
More than twenty R.E.8 aircraft were put in service by the RKKVF.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 A3570 was a Daimler-built example of this widely used and reasonably effective type - some 2.262 RE8s were built.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Recovery work on RE8 A3570 at Wyton in May 1917; the tripod lilting tackle was both easy to transport and ettective.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 of 3 Squadron AC at Bailleul, 30 November 1917. Note the Presentation Aircraft inscription on the fuselage of A3662.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
This view of Daimler-built R.E.8 A4224 following a landing accident shows the roominess of the pilot's cockpit.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 ot 52 Squadron.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
RE8 A4267 with 52 Squadron in early 1918.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A production R.E.8, built by the Coventry Ordnance Works, with the deeper sump cowling introduced for later machines.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
A tyro pilot leans proudly against R.E.8 A4737 at Scampton in 1918. This machine has the later sump cowling and the enlarged fin common at training establishments but never used in active service.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Atmospheric shot of a Daimler-built R.E.8 B5106 at Vert Galand in May 1918 prepares to take off, with two mechanics assisting in manoeuvring. Note the cut-out in the lower wing roots to give the pilot a better view of the ground below. Over 2,200 of this type served with the RFC from November 1916 to the end of the war. During this final year of conflict they were still heavily employed but with Allied air superiority, except at certain times, they were able to carry our their work at an acceptable' loss rate.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
R.E.8 6557 of 142 Squadron with the slightly enlarged fin adopted for most production aircraft. Note the unfaired steel-tube undercarriage legs.
S.Ransom, R.Fairclough - English Electric Aircraft and their Predecessors /Putnam/
COW-built R.E.8 B6644 presented to the Royal Flying Corps by A.G.L. of Stoke Pages.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
Immaculate Daimler-built R.E.8 C2298. Note the wheel chocks and the screw pickets beneath the wings.
F.Manson - British Bomber Since 1914 /Putnam/
A mid-production standard Daimler-built R.E.8, C2670, with extended ventral fin and modified engine cowling; later the upper fin was considerably enlarged.
O.Tapper - Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft since 1913 /Putnam/
Siddeley Deasy built more than a thousand R.E.8 aircraft; E254 was one of them.
Журнал - Flight за 1917 г.
THE ROYAL VISIT TO THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. - King George at an aerodrome.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
R.E.8 F3556 at the Imperial War Museum in London before its transfer to Duxford for restoration and display.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An unidentified R.E.8 taking off from a large, level and luxuriantly grassed field.
H.Cowin - Aviation Pioneers /Osprey/
The Royal Aircraft Factory RE 8 was selected for mass production before the prototype's first flight in the spring of 1916. Powered by a 150hp RAF 4a, this two-seat reconnaissance bomber was not a very impressive performer with a top level speed of 103mph at 5.000 feet, falling off to 96.5mph at 10,000 feet. Its bomb load was 260lb. To compound the problems, the early RE 8s were prone to 'spin-in' if mishandled and even when this problem was remedied by adding ventral fin area, the 'Harry Tate', as it was nicknamed, proved sadly lacking in agility, making it relatively easy prey for its German opponents. Its first operational deployment was with No 52 Squadron, RFC, in November 1916. The RE 8's armament consisted of a fixed 303-inch Vickers for the pilot, plus one or two flexibly mounted .303-inch Lewis guns for the observer. Some later machines used the 150 hp Hispano-Suiza, being referred to as the RE 8a. A total of 4,077 RE 8s were to be built, all but 22 Belgian-operated aircraft going to the RFC. This is a standard production RE 8.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The R.E.8, like its predecessor, the B.E.2, served in every theatre of war. This example is over the desert somewhere in the Middle East.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. - An observation flight over the German lines by our aeroplanes.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. - Our aeroplanes, on observation bent, over the German lines.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Artillery co-operation was one of the most dangerous of roles; this 21 Squadron RE8 was involved in a shoot over Ypres in October when a 'shell passed through the aircraft'.
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
On the British Western Front. - Preliminaries to a bombing expedition.
Attaching bombs to the racks beneath an RE8 of 69 Squadron at Savy, October 1917. The unit subsequently became 3 Squadron AFC at Bailleul.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
An RE8 of 3 Squadron AFC about to start for another night bombing mission.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Excellent field hangar shot of ground crew working on an RE8 of 3 Squadron AFC, possibly at Bailleul.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
From October 1917, 63 Squadron operated the RE8 from Basra and various detachments at other airfields.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Demonstrating the operation of a camera fitted to the RE8. The primary role of the aircraft was reconnaissance and during its operational career many thousands of plates were exposed - a vital contribution to Allied military planning.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Журнал - Flight за 1918 г.
On the British Western Front in France - C.O., with pilot and observer, referring to the photos, and maps prior to setting out for the German lines.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Capt. W.E. Johns, author of the Biggies novels, in front of an RE8. He was shot down in DH4 F5712 ol 55 Squadron on 16 September 1918.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
A batch of R.E. 8's in the works of the Siddeley-Deasy Motor Car Co., Ltd., where large numbers of these machines have been built in addition to quantities of the B.H.P. type aero engines, known as "Siddeley-Puma." In the alleyway on the right is the partially completed fuselage of a D.H.10A.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
The occasion which prompted this impressive line-up of Factory designs is unfortunately not recorded, nor is the purpose of the marquee behind them, but the types present suggest a date of mid-1916. Left to right, the aircraft are: B.E.2c, B.E.2c, B.E.2b. B.E.12, Hispano-Suiza-powered B.E.2c, F.E.8, S.E.4a, F.E.2c, F.E.2b, R.E.8, R.E.8, and R.E.7.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
An R.E.8 pilot's 'office', including a Royal Aircraft Factory-pattern compass. Layouts varied slightly between manufacturers, but all machines were similarly equipped.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
Pancaking.
P.Hare - Royal Aircraft Factory /Putnam/
F.Manson - British Bomber Since 1914 /Putnam/
Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8.
В.Кондратьев - Самолеты первой мировой войны
RAF R.E.8