H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
Robey-Peters Gun Carrier. In June 1916 J. A. Peters, who designed this large three-seat three-bay tractor biplane as a Zeppelin fighter, drew up a scheme for mounting gun (or engine) nacelles under the top wing of an aeroplane. It was slated that the gun mountings were placed above the nacelles 'on the top plane, which is cut away to facilitate operation of the guns'. On the aircraft as built, the nacelles were carried close inboard on two pairs of upright V struts. There were, in fact, two cut-outs in the upper surface of the wing above each nacelle, the rear ones, apparently, for the gunners, and the forward pair for the mountings to take two Davis recoilless guns. The pilot sat far aft in the mid-mounted fuselage.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Among the firms who, during 1917, constructed prototypes specifically to carry the Admiralty-sponsored Davis recoilless gun, was that of Robey and Co. whose designer, J. A. Peters, evolved a large three-seat, three-bay tractor biplane to carry two of the large shell-firing weapons on the power of a 250 h.p. Rolls-Royce engine. Disposition of all three members of the crew was somewhat remarkable; the two gunners were located each in a nacelle faired into the upper wings on each side of the fuselage, while the pilot was situated no less comfortably in a cockpit towards the rear of the fuselage just ahead of the fin. As with the other prototypes designed to accommodate the Davis gun, the Robey-Peters Three-seater came to naught, in its own case being abandoned after crashing during its initial flight.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Robey Peters Three-Seater
It will be recalled that the Lincoln company of Robey & Co had produced a pair of single-seat scouts to the design of J A Peters during 1915, but that neither had succeeded in attracting significant official attention. A year later the company was encouraged to offer prototypes, under Admiralty sponsorship, of an anti-airship fighter armed with the Davis 2-pounder recoilless quick-firing gun.
This time Peters evolved a large three-bay, three-seat tractor biplane, powered by a 250hp Rolls-Royce (Eagle) engine driving a two-blade propeller. The fuselage was located more or less centrally within the wing gap, and two gunners’ nacelles were attached, underslung beneath the upper wing, it being intended to provide a Davis gun on each. A very sturdy, but rather narrow-track undercarriage, with central skid, was braced to the front fuselage and through the lower wing to the lower fuselage longerons. A well-proportioned, curved fin and balanced rudder lent a facade of elegance to the big aeroplane.
Perhaps the least attractive feature of the design - particularly for the pilot - was the location of his cockpit, only two feet forward of the tail fin. As if to acknowledge the exceptionally poor field of view from this position, large transparent panels were provided in the sides of the cockpit. No windscreen was fitted; instead a spine fairing (of the same contours as the faired headrest) was continued forward of the cockpit. The only explanation for the curious location of the pilot’s cockpit so far aft seems to be that of weight distribution.
Of the two prototypes ordered, the first (believed to be No 9498) was not ready for flight until fairly late in 1917 owing to a low priority for delivery of the Rolls-Royce engine. However, there came anti-climax when the machine crashed on its maiden flight, and the venture was abandoned - presumably without completion of the second prototype.
Peters left Robey shortly afterwards and the following year became chief designer for The Alliance Aeroplane Company of Luton; in 1919 he produced an aircraft intended for the Atlantic Flight competition.
Type: Single-engine, three-seat, three-bay biplane fighter.
Manufacturer: Robey & Co Ltd, Lincoln.
Powerplant: One 250hp Rolls-Royce (Eagle) engine driving two-blade propeller.
Dimensions: Span, 54ft 6in; length, 29ft 6in.
Armament: Two two-pounder Davis recoilless guns intended for gunners’ nacelles on upper wing. Probably never fitted.
Prototypes: Two, Nos 9498 and 9499. Only 9498 believed completed.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
ROBEY PETERS R.R.F.25 UK
Tests conducted in the USA led the British Admiralty to adopt the Davis recoilless gun for the RNAS, several types of aircraft being designed around this immense weapon, essentially for the anti-Zeppelin role. Among these was the Robey Peters R.R.F.25, designed by J A Peters for Robey & Company. Powered by a 250 hp Rolls-Royce 12-cylinder Vee-type water-cooled engine (later to be named Eagle), the R.R.F.25 was an unequal-span two-bay biplane with a crew of three comprising a pilot and two gunners. The pilot was accommodated far aft, immediately ahead of the vertical tail, and the gunners occupied nacelles suspended beneath the upper wing. The port nacelle accommodated a 0.303-in (7,7-mm) Lewis gun and the starboard nacelle housed a two-pounder version of the Davis gun which exceeded 7 ft (2,13 m) in length. Eight shells for the gun were fitted into the nacelle and two more in the adjacent wing. Two prototypes were ordered, the first of these flying in September 1916. It suffered minor damage as a result of turning over during the take-off run for what was to have been its second flight, and when it did succeed in getting airborne once more a fire at low altitude resulted in a crash in which it was destroyed. The second prototype, referred to as the Mk II, featured a new equi-span three-bay wing cellule, introduced a fixed tail fin, and side windows were added for the pilot. Overall span was reduced by 2 ft (61 cm) and wing area was increased by 63.5 sq ft (5,89 m2). It was intended that a Davis gun be carried in each nacelle. This aircraft was, in fact, cancelled by the Admiralty, but was completed nonetheless in January 1917 and flown during the course of the month. It stalled on take-off, however, and crashed, further work on the aircraft being finally abandoned. The following data relate to the first prototype.
Loaded weight, 3,700 lb (1678 kg).
Span, 54 ft 6 in (16,61m).
Length, 29 ft 4 1/2 in (8,95 m).
Wing area, 483.5 sq ft (44,92 m2).