Camel Combat Ace, The Great War Flying Career of Edwin Swale CBE OBE DFC

Well-written account of the flying career of Wing Commander Swale, based on diaries and family documents. The Great War saw some fighter pilots achieving more than 80 kills, but that was a result of the practice of flying until the pilot himself became a victim, and where many kills were of much inferior aircraft. In the final year of conflict, 17 kills against the formidable Fokker VII was a great achievement. Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Camel Combat Ace, The Great War Flying Career of Edwin Swale 
CBE OBE DFC
FILE: R2459
AUTHOR:  Barry M Marsden
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  100
PRICE: £16.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War 1, World War One, The Great War, trench 
warfare, Western Front, RAF, Sopwith Camel, Fokker VII, 210 Squadron
ISBN: 1-47386-684-7
IMAGE: B2459.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zzoe5fh
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: Well-written account of the flying career of Wing 
Commander Swale, based on diaries and family documents.  The Great 
War saw some fighter pilots achieving more than 80 kills, but that 
was a result of the practice of flying until the pilot himself became 
a victim, and where many kills were of much inferior aircraft. In the 
final year of conflict, 17 kills against the formidable Fokker VII was 
a great achievement. Highly Recommended. 

The RAF was formed in 1918 by combining the pilots of the RFC and the 
RNAS. This was not entirely a popular decision amongst air crew, but 
they had little choice for six months, at which time many opted to 
return to their parent service and give up flying. The military case 
for forming the RAF was not sound, but it made sense to politicians who 
hoped to save money. It became a period of marking time, relying on 
pilots who were already trained by the RFC and the RNAS, mostly flying 
aircraft developed for the RNAS. One of the early victims of the 
merger was the RNAS plan for an attack on the German fleet in harbour, 
using carrier aircraft flown off a fleet of carriers. A good plan 
which had to wait until the Royal Navy again controlled naval aviation 
and was able to seriously damage the Italian Fleet in port, forming 
the model for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbour.

On the Western Front, flying simply carried on and some pilots were 
still flying in their old uniforms. The main change was that fighter 
aircraft had matured and there was technical parity between Germany 
and the Allies. Tactics had also matured and there was a close 
similarity between the pilots engaged in the air battle over the 
trenches.

The Sopwith Camel was the latest in a line of incremental aircraft 
from the proven Sopwith design team. Sopwith had become one of the 
trusted suppliers to the RNAS from the start of WWI. The two-seat 
One and a Half Strutter was light years ahead of the flimsy products 
of the Government Aircraft factory that was monopoly supplier to the 
RFC at the start of war. The One and a Half Strutter formed the basis 
of the Pup single-seater fighter that performed very well and was 
used as the basis of the Sopwith Triplane that performed so well that 
the Germans bought the DR1 triplane from Fokker and immortalized it 
as the chosen mount of the Red Baron. The Camel was a further 
development of the earlier Sopwith planes and proved an outstanding 
fighter. Although it faced the formidable Fokker VII and Fokker E-V.

The Camel was equipped with the rotary engine as a favoured power 
plant for Sopwith. This, together with an excellent airframe, was 
superb but required a good pilot. In several respects, it could be 
described as dynamically unstable. Today, dynamic instability is 
standard for jet fighters that have a computer to manage the 
instability, but the Camel pilot had to do that for himself. The 
result was that any pilot who mastered the characteristics of the 
aircraft achieved success and became a formidable opponent. Those 
that failed to do this didn't last very long, more likely killed by 
their Camel than by the enemy.

Edwin Swale was a good pilot and was rewarded with an impressive 
number of kills against the most formidable fighters available to 
German pilots. The author has made a very good job of recounting 
the career of the subject and his time as an Intelligence Officer 
during WWII. The very readable text is supported by a most 
interesting selection of images in the photo-plate section.