Hawker VC RFC Ace, the Life of Major Lanoe Hawker VC DSO1890-1916

B1899

This book is difficult to put down and paints a vivid picture of this first Air war in its earliest years.

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NAME: Hawker VC RFC Ace, the Life of Major Lanoe Hawker VC DSO1890-1916
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 021213
FILE: R1899
AUTHOR: Tyrell Hawker MC
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 253
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, First World War, Great War, 1914-1918, technology, tactics, organization, Royal Flying Corps, fighter ace, fighter planes, dog fighting, Western Front
ISBN: 1-78159-345-1
IMAGE: B1899.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/nrbc3fp
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Lanoe Hawker was both a leading fighter pilot and typical of the young men who took to the air in 1914 in the first war to feature aerial combat.

This new book is an inspirational read and explains the society and attitudes behind the first major air war.

Lanoe Hawker came from a social group that typified the British middle classes and the officer corps. His family had a strong sporting, military and naval background and in many ways were similar to the German officer corps. While the trench warfare of the Western Front was a dirty brutal business, the young men who fought in the air war attempted to create a reborn knightly chivalry with some romantic views of personal combat.

Completing his army cadetship, Hawker became an engineer officer and then joined the RFC, moving to France in October 1914. Where the RNAS had started the war with aircraft that were weapons systems, able to drop bombs and torpedoes, the RFC went to war in the fragile products of the State aircraft factory and a basis mission of reconnaissance. These early aircraft were frail and had no method of reliable defence, much less an ability to attack. The Germans rapidly developed aggressive fighter aircraft in an attempt to deny RFC crews from photographing the German positions and rear areas. Early attempts at arming aircraft were variable. It was not until Fokker produced the Eindecker EIII Scout with a single MG08 Maxim machine gun, firing through the propeller disk, that fighter aircraft became really effective. In the early part of WWI the Germans held the technical supremacy through the designs of Dutchman Fokker. Hawker therefore faced great challenges in becoming the first British Ace with 5 kills to his credit. After beginning with the remarkably ineffective BE2c, he moved to the FE2b Gunbus that was equipped with a single forward firing Vickers Maxim machine gun, similar to the German MG08 license-built Maxim gun. This ability was achieved by means of employing a pusher engine to leave the nose free of a propeller disk and avoiding the need for an interrupter gear, thereby producing a higher rate of fire than the EIII machine gun with its interrupter gear. The FE2b was no real match for the new German machines entering service after the EIII, being slower and less agile than the German tractor propeller aircraft that were becoming streamlined and aerodynamically superior.

The author has presented the history of the short life of Major Hawker, against a comparison of technologies, combat reports, and the views of British, French and German pilots. One of the most interesting accounts is von Richthofen’s memories of the fatal encounter when he killed Major Hawker.

This book is difficult to put down and paints a vivid picture of this first Air war in its earliest years.

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