Images of War, Great War Fighter Aces 1914-1916, Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

B2062

This book is another fine collection of images, many of which have not appeared in publications before. The text supports the images but this is not a simple photo essay. The author has provided well-researched text that provides an essential narrative and adds greatly to the impact of the images. The primary purpose of the book is to provide a comprehensive recognition of those pioneer military aviators who achieved the status of ‘Ace’, being a pilot with five or more ‘kills’ to his credit. It is possible that not every Ace has been included because there are alleged to have been a number of pilots during this period who may have achieved the requisite number of ‘kills’ but died in battle and to have never received due credit. However, that is no reflection on the author because he has reported officially recognized aces and provided also some good images of the aircraft being used at the time.

This book captures the essence the early years of aerial combat in WWI and will be greatly appreciated by enthusiasts, scholars, and those developing an interest in aerial combat.

reviews.firetrench.com

adn.firetrench.com

bgn.firetrench.com

nthn.firetrench.com

ftd.firetrench.com

NAME: Images of War, Great War Fighter Aces 1914-1916, Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
DATE: 021114
FILE: R2062
AUTHOR: Norman Franks
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 151
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Sopwith, Fokker, Albatros, FE2b, BE12, Jasta, Nieuport, Deperdussin, Caudron, Voisin, Bristols, Pup, Camel, Tripe, Tabloid, FE2b, DH9
ISBN: 1-78383-182-11
IMAGE: B2062.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/mnsw5l3
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This book is another fine collection of images, many of which have not appeared in publications before. The text supports the images but this is not a simple photo essay. The author has provided well-researched text that provides an essential narrative and adds greatly to the impact of the images. The primary purpose of the book is to provide a comprehensive recognition of those pioneer military aviators who achieved the status of ‘Ace’, being a pilot with five or more ‘kills’ to his credit. It is possible that not every Ace has been included because there are alleged to have been a number of pilots during this period who may have achieved the requisite number of ‘kills’ but died in battle and to have never received due credit. However, that is no reflection on the author because he has reported officially recognized aces and provided also some good images of the aircraft being used at the time.

Military photographs, in some numbers, have survived from the American Civil War of the mid 1860s, but it was in WWI that the camera really came of age and there is a mountain of images in archives that have yet to see the light of day. Photographers were accredited to make a visual record in the field and in the front line. Many died in the process. Aircraft manufacturers and military photographers were sent to make official visual records and there was to be a growing archive of movie film which was increasingly smooth and effective, if not always well-lit. Aircraft were fitted with cameras for reconnaissance work and some of these images included other aircraft, sometimes close-up, as part of images being shot to capture enemy positions and equipment. Then there were the many unofficial images shot by airmen, using their own camera equipment and helped by the first compact roll-film cameras. As a result, WWI has no shortage of images to chose from, covering every aspect of the conflict. The Images of War series has set a high standard for bringing well-selected images out of the archives and into print. This book fully matches the standards already set by the publisher and the team of authors.

The period from the outbreak of war in August 1914 to 1916 marks a period of amazing development progress in the construction and use of armed aircraft. The Royal Naval Air Service was formed a few short weeks before the outbreak of war, marking the return of naval aviation to Royal Navy control. The RNAS celebrated by successfully dropping a torpedo from an aircraft for the first time and entered WWI with the first integrated weapons systems based on heavy-than-air machines. This enabled RNAS aircraft to destroy airships, aircraft, ships, submarines, and land targets, using bombs, depth bombs, torpedoes and machine guns. This contrasted with the slow, vulnerable and, initially, unarmed machines used by the Army and similar aircraft operated by the Germans. This reflected the view of many armies that the aeroplane was just a cavalry scout to provide reports on enemy positions and movements. Some aggressive pilots began to arm their aircraft and the fighter plane came into being. By 1916, almost every military aircraft carried at least one machine gun and increasingly this came to be a fixed forward firing machine gun, operated by the pilot. Where the RNAS had started training officers to fly in 1911, the British and German Army Staff initially considered the pilot to be a ‘driver’ and not a job for an officer. The officer was the observer and gunner, initially carrying a pistol or rifle and then being equipped with a machine gun on an articulated mount.

Once the art of enabling a machine gun to fire safely through the propeller arc had been mastered, the combat of plane against plane became routine and the best pilots soon began to run up some extraordinary scores where the ‘ace’ still required five ‘kills’, but some pilots were building scores towards one hundred.

This book captures the essence the early years of aerial combat in WWI and will be greatly appreciated by enthusiasts, scholars, and those developing an interest in aerial combat.

Leave a Reply