Sopwith Buffalo

Sopwith Buffalo
Sopwith Buffalo

The Sopwith Buffalo was a British armored fighter/reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War. A single-engined biplane, two examples of the Buffalo were built by Sopwith to carry out reconnaissance missions low over the trenches while protected against machine-gun fire from the ground, but no production followed, with the end of the war removing the need for such an aircraft.

In July 1918, the British Air Ministry requested Sopwith, who was already building the Sopwith Salamander armored single-seat ground attack fighter, to build an armored two-seat aircraft to carry out the dangerous contact patrol mission. This mission involved flying at low altitude over the battlefield to locate and keep in contact with attacking forces, therefore keeping commanders in touch with the progress of the battle. This exposed aircraft carrying out such missions to heavy small arms fire from enemy trenches, resulting in heavy casualties.
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Sopwith Buffalo
  • Role: Armored fighter/reconnaissance aircraft
  • Manufacturer: Sopwith Aviation Company
  • First flight: September 19, 1918
  • Status: Prototype
  • Number built: 2
  • Developed from: Sopwith Bulldog
  • Powerplant: 1× Bentley BR.2 rotary engine, 230 hp (172 kW)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 6 in (10.52 m)
  • Wing area: 326 sq ft (30.3 m²)
  • Length: 23 ft 3½in (7.10 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,178 lb (990 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 3,071 lb (1,396 kg)
  • Maximum speed: 114 mph (99 knots, 184 km/h) at 1,000 ft (300 m)
  • Service ceiling: 9,000 ft (2,700 m)
  • Climb to 3,000 ft (900 m): 4 min 55 sec
  • Range: 275 mi (239 nmi, 443 km/h)
  • Crew: 2
  • Armament:
    • Gun - Pilot: 1× forward firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun
    • Gun - Observer: 1× flexibly mounted Lewis gun in rear cockpit

References

  1. Bruce, J.M. "British Aeroplanes 1914-18". London:Putnam, 1957.
  2. Bruce, J.M. "The First British armoured Brigade",Part 3. Air International, April 1979, Vol 16 No. 4. Bromley, UK:Fine Scroll Publishing. pp. 182-190, 199-200.
  3. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland, USA:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.
  4. "Milestones:The Sopwith Machines". Flight, 6 February 1919. pp. 163-174.
  5. Robertson, Bruce. "Sopwith–The Man and his Aircraft". Letchworth, UK:Air Review, 1970. ISBN 0 900 435 15 1

Sopwith Bulldog

The Sopwith 2FR.2 Bulldog was a prototype British two-seat fighter of the First World War. A single-engined biplane, the Bulldog was a fighter/reconnaissance aircraft intended to replace the Bristol F.2 Fighter, but was unsuccessful, with no replacement for the Bristol Fighter being purchased.

In August 1917, the Sopwith Aviation Company started design of a two-seat fighter reconnaissance aircraft intended to replace the Bristol F.2 Fighter, and received permission to build prototypes of the Sopwith FR.2. It was intended to power the FR.2 with a 200 hp (149 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8 water-cooled V-8 engine, but the Hispano was in great demand, and it was decided to switch to the new Clerget 11, an eleven-cylinder rotary engine, a change which led to the prospective design being redesignated 2FR.2.

The Bulldog was a compact single-bay biplane resembling the first prototype Sopwith Snipe single-seat fighter. The pilot sat under the upper wing, with his head and shoulders protruding through a large gap in the centre section, while the observer's cockpit was aft of the trailing edge of the upper wing. Armament was two synchronised Vickers machine guns in a hump ahead of the pilot, while the observer/gunner was provided with two Lewis guns, one on a telescopic mounting forward of the observer's cockpit, and the second on a pillar mounting to give rearward defence.
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Sopwith Bulldog Mk.I, two-bay wings
  • Role: Fighter/reconnaissance aircraft
  • Manufacturer: Sopwith
  • First flight: 1918
  • Status: Prototype
  • Number built: 2
  • Powerplant: 1× Clerget 11Eb 11-cylinder rotary engine, 200 hp (149 kW)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 9 in (10.29 m)
  • Wing area: 335 ft² (31.4 m²)
  • Length: 23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,441 lb (655 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,495 lb (1,134 kg)
  • Maximum speed: 109 mph (95 km/h, 175 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,570 m)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 15 min 35 sec
  • Endurance: 2 hours
  • Crew: 2
  • Armament:
    • Guns- Pilot: 2× forward firing .303 in Vickers machine guns
    • Guns- Observer: 2× Lewis guns in rear cockpit

References

  1. From Wikipedia Sopwith Bulldog, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sopwith_Bulldog"
  2. Bruce, J.M. "War Planes of the First World War: Volume Three Fighters. London:Macdonald, 1969. ISBN 0356 01490 8.
  3. Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "The Complete Book of Fighters". New York:Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  4. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, USA:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.