The Breguet quickly turned into one of the French nation’s triumphs in aviation design, with its arrival the Br 14 series, proved itself to be ultimately reliable and unmercifully lethal, shortly after its admission to the war front during 1916. Excelling itself to become the most singularly significant design in French aviation, with its record of success continuing into the post war era, its production totalling to an incredible 7800 aircraft, with over 2500 built after the war’s end in 1918, before the end of its extensive wartime lifespan. This visually utilitarian appearing aircraft fielded a quite powerful in-line 12 cylinder Renault water-cooled engine generating an intoxicating, for the time, 300 hp.
Crew seating arrangements presented a tandem format with the pilot’s cockpit accommodated in front, directly behind its Renault engine and the observer/gunner seated aft-ward, the optimal seating array provided a clear line of sight to both parties in all directions, establishing a similarly clear communications line between the observer and pilot. Armaments were taken care of by a single Lewis 7.7 mm calibre, fixed forward firing, fully automatic machine gun, as well a second set of Lewis 7.7 mm calibre, defensive, fully automatic machine guns, swivel mounted in the aft cockpit. Its sturdy construction, comprising steel and duralumin, with fabric covered wood, allowed the airframe to absorb severe punishment from enemy fire as well as performance -related stresses, these characteristics made it popular in a wide range of derivatives encompassing the aerial fields of artillery observers, dedicated bombers, as well as fighter aircraft.
The Nieuport 11 C1 became affectionately known as Bebe, with its roots founded in aircraft racing, became one of the Allied forces’ first true fighters during World War I, garnering itself notoriety by proving to be one of the most significant components responsible for ending the dreaded German Fokker scourge during 1916. The design developed and adapted from a pre-war racing design earmarked for competition, transferred its predictably excellent performance characteristics inherent to racing platforms, into the air providing the aerial superiority required of a typical dog fighter. Designed and built in a scant four months, the Nieuport went on to attain a reputation that allowed it to ultimately become one of the French air force’s best fighter plane series available in the complete aviation history of the World War I amphitheatre, with a series, collectively recognised by its moniker which referred to it in admiration as the Nieuport Fighting Scouts.
The affectionate name went on to become a household name brand in France before the end of the war. The design began as a new sesquiplane biplane type airframe, developed prior to the First World War, with its sights firmly set on achieving success in 1914s Gordon Bennett Trophy Race. The aircraft’s sesquiplane wing configuration developed based on a new experimental design type, sported a biplane configuration with the lower wing now distinctly shorter than the upper wing assembly, the experimental staggered wing arrangement required its distinctive V-shaped strut braces and de rigueur supportive wire bracing.
The aircraft sported smooth contours, fine lines, and a racing pedigree, possessing an 80 hp front mounted, Le Rhone 9C, air cooled, rotary piston, nine cylinder engine, owed to its priorly designed Nieuport racer architecture. Crew arrangements saw a single seater pilot set below and behind its upper wing assembly, ideally positioned to benefit from a clear 360° view of his surroundings.