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Dawn Of The Dogfight
In July 1915, the Fokker E.I coupled with a machine gun that could fire through its propellor (interrupter gear) gave the Germans the ability to achieve air superiority. Until the British developed an interrupter gear to match the Germans, "pusher" type aircraft were fitted with machine guns. The DH.2 was the first effectively armed British single-seat fighter, it was more than a match for the Eindecker and enabled Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilots to counter the "Fokker Scourge".This painting is based on the following report by Capt. A. M. Wilkinson, No. 24 Squadron, commander C flight, dated May 16, 1916, describing a 'dawn patrol' over the Somme. "On reaching the lines saw much activity of our AA up North but found no HA. Later, when going south, observed a hostile biplane proceeding Westwards at 12000ft. Attacked from behind, getting in very close, it promptly turned West towards Peronne,
Dawn Patrol over the Somme - DH.2 v Eindecker
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apparently hit. The observer did not return fire. While pursuing it again a two-engined machine passed over me going west. I turned and climbed to attack. It turned and opened fire, to which I replied. I then noticed a Fokker just above me coming onto my tail, but he sheered off when I turned towards him. I then attacked two-tails (twin engine machine) again. Again the Fokker returned with the same result. The third time I allowed the Fokker to come within 220 yards and then turned sharply causing him to shoot straight past me. I turned again to get (my) nose onto him. Apparently he thought I had turned to attack two-tails again, for he turned in front of me, presenting a splendid target (and) at this moment I got a burst (in) and he promptly went down vertically. I followed, HA did not flatten out to my knowledge. I left him to attend to two-tails which made off in a NE direction. I pursued him a short distance but was unable to overtake him. The two machines were apparently acting in co-operation."