Sopwith Camel

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Sopwith Camel
RAF Sopwith Camel.jpg
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Sopwith
Designer Herbert Smith[1][2]
First flight 22 Dec 1916[1] or Feb 1917[3][2]
Introduction June 1917 [4]
Primary users RAF Type A Roundel.svg U.K. (RFC/RAF)
RAF Type A Roundel.svg U.K. (RNAS)
US Army Air Roundel.svg U.S.A.
Roundel of Belgium.svg Belgium
Number built 5,490 [5][1]
Variants Sopwith 2.F1 Naval Camel
Wingspan 8.53 m (28 ft) [6][7][8]
Propeller Diam. 2.59 m (8 ft 6 in) [8]
Engine 130hp Clerget 9B or 9Bf, 110 hp Le Rhône, 150hp B.R.1 rotaries
Armament 2×sync. Vickers
Ammo 500 rounds[9]
Crew 1
Max Speed see table
Climb see table
Service Ceiling see table
Endurance 2:30 [10][11][7][8]

The Sopwith F.1 Camel was -- by many standards -- the most successful fighter of World War One. Its speed in turning was matched only by its tendency to go out of control in inexperienced hands, and it was only with experience that pilots learned to use its strengths to great advantage. The first units made their way to France in summer of 1917, and by the end of the war nearly 1,300 enemy aircraft were shot down by Camels -- more than any other aircraft type.

It was developed from the Sopwith Pup but everything was larger or heavier, and the plane was just two steps short of uncontrollable. It was the first British fighter to feature side-by-side synchronized guns, and it excelled at dogfighting due to its phenomenal maneuverability. No. 70 Squadron was the first to fully equip the Camel, replacing their Sopwith Strutters in July 1917. British Camels were of course commonplace on the Western Front, but they also served in Italy, Macedonia, Mesopotamia, Russia, and on Home Defense. Night-fighter Camels frequently used twin-Foster-mounted Lewis guns.

Various engines were fitted. By then end of 1917, 1546 Clerget, 540 Le Rhône, and 269 B.R.1-engined Camels had been delivered, along with Camels with French-manufactured engines: 879 Clerget and 1314 Le Rhône. A high-compression 140hp Clerget, the 9Bf, gave better performance and started be used in Camels as the improved engines became available. By the end of the war there were 1342 Clerget, 821 Le Rhône, and 385 B.R.1 Camels on hand.[12]

In June 1918 the USA purchased 143 Camels and issued them to the 17th and 148th Aero Squadrons and the 41st for a time. US Camel squadrons were attached to the RAF until just before the war ended. Belgium used thirty-six Camels, though the pilots of 1st Escadrille preferred their Hanriot H.D.1s.

The Camel is perhaps best summarized as a plane that was not remembered with fondness but certainly with respect. [5]

EngineSpeedClimbCeiling
130hp Clerget 9B rotary 185 km/h (115 mph)[6][10][7] 2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 6:00[6][10][8]
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 10:35[6][10][8]
4,600 m (15,000 ft) in 20:40[6][10]-21:05[8]
5,500 m (18,000 ft)[11] - 5,800 m (19,000 ft)[6][10][7][8]
140hp Clerget 9Bf rotary [note 1] 2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 5:00[8]
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 8:30[8]
4,600 m (15,000 ft) in 15:45[8]
7,300 m (24,000 ft)[8]
110hp Le Rhône 9J rotary 180 km/h (112 mph)[8] 2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 5:10[8]
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 9:10[8]
4,600 m (15,000 ft) in 16:50[8]
7,300 m (24,000 ft)[8]
150hp Bentley B.R.1 rotary [note 2] 188 km/h (117 mph)[8]-195 km/h (121 mph)[6][10] 2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 4:35[6][10]-5:30[8]
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 8:10[6][10]-9:50[8]
4,600 m (15,000 ft) in 15:55[6][10]-20:00[8]-20:00[8]
5,500 m (18,000 ft)[8]-6,700 m (22,000 ft)[6][10]

For more information, see Wikipedia:Sopwith Camel.

Timeline [note 3]


Game Data

Wings of Glory

Official Stats
Availability Maneuver Damage Dmg Points Max Alt. Climb Points
Jun17-end C A 15 13 3 86

Plane and Crew Cards

Card Links

Blue Max/Canvas Eagles

Miniatures and Models

1:144 Scale

1:285/6mm/1:288 Scale

1:300 Scale

1:350 Scale

1:600 Scale

1:700 Scale

Resources

Orthographic Drawings

References

Notes
  1. 183 km/h (114 mph) at 4,600 m (15,000 ft)[8]
  2. Bentley-engined Camels were most common for the RNAS.[5]
  3. British usage numbers are approximate, derived from the squadron histories.[13]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Updated card
Citations
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Angelucci, p.57.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bruce'65, p.3.
  3. Bruce'90, p.2.
  4. Bruce'69, p.573.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Bruce'69, p.563.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Lamberton, pp.214-215.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Angelucci, p.46.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 8.18 8.19 8.20 8.21 8.22 Bruce'65, p.12.
  9. Kelly, p.230.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Bruce'69, p.590.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Munson, p.71.
  12. Bruce'65, pp.6-8.
  13. Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
Bibliography
  • Enzo Angelucci, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. New York: The Military Press, 1983 edition. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  • J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain, Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
  • J.M. Bruce, Profile Publications 31: The Sopwith Camel F.I. Great Britain: Profile Publications, Ltd., 1965.
  • J.M. Bruce, Windsock Datafile 26: Sopwith Camel. Great Britain: Albatros Publications Ltd., 1990/1995. ISBN 0-948414-30-8
  • Kevin Kelly, "Belts and Drums: A Survey of First World War Aircraft Ammunition Totals". Over the Front, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 1990. Walsworth Publishing Co, Inc. and The League of World War I Aviation Historians.
  • W.M. Lamberton and E.F. Cheesman, Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Limited, 1960.
  • Kenneth Munson, Fighters 1914-19, Attack and Training Aircraft. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976. ISBN 0713707607