R.A.F. B.E.2c

From Wings of Linen
R.A.F. B.E.2c
Role Reconnaissance
Manufacturer R.A.F.
Designer Edward T. Busk [1]
First flight June 1914 [1]
Introduction late 1914 [2] to April 1915[3]
Primary users U.K. (RFC/RAF)
Number built >1100[note 1]
Variants R.A.F. B.E.2d, R.A.F. B.E.12
Wingspan 11.3 m (37 ft) [5][6][3]
Engine 90hp RAF 1a or
70hp Renault or
(Belgian) 150hp Hispano-Suiza
Armament none or various mounts for a Lewis gun
45 kg (100 lb) of bombs[5][note 2]
Ammo 6 drums of 47 or 97 rounds[7]
Crew 2
Max Speed 116 km/h (72 mph) [8][9][10][6][3]
Climb 1,100 m (3,500 ft) in 6:30
2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 20:00
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 45:15 [8][10][5]
Service Ceiling 3,000 m (10,000 ft) [8][9][5][6][3] to
3,700 m (12,000 ft)[10]
Endurance 3:15 [8][9][6][3] to 5:30[10]

Adding stagger to the wings to improve the downward vision for the front-seated observer, double-ailerons to the wings, a fin in front of the rudder improved the B.E. type in the R.A.F. B.E.2c. That it was a stable, easy-to-fly machine made it an excellent choice for 1914 reconnaissance, though that same stability would become a detriment in 1915. Though the first machines reached squadrons in late 1914, the ramp up was slow and in March there were only thirteen in the field. While early machines used the same 70hp Renault as its predecessors, the BE.2c soon converted to a new custom engine, the R.A.F. 1a, and the skid undercarriage gave way to a simple Vee.

By mid-1915, Fokker monoplanes were starting to take a toll on the stable BE's. Aircrew devised way to give the plane some armament for defense, but the lack of a synchronizer and the front-seated observer (in a forest of struts) made such efforts provide very limited success. In addition to reconnaissance, the BE.2c sometimes carried a small bomb load, but the observer had to be left behind because the plane could not lift both.

BE.2c's were used by both the RFC and RNAS in almost all theatres as well as Home Defense, where it managed to take down five German airships.

A small number of BE2c's were supplied to Belgium in 1916, where they sensibly swapped the observer to the rear and supplied him a Lewis gun on an Etévé mount, added a forward-firing Vickers, and used the 150hp Hispano-Suiza engine.[11]

For more information, see Wikipedia:Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.

Timeline [note 3]

Game Data

Wings of Glory

Unofficial Stats
Version Availability Maneuver Damage Dmg Points Max Alt. Climb
rear-facing gun 14Q4-17Q4 XB -/B 10 8 6
unarmed XB - 10 8 6
upward gun XB B 10 8 6

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Orthographic Drawings


  1. 1308 BE2c's and BE2d's combined[4]
  2. See also notes on Belgian aircraft.
  3. British usage numbers are approximate, derived from the squadron histories.[12]
  1. 1.0 1.1 Bruce'69, p.356.
  2. Angelucci, p.74.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Argus Vol. 2, p.16.
  4. Lamberton, p.48.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Lamberton, pp.214-215.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Angelucci, p.66.
  7. Kelly, p.230.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Bruce'69, p.370.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Munson, p.53.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Bruce'93, p.36.
  11. Bruce'93, p.23.
  12. Philpott'13, pp.379-444.
  • Enzo Angelucci, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. New York: The Military Press, 1983 edition. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
  • Argus Books, Airplane Archive: Aircraft of World War One, Volume 2. Great Britain: Argus Books, 1989. ISBN 0-85242-984-3
  • J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain: Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
  • J.M. Bruce, Windsock Datafile 42: RAF BE2C. Great Britain: Albatros Publications, Ltd., 1993. ISBN 0-948414-52-9
  • 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, Reconnaissance & Bomber Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Great Britain: Harleyford Publications Ltd., 1962. ISBN 9780900435027
  • Kenneth Munson, Bombers: Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, 1914-1919. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1968, Blandford Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0753721711
  • Ian Philpott, The Birth of the Royal Air Force. Great Britain: Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2013. ISBN 978-1-78159-333-2