|First flight||17 Jun 1916|
|Introduction||15 Nov 1916 [note 1]|
|Primary users|| U.K. (RFC/RAF)|
|Number built||UK: 4077 ; Belgium 22|
|Wingspan||13.0 m (42 ft 7 in) |
|Propeller Diam.||2.97 m (9 ft 9 in) |
|Engine||150hp RAF 4a vee or|
(Belgian)150-180hp Hispano-Suiza vee
|Armament||fixed, sync. Vickers and|
1-2×rear flexible Lewis
120 kg (260 lb) of bombs
|Max Speed||164 km/h (102 mph) - 166 km/h (103 mph)|
|Climb||1,500 m (5,000 ft) in 11:25|
2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 15:50
3,000 m (10,000 ft) in 29:05
|Service Ceiling||4,100 m (13,500 ft) |
The R.A.F. R.E.8 was designed to replace the B.E.2c, which by autumn 1915 was obviously unsuited to the realities of fighter combat. It borrowed the heavily staggered and unequal span wings of the R.A.F. B.E.2e but the R.E.8 moved the observer to the more workable rear seat where a defensive machine gun would have a wide angle of fire. Unfortunately it also retained the B.E.'s inherent stability, an asset in a friendly sky but a detriment in when trying to evade enemy fire. In a common theme, the Air Board had committed to large-scale production before the type had actually shown its merits and shortcomings in service, so over four thousand were built despite the plane's lackluster performance. It was still in use by fifteen squadrons at the Armistice.
While a number of RE8s were built by the parent company, most were built by contractors like Austin, Daimler, Napier, Standard, and Coventry Ordnance Works. The first batches may have had no gun installed for the pilot, but later ones included a synchronized port-side Vickers with a Vickers-Challenger or (later) Constantinesco interrupter. It could easily enter a spin in the hands of rookie pilots. To correct this tendency, the fin was enlarged and other minor adjustments were made. There was a plan to replace all of the RE8s with Bristol Fighters in early to mid 1918, but shortages of Rolls-Royce engines meant there were never enough Bristols to go around and the RE8s had to soldier on.
Belgian 6me Escadrille used R.E.8s modified to take a 180hp Hispano-Suiza engine, which must have improved performance somewhat, starting in July 1917. They were replaced by SPAD 11s starting in May 1918.
The Harry Tate[note 2] was undistinguished -- a plane no one would call their favorite -- yet it and its crews flew countless successful missions in the last two years of the war.  The R.E.8 saw service on the Western Front, in Italy, Mesopotamia, Palestine, and in Home Defense.
For more information, see Wikipedia:Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8.
Timeline [note 3]
Wings of Glory
|Version||Availability||Maneuver||Damage||Dmg Points||Max Alt.||Climb||Points|
Plane and Crew Cards
Miniatures and Models
- Ares: WGF206A 30 Sqn.; WGF206B Mark/MacKay-Dempster; WGF206C 59 Sqn.
- Shapeways: Decapod
- Metal kit: Red Eagle
- Wings of War: WW13J Longton/Carson; WW13K Ferguson/Fry; WW13L Belgium
- Metal kit: Heroics & Ros GWA122
- Shapeways: Decapod
- Metal kit: Tumbling Dice
- Angelucci, p.92.
- Bruce'66, p.3.
- Bruce'69, p.426.
- Bruce'66, p.6.
- Lamberton, p.56.
- Lamberton, pp.214-215.
- Angelucci, p.82.
- Bruce'66, p.12.
- Munson, p.56.
- Bruce'66, pp.5-9.
- Bruce'66, p.10.
- 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.
- J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain, Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
- J.M. Bruce, Profile Publications 85: The R.E.8. Great Britain: Profile Publications, Ltd., 1966.
- 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