The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 was a British single-seat biplane, with the aircraft essentially just a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 removing the observer's seat.
Development and construction:
The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 was originally intended as a reconnaissance plane and bomber. For the basic principle of the B.E.2 was taken over, but instead of the used 90 HP strong 90 RAF 1 engine a 150 HP RAF 4 engine was planned. In June 1915, the first prototype was completed, but the tests were delayed again and again, because the new engine was not reliable enough. For a long time, no agreement could be reached on the armament, especially since there were no synchronized machine guns in the middle of 1915, these were only introduced in early 1916 in the British aircraft. In addition, the observer fell away, who could have operated the weapons, but a larger fuel tank was installed in its place. It was not until the end of 1915 that the aircraft was presented to the Royal Flying Corps.
In February 1916 followed a slightly improved B.E.12a version, which was equipped with the modified wings of the B.E.2e. Although the aircraft was a bit more agile, but still could not fully meet the expectations. From May 1916, the first aircraft could be equipped with the synchronized Vickers machine gun.
A little later, the B.E.12b version finally followed. This was equipped with a 200 hp Hispano-Suiza engine and was intended as a night bomber. The Vickers machine gun was also swapped for two Lewis machine guns attached to the wings. Although the performance of this type had been significantly improved, due to the lack of suitable engines only a few pieces could be built.
A total of 601 pieces of all three variants were built until the end of the war.
Use in the First World War:
From August 1, 1916, the 19th Squadron began to be equipped with Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12 aircraft. On August 25, the 21st Squadron followed.
Although the aircraft were quite stable, proved due to the low maneuverability and the lack of weapons as fighter planes completely useless. In addition, the Germans began to use the new Halberstadt and Albatros fighter planes on the Western Front.
In March 1917, therefore, the planes were withdrawn from the Western Front and taken to Britain or the Middle East. There, the aircraft proved to be much more appropriate, if only as a reconnaissance aircraft and not as a fighter pilot. The only exception was there Captain Gilbert Ware Murlis Green of the 17th Squadron, which managed to shoot down several enemy aircraft.
In Britain, the aircraft served the Homeland Security Squadron and were used almost exclusively at night because of their range and stability. However, these aircraft could not oppose the new German zeppelins much. The only success could be achieved in this regard on 17 June 1917, when the German airship L48 could be shot down.
|Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12
|Reconnaissance aircraft, bombers, fighter
|743 kg empty
|One air-cooled RAF-4a V12 engine with 150 hp
|Max. 3 hours
|One rigid 7,7mm Vickers machine gun
You can find the right literature here:
The First Air War, 1914-1918
In this concise study, Kennett tells the complete story of World War I's air battles, from Eastern to Western front, from the skies of Europe and its seas to those of the Middle East and Africa.
Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)
Illustrated with detailed artworks of combat aircraft and their markings, Aircraft of World War I: The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide is a comprehensive study of the aircraft that fought in the Great War of 1914–18. Arranged chronologically by theatre of war and campaign, this book offers a complete organizational breakdown of the units on all the fronts, including the Eastern and Italian Fronts. Each campaign includes a compact history of the role and impact of aircraft on the course of the conflict, as well as orders of battle, lists of commanders and campaign aces such as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Albert Ball and many more. Every type of aircraft is featured, including the numerous variations and types of well- known models, such as the Fokker Dr.I, the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD SVII, through to lesser-known aircraft, such as the Rumpler C.1, and the Amstrong Whitworth FK8. Each aircraft profile is accompanied by exhaustive specifications, as well as details of individual and unit markings. Packed with more than 200 color profiles of every major type of combat aircraft from the era, Aircraft of World War I 1914–1918 is an essential reference guide for modellers, military historians and aircraft enthusiasts.
World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF
Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.
He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time postwar.
A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness
A deeply personal and revealing eyewitness narrative of one airman's life as a bomber pilot in England 's RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) in WWI. It is a true story, an adventure, and a war memoir carefully constructed from Captain Donald E. Harkness's unpublished diaries, letters, sketches and photographs - only recently uncovered nearly a century later - that documented his remarkable experiences and military adventures over England, France and Belgium. The first book written by a highly decorated WWI flyer from New Zealand that captures the "behind the scenes" life of RNAS pilots, as well as the surprises, terrors, traumas, humor, and sheer excitement of an aerial form of combat never before experienced by anyone, anywhere - and only eleven short years after the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. With a talent for writing, Don begins an epic journey at a major turning point in history when the world is poised at the dawn of flight, and bracing itself for unknown dangers of unprecedented sophistication and savagery. Don's journal reveals unique insights and vivid imagery of another time and experience, to wit: - the terror and devastation of a Zeppelin bombing raid in London - the training regimen of early flying schools, and their serious & comic episodes - the wonder, awe, and poetry of flying aloft in the majestic heavens - vivid bombing raids, plus the raid that earned him the DSC - his crash-landing and capture - working with the underground to help downed pilots evade capture - London's unrestrained exuberance on Armistice Day; . . . and much, much more.