Short 184

The Short 184 was a two-seater reconnaissance aircraft specially designed and built for attacks at sea with a torpedo and was the first aircraft to sink an enemy ship with a torpedo hit.


Development and design:

Even before the First World War, the British Navy experimented with various aircraft in order to use them for torpedo attacks at sea. The Short Admiralty Type 166 also belonged to these aircrafts. Since none of the aircrafts produced a corresponding performance, the British Ministry of Defence awarded the order for the development of a suitable airplane.

The company Short Brothers under the direction of Horace Short then began with the revision of the already used type 166 using the much more powerful Sunbeam Mohawk engine with 225 hp, hence the partly used designation Short 225.

The basic construction was based on the already used Short seaplanes. The fuselage was a conventional, wired, wooden box girder to keep the weight as low as possible. Only the engine was fixed with pressed steel crossbeams which were mounted between the longitudinal beams. The radiator was mounted above and behind the engine directly in front of the upper wing.

The two main floats were carried by two struts attached to the front cross tube and two pairs of struts attached to the rear cross tube, the torpedo attachment was between the floats.

For the communication with the mother ship a radio transmitter was installed, which could be folded in and out. In order to communicate with the ship in the event of a radio transmitter failure, a basket with carrier pigeons was also carried.

At the beginning of 1915, the first two prototypes were completed and extensively tested. Due to the high weight of the torpedoes, however, the aircraft only had to take off with a half-full tank, which reduced the flight time to 45 minutes. Despite this short time span, the order for series production of the aircraft was placed with the company.


Short 184


Short 184


Cockpit of a Short 184


Maintenance of a Short 184


Maintenance of a Short 184




Use in the First World War:

On 21 March 1915, the two prototypes of the Short 184 were loaded onto the converted passenger ship HMS Ben-my Chree and ordered into the Aegean Sea. There the airplanes should support the landing of the British at Gallipoli.

On 12 August 1915, Flight Commander Charles Humphrey Kingsman Edmonds succeeded in attacking and completely destroying an Ottoman merchant ship with a torpedo which had already been torpedoed by the British submarine HMS E14 and run aground. Another transport ship was sunk on 17 August.

During the Battle of Skagerrak from 31 May to 1 June 1916, 4 more Short 184 aircraft were deployed. These were carried by the seaplane carrier HMS Engadine and took over reconnaissance flights to report the position of the German ships to the British squadron.

In addition to the English Channel and the North Sea, the aircraft also served in the Middle East. There, however, they were mainly used for reconnaissance and the transport of material. By the river Tigris the Short 184 airplanes were not dependent on airfields and could keep up with the advancing British troops.

From 1917 and the renewed unrestricted U-boat War of the German Empire, the Short 184 were used until the end of the war mainly for sighting and fighting German submarines. Although the pilots succeeded in sighting many submarines, none could be sunk.

A total of 936 aircraft were built by the end of the war. After the war these were still used until 1920 to find sea mines.




Technical data:

Designation: Short 184
Country: Great Britain
Type: Torpedo bomber
Length: 12,40 meters
Span: 19,40 meters
Height: 4,10 meters
Weight: 1.680 kg empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: A V12 engine Sunbeam Maori with 225 HP, later 260 HP
Maximum speed: 139 km/h
Range: Max. 320 kilometres
Arming: 1 x 7,7 mm Lewis machine gun, one 35,6 cm torpedo or 236 kg bombs






You can find the right literature here:


The First Air War, 1914-1918

The First Air War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – December 1, 1990

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.

Click here!



Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)

Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide) 2nd Edition

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.

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World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF Hardcover – June 13, 2011

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.

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A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness

A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness Paperback – June 25, 2014

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.

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