By Colin Chapman
|Hawker Fury II||2||6||6||220||+2||1||-|
Hawker Fury Mk II
Originally introduced in 1931, the Fury interceptor biplane has just been re-fitted with the new Kestrel VI engine, increasing the speed of this supremely agile aircraft. Intended to head-off incoming bombers, it boasts an excellent rate of climb, and is armed with a pair of Vickers machineguns on top of its fuselage.
Top Speed: 223mph
A variant of the Hawker Hart, the Osprey has served in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm since 1932 as a biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, with an open cockpit, single engine, and crew of pilot and observer. It possesses excellent maneuverability for a two-man aircraft, has folding wings for carrier use, and its wheels are easily changed for floats. It is armed with a Vickers machinegun fixed forward on the fuselage, and a Vickers machinegun on a pivot in the rear observer’s cockpit.
Top Speed: 168mph
The Velantia is a large, lumbering, twin-engine open cockpit biplane that operates as a troop carrier, military cargo aircraft, and periodic bomber. In the latter case it is fitted with underwing racks for a 2,200lb. bombload, but features no other armaments. It is flown by a pilot and co-pilot, and internally fitted with lockers, rifle racks, and stretcher storage.
Top Speed: 130mph
This RAF bomber and torpedo bomber was developed from the earlier Vildebeest, many of which have now been converted to Vincent configuration. An open biplane, it has been in service for four years, and is crewed by a pilot, navigator, and observer. It can carry an external bombload of 1000lb. or a single 18in. torpedo, and is armed with a Vickers machinegun fixed forward, and a Lewis machinegun on a pivot in the rear observer’s cockpit.
Top Speed: 142mph
The 143 entered service last year, and is a modern closed monoplane medium bomber, powered by two engines. It has a crew of five including a pilot, bombardier, and three gunners, with a Lewis machinegun in its nose turret, Lewis machineguns at the front and rear of its ventral bombardier’s gondola, and a pair of linked Lewis machineguns on a pivot in the dorsal turret. It can carry 1764lb. of bombs internally, and the same amount underwing.
Top Speed: 193mph
Although retired from French military service last year, the Breguet 19 is one of the most widely used military aircraft in the world, license-built and still extensively fielded in Belgium, Spain, and Yugoslavia. It has also been extensively sold in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Greece, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Venezuela. A reliable biplane reconnaissance-bomber, it was first introduced in 1924, and achieved several records for distance flying, even as late as 1929. It has two open cockpits, one for the pilot, the other for the observer/bombardier, and is armed with a Vickers machinegun fixed forward, a pair of linked Lewis machineguns on a pivot in the observer’s cockpit, and an external bombload of twelve 12lb. bombs.
Top Speed: 152mph
Newly introduced to the Armée de l’Air, the Loire 46 is a parasol-style gullwing monoplane fighter, lauded for its excellent handling. It has an open cockpit, fixed landing gear, and four linked MAC machineguns fixed forwards in its wings.
Top Speed: 213mph
|Heinkel He 50A||2||6||8||140||0||2||-|
|Heinkel He 51||2||6||6||200||+2||1||-|
|Heinkel He 59B||4||4||12||140||0||4||-|
Heinkel He 50A
Having entered service in the Luftwaffe last year, the He 50A has already earned a reputation for sturdiness. An open cockpit biplane dive bomber, sixty are in service with a pilot and observer/gunner crew. It is armed with a 7.92mm MG15 on a pivot in the observer’s cockpit, and a 551lb. underwing bombload.
Top Speed: 146mph
Heinkel He 51
This open cockpit biplane fighter was introduced last year and is the mainstay of the Luftwaffe, continuing to serve side-by-side with Arado Ar68 that was designed to replace it. It is armed with a pair of 7.92mm MG17 machineguns atop the fuselage.
Top Speed: 205mph
Heinkel He 59B
Pleasant to fly but of limited range, this large twin-engine open cockpit biplane seaplane has operated for several years as a coastal reconnaissance and torpedo bomber. It is of wood, plywood, and fabric construction, and is crewed by a pilot, bombardier, and two gunners. Armament consists of a MG15 on a pivot in the open nose turret, in the open dorsal turret, and in the glazed ventral position. It can carry an external load of four 550lb. bombs, or four 1,100lb. mines, or a single 1,760lb. torpedo.
Top Speed: 146mph
This biplane is the Imperial Japanese Navy’s reconnaissance seaplane, easy to fly but plagued by an unreliable engine. Its three open cockpits are crewed by a pilot, observer, and gunner, and the aircraft is armed with a forward fixed Type 92 machinegun, a Type 92 on a pivot in the rear gunner’s cockpit, and another Type 92 in the same cockpit on a pivot for downwards firing. Its underwing bombload consists of four 66lb. bombs or two 132lb. bombs.
Top Speed: 169mph
The Ki10 is a highly maneuverable sesquiplane fighter employed by the Imperial Japanese Army, with 150 in service to date and production continuing. It is armed with a pair of 7.7mm machineguns fixed forward atop the fuselage.
Top Speed: 249mph
|Curtiss A-12 Shrike||2||6||8||170||0||2||-|
Curtiss A-12 “Shrike”
The Shrike is the USAAC’s monoplane attack aircraft, a single engine two cockpit aircraft with excellent armament. 46 Shrikes have been in service since 1933, crewed by a pilot and observer. Four M1919 machineguns are fixed forward in its wheel fairings, with another M1919 on a pivot in the rear observer’s cockpit, and a bombload of four 122lb. bombs.
Top Speed: 177mph
Reliable and agile, the F2F-1 is the USN’s fighter biplane, equipped with an open cockpit and retractable undercarriage, suitable for both aircraft carrier and land-based operation. 55 of these aircraft have been purchased in the year since they entered service, costing $12,000 per unit, and are armed with a pair of Browning M1919 machineguns fixed atop the fuselage.
Top Speed: 238mph
The MBR-2M is a shoulder-wing monoplane flying boat with a push-propeller engine mounted atop a frame above the wings. Used for maritime reconnaissance and bombing, it has a plywood covered wooden hull and open cockpit, and a pilot, co-pilot, and two gunners crew. A 7.62mm PV-1 machinegun is mounted on a pivot in the open bow turret, with another pivot mounted in the open midship turret. A 1100lb. bombload rounds out its weaponry.
Top Speed: 124mph
Compact and amazingly agile, the I-15 open cockpit biplane fighter serves alongside the I-16 monoplane that was actually introduced slightly earlier. Its gulled upper wing has given it the nickname “Chaika” (Seagull), and it is armed with four fixed ShKAS machineguns in its fuselage.
Top Speed: 224mph
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