Monday, June 20, 2011

Britain - 1917 Bristol Braemar

Triplane madness extended beyond fighter development. Several experimental bombers were built during the Great War attempting to create a heavy bomber as effective as the Caproni Ca.42. The Austrians did not have a monopoly on insane contraptions. To make matters worse for the British there were proposals for building a steam powered version of the Braemar called the Tramp. When looking at some of the strange designs which were built during the war it seems the race for air superiority was won by the nation which made the next to the last mistake. To quote a famous line from Fawlty Towers “However did they win the war?

An Experimental Triplane Heavy Bomber

Bristol Braemar Mk.II - 1918

The Bristol Braemar was a British heavy bomber aircraft developed at the end of the First World War for the Royal Air Force. Only two prototypes were constructed.

The prototype Braemar was developed in response to the establishment of the Independent Air Force in October 1917, as a bomber capable of the long-range bombing of Berlin if necessary. A large triplane, it had internal stowage for up to six 250 lb (110 kg) bombs.

The initial design featured a unique engine installation with a central engine room housing all four engines. The engines were to be geared in pairs and power taken from the engines to the four propellers by power shafts. This design was abandoned early in development, and both the completed Braemars had a conventional engine installation, with the engines in inline tandem pairs, driving pusher and tractor propellers. However, the engine-room design was resurrected later in the Braemar's development life, for the proposed steam-powered Tramp.

The first prototype Braemar flew on August 13th 1917, with four Siddeley Puma engines of 230 hp (170 kW) each. The prototype showed generally good performance with a top speed of 106 mph (171 km/h), but there were complaints from the test pilots about the view from the cockpit and the controls, and so the next aircraft produced was an improved version designated Braemar Mk.II. The Mk.II had considerably more power, in its four Liberty L-12 engines of 400 hp (300 kW), which gave it an improved speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).

The Braemar never entered service with the RAF, and the two prototypes were the only Braemars built. The Braemar design was subsequently developed as the Pullman passenger aircraft.


  1. Bristol Braemar. (2010, November 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 06:38, March 8, 2011, from
  2. Barnes C.H. (1964). Bristol Aircraft Since 1910. Putnam & Company Ltd. ISBN 0-370-00015-3


The Angry Lurker said...

What a monster though, lovely.

W. I. Boucher said...

It is quite beast. I had fun doing the drawing, there was lots of good sharp photos of the markings which made it easy to pick out the details.

Jon said...

Was it to flyfrom France or Britain to bomb Berlin?

W. I. Boucher said...

@on: Two squadrons were formed at Bircham Newton (No. 166 Squadron and No. 167 Squadron) with the express purpose of bombing Berlin. However these were to be equipped with the Handley Page V1500 bomber and not the Bristol Braemar.

The RAF planning staff projected a round trip from this base of 1000 miles; the V1500 was supposed to have an endurance of 14 hours cruising at 100 mph, and with a bomb load of about 2 tons.

The RAF had plans in motion to have a 200 Squadron bombing force (Independent Force) by July 1919. However most think they would not be able to met the deadline. It was a logistical nightmare. They were planning on launching from bases in Scotland.

For more information see Did the British ever successfully bomb Berlin in WWI?