Thursday, November 17, 2011

United States - 1918 Salmson 2a

Salmson 2a in the 1st Observation Group

I have been busy working on American aircraft groups and I have just finished a new master file for the Salmson 2a. So far I have done several French, American, and one British profile. The SAL 2a has a lot of detail to contend with. Once again it is fun with louvers time. I have worked up an easy way to add them. I make one louver, trim the image to give me the proper spacing, make a new image window the correct size and use a fill tool to make a row of them as long as I want. As long as I do the math before creating the new window I get a clean even row of them without any irregularities. A bit of copy pasting to a layer and the I have what I need fast and easy. Then all I need to do is tweak the opacity and the layer blending mode and I am done. Keeping them isolated on a single layer keeps things simple if I need to play with them later.

1st Aero Squadron 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Salmson 2a 1st Aero Squadron - 1918
Salmson 2a 1st Aero Squadron - 1918

When the United States declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917, the 1st Aero Squadron was still based at Columbus, New Mexico. The Army ordered the 1st Aero Squadron to Fort Jay, New York City, to accompany the 1st Division to France. The squadron arrived in August 1917, too late to join the 1st Division, but sailed for France on its own under the command of Major Ralph Royce. It arrived at Le Havre on 3 September 1917, the first U.S. squadron in France.

Untested U.S. squadrons were initially sent to a fairly inactive sector of the Front north of Toul to acquire combat experience at minimum risk. The 1st Aero Squadron trained at Avord, Issoudun and Amanty, France, during the winter of 1917–18. While at Amanty a member of the squadron, Lt. Stephen W. Thompson, achieved the first aerial victory by the U.S. military. The aircraft used by the squadron were the Curtiss AR-1, Spad XIII pursuit plane, and Salmson 2 observation plane.

On 8 April 1918, the 1st Aero Squadron was assigned to an aerodrome at Ourches, and was joined shortly after by the 12th and 88th Aero Squadrons to form the 1st Corps Observation Group, the first U.S. air group. The group served as an observation unit for both the French XXXVIII Corps and the U.S. I Corps, moving its location nine times between April and November.

88th Aero Squadron 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Salmson 2a 88th Aero Squadron - 1918
Salmson 2a 88th Aero Squadron - 1918
Activated in the summer of 1917 as the Air Service 88th Aero Squadron; deployed to France during World War I and served on the Western Front. Engaged in combat as a corps observation squadron with I, III, IV, and V Army Corps, May 30 – November 10, 1918. After the armistice subsequently served with VII Army Corps in occupation force, November 1918 – May 1919 when the squadron returned to the United States

90th Aero Squadron 1st Observation Group U.S.A.S.

Salmson 2a 90th Aero Squadron  - 1918
Salmson 2a 90th Aero Squadron - 1918

The 90th Fighter Squadron was initially activated on 20 August 1917, as the 90th Aero Squadron. Its first location was at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. The first few months of its existence were consumed by the necessary training to prepare the men for operations in France during World War I. On 12 November 1917, the men of the 90th arrived at Le Havre, France. The initial cadre of officers and enlisted men began preparing the infrastructure necessary to support their flying mission. The air contingent arrived soon after this first group.

The squadron's first aircraft were the Sopwith 1½ Strutter ground attack aircraft. The squadron upgraded to Salmson 2-A2s, SPAD Xis, and Breguet BR-14 observation aircraft. Pilots flew from Colombey-les-Belles and scored seven confirmed aerial victories (against aircraft) and participated in the final allied offensives. The 90th earned a positive reputation for its ground attack missions during its continuous participation in the air offensive over Saint-Mihiel. Its first commander, First Lieutenant William G. Schauffler, designed the 90th's Pair o' Dice emblem displaying natural sevens during this campaign.


The Angry Lurker said...

They were a colourful bunch, aircraft and history wise.

W. I. Boucher said...

Thanks Fran, I feel like I am back in school while working on the American section. so much I did not know until recently. The Salsom does give me a chance to do a lot of fiddly bits. The French profiles are taking longer, I have a lot of Escadrille insignias to work up before they will be ready to go.