Thursday, January 12, 2012

Belgium - 1917 Nieuport 11

Three Belgian Aces and The "Bébé"

Early in the war Belgium suffered from a lack of combat aircraft. They had to wait for the French to supply them with hand me down planes which were no longer state of the art. Even though they were hampered with less sophisticated planes their fighting spirit proved to be a factor in their success. The best of the Belgian aviators preferred light but nimble machines which allowed them to out-maneuver their opponents. Today's collection is some of the early combat aircraft flown by the Belgian Air Service.

1ere Escadrille Belgian Air Service

Nieuport 11 Major Willy Coppens 1st Escadrille - 1917
Nieuport 11 Major Willy Coppens 1st Escadrille - 1917

This example shares a scheme with several other Belgian aircraft, the gray lower fuselage and the dark green upper surfaces. The stylized origami bird is the insignia for the 1st Escadrille. It is unusual in that the aircraft has a Vickers gun mounted on the forward fuselage and not the wing mounted Lewis gun which most Nieuport 11 carried.

This example is painted in a sprayed 2 color camouflage scheme. The Belgian roundel painted below the cockpit is not typical for the Nieuport 11. As in the previous profile the serial numbers on the rudder are over painted. The armament is the standard wing mounted Lewis gun. The lower wing surfaces are finished in yellow varnish.

This yellow varnished example has the unit insignia of a red shooting star bordered in white on the fuselage. The wheel covers bear Thieffry's red central stripe on white field pattern. The rudder has the identification N3 painted on the yellow section.


The Angry Lurker said...

Excellent aircraft but the shooting star stands out the best.....

W. I. Boucher said...

Thanks Fran. For some reason the flames were a pain in the butt to do.

Jon said...

These look great.

Gary C. Warne said...

Will, Those are excellent! One doesn't often see much about the Belgian Air Service in the Great War so these are a treat! Have you done any of Lt. de Meulemeester's aircraft?

W. I. Boucher said...

Thanks Gary, I need to complete more Belgian profiles I did post one profile of a Hanriot HD-1 flown by Lt. Andre de Meulemeester while serving in the 9me Escadrille during the year of 1917 I am still looking for a Nieuport 17 profile to show his plane before the escadrille was resupplied with the HD-1. One of the problems is lack of attribution in most sources. I have a lot of profiles in work, So more will follow when I have sorted them out.