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
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.
2me Escadrille Belgian Air Service
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.
5me Escadrille Belgian Air Service
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.