Long before the first shots were fired in the Great War, army generals knew that aircraft were going to play a crucial role in future wars. They also realised that some way of shooting down enemy planes had to be found. Designers and engineers were soon struggling to find a way of doing this.
In this talk, Greg Baughen describes the story behind British efforts to overcome the problems. Inspired by the Royal Navy's dreadnoughts, the Royal Flying Corps planned to rule the skies with their own aerial battleships. It was an approach that proved to be a mistake and would delay the development of the single-seater fighters that were needed to challenge the German Fokkers and Albatroses. The Pup, Camel and S.E.5a eventually emerged and helped save the day, but the battleship fighter was never abandoned completely. Even at the end of the war, there were still plans to develop them and the concept would continue to influence British fighter design long after the First World War.
Mulled wine and mince pies to follow lecture.
Lecture Theatre '0'
Cambridge University Engineering Department
Cambridge, CB2 1PZ