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Sopwith F.1 Camel

Designed in 1916 as a replacement for the Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Triplane, the Sopwith Biplane F.1 (nicknamed the Camel for the hump in the fuselage in front of the cockpit) became one of the most effective and well-known of the British WWI scout/fighters. It was the first British craft to feature twin machine guns synchronized to fire through the propeller. It had good maneuverability, and in the hands of an experienced pilot was a deadly weapon--The Camel downed more German aircraft than any other Allied plane (1,294).

The plane was constructed of a wood skeleton, with an aluminum cowling, plywood around the cockpit, and a fabric tail. The engine, pilot, and fuel were all in the forward 7' of the plane. This placed the plane's center of gravity far to the front. This, coupled with the torque of the engine, made the Camel very tricky to fly. Without additional rudder control, the plane wanted to nose down on right turns, and nose up on left turns. In fact, the right-ward torque of the engine made the plane turn so hard to the right, the some pilots would make a 270-degree right turn instead of a 90-degree left turn! Not only was the turn faster, but it tended to confuse opposing pilots. Unfortunately, all of these quirks made the Camel very difficult to learn to fly. In fact, there were almost as many training casualties in the Camel as there were in combat (385 vs. 413).

The Camel was used extensively in 1917 and 1918. They were supplied to the U.S., Belgium, Canada and Greece. About 5,490 of the craft were built. A naval version (the 2F.1) was operated off of the HMS Furious and HMS Pegasus. A night-fighter version featured exhaust flame dampers and a pair of Lewis MGs on the top wing in Foster mounts in place of the usual guns on the nose.

The Sopwith Camel has an endurance of 2 hours. A full load of fuel and ammo (excluding bombs) costs $10.20.

 

Subassemblies: Recon Fighter chassis +2; Recon Fighter wings Biplane option +2; 2 fixed wheels +0.

Powertrain: 97-kW aerial HP gasoline engine with 97-kW old prop and 26-gallon fuel tank [Body].

Occ.: 1 XCS Body

Cargo: 8 Body

 

Armor F RL B T U

Body: 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W

Wings: 1/2C 1/2C 1/2C 1/2C 1/2C

Wheels: 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3

 

Weaponry:

2xAircraft LMG/.303 Vickers LMG [Body:F] (500 rounds).*

4x25-lb. bombs

*Linked.

 

Equipment:

Body: 50-lb. hardpoint [Body: L,R]

 

Statistics:

Size: 28'x18'x8' Payload: 0.25 tons Lwt.: 0.76 tons

Volume: 96 Maint.: 131 hours Cost: $2,348

HT: 7. HPs: 15 Body, 50 each Wing, 8 each Wheel.

aSpeed: 115 aAccel: 3 aDecel: 24 aMR: 6 aSR: 1

Stall Speed: 35 mph.

gSpeed: 180 gAccel: 9 gDecel: 10 gMR: 1.25 gSR: 2

Ground Pressure: High. 1/6 Off-Road Speed.

 

Design Notes:

The body armor is treated overall as Wooden armor (PD 2, DR 2), despite that some metal and cloth skins were used. aSpeed was increased 15% to the historical. Inexperienced pilots should receive a hefty penalty (-2 to -4) when first trying to fly the Camel. The MG load-outs are a guess; no figures are available; they could be significantly higher with the available VSPs. The MGs are synchronized, lowering RoF by 10% (see p. W:MP8). Given the high calculated gSpeed and the High Ground Pressure, this craft could still just about get airborne in a bumpy field, at the GM's discretion.

 

Variants:

The F.1/1 featured tapered wings.

The TF.1 was a trench-fighter version with downward firing MGs located in the floor of the cockpit. It never entered production.

The 2F.1 was the naval version. It featured a removable tail for easy stowage.

 

From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic