Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Demonstrating the Nieuport to America

Early in World War One, France had lept ahead of the US in airplane technology development, by need of necessity in the face of German aggression, so when America needed to catch up, it was natural that we turned to the French to show us the way. Today's pair of images come from a stereo card published by the Keystone View Company that shows the French demonstration of the Nieuport 17 fighter to US Army officials at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. The Library of Congress has another photo that is said to be at Langley Field, but also appears to be of the same occasion, which would indicate that the American officer shown is Capt. J.C. Bartolf.

The card's caption, on the back, reads:

Birg. Gen. George O. Squires, the chief Signal Service officer of the army, says: "Aeroplanes will put the Yankee punch in the war. The way to beat Germany is to flood the air with aeroplanes. Take the war out of the trenches and put it into the air." 
The Allies are looking to the aerial contribution of the Unites States as the most important that can be made. Both England and France have sent some of their aviation specialists to the United States for the purpose of instructing American officers. Recently twelve famous French aviators arrived here to help in the training of the 10,000 men needed to conduct aerial opeations against the German fleet and U-boat bases. These twelve famous Frenchmen are: Capt. Boyrive, Lieuts. Montariol, LeMairre, Leffly, Beausire de Seyssel, Gautier, Ducas, Prevost, Mairesse, de Mandrot, Marquison and Tabuteau. Many of these men wear decorations received for exploits in naval battles and some bear scars from encounters with German aeroplanes. 
LeMaitre is here seen explaining the mechanism of a Nieuport aeroplane. The Nieuport is the smallest, fastest rising, fastest moving biplane in the French service. It is a one-passenger machine, equipped with one 110 horsepower LeRhone motor, and can travel at 150 kilometers per hours. It is equipped with a Vickers or Lewis machine gun, which is fired by the pilot with one hand while he controls his machine with the other hand and feet. The French call the Nieuport pilots the "aces" of the air. 
Tests of the standardized United States aeroplane motor have been very satisfactory. These motors were designed and built under direction of the recently created Aircraft Production Board.

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