Capitaine Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer – French Ace 1894 / 1917 Pt.2
On January the 6th 1917, Guynemer forced down an Albatros C.VII for his 30th victory. On the 8th of February 1917, flying a S.P.A.D S.VII Guynemer became the first Allied pilot to shoot down a German heavy bomber, a Gotha G.III his 31st victory. On the 16th of March 1917, he bought down his 32nd victory, a Roland D.II, whose pilot became a P.O.W. His most successful month was May 1917, when he downed seven German aircraft, including 4 in one day on the 25th.
By July 1917, he was flying the S.P.A.D. S.XII, his avion magique, was at his request fitted with a 37mm cannon which fired through the propellor boss. It was also armed with a .30 inch Vickers machine gun. Although the cannon promised devastating firepower, the new plane was a handful to fly because of it, as the cannons rearward protruding breech mandated separate aileron and elevator controls, separated from each other on opposite sides of the cockpit. The single shot cannon had to be manually reloaded in flight, it had a heavy recoil when fired and filled the canopy with fumes from every shot. The S.P.A.D.S.XII was definitely not a plane for the novice pilot. However Guynemer used it to down an Albatros fighter on the 27th of July and a DFW, the following day, the latter triumph made him the first French pilot to score 50 victories, ” Fifty machines destroyed! This had been Guynemer’s dream”
To Be Continued……………
(C) Damian Grange 2019