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#4496950 - 11/12/19 02:14 PM “Two-seater fighters”?  
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Doing some reading and caught a little blurb on the outstanding Brisfit (BR F2b/a).
The article stated “... the most successful and deadly British two-seater fighters of the first world war and was affectionately referred to as the 'Brisfit' or the 'Biff'."

Now I’m a big fan of the Bristol but the “the most successful and deadly” caught my eye.
Were there other British two-seater “fighters” or is my Alzheimer’s acting up?
Or just some journalistic flourish?

#4496951 - 11/12/19 02:19 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Without doing any research, I would guess that the Strutter may have been rather dangerous when it first arrived at the front. But I’d also be interested in seeing any really were as deadly.


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Apparently it's in poor taste to tell leaving customers "Thanks for coming."

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#4496952 - 11/12/19 02:25 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Fe-2d, Vickers Gunbus,...?

#4496953 - 11/12/19 02:26 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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To name a few that come to mind for the Entente:

F.E.2
Sopwith Gunbus
Sopwith Strutter
Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8
Nieuport 12
Hanriot HD.3
Caudron R.11 3-seater Fighter Escort

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Last edited by RAF_Louvert; 11/12/19 03:06 PM. Reason: make correction due to an earlier lack of coffee
#4496954 - 11/12/19 02:45 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Several more:

Vickers F.B.5
Vickers F.B.9
SPAD A.2
SPAD A.4

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#4496956 - 11/12/19 02:52 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Whew. Yea. Alzheimer’s. I was wrapped around the word “fighter” but I guess that wasn’t even the original intent of the Bristol either.

Guess the “dual role” aircraft kinda slipped my mind like the Fee and 1 1/2 plus I’ll admit to knowing little of the Gunbus.
Fe 8 Lou? Was there a two-place version?

#4496957 - 11/12/19 03:04 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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oops, my bad on the F.E.8, thanks for catching it Duke. I will correct the list.

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#4496960 - 11/12/19 03:41 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I remember reading that the term "fighter" originally referred to armed two-seaters specifically.

The past "scouts" were being called fighters by WW2 but when exactly did the meaning of the term change?

Last edited by mvp7; 11/12/19 03:43 PM.
#4496964 - 11/12/19 04:14 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Ha.
I remember one pilot in his diary wondering why they were called “Scouts.”
He noted that if he was ever told to go “scout” something he wouldn’t have any idea of what to do.

#4496965 - 11/12/19 04:17 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
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Originally Posted by RAF_Louvert
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oops, my bad on the F.E.8, thanks for catching it Duke. I will correct the list.

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Interesting you include the “Big Ack” in the two-seat fighter category.

#4496966 - 11/12/19 04:31 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Duke, I recall reading somewhere that it saw some, limited use in that role, though I can't imagine it was very effective in it.

mvp7, quite right about the WWI term "scouts" for the small, armed single-seat planes. As to the B/R planes, from what I've seen in contemporary writings they were often referred to as "reconnaissance types" early in the war, whether they were armed or not. Again, from those readings, when such mounts were armed comments started showing up about how they were good in a fight, or that a particular plane was a "real scrapper" or "a fine fighter". I imagine the term "fighter" evolved from these comments and observations and over the course of time became more identified with the scout planes, as they evolved into the better mounts to have in a dogfight. As to an exact time when the term change came about, I could not say.

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#4496969 - 11/12/19 04:47 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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According to Wikipedia the term 'fighter' was originally used of aircraft like F.B.5 Gunbus since those were the first planes designed for fighting. The original concept of 'scout' was a fast single seat scouting aircraft that was not armed and would simply use its speed to do scouting and escape any danger.

Considering how misleading the terminology had become even by 1915 I wonder why the term 'scout' lasted even as long as it did. I guess the RFC had bigger things to worry about at the time than fixing some semantic inconsistencies smile.

I wonder when RAF first called a single seat fighting aircraft a 'fighter'.

#4496971 - 11/12/19 05:21 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I wouldn't necessarily trust Wikipedia on that point, and would like to see reference made to a contemporary work that actually used the term in that context. Just a brief scan through some of the contemporary books on my shelves did not yield evidence to support the Wiki claim. Even as late as 1917 I am seeing the following terms to describe aircraft types: scout, two-place, two-seater, armed two-place, armed two-seater, reconnaissance and armed reconnaissance. And these are used in the topics of aerial fighting. Along with these terms are the usual "pusher", "tractor", "monoplane", "biplane", "triplane", etc to describe aero types, as well as the various designer names. Nowhere, at least so far, have I found the term "fighter" applied to a specific aircraft type in any of my readings just now. But I'll keep looking on my shelves as times allows.

EDIT: Just looked through Loening's 1918 edition of "Military Aeroplanes", and again, no use of the term "fighter" in the context we are discussing here. Lots of the aforementioned terms, but no "fighter".

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#4496972 - 11/12/19 05:52 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Alright then, I have just now found an early reference in a wire to HQ from General Henderson in France. dated 4 September 1914. that reads in part, "There are no aeroplanes with the Royal Flying Corps really suitable for carrying machine-guns; grenades and bombs are therefore at present most suitable. If suitable aeroplanes are available, machine-guns are better undoubtedly. Request you to endeavour to supply efficient fighting machines as soon as possible."

Obviously here "fighting machines" is referring to anything that can be armed, preferably with a gun.

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#4496980 - 11/12/19 06:45 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Thanks.

I'm again largely relying on wikipedia article with few sources but Vickers E.F.B and F.B series aircraft were abbreviations for (Experimental) Fighting Biplane. There's even a link to 1913 issue of Flight magazine that mentions a machine gun armed E.F.B.1(?) but it doesn't use the abbreviation or mention "fighting".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_E.F.B.1
https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1913/1913%20-%200149.html

Is the term "fighter" even used in any WW1 era sources or is it a neologism from interwar period? If it is then is it used about some specific aircraft models, a type of aircraft or all armed aircraft in general?

Last edited by mvp7; 11/12/19 06:46 PM.
#4496983 - 11/12/19 07:08 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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mvp7, the term "fighting machine" was in use at the onset of the war to indicate the difference between an armed and an unarmed aeroplane. And as noted in your sources and mine it did not apply to a specific type, but was generic to mean any flying machine fitted with a weapon. I am still looking for a contemporary, (i.e. WWI era), source that uses the term "fighter" to describe an armed aeroplane, and specifically a single seat scout, (at this point I have looked through about fifteen such sources and have yet to find an example). I'm fairly certain that I've, in the past, run across the term being used in one or more WWI personal accounts written by pilots in describing a particular mount as something like "a good little fighter". But even these may have been written years later after the term came into the common vernacular to mean an armed single seat pursuit-style aircraft.

.

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#4496987 - 11/12/19 07:50 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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What seemed like a simple matter is once again turning into surprisingly tricky subject biggrin.

Bristol F2 is often called "Fighter" in modern text, including BAE system's own website. Is the name ever used in WW1 era sources or does it only appear later? I wonder if that name played any significant part in turning the meaning of word 'fighter' from a description of aircraft that fights well into meaning fighter as a less literal fighter type aircraft.

#4496989 - 11/12/19 08:36 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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'YOU MEN... YES YOU!... What is all this 'Brisfit' nonsense?
The Bristol Fighter has an affectionate name given to it by it's crews... that name is the BIFF!... Now, repeat after me, 'THE BIFF'... That's better.
Now we have sorted that out, turn to your right, gain height, and disappear in short sharp jerky movements... GO ON, MOVE YOURSELVES!!!


( The name Brisfit is a post war term and was not liked by it's original crewman apparently... to them it was always the 'BIFF')

#4496996 - 11/12/19 09:51 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Biff. BIFF.
Got it sir.

#4496998 - 11/12/19 10:10 PM Re: “Two-seater fighters”? [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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So, in Flight Magazine at least, the term "fighter" came into fairly common use by 1917. I should have done a search there first from the looks of it. biggrin

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