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I recently obtained a digital copy of the WWI Diary of Captain Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC, the U.S. Marine Corps' first aviator. During the war, he went to France to help set up space in French flight schools for Marine Corps pilots who were starting to arrive in late 1917 and early 1918. Most of it reads like. "Got up, ate breakfast, went to this aerodrome", etc. However, there are a few interesting parts like when he convinced a pilot to take him over the lines as an observer in a two-seat SPAD and got to squeeze off a couple of ineffective rounds at a German two-seater. Although the pictures are very dark and poorly scanned, there is a photo of a Nieuport 17C.1 that the caption says has four machine guns. You can make out two on the upper wing and I'd imagine there are two more on over the engine.

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NS13Jarhead, thanks for bringing this firsthand account to our attention Sir! Very little of such WWI USMC aviation-related material exists. I have not read it myself, but I have found the digital copy online and will enjoy it this weekend. As to the four-gun N17, I would imagine that was set up for trench strafing. There were Camels similarly equipped with an extra brace of guns mouned at a slight downward angle in the undercarriage.

 

Cheers!

 

Lou

 

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