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WW1 Top Gun: Revealed (UK Viewers?)

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Not sure it's on elsewhere, but UK's Channel 5 and 5HD on Tuesday 28th March 2012, 8pm

WW1 Top Gun: Revealed

http://www.channel5.com/shows/revealed/episodes/ww1-top-gun-revealed

 

Mentioned exclusive access to Peter Jacksons WW1 aircraft showed some what appeared to be extreme low level dogfighting scenes in SE5a's and interviews with Pilot and Vintage Aviator manager Gene De Marco.

 

Bad title, but looks interesting at least.

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Hellfire! Panic! The clocks have changed! - Phew, it's 6:30, I haven't missed it.

 

 

Cough, cough, it's err, ... also still Monday.

 

Never mind, false alarm. As you were gentlemen.... :heat:

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Saw most of it (had to pick up my other half).

 

Not a bad attempt at explaining the conflict and issues, but handicapped by having to yoke in Vintage Aviator people and footage every 2 minutes. Reducing the air war to it being an arms race twixt EIIIs, FE2bs, Albatri and SE5s was actually a bit s**t.

 

If they'd given it another 30 minutes running time and been a touch more forensic then it would have been vastly better.

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Yes all these programs spend most of the time explaining all the simple basics to a complete WW1 airwar novice everytime. How dangerous it was, how tricky it is to take a photo in a 70 mph wind etc rather then delving in. However some good new info, interesting Gene de Marco talking about how they are actually experiencing the craft jumping into different types then flying another they can really at last report the difference. Also finding out the how small changes in materials such as changing from twisted wire to streamlined helped a lot and they have seen the difference for themselves.

Like they took up a their Albatros DVa versus an SE5a and the Alb could not shake it off at all - same engine power 180HP. He really was enthusiastic about how good a flyer the SE5a was. Plus we get to see modern footage in HD of them flying which is never dull :)

 

The BE2 V BE2 with rifle (laser) was a good bit of fun too.

 

Also heard again how ineffective guns were over 50 yards, vibration was the killer mostly.

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I'm often critical of TV programs, but I thought it was pretty good. We're all a bit biased here because we perhaps know a little more about it than Joe Public due to our background interest in WW1 flying, but take that in to account and it was pretty good I thought. My biggest criticism is it was only an hour long. How I wish they'd remove some of the crap TV we have to watch to run a full series on a subject like that.

 

It was a bit narrow perhaps, I don't even recall the French being mentioned, but I suppose the editing has to be brutal to fit the hour long slot. Nothing about the big bombers.

 

I was hoping to see the SE5 evading the Albatross too, but I think they'd made their point that it wasn't a fair fight.

 

 

I think that Aviators Workshop itself is quite uplifting to see. As it goes from strength to strength, and I hope it does, in the years to come I think we're all in for some spectacular sights.

 

 

Those BE2's didn't half look frail old things though.

 

 

I have one question though, you know in our Bristol Scout we have the machinegun set at an angle to avoid the prop? Were those guns fixed in real life, or were you able to pivot them?

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Yes overall worth while, and aa followup with much more detail and as you say more dogfights :) would be welcome, never enough detail these days.

 

Scout had all sorts of experimental setups the side mounted fixed was one, over the wing like the Niueport/Se5a another, also a twin gun variant on the side - angled as the one you have.

Given there are plenty of Lewis gun over the wing craft and this was an early craft we wanted to give people a taste of the difficulties and quirkiness of WW1 and liked that variant of the Scout. We may do more variants in time (we did have more originally but time and resources were against us fitting them in, and of course now they are out of date so will need bringing up to the standard of the OFF2 one).

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Thanks for that Pol.

 

(It was a genuine question by the way, not pointed towards OFF especially. I saw the swivell mount on the BE2 in the program in just the same location and suddenly wondered. It's exactly as the man said, you jump in and out of planes and see what works. I think the pivot setup would be more comfortable to fire, but wonder whether a flexible arc of fire was any more accurate than a fixed mount. I suspect not).

 

 

The other surprise was the anti-aircraft artillery. It sounds like it was pretty fierce at lower altitudes, and if I heard correctly, nearly every sortie returned with damage. Luckily the airframes were nearly all canvas the shrapnel would often pass through without hitting anything vital.

 

 

I'd like to watch the whole program again now.

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Yeah no worries, basically they were field modding like mad trying out different gun placements some good some bad. The BE2 had various experiments too.

 

Worth another watch- I watched it again earlier (recorded Sky+HD) and saw some bits I'd missed previously.

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Oh Blast! Us folks in the States are unable to view the video from Channel 5. Has anybody got an alternate link?

 

OlPaint

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Unavailable, I suspect, to our colonial cousins.

 

Having said that it could have been much better - and let's face it, it could, particularly had it been 90 minutes, and if they hadn't arsed around so much in the first 1/2 hour - it was a genuine and decent attempt to try and cover the subject.

 

I would have approached it a little differently, I will confess. The Somme and Arras offensives were covered, but I would dispute the blanket contention that without the RFC the British army would all have been slaughtered, which was the not very subtle contention. That's not the case. They probably would have suffered the same casualties, just quicker and have given up sooner. There should have been a section on both Cambrai (combined arms) and, perhaps most importantly, the German 1918 offensives which foundered due, not in small part, to the relentless pursuit of German troops by the RFC/RNAS/RAF. That was both a turning point in history and in military experience and doctrine.

 

I would have emphasised that the German air service got it wrong (in effect) by undermanning and underusing their aircraft compared to the highly aggressive strategy and tactics of the RFC and RNAS. The aeroplane is not primarily a defensive weapon, and yet the Germans treated it as such and apparently undervalued it. The formation of the Flying Circus was, in effect, an admission of weakness. They couldn't control the front as Allied aircraft did, so they needed an elite force to throw in and pinch off local hotspots. It may look successful, prima facae, but it's a sure fire recipe for surrendering overall control of the front. Never addressed.

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Fair comment themightysc, but at the end I still wanted to see more of it, not less.

 

I didn't mind the early stuff in the program either. Those BE2's could hardly get off the ground with two people on board, and your aerobatics were seriously limited. A deathtrap with layers! I remember finding Aviator pictures on the website and thinking I'd died and gone to heaven with so many HD pictures of WW1 aircraft at every possible angle. How could anybody get picture of these things I never knew existed??? Even their room full of machineguns on every wall. I'll bet there were people watching that program with their eyes on stalks. Besides, a big part of the TV program was promoting the Aviator's Workshop itself, so I don't mind them seeking a bit of the limelight, they thoroughly deserve the publicity for what they've done and are still doing.

 

 

I did actually wonder whether the form of the program was slightly squewed towards the aircraft they had available, but then they dropped in quick cameos of Brisfits, Camels, Sure I saw a Niewport in there too, and a DVII at the end, so that argument didn't hold much water. To fit any 'formula' to the program, it was called Top Gun, and I suspect the formula for the script was a WW1 'Icon to Icon' dogfight, and the iconic aircraft for the entente side was the SE5, and the workhorse/glamourpuss for the Germans was undoubtedly the Albatross.

 

 

Personally, if I had the money, I'd love to sponsor that workshop to make 4 hour long detailed historically accurate programs - one dedicated to every year of the war. I hope that day will come, (not if it's waiting for me to have the money it won't), but once the Aviators workshop has the full compliment of WW1 aircraft assembled and airworthy, I think we'll see a lot more programs like this. I'd also bet a humungous sum of money that the Aviators Workshop respect for historical authenticity is every bit as keen as anyones. But TV producers? Hmmm, who can say?.....

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Did anyone else spot that they had the SE5a masquerading as the SE5, and also when was the 180hp SE5a produced. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought the SE5 was a 150hp aircraft and the SE5a 200hp.

 

I also agree it could have done with being a lot longer. Of course my ideal would be a programme that does not spend the first 15-30 mins explaining about how the war in the air evolved from 1914 and just dived in at say late 1916. I understand how programmes need to explain how it all started, but I just wish they would make programmes for the more advanced viewer and not keep going over the same information again and again in different programmes.

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Re the SE5-SE5a thing, apparently the 150hp engine is likely not the distinguishing feature of an SE5, it's the more sharply-raked wingtips, in the slightly longer-span wings (with the less raked, more rectangular tips denoting SE5a, not a 200hp engine).

 

This is per 'Aeroplanes of the Royal Aircraft Factory' by PR Hare (Crowood, 1999), where, describing the early evolution of the SE, it's noted 'The Factory's drawings of the aircraft...with the shorter span wings [but still with the 150hp engine] bear the title S.E.5a, clearly suggesting that it was this feature, rather than engine power, which distinguished the two variants. However, the RFC's rigging notes, when eventually issued, were entitled 'SE5 - 150 hp Hispano-Suiza: SE5a - 200hp Hispano-Suiza' and since it was these documents rather than the production drawings which received the wider circulation, the latter, incorrect distinction has become widely accepted...despite the new drawings being issued as quickly as possible, it was too late to incorporate the amendment into the initial batch of twenty-five aircraft built by the Royal aircraft Factory and these were completed with the longer-span wings of the prototype, making them the only true SE5s.'

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Re the SE5-SE5a thing, apparently the 150hp engine is likely not the distinguishing feature of an SE5, it's the more sharply-raked wingtips, in the slightly longer-span wings (with the less raked, more rectangular tips denoting SE5a, not a 200hp engine).

 

This is per 'Aeroplanes of the Royal Aircraft Factory' by PR Hare (Crowood, 1999), where, describing the early evolution of the SE, it's noted 'The Factory's drawings of the aircraft...with the shorter span wings [but still with the 150hp engine] bear the title S.E.5a, clearly suggesting that it was this feature, rather than engine power, which distinguished the two variants. However, the RFC's rigging notes, when eventually issued, were entitled 'SE5 - 150 hp Hispano-Suiza: SE5a - 200hp Hispano-Suiza' and since it was these documents rather than the production drawings which received the wider circulation, the latter, incorrect distinction has become widely accepted...despite the new drawings being issued as quickly as possible, it was too late to incorporate the amendment into the initial batch of twenty-five aircraft built by the Royal aircraft Factory and these were completed with the longer-span wings of the prototype, making them the only true SE5s.'

 

33Lima,

 

Thank you for that explanation, I had thought as you have pointed out that it was the difference between the wingtips that was the obvious distinguishing feature between the two variants, and that the engines were also uprated for all the SE5a's.

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Hi all,

 

if you are interested there is an informative discussion on this

prog over at the Great War Forum.

 

Some of the contributors and advisors to the film are involved.

It was, apparantly to focus more on the army cooperation role

of the RFC rather than fighter development etc. But the whim

of TV producers intervened. (my paraphrase)

 

I haven't seen the film (and it is unlikely that I will here in

australia :mad: ) but it looks as though a very good film ended

up on the cutting room floor - or whatever the digital

equivalent is.

 

I detest TV sometimes.

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Damn - another video with the message "This video cannot be watched from your laction or country."

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Oh Blast! Us folks in the States are unable to view the video from Channel 5. Has anybody got an alternate link?

OlPaint

 

 

OlPaint;

 

Ditto that from Canada. Don't know why they restricted the Americas on the Video!

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Must be as it's not been shown elsewhere yet it's to stop them losing any potential future revenue or selling to other channels or countries. Hopefully that means you will see it sometime!

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