Naval Aces of World War I, Part 1

Published: December 5th, 2011     
Cover
Cover
Author: Jon Guttman
Reviewed by: Clarence Wentzel - IPMS# 1096
ISBN #: 978 1 84908 345 4
Other Publication Information: Softcover, 96-pp, period photographs, color profiles, plan views
Price: $22.95
Product / Stock #: Aircraft of the Aces 97
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

This book covers Aces of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). It appears that Osprey will be publishing an additional volume or volumes covering naval aces of other countries. When I heard of this book, I assumed that it would probably cover Raymond Collishaw and other Sopwith Triplane pilots of Naval 10. I was pleased to find that, although Naval 10 was well covered, the history of the RNAS in WWI was surprisingly broad. When we think about British aircraft during WWI, we usually think of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). However, we must remember that the Royal Navy was called the Senior Service. Both organizations were formed in 1912 and it appears that they both developed in parallel until they were combined in April of 1918. Seventy nine pilots of the RNAS achieved the status of Ace along with another forty seven RNAS pilots who completed Ace status while flying with the RFC. The RNAS flew a variety of aircraft, including the Sopwith Pup, the 1 1/2 Strutter, the Camel, the Triplane, and the float-equipped Baby. Also included were Nieuport 11s and 17s and the DH-4.

The book is written by Jon Guttman, who specializes in World War One aircraft. He has written several of the Osprey Aces books, as well as others. The book is organized to follow the history of the Royal Naval Air Service. The first chapter covers the formation of the group. Subsequent chapters cover early, sensible Sopwith aircraft, then moves into the use of the Sopwith Triplane, the Tripehound. The RNAS probably stayed with the Tripehound beyond its most effective period before switching to the Camel.

I enjoyed reading the book. Mr. Guttman's style combines a good historical narrative with many first-hand descriptions of combat. The book includes many interesting photos from the period. They show the people as well as the equipment. As usual, the book includes twenty nine color profiles, several with plan views. These profiles show that the RNAS aircraft had a variety of interesting colored markings. I ended up ordering the Pheon Models sheet on the Sopwith Triplane after reading this book.

I personally have most of the Osprey "Aces" books and this book is a great addition. The book is well recommended for modelers, aviation historians and people who enjoy combat stories. It is a great addition to the "Aces" series and I am looking forward to Part II.

Thanks to Osprey for providing the book for review and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.

  • Front cover
    Front cover
  • Rear cover
    Rear cover

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