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R.N.A.S. aircraft launch ramp and equipment (ww1) -- help request.


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Hello there!

 

I am starting the research stage for a diorama with a beautuful 72nd scale Sopwith Scout readying for a launch from an R.N. ship of 1917 or so. Typical skis with some kind of trialing arrestor gear could form part of the aircraft as was the custom of these pioneering days.

 

Ns6T3k.jpg

 

Knowing next to nada about ships after the 11th Century A. D., I thought I would seek advice from experts hereabouts about details regarding the actual platform and associated gizmos that these frail craft flew from.

Its assumed the ramp was a wooden structure, sloped in a particular direction, (up or downwards for launch?) 
HMS Furious is the kind of ship we're talking about: but doesn't necessarily need to be that ship. Any period ship that possessed launch capabilities in 1917 is fine. Other details are:


1.  The details to be looked for is not only the ramp but any surrounding ship's structure, included as preference.
2.  Could or did R.N. ships of this type stow a 'spare' aircraft, disassembled and/or under wraps nearby?
 
Since the aircraft(s) are 72nd scale, this could be a large diorama -- but first 3 view plans or photos related to all of the above would be very welcomed!

Best wishes.

Edited by Major Flannel
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Well the choice of ship is limited in that period (1917) if you want to model a fighter like the Sopwith Pup. The seaplane carriers Manxman (4 seaplanes aft and 4 wheeled fighters forward), Campania (6 fighters and 6 seaplanes) and Furious (initially 3 Shorts seaplanes and 5 Sopwith Pups) come to mind for 1917 but all are different. There are plenty of photos around on the Internet, but all three changed appearance over time to take account of the latest developments. 

 

The downward sloping ramp on Furious was constructed of steel over a hangar for the aircraft. At this point wheeled aircraft were one shot disposable items. After launch the pilots simply ditched the aircraft near a ship and hoped to survive to be rescued by the ship. Aircraft were craned out of the hangar hatch onto the take off ramp. So there is no arrester gear to worry about.

 

There were also wooden palisades that could be raised around the ramp to protect the aircraft on deck.

 

There were other seaplane carriers at this time but they were only using seaplanes.

 

The first deck landing didn’t occur until 2 Aug 1917 when Squadron Commander Dunning maneuvered around the superstructure of Furious to land his Sopwith Pup on the take off ramp on HMS Furious. There were no modifications to the aircraft. Having placed the aircraft over the deck his fellow pilots then grabbed it and held onto it! He was killed 5 days later trying to repeat the feat and further attempts were discontinued. It was 1918 before Furious and then Vindictive appeared with landing platforms aft, and Sept 1918 before the flush decked Argus appeared.

 

Fighters were also being launched from wooden platforms over the guns of Battleships and from small lighters towed by destroyers.

 

Skid equipped Sopwith Pups and Strutters were used to trial landings on Furious in March/April 1918 along with a longitudinal arrester system. They were discontinued as it was considered by the pilots to be more dangerous than trying to repeat Dunnings antics! Aircraft were spread about the deck “like shot partridges”. So she continued to operate her fighters on a one shot basis. The only difference was that Sopwith Camels had replaced the Pups.

 

i hope this helps or at least gives a starting point for your research.

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Furious was an odd one. It had a loom of longitudinal wires on the rear landing on deck for the gear mounted hooks to catch on, leading up a slightly inclined platform to  a pair of posts supporting a rope network for the aircraft to be caught in if it didn't stop in time. Lots of fun building that when I made the Loose Canon 1/700 kit of Furious in its later WW1  configuration. Probably relatively easy in 1/72nd, but would still take a lot of space, and although there are plenty of photos around it's hard to find any clear enough to be sure of many of the details.  As for the forward deck, that seems to have been modified somewhat at the same time the ship had the rear deck and hangar added. Markings are different, as well as the configuration of the raisable palisade.

 

Paul.

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Thank you all.

There are plenty of old photos of the Pup taking off and of the background sea itself, this latter not so useful. I'm unearthing more photos with structural detail, slowly though.

 

Fascinating times. Although the "Pioneering" days of Bleriot, Dumas and the Wrights had gone, technology never slept at all thanks to a new Gen. of pioneers.

 

RIP Cmdr. Dunning -- hope you can look down and observe a sleek modern jet strut YOUR stuff... : )

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When it comes to flying on and off a carrier, I’m always reminded of the comment about the Sea Harrier by, I think, the test pilot John Farley, 

 

it is easier to stop and land than it is it is to land and stop.

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Not as late as the Sea Harrier on carriers, but said earlier about the Harrier in general.  It is usually credited to its Chief Engineer(?) John Fozard, in the form that it is safer to stop...etc..

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On 20/07/2021 at 16:16, AWFK10 said:

This book might help. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy but I think it had illustrations of launch platforms.

I also recommend The Royal Navy's Air Service in the Great War by David Hobbs.  An excellent description of the history of early flying ops and of the development of varying forms of arrestor gear.

 

If you wanted to make something really different, you could always put your Pup on the small flying off platform built onto the top of a 15in turret:

 

0566-02-1-1.jpg.e4e9e2ce0946b9d64a7ce053

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Posted (edited)

Nice one, @Chewbacca. Noting the early upper roundels, more inboard. Beardmore tail feather colours.  Standard PC10 on upper horizontals only, vis a vis RNAS. Standard Lewis aperture.

Plain fuse otherwise. Do we see a plain varnished wooden section around the cockpit though?

 

Beauty!

 

Getting some interesting info now in dribs and drabs. 

This is a post-war ship, below? No matter, these are dioramas in themselves with excellent 'props' to contemplate. Huge underlying gun barrels look to be a 'must'.

 

Edit: What size guns are they in proper nomenclature?

 

NHTngP.jpg

Edited by Major Flannel
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Posted (edited)
On 20/07/2021 at 16:16, AWFK10 said:

This book might help. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy but I think it had illustrations of launch platforms.

N6453.

 

Thanks. That'll be the main Pup in the diorama. Sorted. : )

 

Edit: 

 

So a colourised photo from one of Mr Bruce's books. Cabbage green aicraft notwithstanding, this is unlike many others in that there are specific, different, 'sections' to the ramp.

 

NHCmGF.jpg

Edited by Major Flannel
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The business end of H.M.S. Bloody Big Guns. Presumably a typical stowage option. Looking at this, the ramp was moved into place directly where they stowed the a/c? Or permanent structure elsewhere?

 

NHO02b.jpg

 

What is the calibre of the gun, please?

Thanks for all of your likes and input.

 

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Posted (edited)

Mr Roden, nee Toko,  gives useful detail in their Sopwith 2F.1 Ship's Camel boxart. This gives a glimpse of better detail. If it's accurate? 

 

NHBJjc.jpg

 

The search continues. Learning about modern ships as an aside. Its all fine.

Edited by Major Flannel
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Major Flannel's photo shows "Y" 15" turret on either HMS Repulse or HMS Renown - the other gun mountings visible are triple 4" ones.  In order to reduce the angle to which the turret had to rotate in order to launch the aircraft into wind, the flying-off platform was arranged so that the launch took place over the back of the turret, with the aircraft's tail over the guns - see https://i.pinimg.com/originals/64/19/b9/6419b9f888295f7828549294de4078f1.jpg.  Judging by the number of personnel around, the aircraft (a Sopwith Pup) may be being readied for takeoff.

Edited by Our Ned
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2 minutes ago, Our Ned said:

Major Flannel's photo shows "Y" 15" turret on either HMS Repulse or HMS Renown - the other gun mountings visible are triple 4" ones.  In order to reduce the angle to which the turret had to rotate in order to launch the aircraft into wing, the flying-off platform was arranged so that the launch took place over the back of the turret, with the aircraft's tail over the guns - see https://i.pinimg.com/originals/64/19/b9/6419b9f888295f7828549294de4078f1.jpg.  Judging by the number of personnel around, the aircraft (a Sopwith Pup) may be being readied for takeoff.

Beautiful.

 

N6455 in a stunning photograph that answers a lot of questionsand reveals much, in fact it will form the basis of the scene-to-be. 

Thanks, I owe you one, Our Ned.

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The photo of a Camel (N7136? - a little bit fuzzy in this rendering) taking off posted by Major Flannel almost certainly shows HMS Barham.  She is certainly a Queen Elizabeth class battleship, and the configuration matches Barham in 1919 (N7136 is listed as allocated to Barham in January 1919) - and the obscured lettering on the screen ahead of the guns is about the right length for "BARHAM".  The main armament of this class was eight 15" Mk I guns in twin turrets.

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  • 1 month later...
On 28/07/2021 at 08:08, Major Flannel said:

Edit: What size guns are they in proper nomenclature?

 

Not sure what you mean by "proper nomenclature".  Naval guns in those days were always defined by the calibre of the shells, in this case 15 inch.  to be completely accurate the 15 inch Mk 1 was technically a 15 inch/42 where the 42 refers to the bore length being 42 times the calibre in length.  The 15 inch equates to the inner diameter of the barrels - using your photo posted on 29th July, you can work out the exterior diameter though note they do taper from their broadest point at the breech down to the muzzle.

 

There's quite a good description of theme here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BL_15-inch_Mk_I_naval_gun and here: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_15-42_mk1.php

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