Nieuport 11 Fighting Scout "Bébé"

Nieuport 11

They were called Bébé because of their small size. The Nie. 11 was a direct development from the Ni. 10, a twin-seater fast scout used early in 1915. By the summer of 1915 the first Bébés were in service in France and in the Dardanelles. This aircraft, along with the FE2b put an end to the "Fokker Scourge" from the Fokker Eindecker in 1916. An experienced pilot in a Ni. 11 would have no problem outmanoeuvering an Eindecker and dropping it.

Technical Details
The Ni. 10 used an 80 hp Gnome or Le Rhone engine. The aircraft were brilliant compared with what was in use at the time. They were highly agile with moderately good rates of climb and speed. The chief problem lay in the fragility of the wing structure. The lower wing flexed considerably during turns and dives.

Loading a Lewis GunThey were armed with a single Hotchkiss or Lewis machine gun mounted over the wing. Reloading of the gun was facilitated by the Foster gun mount, essentially a curved rail that the gun could be slid backwards and down so the pilot could reach the magasine on top of the machine gun. This was a difficult feat to perform under anything but calm flying conditions. With a variety of stops on the mount the gun could be inclined to fire upwards as well. The Ni. 11 could also mount 8 Le Priur rockets on the wing spars for attacking balloons.

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Images From:
Nieuport 11: Photo by Jeff Friedrichs, used with his permission. This airworthy plane is part of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome collection.
Lewis Gun: L. Milberry, (Ed.). Sixty Years The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984.