Talk:Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12

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Operators[edit]

Have cut two squadron references - the first is to No. 4 squadron AFC (a training squadron stationed in England) - according to the note this squadron used at least one B.E.8 (quite likely, as the B.E.8 was used as a trainer). The snag is that the B.E.8 and the B.E.12 are totally different types. The second is to "67 squadron RFC". This unit never actually existed - it was a designation given to "1 squadron AFC" at a time when the existence of the AFC was not officially recognised. The unit itself regarded itself as No.1 AFC (which unit is noted further down anyway). Worse, the reference is to 67 squadron RAF - a totally different unit in a different service.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 10:07, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

F.E.8 etc.[edit]

The point is that the B.E.12 is very often described as a quick cobble-up of a fighter dsigned to counter the Eindecker.

This is wrong on a whole rack of fronts, which need to be noted. (This is NOT my OR, but is based largely on Bruce).

The time factor - the B.E.12 was already flying bfore the "Fokker scourge" began anyway - it could not be fitted with synchronised armament (Vickers-Challenger in this case NOT C.C.) because same hadn't been developed. (The CC gear itself, another thing altogether, and something the Germans simply never matched, was more that a year away!) When guns were first fitted they were designed to fire upward - in the manner of the B.E.2c night fighter.

The fact is that by the time the Fokker scourge WAS underway the designers at the R.A.F were working on the F.E.8 - a much smaller aircraft than the B.E.12, and a pusher - so it didn't need to have a synchonised gun anyway. This gives the lie to the idea that (Bruce, as acknowledged in the text, points this out) a comparitively large notoriously clumsy aircraft was seriously put forward as a fighter (at least by its designers) in 1915. If Vickers and Darracq had produced their F.E.8s on time instead of nearly six months late (!) then it would have been roughly contemporary in time, as well as technology, with the D.H.2. - this is why the F.E.8 is relevant.

At the time the B.E.12 first flew the main shortcoming of the B.E.2c (from the point of view of the R.F.C) was NOT its stability and lack of effective defensive armament, as you might imagine - the Germans simply lacked a fighter until the eindecker came out, and until then no one in the RFC was worried about the idea of one of their aeroplanes being shot down by a German aeroplane - but its short range and limited payload. The formular was NOT "put a forward firing gun in it" (although that came later), but "Give it a more powerful engine, and replace the weight of the observer (usually left at home anyway) with a nice big fuel tank".

I'm NOT saying that the text as we have it necessarily says these things in the clearest most felicitous way possible - but this article certainly doesn't need the "missing the point" type editing that ruined our article on pusher aircraft. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:06, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Actually - I think you missed the point of my edits completely as I agree with you, and my edit was to try and improve how it was being expressed. The BE 12 was not originally a fighter - it was a bomber, in the vein of numerous bombers that had a single seat to increase bombload and range (most of which were converted two seaters). When the Fokkers arrived this whole class of aircraft was of course rendered obsolete almost overnight. It just so happened that someone thought they could use it as a anti-zeppelin/night fighter - and given some of the types developed for this role (Pemberton Billing PB.29/32 series for instance), it isn't all that an unlikely choice for an otherwise useless single seater. Any connection with the later (at least 6 months - a huge time frame at that time) F.E.8 is tenuous at best, and the lack of a synchronizer/interupter mechanism did not prevent quite a few other designers from mounting guns over the pilots head (British included) so to suggest it couldn't be a fighter because the Brits didn't have one specific mechanism yet is a moot point. The reference is there but it is poorly used and the asides don't help the argument. As for the BE-2 - the primary problem it had was Mr Pemberton Billing (a British MP) grandstanding and smearing the Royal Aircraft Factory because he wanted to sell the RFC his airplanes, and they weren't interested, mostly because they were unusable. That the RAF failed to revise the seating arrangement and arm the gunner properly certainly reduced its survivability but was not unsurmountable however if taken in context with the needs and capabilities of the time, modifying types already in the field would have required a huge expenditure of manpower when the type was expected to be superceeded anyway - it just took longer (as usual) to get the replacement than expected.
Since you brought up the whole thing about the pushers page I might point out that a pair of mangled, obsolete and mis-quoted so called experts were being used to make a complete mash of a very simple definition that resulted in no end of pointless argument. I resolved the argument - even if it took far more arguing that it should have. I certainly should not have had to find someone's university course notes to prove that their quote was taken out of context in support if a single individual's seriously confused ideas. Each and every page that is that far off base reduces Wikipedia's stature as a reliable reference, and it has a hard enough job being taken seriously as it is.NiD.29 (talk) 02:14, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Good to know we are not so much at cross purposes as I thought. Bruce brings up the point of the F.E.8 - it actually had a rather protracted genesis - designed in early 1915, although not flying in prototype form until October 1915, it is quite closely contemporary with the B.E.12 (in fact very little behind the D.H.2, which had the same basic layout). Production took a long time to get going, but that's another story. The point is (and again this is Bruce's point rather than mine - it goes to show that the people at the R.A.F. were very much aware that a fighter needed to be manoeverable. Home defence (night fighting) was another matter - stability was a great virtue when trying to fly at night with almost none of the modern instruments considered essential nowadays. The single seat B.E.2c night fighter was actually quite a hit in the anti-zeppelin department - the B.E.12 would have made a nice replacement in this role if it had climbed a bit better, as it was the later German airships left it standing by simply dropping large quantities of ballast. It was the R.F.C. who had the stupid idea of using the B.E.12 as a fighter against the Albatros on the Western Front.
The point about the synchronised gun the production B.E.12 was finally fitted with was that it wasn't in the offing until quite late in the piece. Looking at the whole late 1916 B.E.12 package complete with its armament is what seems to have fuelled the idea that it was a failed fighter, rather than a single-seat general purpose/bomber aircraft.
You are a LITTLE unkind to Billing (he actually sold off his share in the Supermarine works to eliminate any conflict of interest, and probably DID believe at least some of his own rhetoric) - the groundwork for the "anti Royal Aircraft Factory movement" lies in the "work" of an eminent aviation journalist called C.G. Grey - who attacked everything the R.A.F. did - going right back to the time they were called the "Balloon Factory"!! Billing's hysterics, and the "Fokker Scourge" period casualties (light as they were in comparison with what was the accepted norm a bit later on) gave Grey's rants a basis in what looked like fact. Anyway - that sort of thing belongs in an updated R.A.E. article.
I got quite upset about the pusher article and took it off my watchlist (I'm sure you'll undertand why!) - my only point was that I didn't (and don't) want that to happen here. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 13:17, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Grey did his share however I think his influence was limited to the folks reading aviation journals and was regarded as a bit of a crank, while Billing had a much broader audience and a much more lasting influence, particularly as he directed his rants at people unable to judge his claims. Even having sold off his shares, it smells of sour grapes (or opportunism) rather than concern over casualties - particularly when viewed against the toll in the trenches. The RAF people were among the best designers/engineers in Britain although they spent too much time on basic theory that should have already been done. They were learning as they went so mistakes were inevitable but they did remarkably well, and yet their accomplishments have been poorly served by both Grey and Billing.
re:synchronized gun - most of the "history" written about the era up into the mid 70s at the very least is so wide of the mark on so many counts as to be useless as a reference. Until WW2 everything was propaganda, and for a generation after was coloured by the experiences of WW2, often made up from vaguely recalled memories. The Nieuport 12 and B.E.2C here in Ottawa were both butchered in the 1960s by the RCAF to match what people thought they were. The Nieuport was extensively modified to make it into a Beardmore machine because a French Nieuport here was seen as improbable (it was donated by the French to the Dominion Archivist, along with posters and a 75mm cannon), while the BE-2C was converted into an anti-Zeppelin aircraft because the story of it being similar to the aircraft that shot down a Zeppelin morphed into it WAS the aircraft that shot the Zeppelin down and the RCAF had to make it so.
re:upset - unlike that page, no-one is even looking at this page to start an argument - look at the page view stats. On the pusher article, an individual was attempting to push their opinion and it was causing a considerable amout of argument which had now ended. In fact almost the only activity there now are minor tweaks and undoing periodic vandalism which is as it should be.
I was going to post here an alternate redo of the page (I think it needs it) but must go.NiD.29 (talk) 17:38, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Had a little retro look at the pusher article and really just can't believe how bad it is now!!! EVERYTHING needs changing - starting from the "scope" which is now plain silly and needs pulling back to describing what a "pusher aeroplane" is. Won't mention it again, especially here.
Am reinstating the valid point you made about single seat bombers. Otherwise I don't see a valid conflict here. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Looks good though I personally prefer to keep the references hidden away and somewhat impersonal as it makes it sound like the opinion of one individual and tends to reduce its strength. I suspect most current ww1 aviation historians would agree with his statement even if they haven't published.
Pushers must have fallen off my scope - to be honest I never really liked how it started by talking about a model, since models have been around since antiquity and are not really representative of the possible. So long as the opening is reasonably accurate I am happy, as the rest will always be the victom of the whims of fanboys. In an ideal world, once an article reaches a certain degree of quality, it should be locked to reduce the maintainance effort. OTOH it really needs direction as it flops around, going everywhere and getting nowhere. With so many people watching any change is likely to result in a disagreement though. Instead I have been completing grossly incomplete lists since there is less room for argument and interprations on syntax - indeed that is how I arrived at this page since I was adding to the 'fighters' list (having purged it of a bunch of fanboy crap and added a lot of missing aircraft - I marked it as a zeppelin fighter).NiD.29 (talk) 02:43, 21 January 2012 (UTC)