1/48 Sopwith 1B1 WWI French BiPlane Bomber


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1/48 Sopwith 1B1 WWI French BiPlane Bomber

The Sopwith 1½ Strutter appeared in the middle of 1916, and right after that the French Military Command became very interested in this new British development, since the French Air Force mostly had obsolete Farman and Breguet types in service. Agreement for license production of Sopwith 1½ Strutter was quickly reached; however, due to the slow speed of development, the type was not appearing in great quantity, and in the beginning France purchased 1½ Strutters produced in Great Britain.
By the end of 1916 the following companies were involved in production of the plane: Hanriot, Morane-Saulnier, Salmson, Nieuport and some others. In spite of the fact that all of these companies had developed similar aircraft of their own, they had to produce the 1½ Strutter, which now had the type names Sopwith 1.B1 (one-seat version) and Sopwith 1.B2 (two-seat version). French manufacturers managed to build about four thousand aircraft of both versions in quite a short period of time (until autumn 1917)
There was almost no difference between the licensed Sopwith 1.B1 and its British counterpart except for the way bombs were loaded and fixed in the middle of the fuselage. The Le Rhone 9Jb engine was installed in the majority of these planes, while British-built aircraft had a Clerget 9Z engine.
At the moment of its fighting debut in the winter of 1916/1917 the plane was still competitive in fighting missions. This was proved by numerous missions bombing German industrial centers.

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