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The pursuit plane is antedated more rapidly than any other airplane used. In that class of fighting, the equality of the machine itself whose duty it is to seek a combat is a more material factor than any other class of machine.
Gen. Pershing states that it would have been a waste of time and money for the United States to have built 150 or 180 horsepower Spads at the time the order was canceled, as they would have been manifestly out of date before going into use (3816).
Perhaps the most serious failure made by the United States in production was that of the Bristol. If it had been developed into the machine it was intended to be, a powerful, speedy, maneuverable, two-place fighter, and placed in quantity numbers on the front in the summer of 1918 it would have been a very valuable addition to the allied aircraft forces.
OBSERVATION AND BOMBING PLANES
Neither the United States nor Germany used the heavy bombing machines known as night bombers during the war.
One hundred and one Handley-Page machines, a fabricated ship made by various manufacturers, were manufactured during the war. The parts knocked down were shipped to England for assembling, but none of these had reached the front at the time of the armistice. The Handley-Page was a heavy machine and capable of doing satisfactorily night bombing work.
The principal bombing machine used by the Americans was the DH-4, an American-made machine of which 628 reached the front, and 417 were used at the front. The DH-4 was used for daylight bombing purposes. It carried on bombing operations as far as 75 miles behind the German lines and had a carrying capacity as an ordinary load of about 520 pounds of bombs.
The De Haviland 4 was equipped both as a bombing plane and as an observation plane. As an observation plane, it was the principal reliance of the American forces during the war, and in that work per: formed a very necessary and useful function.
The observation machine is “the eyes of the Army.” It performs the most useful service that so far has been performed by airplanes in war.
In modern warfare, infantry can not successfully operate without them.
On the 30th of July 1918, our Army had 126 observation planes and 18 day bombers.
At the conclusion of the war, the American Army had 293 planes operating in observation work and 117 in day bombardment work (3304).
NUMBER OF PLANES DELIVERED
During the war the United States Army received for its own purposes 16,831 planes (520). Of this number 6,287 were delivered to the American Expeditionary Forces. Of the number delivered to the American Expeditionary Forces 5,071 were supplied by our Allies, of which 2,696 were training planes and 2,375 were service planes (489).
The total number of planes delivered to the Army prior to July 1, 1918, was 8,488 (3558). Of this number 2,416 had been supplied to the American Expeditionary Forces by our Allies up to that time.
Twelve hundred and sixteen planes of American manufacture were delivered to the American Expeditionary Forces during the war1,213 DH-4's, 2 LePeres, and 1 DH-9 (3302).
At the time of the armistice the Allies had orders from the United States for the further delivery of planes in large numbers (487–8).
During the war the Army delivered to the Navy 299 planes, of which 155 were of the service type (DH44 for bombing) and 144 of the training type (3551).
During the war the Navy procured 1,144 service-type machines in the United States, 1,084 training machines, and 36 experimental, in addition to the 299 secured from the Army, making a total of 2,563 American produced machines.
During the war the Navy procured from abroad 142 machines, making a total of 2,705 machines procured by the Navy (3551).
On the day of the armistice 3,538 airplanes were in use by the American Expeditionary Forces (555–h). Of these, 1,620 service planes were available for use on the front on that day (3299). Of the machines available for use on the front, 1,005 were in the zone of advance, of which 740 were actually on the front and 265 in the air depots in the zone of advance. The remaining 615 were in the air depots of the Service of Supply (3300),
The airplane is one of the most short-lived of all of the implements of war. As originally delivered they should be accompanied by a large percentage of spare parts—as much as 80 per cent of some spares. The wastage of a pursuit plane in active service during the war is estimated at 50 per cent per month, and the wastage of a day bombardment machine 3313 per cent (3312).
The total number of American-built airplanes available for use by the American Expeditionary Forces on the day of the armistice (DH-4's) was 798. Of this number 196 were on the front, 129 were in the zone of advance depots, and 203 were in the Service of Supply air depots, making the total of American-made machines available for use on the front on the day of the armistice 528. The remaining 270 American-built machines were being used for advanced training purposes in the American Expeditionary Forces flying schools (3299).
The majority report unworthily seeks to discredit American production and aircraft effectiveness on the front by dwelling on the claim that only 213 American made airplanes were on the front on the day of the armistice. The fallacy of the method of criticism is apparent. Two hundred and thirteen planes at the front is no more a test of American production of over 16,000 planes than would be a criticism that we had only 500,000 soldiers at the front, ignoring the fact that we had 1,500,000 behind the lines and 2,000,000 in America.
As a criticism of the effectiveness the contention is equally fallacious.
Two thousand three hundred and seventy-five service planes had been furnished the Americans by the Allies, in addition to 1,215 delivered from the United States, making a total of practically 3,600. Over 1,600 of these were available for use at the front on the
particular day of the armistice.
In other words, the lack of fairness of the criticism of the majority is manifested by the fact that they ignore the total number of planes actually used in battle during the war, they ignore the number of planes that were destroyed, the number that were in the rear for repairs, and the number that were in reserve and immediately available for use. They ignore the fact that the Allies had predominance of service planes over the enemy of about 100 per cent at the conclusion of the war. They ignore the fact that American aircraft fatalities in combat were on an average of one American to more than two and one-half of the enemy. They ignore the fact that France wanted to furnish planes to America, and without materials and supplies furnished by America France could not have maintained an air force nor could the Allies have predominated in the air.
AMERICAN PLANE PRODUCTION
The total plane production of the United States from the beginning of the war to the armistice was 11,760 (p. 520).
The comparison of the plane production of America with that of our Allies shows that in January 1918 production was as follows: Italy, 305; United States, 729; France, 1,484; England, 2,347. For September the production was: Italy, 374; United States, 1,207; France, 2,238; England, 2,726 (p. 561-a).
American land plane production reached its maximum in the month of October 1918, with 1,657 planes to the credit of that month. This is a production at the rate of over 19,000 planes per year. In January 1918 the Army production was 744, or at an average of over 8,000 per year. In July the production was 1,156 or at the rate of 13,000 per year. In July England reached a plane production at the rate of over 41,000 a year and France had reached a plane production at the rate of over 31,000 per year. The United States production during the 19 months of the war exceeded by over 50 per cent England's production during her first 31 months of war (p. 561-a).
The combined production of Army and Navy planes in the United States in January was 804, and for October, 1,942 (p. 3536). This was a combined production at the rate of over 23,000 planes per year.
PLANES ON HAND
The Army had on hand at the armistice 8,403 planes of which 3,538 were overseas and 4,865 were in the United States.
Following the war the United States sold 2,746 machines and 4,612 engines (p. 397).
On the 9th of August 1919 the total number of Army planes of various types, including captured German machines, was 9,270 (2910, LXVII-LXXI): Of these, 3,821 were rated as serviceable planes for use on the Mexican border on the 18th of December 1919 (pp. 3838-3840).
THE DE HAVILAND 4
On the 30th day of July 1917, after having carefully investigated the planes in use on the battle front, the Bolling Commission sent a cablegram to the United States recommending American manufacture of the De Haviland 4, an English machine. The English DH-4 was then giving satisfactory service on the western front (215), and the recommendation for its manufacture represented the joint judgment of the Allies (211, 2910-C).
Nevertheless, it was at that time recognized that the De Haviland 4 had defects, the elimination of which was being attempted by the development of the English De Haviland 9. The DH-9 had not been finally approved and had not reached quantity production. It was not then a demonstrated success. The judgment of the Allies was that it was better policy for the United States to manufacture the DH-4, accepting it as a machine of proven worth, even though not entirely satisfactory, than to attempt the quantity production of a inachine for this purpose whose success had not been demonstrated.
The manufacture of the DH-4 was then embarked upon as a stopgap proposition until such time as the DH-9 became a demonstrated success and could be placed in quantity production to supplant the DH-4 (211–212, 2910-CII).
Prior to the armistice the USD-9 had been developed and successfully tested as a day bomber. The Le Pere had been developed and tested as an observation plane. These two had been designed to replace the DH-4, which had been used for both purposes. Seven Le Peres had been constructed, two of which had been shipped overseas for test. The USD-9 had been sent to the experimental field in the United States. At the time of the armistice production orders had been placed for 4,000 USD-9's and 3,525 Le Peres. These were among the machines whose performance Gen. Mitchell declared outclassed anything used on the other side during the war (2634, 17).
The DH-9, as subsequently developed by the British, reached the front in April 1918.
The DH-4 was a two-place machine, with a Liberty 12 motor, as developed in America. It was equipped for bombing and observation purposes and with other equipment of these types, including photographic and radio outfits.
Up to the time of the armistice, the total number of De Havilands manufactured was 3,431, and up to the 31st of December 1918, deliveries had been made of 4,587. Deliveries began in February 1918, and were as follows: February, 9; March, 4; April, 15; May, 153; June, 336; July, 484; August, 224; September, 757; October, 1,097. Thus, production of De Havilands had reached a rate of over 12,000 per year (518).
Quantity production was reached in May 1918 (2910-C), which was the tenth month following the recommendation for its manufacture. The Dayton-Wright Airplane Co., the principal manufacturers of the De Haviland, was given the order to go ahead on the 18th of October 1917. They had reached quantity production of seventh month after order was given them. The first De Haviland received overseas was in May 1918 and they began to arrive in quantities in July 1918 (518, 175).
Of the De Haviland planes, 1,213 were received overseas prior to November 11, 1918. On the day of the armistice 798 of these were available for the use of the American Expeditionary Forces and 528 were available for use on the front at that time. Up to that date, 417 had been actually used on the front (3299). Of the 1,440 Dé Haviland 4’s sent overseas, 1,213 arrived prior to the armistice (3302). Six hundred and twenty-eight reached the zone of advance
before the armistice. Nine hundred and eighty-four were actually delivered to the Army. Of the others, 59 were crashed during flight tests or en route to delivery points; 44 were disassembled for spare parts; 67 were ready for delivery at the time of the armistice; 55 were in process of assembling; and 4 were uncrated (3302, 179).
The first squadron of De Havilands under control of the American Army passed over the German lines on the 7th day of August 1918.
The American-built De Haviland, on inspection by the designer of the English model, was approved by him and declared to be, in many respects, the superior of the British machine (2910 CVIII, 205).
The 'De Haviland Four being the only American-made service plane used at the front, has been the subject of more comment in America than any other plane used during the war.
The criticism has gone all the way from high commendation to unreserved condemnation. However, discounting the value of conclusions and weighing the concrete evidence presented, a fairly accurate appraisement is obtainable.
The speed of the De Haviland was rated at 124 miles per hour. It had the best speed of any machine of its type on the western front (3504).
In the race from New York to Toronto in a De Haviland, with some of its standard equipment slightly modified, Lieut. Maynard made an average of 134 miles per hour for the several hundred miles of the distance.
The DH-4 as a bomber had a practical ceiling of 15,000 feet, but ordinarily conducted bombing operations below that height (175, 176). It could remain in the air over three hours (2454). In ordinary operations it would gain an elevation of about 10,000 feet, sufficient to cross the lines within 25 to 30 minutes after leaving the ground (176).
The climbing ability of the DH-4 was as good as that of any other ship of its type on the western front. The DH-4 carried the ordinary equipment of an observation or a bombing plane, accordingly as it was used. The ordinary type had a gasoline capacity of 86 gallons, the contents of which weighed over 600 pounds. When used for bombing it carried from 400 to 800 pounds of bombs.
While recently preparing for a a long-distance flight, Lieut. Maynard placed additional tanks upon a De Haviland to carry 315 gallons of gasoline, weighing approximately 2,100 pounds. The additional tanks made a weight of over 200 pounds, which together made an additional load of over 2,300 pounds. With this load and the passenger, without attempting an altitude fight, within 30 minutes an elevation of 5,000 feet was reached (3504).