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HagarTheHorrible

SE5a a bit funny ?

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I couldn’t tell you if it's right or wrong although I suspect, at the very least, a bit off but I do find it odd that I can fly pretty much on the rudder and elevators and almost disregard the ailerons.  It’s very much the same as I fly the rotaries, leading with the rudder and fine tuning with the ailerons, using them as little as possible to try and avoid adverse yaw. Maybe that’s just how it should be ?

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I  use outside aileron to control bank angle, to prevent the stepping of the turn .

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3 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

Maybe that’s just how it should be ?

Yes.

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The gun placement on it is so wonky why one gun on the side and one over the wing ? Its fun to fly and it does its job well from using it but think thats kind of an odd choice. 

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5 hours ago, Gamington said:

The gun placement on it is so wonky why one gun on the side and one over the wing ? Its fun to fly and it does its job well from using it but think thats kind of an odd choice. 

 

The upper-wing Lewis could be pulled back on its Foster mounting to be fired upwards at an angle - useful for attacking two-seaters from below, since the gunner would find it difficult to return fire. According to the Wikipedia article on MG synchroniser mechanisms, the RFC had a lot of trouble with reliability, and saw the Lewis as the primary gun - Wikipedia claims that Albert Ball had the Vickers removed from his S.E.5 to save weight. As always, Wikipedia probably shouldn't be relied on though.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronization_gear#British_gears

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16 hours ago, AndyJWest said:

 

The upper-wing Lewis could be pulled back on its Foster mounting to be fired upwards at an angle - useful for attacking two-seaters from below, since the gunner would find it difficult to return fire. According to the Wikipedia article on MG synchroniser mechanisms, the RFC had a lot of trouble with reliability, and saw the Lewis as the primary gun - Wikipedia claims that Albert Ball had the Vickers removed from his S.E.5 to save weight. As always, Wikipedia probably shouldn't be relied on though.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronization_gear#British_gears

Ah ok ya that totally makes more sense.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/14/2019 at 3:44 AM, Gamington said:

The gun placement on it is so wonky why one gun on the side and one over the wing ? Its fun to fly and it does its job well from using it but think thats kind of an odd choice. 


1. Synchroonizing two guns is much more difficult than synchronising one, and British were still learning to do that.

2. S.E.5 fuselage was to narrow to physically accomodate two Vickers guns, ammunition, synchronisers etc; that's why second gun wasn't modded in when they knew how to synchronise it. 

3. RFC were using overwing Lewis as weapon of choice far to long and wee used to it; it was tried and tested setup when S.E.5 was being introduced, while synchronised Vickers more RNAS thing - only some Strutter squadrons in RFC used it, I think. Some pilots, like Albert Ball, disassembled the Vickers to save weight and flew with overwing alone. 

Edited by J2_Trupobaw
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44 minutes ago, J2_Trupobaw said:


1. Synchroonizing two guns is much more difficult than synchronising one, and British were still learning to do that.

2. S.E.5 fuselage was to narrow to physically accomodate two Vickers guns, ammunition, synchronisers etc; that's why second gun wasn't modded in when they knew how to synchronise it. 

3. RFC were using overwing Lewis as weapon of choice far to long and wee used to it; it was tried and tested setup when S.E.5 was being introduced, while synchronised Vickers more RNAS thing - only some Strutter squadrons in RFC used it, I think. Some pilots, like Albert Ball, disassembled the Vickers to save weight and flew with overwing alone. 

 

 

1.  Sopwith seemed to apply an acceptably acceptable synchronising system for the Camel, maybe it wasn't perfect but possibly no less so than competing German versions of the period.

 

2. The Americans, although right at the end of the war/ post war period, fitted two Vickers to the top deck of the SE5a, space wasn't a problem, it was a design choice.

 

3.  The Lewis wasn't actually such a strange design decision, although it might look odd to us in this day and age.  It did away with the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket, relying on the imperfect, mechanical, synchronizer systems then available.  It was probably considered that a single Vickers was more than adequate for the task of forcing down enemy aircraft, especially with the introduction of the Hazelton muzzle booster.  The worry for pilots was being caught "Sausage Side" with no means of defence if a single weapon jammed.  The Lewis solved both those problems in one lightweight package.  It's main advantage though lay in the fact that is was designed for the purpose of sneaking up under high flying recon aircraft and attacking them unseen. Flying and climbing at the limits of altitude was time consuming, aircraft performance advantages, for the attacker, minimised and the risk of detection and counter fire greatly increased.  That the SE5a proved effective in a wider range of tasks than the one for which it was designed should not condem design choices that maybe appear quirky even if they seem strange when the aircraft was used in it's other roles.

 

I think we get a warped sense of what constitutes a successful outcome from games like RoF/FC.  Most pilots would have been quite happy to quit while the going was good if a few rounds damaged their aircraft and opportunity to exit an unhealthy enviroment presented itself.

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4 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

1.  Sopwith seemed to apply an acceptably acceptable synchronising system for the Camel, maybe it wasn't perfect but possibly no less so than competing German versions of the period.

 

2. The Americans, although right at the end of the war/ post war period, fitted two Vickers to the top deck of the SE5a, space wasn't a problem, it was a design choice.

 

3.  The Lewis wasn't actually such a strange design decision, although it might look odd to us in this day and age.  It did away with the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket, relying on the imperfect, mechanical, synchronizer systems then available.  It was probably considered that a single Vickers was more than adequate for the task of forcing down enemy aircraft, especially with the introduction of the Hazelton muzzle booster.  The worry for pilots was being caught "Sausage Side" with no means of defence if a single weapon jammed.  The Lewis solved both those problems in one lightweight package.  It's main advantage though lay in the fact that is was designed for the purpose of sneaking up under high flying recon aircraft and attacking them unseen. Flying and climbing at the limits of altitude was time consuming, aircraft performance advantages, for the attacker, minimised and the risk of detection and counter fire greatly increased.  That the SE5a proved effective in a wider range of tasks than the one for which it was designed should not condem design choices that maybe appear quirky even if they seem strange when the aircraft was used in it's other roles.

 

I think we get a warped sense of what constitutes a successful outcome from games like RoF/FC.  Most pilots would have been quite happy to quit while the going was good if a few rounds damaged their aircraft and opportunity to exit an unhealthy enviroment presented itself.

 

The Lewis gun wasn’t unanimously liked. Many pilots used it as a spare gun and seldom reloaded it in flight. IIRC, Cecil Lewis really disliked the arrangement. The handle would hit people in the head when they released the gun, and it could bend the rail. Cecil once had to fly back to base with a Lewis gun in his face because the rail was bent when he tried to reload it and the gun smacked him in the head. It was also difficult to reload it at high altitudes because they did not have strength to manage the gun and pull it back into place. They had to descend to a reasonable altitude to do the task.

 

Some quotes from WWI authors, and you could say Alex Revell is an expert of the 56Th Squadron because of High in The Empty Blue.

 

Don't forget that a full drum of Lewis was no light weight and it was no easy task to reload it onto the gun. Slipstream also caused a problem when taking off the empty. Also, the gun had a nasty habit of falling down the slide and hitting people on the head. Many pilots didn't even bother to reload the Lewis once they had fired off the drum, and after Ball not many pulled down the Lewis to fire upwards, certainly not as a tactic. ie. 'I'll get below him and then fire upwards'. It was a technique which Ball used on the Nieuport. C M Crowe told me he never bothered to reload the Lewis unless he had plenty of time and there was nothing in the sky around him. Even then he often didn't. [Alex Revell]

 

-------

 

Yes, Grey, pilots did reload the Lewis in FLIGHT, but rarely while in a FIGHT. I did a bit of research on this several years ago which included SE pilots Gordon Collinson, George Vaughn, Fred Tully and others. The concensus was that the wing-mounted Lewis was of marginal value at best. It was generally used until it ran out of ammo, after which the pilot would rely on the Vickers alone. In some cases it was used as a reserve gun as Dan has pointed out. [Stephen Skinner]

 

-------

 

Regarding pulling down the Lewis gun to fire upwards, it wasn’t also a popular tactic. The 56th Squadron has several quotes of pilots pulling it down in the first iterations of the SE5 in High in The Empty Blue, but when they started to get the later versions and engine modifications, the quotes kind of disappear. I think was McCudden who said it was easier to prop hang than to do all the gymnastics of pulling it down.

 

And we seem to have an inaccuracy in the angle that the developers chose to reload the gun and to give option to fire it upwards. As everything indicates, the gun was reloaded at a 75-80 degrees angle and fired in the same position. They could fire it obliquely, but it does not appear to be having been a common occurrence. Or I might be wrong, but I never saw an account with the term “oblique”, and High in The Empty Blue has dozens of them, plus the memoirs of Bishop and Ball. But for sure I never saw an account of them using it in turnfights to “fire across the circle”. I think this is a term created by forum people. They fired it upwards with the aircraft more or less in a straight line or doing zooming up maneuvers. Not even in Bishop and Albert Ball’s memoirs I saw any mentions of it. It was not an easy task to fire it upwards, not to mention try to do acrobatics in between.

 

Plus, people pull the Lewis gun down in-game to fire at better turning aircraft while pulling Gs, doing rolls and such. As it indicates, it not only did not occur in the war, but it wasn’t like people do here. The gun was loose of the rail, even with the few who used the bungee cord. They had to deal with recoil, with strength to hold the gun halfway the rail (mentioned above) and shoot at the same time. 

 

So I’m not sure why they choose to animate the reloading scene at a 45 degrees angle and give the option to fire it obliquely in turnfights. From all the accounts and researches, and I might be wrong, the correct would be to animate it at a 75-80 degrees angle and give the option to fire upwards at the same angle. It would make harder for people to exploit it in turnfights. If the gun was occasionally fired at a 45 degrees angle in the war, just disregards it and favors the more common 75-80 degrees position, which is also the same position they reloaded it.

 

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Just now, SeaW0lf said:

 

Don't forget that a full drum of Lewis was no light weight and it was no easy task to reload it onto the gun. Slipstream also caused a problem when taking off the empty. Also, the gun had a nasty habit of falling down the slide and hitting people on the head. Many pilots didn't even bother to reload the Lewis once they had fired off the drum, and after Ball not many pulled down the Lewis to fire upwards, certainly not as a tactic. ie. 'I'll get below him and then fire upwards'. It was a technique which Ball used on the Nieuport. C M Crowe told me he never bothered to reload the Lewis unless he had plenty of time and there was nothing in the sky around him. Even then he often didn't. [Alex Revell]

 

-------

 

Yes, Grey, pilots did reload the Lewis in FLIGHT, but rarely while in a FIGHT. I did a bit of research on this several years ago which included SE pilots Gordon Collinson, George Vaughn, Fred Tully and others. The concensus was that the wing-mounted Lewis was of marginal value at best. It was generally used until it ran out of ammo, after which the pilot would rely on the Vickers alone. In some cases it was used as a reserve gun as Dan has pointed out. [Stephen Skinner]

 

-------

 

I would love to see something related to this implemented for the Lewis gun (and Parabellum), especially for the upcoming two-seaters. That is: greatly limit the amount of g forces either the pilot or gunner can tolerate during a reload. Additionally, it would be useful if you could discard half-empty drums when out of a fight in order to enter the fight with a full drum.

 

That, and actual g forces on gunners, obviously. Right now the system is already in place that a rear gunner moves slower the further he is zoomed in. Surely it could be possible to implement this for increasing g? At 2g (that is a 60 degree bank angle turn) he should only be able to move the gun at 50% of his normal speed, and anything over 2g should either immobilize him completely or force him to sit down. Negative gs should be more unforgiving still, with the gunner being slowed down at less than 1g and immobilized (or even ejected) at less than 0g.

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6 minutes ago, J5_Hellbender said:

 

I would love to see something related to this implemented for the Lewis gun (and Parabellum), especially for the upcoming two-seaters. That is: greatly limit the amount of g forces either the pilot or gunner can tolerate during a reload. Additionally, it would be useful if you could discard half-empty drums when out of a fight in order to enter the fight with a full drum.

 

That, and actual g forces on gunners, obviously. Right now the system is already in place that a rear gunner moves slower the further he is zoomed in. Surely it could be possible to implement this for increasing g? At 2g (that is a 60 degree bank angle turn) he should only be able to move the gun at 50% of his normal speed, and anything over 2g should either immobilize him completely or force him to sit down. Negative gs should be more unforgiving still, with the gunner being slowed down at less than 1g and immobilized (or even ejected) at less than 0g.

 

That would be cool. Perhaps they are considering it with the recent talks of G-forces fatigue and all.

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1 hour ago, J5_Hellbender said:

 

I would love to see something related to this implemented for the Lewis gun (and Parabellum), especially for the upcoming two-seaters. That is: greatly limit the amount of g forces either the pilot or gunner can tolerate during a reload. Additionally, it would be useful if you could discard half-empty drums when out of a fight in order to enter the fight with a full drum.

 

That, and actual g forces on gunners, obviously. Right now the system is already in place that a rear gunner moves slower the further he is zoomed in. Surely it could be possible to implement this for increasing g? At 2g (that is a 60 degree bank angle turn) he should only be able to move the gun at 50% of his normal speed, and anything over 2g should either immobilize him completely or force him to sit down. Negative gs should be more unforgiving still, with the gunner being slowed down at less than 1g and immobilized (or even ejected) at less than 0g.

 

Has this request been approved by Cptn. Darling ?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SeaW0lf said:

 

That would be cool. Perhaps they are considering it with the recent talks of G-forces fatigue and all.

 

1 hour ago, Zooropa_Fly said:

 

Has this request been approved by Cptn. Darling ?

 

 

The oracle has indeed been consulted, and while its will is cryptic even to me, it would appear that it finds the request reasonable, possibly within the realm of the implementable (is that even a word?), providing a direct benefit to both the WWI and WWII portions of the game which in turn could lead to improved commercial success, and thus, is likely to be completely ignored as per usual. In other words: no need for us to get concerned.

 

That's some next-level reverse psychology.

 

Seriously, though, we love 1C/777 and understand that gunners are not a priority, nor a particularly popular playstyle, but we've been asking for some love since at least 2011. Here's hoping.

Edited by J5_Hellbender
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Posted (edited)

On Se5a gun layout. I did look into this a couple of years ago and posted links on RoF forum. Here's what i found.

 

 

"The deciding factor is that when the SE5 was introduced, the CC Gear worked for only one gun. It was not until near the end of 1917 that the CC Gear was worked to synchronize two guns.
So that's the answer. When the SE5 came out, the CC Gear worked for one gun, not two. When the Sopwith Dolphin came out, the CC Gear worked for two guns as well as for one. Given how far back the pilot sat from the nose of the SE5, mechanical gearing was not feasible (and that is another story)."

 

"The RFC and RNAS used many different synchronizing gear before they became the RAF and standardized on the CC Gear. All used mechanical linkages, which on British planes at least tended to warp, bend, and fail. (The French Alkan-Hamy gear ran the push rod through an unused steam tube in the cooling jacket of the Vickers gun to mitigate warping.) The CC Gear was not adapted to twin-gun mounts until late 1917. In practical terms, that meant it did not see use in the field until 1918. "

 

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-64807.html

 

Edited by US103_Baer
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I read also that Brits take Frenchmen (Guynemer) suggestions and used overwing gun to hunt Boches two seaters with the same success as in Newport. 

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It was Albert Ball, not Guynemer, who was sneaking on two-seaters from below with Lewis gun. He was British star ace at and major influence  at time when S.E.5 was being developed, and really believed in Lewis guns. And Nieuports. He'd be happiest flying Lewis-armed Nieuport; instead, his personal S.E.5 (among very useful adaptations that became standard in S.E.5.a) had no Vickers gun, but instead second Lewis fiing downwards thorugh hole in the floor. 

Myself, I really whish we had an option to remove the thing and fly just with Vickers :). 

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18 minutes ago, J2_Trupobaw said:

 instead, his personal S.E.5 (among very useful adaptations that became standard in S.E.5.a) had no Vickers gun, but instead second Lewis fiing downwards thorugh hole in the floor. 

 

Looks like this arrangement was short lived. The text below shows a bit of what I found while researching about the SE5a guns arrangement.

 

From the book SE5a In Action [John F Connors]

 

YliiCMN.jpg

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, US103_Baer said:

 

"The deciding factor is that when the SE5 was introduced, the CC Gear worked for only one gun. It was not until near the end of 1917 that the CC Gear was worked to synchronize two guns.
So that's the answer. When the SE5 came out, the CC Gear worked for one gun, not two. When the Sopwith Dolphin came out, the CC Gear worked for two guns as well as for one. Given how far back the pilot sat from the nose of the SE5, mechanical gearing was not feasible (and that is another story)." 

 

I don't think that is the reason, the Sopwith Triplane could be and was equipped with twin Vickers in 1916 as was the Camel from the start in early 1917.

 

Looking at the early development of the SE5, the choice of a single Vickers offset to the left was ultimately dictated by the internal arrangement of the V-8 engine and related equipment and the position of the windshield, so that the pilot could clear jams. 

 

more info:

 

image.png.dc350bfb97a909868e5ef4b485982489.png

 

image.png.5d8ea022e90bb0fe67572fc66ab1d422.png

 

image.png.b4370d34a1dc781702c111b2f63dc11a.png

 

image.png.99832af140f88932918128be9d89585a.png

image.png.79153c9f800a12aacbe14731ce7339f3.png

Edited by Sgt_Joch

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Posted (edited)

@Sgt_Joch interesting! Tony Williams does talk about the British being afraid of synchronizing incendiary ammunition through the airscrew, perhaps the Lewis installation you mention is related to that.

 

As alluded to, the engine is a major factor. The very rearward  and offset position of Se5 Vickers creates long travel for sync gear and is one reason that necessitates hydraulic synchronization thus the CC gear. Tony Williams also mentions that increased rof from muzzle boosting dictated a move towards hydraulic sync too. (for the British).

 

As the last para in my post states, the British twin synchronizers till late 1917 were mechanical and of relatively short distance, for the reasons given. Rotaries obviously lending themselves to this arrangement. Though afaik Camels did change to use CC gear eventually - probably for rof and standardisation reasons.

 

So when all added together, it seems that the best arrangement Folland could come up with, to get twin guns for an HS powered Se5 in its development period of late 1916-early 1917, would have been 1 Vickers with CC sync and 1 overhead Lewis.

Edited by US103_Baer

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, J2_Trupobaw said:

Myself, I really whish we had an option to remove the thing and fly just with Vickers :). 

 

Why? In game the SE5a is plenty fast enough even with the lewis, and 2 guns are better than 1 for BnZ.

 

The Spad7 180 use case in RoF is instructional as obviously the Lewis is optional. Most people will take it with the lewis for the additional firepower and ammunition! (the 180 is cursed with only 350 rounds for it's single vickers), though remove it if going to fly very high against the uber-BMWs.  Personally i prefer to take it for the attack versatility it brings, and let the uber craft come down if they want to fight. If SE5a lewis was optional it'd probably be the same deal.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by US103_Baer

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Sgt_Joch said:

 

I don't think that is the reason, the Sopwith Triplane could be and was equipped with twin Vickers in 1916 as was the Camel from the start in early 1917.

 

Looking at the early development of the SE5, the choice of a single Vickers offset to the left was ultimately dictated by the internal arrangement of the V-8 engine and related equipment and the position of the windshield, so that the pilot could clear jams. 




 

24 minutes ago, US103_Baer said:

 

Why? In game the SE5a is plenty fast enough even with the lewis, and 2 guns are better than 1 for BnZ.

 

The Spad7 180 use case in RoF is instructional as obviously the Lewis is optional. Most people will take it with the lewis for the additional firepower and ammunition! (the 180 is cursed with only 350 rounds for it's single vickers), though remove it if going to fly very high against the uber-BMWs.  Personally i prefer to take it for the attack versatility it brings, and let the uber craft come down if they want to fight. If SE5a lewis was optional it'd probably be the same deal.

 

 

 

 

 


IIRC two-gun modifications of Triplane started limited field-testing in spring 1917, when S.E.5.a was already flying. It was abandoned in favour of Camel, which was still in development and slated to replace Triplane in few more months. Which it did. Anyway, by the time Sopwith (a competing company!) started fitting two guns on Triplane, S.E.5 was finishing development , or already in production. Two guns setup would be plausible if RFC and Sopwith shared information and S.E.5 development could be postponed for 3-4 months, but RFC needed better scouts for yesterday as they were still flying D.H.2s and Nieuports. 

Comparisons between Lewis and Vickers N.17s in RoF showed that overwing compromises roll and slow speed handling. S.E.5.a has excellent roll and makes good scissors fighter when cornered (and, unlike Spad, can't dive away or soak bullets disengaging), it would be even better without the overwing. Spad is a  cow in roll, overwing or not  pure BnZ plane that can't be helped, so you lose nothing by taking the overwing. S.E.5. a could be helped.

IIRC US pilots did exactly that, removing Lewis and flying with single Vickers?

 

Edited by J2_Trupobaw

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I think, having the option to remove the Lewis, not that it would happen, would be akin to gaming the game.  It would go against the historical reasoning for having two guns and the back up security that provided, something that is totally lost in games like RoF or FC.   I can see from a aircraft performance perspective why it would want to be done though.  The SE5a must have been considered plenty fast enough by the pilots, even with the Foster mount. Having that security of speed and having to worry a lot less about being taken unawares must have been a considerable relief to the pilots.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, J2_Trupobaw said:

Americans did remove it, though :)

 

Was this official, or a personal choice ?

 

Was it later, 1919 I think,  when the Americans went with fitting two Marlins MG's for their pursuit sqaudrons

SE5aUSASwMarlinMGs.thumb.jpg.d03b5ef260c851ee01039d797e050af4.jpg

 

By way of contrast, the Camel had a deck space of 2'.3" for fitting guns, the SE5a 2'.4".

Edited by HagarTheHorrible

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7 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

I think, having the option to remove the Lewis, not that it would happen, would be akin to gaming the game.  It would go against the historical reasoning for having two guns and the back up security that provided, something that is totally lost in games like RoF or FC.

 

We have an Albatros D.Va that can sport an overwing Lewis trophy based on, what, one photograph?

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