S u m m a r y
||Osprey Aircraft of the
Aces #78 SE5/5a Aces of World War I
||Soft cover, 96 pages
GBP£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Well respected writer, excellent format, first-hand
accounts, easy to read style, superb artwork.
Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner
Osprey's SE5 / SE5a Aces of World War
1 is available online from Squadron.com
With an aircraft as numerous as the SE5/5a, it was only a matter of
time before it featured as a title in its own right. This then is the
latest in the Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series.
There is a lot of information contained within the 96 pages which is not
surprising as almost 100 aces flew in the type. Nearly 115 black and
white photographs are interspersed throughout the book with each one
carefully selected for its relevance.
are 31 colour profiles with a further 6 plan views to illustrate the
aircraft those aces flew. Harry Dempsey is responsible for these and
they are superb. Eagle-eyed viewers will note that his style of
rendering has changed over previous representations of this machine.
Speaking of which, it is not surprising that six of the aircraft have
been seen in previous books in this series. All things considered this
seems a reasonable ratio.
The volume starts with a look at the flying qualities of the “Scout
Experimental 5” before focusing on its introduction to 56 Squadron. This
newly created unit contained 26 aces that piloted the SE5/5a, including
such luminaries as McCudden, Bowman, Rhys Davids and Hoidge.
The second unit to receive this fighter was No.60 Squadron when it
replaced its Nieuport 17s and 23s in June 1917. No.84 Squadron followed
suit and rounds out the chapter with its acquisitions in August of that
The book then continues to present each of the other formations that
used this important aircraft. Not forgotten is the Middle East where
Nos.17, 111, and 150 Sqn. all had aces flying far from the Western
Norman Franks presents the information in a style that belies the
subject’s technical nature. By mixing in personal accounts from the
participants themselves, the author relates their stories in an easily
The appendices give a helpful list of aces as well as the units they
Not only is the flyers’ total number of victories given, but the
table breaks it down into conquests that occurred within both their
squadron and the SE5/5a as well.
For a pleasant, laid back look at those airmen who mastered the
SE5/5a, this is an excellent read.
The layout of the book makes it an essential source for enthusiasts to
quickly and easily look up a particular participant. The comprehensive
index adds to this with each significant mention of a pilot, squadron or
aircraft serial number getting an entry.
Thus it becomes a very welcome addition to the other WWI titles in this
Osprey Publishing for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2007 by Rob Baumgartner
Page Created 17 July, 2007
24 December, 2007
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