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Osprey Duel 7


Sopwith Camel vs. Fokker Dr.I
Western Front 1917-18


by Jon Guttman


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Duel #7 -Sopwith Camel vs Fokker Dr. I Western Front 1917-18
ISBN: 9781846032936
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 80 pages
Price: GBP£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Direct comparisons between the machines; logically laid out; carefully considered conclusions
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by
Rob Baumgartner

Osprey's Duel Sopwith Camel vs. Fokker Dr.I is available online from Squadron.com




The concept of the “Duel” series is an interesting one and this book continues that formula with the confrontation between the Sopwith Camel and the Fokker Dr.I

These are the combatants that first spring to mind when the general public think of WWI “dogfights”. So it is fitting that Osprey use these familiar types to introduce First World War aviation to the series.

A lot is covered in the 80 pages provided and these are divided up into seven main chapters with further entries providing complimentary information.

After the brief introduction, a chronology of the pertinent time period is looked at. The book then moves into the design and development of each aircraft. Technical specifications are compared between the types with the various pros and cons of each design are taken into consideration.

One area that will raise the eyebrow of Dr.I aficionados is the comment “While the F.Is and early Dr.I had ailerons of different square metrage to compensate for the engine torque, those of later Dr.Is had identical ailerons of increased area”. Well…conventional wisdom doesn’t agree with this.

After the wing failures, later modified Dr.Is helped use up the original ailerons when these items had their balances reduced. It was only then that different area ailerons were seen on the one aircraft.

An illustration of the cockpits can also be found in this section. They are drawn from the same angle and easily show the differences between the Camel and Triplane. Sadly the one for the latter aircraft is not detailed to the same standard as others in the series.

Although the exact layout of the Dr.I is not known, there are some notable omissions all the same. The fuel filler cap is shown so why not the oil filler on the other side? The large fuel gauge between the machine guns is untitled and so is the Bosch magneto switch.

Naturally the strategic role of these fighters needs to be discussed and this precedes a chapter on the pilots that flew them. The section on “Combat” gives a blow by blow account of encounters between these aircraft where known and the commentary is given extra life with passages from the participants themselves.

The final two chapters analyse the results and provide the reader with a summery of the conclusions. The evaluation is unbiased and the author explains his results in a way that is both authoritive and convincing.





Much has been written about these aircraft in the past but this latest approach allows the reader a different perspective.

By making direct comparisons between the machines, the enthusiast is able get a better feel for what the pilots of each aircraft were likely to experience against each other.

The author has taken many issues into consideration to come to his conclusions. He has done this without making the text dry and keeps the readers interest until the end.

Thus it makes a worthwhile entry into what one hopes will be more in this series that relate to WWI aviation.


Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample

Review Copyright 2008 by Rob Baumgartner
Page Created 28 April, 2008
Last updated 29 April, 2008

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