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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

rotary engined Be2?


Martin Bennitt
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just watched

this film clip

on the Great War Archive site. The description of a scene about half-way through says 'A rotary engine is fitted to a BE2.' Well it's certainly a rotary engine, but I can't find any reference to a Be2 having anything but inline power plants. If it's not a Be2, what is it?

cheers Martin B

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The BE3 and BE4 were effectively rotary engined BE2s but built in very small numbers and out of service by Nov 1914. The BE7 and BE8 were developed from the BE3 and 4. BE 8s were flown as single seaters to allow for a bomb load and a number of railway bridges and junctions were bombed in March 1915 to little effect The aircraft was not liked being described as a "nasty contraption"

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Thanks Centurion

the clip also shows what's described as an RE7, which also seems to have been considered useless and very much disliked. The Archive says the date of the film was April 1916, when everything shown in it (there's also a Bristol Scout) would have been totally obsolete. I was wondering whether the film was made earlier but not released for a bit for security reasons.

cheers Martin B

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The RE7 only entered service in Dec 1915 and was in use operationally until about August 1916 after which the survivors were used as target tugs and engine test beds. It wasn't completely useless as at the time it was the only aircraft capable of lifting the R.A.F. 336lb bomb. In July 1916 six RE7s dropped this bomb on a German Infantry HQ. Ammo dumps were also hit with the same weapon and a lot of damage done. The big problem with the aircraft was the R.A.F 4a engine with which it was fitted - this was both unreliable ( mainly because of the oil pump) and under powered. Some of the test bed RE7s (including one with a RR Falcon) showed that with a satisfactory engine it could have been a good heavy lifter.

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thanks again

any other comments on the film?

cheers Martin B

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thanks again

any other comments on the film?

cheers Martin B

I've downloaded it but can't get it to play!

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