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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Strafing and defeating an attack


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Saw the movie 'The Blue Max' on TV--any truth in the part that shows fighters strafing and helping the infantry defeat a British attack?Or fictional?

But I know the RAF had some good results in 1918.


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I don't know if the Germans used fighters in this role but they certainly used two-seaters, quite systematically in conjunction with ground troops. The Halberstadt CLII has been credited with a major role in the German counterattack at Cambrai in Nov '17, and later there was the Hannoveranna CL series, and the armoured Junkers J1. 'CL' was the designation of the lighter two-seaters for ground attack, as opposed to the 'C' types for reconnaisance and bombing.

The British tended to use single seaters, in particular the Camel. The Sopwith Salamander was an armoured ground attack version of the Snipe, but the war ended before it entered production.

If you use the forum search facility using "strafe" as a keyword, you should find several previous threads on this subject.

I should imagine the reason the film used German single seaters was becuase replica builders prefer to build single-seaters to two-seaters.


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If you still have the film take a look at the British and the germans attacking each other, the Germans have No 4 lee enfields and the number nine bayonet and the British have SMLE's with the 1907 pattern bayonet. The reason I think is that the rifles were on loan from the irish Army and the FCA (who played the soldiers) and the No4 rifles was the issue of the regulars while the FCA had to use the smles.

Yep I am a sad git to have noticed.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I lived in Dublin at the time, just north of where the Blue Max was filmed in the Wicklow mountains, and remember the odd sight of the biplanes dogfighting and emitting smoke in the skies.

Rumour was that a couple of the extras got so carried away with the trench warfare, they got bayonetted in the chest. I was never able to see it on the film though. If anyone else does, let me know and put me out of my misery.

Regds, Bill

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I've been meaning to ask this question about the Blue Max for donkey's years... there's a scence where Peppard & co strafe a British troop trafficjam, and you can see soldiers resting their riflebuts on the ground firing at the planes. Was this out of a training manual, to avoid damaged collarbones from recoil ?



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A sidepath: http://greatwar.nl/kleur/fr-gottstrafe.html explains where the word strafe comes from: Gott strafe England.

At the end of the Great War strafe found its way into British military slang.

That still puzzles me: who was the first one who used strafe for attack?




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