Carousel 1 CAR6141 Nieuport 11 "Bebe" Fighter - Adjutant Norman Prince, Lafayette Escadrille, N.124, Verdun, 1916 (1:48 Scale)
"When you march into France, let the last man on the right brush the Channel with his sleeve."
General Alfred von Schlieffen, referring to the Schlieffen Plan just prior to his death in 1913
The Nieuport 11 was designed in response to the Fokker Scourge of 1915. Anthony Fokker's Eindecker aircraft were handing air superiority to the Central Powers, making Allied aerial observation very difficult.
Gustave Delage's answer to the Fokker menace was a scaled down version of the Nieuport 10 fighter. This small, lightly loaded sesquiplane (in fact, pilots called it Bebe) was not only faster than the Eindeckers, it could literally fly circles around the German design.
The designation "sesquiplane" meant that the lower wing was half the area of the upper wing, and despite the "Vee-strut" stabilizing, tended to twist and bend under very high stress. The airplane was controlled by ailerons, compared to the Fokker's obsolete wing-warping technology.
The Fokker Eindecker's main advantage in combat was that the armament was synchronized to fire through the aircraft's propeller. While at the time, the Allies did not possess a similar gun system, the Nie 11's biplane design meant that a Lewis or Hotchkiss machine gun could be mounted on the top wing to fire over the propeller, achieving similar results.
The plane was utilized in World War I. It reached the French front in January 1916, and 90 were in service within the month. Nieuport 11's were supplied to the Aviation Militaire, the Royal Naval Air Service, the Dutch air service, Belgian, Russia and Italy. (More than 450 were license produced by Italian companies.) Some Nie 11's were modified to fire rockets from the struts.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale French-built Nieuport 11 Bebe that was piloted by Adjutant Norman Prince of the Lafayette Escadrille, over Verdun in 1916. Sold Out!
Release Date: August 2006
Historical Account: "The Lafayette Escadrille" - The Lafayette Escadrille (LE) was made up of American pilots based in France that fought against the Jagdstaffeln of Germany prior to the United States entry into World War 1. Originally called the Escadrille Americaine, this group is perhaps as well remembered for their actions in the officer's club, as their success in the skies. The Lafayette Escadrille had 38 American pilots that rotated to other squads within the Lafayette Flying Corps, a part of the French Air Service. In all, 65 Lafayette Escadrille and Lafayette Flying Corps members perished during the air war effort over France. The Lafayette Escadrille was formed in April 1916 and carried the cause of freedom to skies over western Europe until the squadron was absorbed by the United States Air Service in 1918.