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January 22, 2006
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Capt Biddle's SPAD XII Ca.1 by yankeedog Capt Biddle's SPAD XII Ca.1 by yankeedog
During WWI, several specially equipped SPAD XII Fighter planes were built with 37 MM cannons that fired through the propellor shaft. The design had several faults including noxious gas that filled the cockpit after firing the cannon. Another problem was that the cannon was a single shot and had to be reloaded by hand after each shot! Couple that with the violent energy of the recoil, the stress of aerial combat and the speed of the plane, this was no easy task. Still, if you hit your target, it was destroyed. SPAD "0" was the only Ca.1 in the American Air Service, it was originally intended for the American Ace David Putnam, but when Putnam was KIA over the front, the machine was given to his friend Capt Charles J. Biddle, CO of the 13th Aero Squadron, The Devil's Own Grim Reapers. Capt Biddle found the SPAD XII Ca.1 37 mm cannon difficult to operate, but stated that "if a shot ever hits a Hun, he might as well say his prayers...".

Capt. Biddle had 7 confirmed victories (10 probable) in WWI flying first with the Escadrille N. 73, then with Lafayette Escadrille and later with the 103rd Aero Squadron U.S.A.S. and the 13th Aero Squadron U.S.A.S. where he was CO, he eventually ended the war as CO of the 4th Pursuit Group.

SPAD: Societe pour l'Aviation et ses Derives - Society for Aviation and its Derivatives

Adobe Illustrator 8.0, Apple G4 Power Mac, OS 9.2.
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:iconstilgar:
stilgar Featured By Owner May 25, 2007  Professional General Artist
LOVE your work... I copy your info on the vector as a partial history of the planes and people... Love it.
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:iconyankeedog:
yankeedog Featured By Owner May 25, 2007
Thanks! There is usually a bigger picture behind my illustrations, I kind of feel the need to tell the story in words as well.
-YD
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:iconmasterofpointillism:
MasterOfPointillism Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2007
Are you sure he flew with the Lafayette Escadrille? I just got done reading a lenghty book on the sqaud and I don't remember his name at all .....
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:iconyankeedog:
yankeedog Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2007
Yes, I'm sure. [link] He wasn't one of the founding members of the Lafayette Escadrille, but Capt Charles J. Biddle served in both N73 and N124 of the French Air Service before transfering to the US Army Air Service. I believe he had one confirmed victory. He didn't become an Ace until he commanded the 13th Aero Squadron. He ended the war with 7 confirmed victories. Biddle wrote an excellent book about his service in WWI called The Way of the Eagle, sometimes reprints of it turn up on Ebay for a reasonable price, I think I paid about $18 for my copy. First editions of the book are pretty expensive.
-YD
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:iconmasterofpointillism:
MasterOfPointillism Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2007
Thanks for the link! I wonder why they don't meantion Bert Hall? Have you read his book, One Mans War? Most of it is full of B.S., but it is fun to read from his point of view ...
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:iconyankeedog:
yankeedog Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2007
You're welcome. That's odd, I know Bert Hall wasn't the most popular with his fellow aviators, but he did walk the walk and talk the talk, it must be an oversight. They have James Norman Hall listed. I'll have to pick up Bert Hall's book. If you are interested in WWI aviation, there is a cool web site called The Aerodrome [link] that is a wealth of information. If you ever see a book by Leighton Brewer called "Riders of the Sky", pick it up. It's pretty rare, but from time to time a copy turns up. It's an epic "poem", but don't expect something light & rhymey, it's a harsh tale of life with the Devil's Own Grim Reapers of the 13th Aero Squadron. I have a few passages in the description of this deviation: [link]
-YD
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:iconmasterofpointillism:
MasterOfPointillism Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2007
I found it on Amazon, but that's about it ...
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:iconluigibrasile:
luigibrasile Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2006
You could publish a book with your great aircraft images, compelte with your excellent captions!
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:iconyankeedog:
yankeedog Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2006
Thanks Luís! I would love to do a book someday, that would be cool! My dad keeps telling me I should do one.
-YD
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:iconfirefox446:
FireFox446 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2006
great job i like it :salute:
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