The Fighter that Never Was…..

Penston's Ponderous Protector

Penston’s Ponderous Protector

The BE12. Before the Great War, the Royal Aircraft Factory developed the two-seater BE2, an aeroplane to be deployed by the Army as a aerial reconnaissance machine. As such, the great priority was for it to be stable. With no great need for speed. Unfortunately the rules of warfare in the air changed when the fighter aeroplane appeared with a forward-firing machine gun. And it was a German one. The poor BE2 found itself virtually helpless and a great deal too many men were lost as the production of BE2s continued for far too long after it was found to be sadly lacking in manoeuvrability, speed and practical defence.
One answer by the Factory was to install a more powerful engine, reduce the tail surface area and delete the front seat. Fit a Lewis machine-gun on the top wing or a Vickers on the side of the fuselage. Thus making a “fighter” – they hoped.
Result? The BE12 – still rubbish! So the BE12 became a light bomber or a night-fighter.
The night-fighter above was based at Penston, East Lothian and was a defence against Zeppelins destroying Edinburgh. (That’s the capitol’s Arthur’s Seat in the background.) Zeppelins however, had stopped their visits by the time this defence had been deployed. Damn!

BE 12

BE 12

The Oil at the top was painted a couple of years ago. This is a small Watercolour of the same type of machine, but only finished a couple of days ago.

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