Sopwith Snipe

Late in the First World War the Sopwith company produced the aircraft which was designed to succeed the very successful Sopwith Camel. The Snipe was basically a larger version of the Camel which lacked the distinctive hump and therefore had better visibility from the cockpit. The Snipe was easier to fly (the Camel had a reputation of killing trainee pilots) and although wasn’t much faster it could climb faster which was a big bonus in a dog fight. The Snipe was the last important aircraft to be produced by Thomas Sopwith’s company and was designed by Herbert Smith in the latter part of 1917.

Many (but not all) considered it the best Allied fighter on the Western Front by 1918 and on 27th October 1918 the Canadian ace William Barker earned his Victoria Cross while battling against 60 enemy aircraft while flying his Snipe. The top scorer with the Snipe was the Australian Elwyn King who scored 7 kills while flying his Snipe.

In total over 1560 Snipes were produced with 500 being completed in 1918. A ground attack version was also produced (the Sopwith Salamander) which carried bombs and had an armoured fuselage. Until 1923 the Snipe was Britain’s only air defence fighter and it remained in service until 1927

Top speed 121 mph
Ceiling 19,000 ft
Endurance 3 hours
Weapons x2 machine guns

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (pending), Title, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/name.html

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