Bristol F2 Fighter (Brisfit)
The Bristol F2 was one of the outstanding British aircraft
of World War I. It first entered frontline service in April
1917 and was still in operational use by the RAF in the Middle
East and India in 1930. The “Brisfit” had a crew
of two comprising a pilot and an observer/gunner and was a
very versatile machine which could act as a fighter, bomber
or reconnaissance machine.
It’s first blooding was unfortunately less than successful
when the first ever patrol of Bristol Fighters over the Western
Front, led by none other than Captain William Leefe Robinson,
suffered grievous losses, including Leefe Robinson’s
own plane, at the hands of Manfred Von Richthofen’s
(The Red Baron) flying circus.
Despite this poor beginning it was soon realised that the
Bristol fighter if flown like a single seat fighter had a
comparable performance and agility to its German opponents.
Once this realisation had been made the Bristol Fighter was
to prove to be a very formidable and versatile warbird. The
Brisfit’s armament comprised a fixed forward firing
Vickers machine gun fired by the pilot and two Lewis machine
guns on a swivel mounting fired by the observer/gunner.
From late 1917, the Bristol Fighter along with the SE5a,
Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Camel replaced the BE12 as the main
equipment of the Home Defence Forces and finally gave them
aircraft with which they could take on German raiders on an
equal footing. The only injury sustained in action during
World War I by a Sutton’s Farm airman was to the observer
of a Bristol Fighter whilst intercepting a German bomber.
Three original aircraft of this type are still airworthy
and include one belonging to the Shuttleworth Collection in
the UK and one owned by the film director Peter Jackson. Static
examples can also be seen at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford
and the RAF Museum Hendon.
Type: Two seat reconnaissance fighter
Powerplant: (F2b) 275hp Rolls Royce Falcon III V12
Maximum Speed: 125 mph
Maximum Altitude: c 20,000 feet
Range: c 200 miles
Armament: 1x forward firing .303/7.7 mm Vickers machine gun.
2x .303/7.7 mm Lewis gun on swivelling mount for observer.
Also up to 250lb of bombs.