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 Carousel 1 Model 6142, Nieuport Nieuport 11 Bebe, Aviatori d'Italia 70a Squadrigilia, Francesco Baracca, Udine, Italy, 1916

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PostSubject: Carousel 1 Model 6142, Nieuport Nieuport 11 Bebe, Aviatori d'Italia 70a Squadrigilia, Francesco Baracca, Udine, Italy, 1916    Sat Mar 18 2017, 15:08

Nieuport Nieuport 11 Bebe
Producer - Carousel 1
Model number 6142
Scale 1/48
1200 were manufactured
Aviatori d'Italia 70a Squadrigilia, Francesco Baracca, Udine, Italy, 1916

What can be said about the Carousel 1 WW I models that anyone who owns one doesn't already know. They are absolute gems. The Nieuport 11 captures the  styling of this sesquiplane (one-and-a-half-wings) biplane with a full size top wing and narrower cord lower wing. Both wings feature simulated stretched fabric covering. Fine gauge wire is used to recreate the structurally significant bracing wires found between the wings and landing gear, and an exceptional amount of this wire is also used for the control surface rigging.

Additional details include a beautifully simulated wood propeller and engine with cylinder head detail, which spin freely and in unison. A detailed Lewis machine gun and simulated braced wooden "Vee" interplane struts and tail skid complete the model. Released in 2007 retailing for $69.95 very few of these showed up in the discount sales as the economy crashed in 2008 and die cast producers started folding their tents. They were truly unique in the die cast world.

Specifications (Nieuport 11 C.1)

Crew: one, pilot
Length: 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 7.55 m (24 ft 9 in)
Height: 2.4 m (7 ft 10.5 in)
Wing area: 13 m² (140 ft²)
Empty weight: 344 kg (759 lb)
Loaded weight: 480 kg (1,058 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 550 kg (1,213 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Le Rhone 9C nine-cylinder air-cooled rotary engine, 59.6 kW (80 hp)


Maximum speed: 156 km/h (97 mph)
Range: 330 km (205 miles)
Service ceiling: 4,600 m (15,090 ft)
Rate of climb: 15 mins to 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
Power/mass: 1.49 kW/kg (0.09 hp/lb)

1 × Lewis or Hotchkiss machine gun
8 × air to air Le Prieur rockets for use against observation balloons and airships (optional)

Count Francesco Baracca (9 May 1888 – 19 June 1918) was Italy's top fighter ace of World War I when he was shot down. He was credited with 34 aerial victories & awarded  the Gold Medal of Military Valor, three Silver Medal of Military Valor, British Military Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Belgian Order of the Crown The emblem he on his plane was of a black horse prancing on its two rear feet.  

 Baracca's mother presented his prancing stallion emblem, the Cavallino Rampante, to Enzo Ferrari. The prancing horse has been the official symbol of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team since 1929, and of Ferrari automobiles since they began manufacture.   For hat ever reason Ferrari chose to have the horse tail in a up swept depiction vs down.  

The Nieuport 11, nicknamed the Bébé, was a French World War I single seat sesquiplane fighter aircraft. Nieuport Chief Designer Gustave Delage began designing a new type of biplane prior to World War 1 which would have competed in the 1914 Gordon Bennett Trophy Race.  The militarized form brought with it the expected excellent performance inherent in a racing platform.

Designed in a mere four months, the Nieuport 11 - retaining the "Bebe" nickname of its predecessor - proved instrumental in ending the dominance of German Fokker-based aircraft during 1916 in what came to be known as the "Fokker Scourge". The French Nieuport series, as a whole, would end up becoming one of the best fighter lines in all of World War 1, eventually becoming collectively recognized by the name of "Nieuport Fighting Scouts". The type saw service with several of France's allies, and gave rise to the series of "vee-strut" Nieuport fighters that remained in service ( as trainers) into the 1920s.

The only known original Nieuport 11 in a French museum.

 The Nieuport 11 was a smaller, simplified version of the Nieuport 10, designed specifically as a single-seat fighter. Like the "10" the "11" was a sesquiplane, a biplane with a full-sized top wing with two spars, and a lower wing of much narrower chord and a single spar. Interplane struts in the form of a "Vee" joined the wings together.

Upon its introduction, the Nieuport 11's biplane wing design (generating more lift at the expense of increased drag) allowed Allied pilots to easily outmaneuver their German Fokker Eindekker monoplane contemporaries thanks, in part, to the utilization of ailerons in the design (as opposed to the rather utilitarian "wing-warping" action fielded by German Eindeckers). Additional benefits of the Nieuport 11 design lay in its excellent inherent speed, rate-of-climb and agility for the period. If the Nieuport 11 had but one limitation, it was in its lack of a synchronized machine gun system which limited armament.

The placement of the machine gun along the upper wing forced a special reloading process to be worked, an operation that took the aircraft and pilot out of the fight for dangerously long periods of time. It should also be noted that the Nieuport 11 held a propensity for the wing assembly to buckle violently in high-speed flight, leading to fractures or outright break ups (mainly due to the single-bay, V-strut nature of the design).

As such, it often took an experienced pilot to overcome these drawbacks and eventually make a name for himself while flying the Nieuport 11. Several names did, in fact, earn the status of "Ace" after having flown Nieuport 11s during portions of their career - names such as Ball, Baracca, Bishop, Navarre and Nungesser.

The sesquiplane layout reduces drag and improves the rate of climb, as well as offering a better view from the cockpit than either biplane or monoplane, while being substantially stronger than contemporary monoplanes. The narrow lower wing may be subject to aeroelastic flutter at high air speeds, a problem that manifested itself on the much faster German Albatros D.III and the later "vee-strut" Nieuport fighters. A single example of the Nieuport 11 was modified with a smaller lower wing and canted interplance struts but no further development ensued.

The type was fielded operationally for the first time on January 5th, 1916. Nieuport 11s were supplied to the French Aéronautique Militaire, the British Royal Naval Air Service, the Imperial Russian Air Service, Belgium, and Italy. 646 Nieuport 11s were produced by the Italian Macchi company under licence, and additional Nieuport 16s were built under licence in Russia by Dux. When Romania suffered military setbacks and needed aircraft, several RNAS Nieuport 11s, along with Nieuport 12s were provided.  Early Nieuport 11s were not armed in any way, being true scouts in their reconnaissance role (primarily with British and French scout squadrons). Only when armed did they become "fighting scouts" and could be operated in a fighter-type role when countering enemy aircraft and balloons.

Operational history

The Nieuport 11 reached the French front in January 1916, and 90 were in service within the month.

This small, sesquiplane outclassed the Fokker Eindecker in every respect, including speed, climb rate and maneuverability. It featured ailerons for lateral control rather than the Fokker's wing warping, giving lighter, quicker roll response, and its elevator was attached to a conventional tail plane which provided better pitch control as opposed to the all-moving, balanced "Morane type" elevators of the Fokker. The Fokker's success was solely due to its synchronized machine gun which fired forward through the arc of its propeller.

At the time, the Allies lacked a similar system, and the Nieuport 11
's Lewis machine gun was mounted to fire over the propeller, allowing uninterrupted forward fire. The Lewis was not synchronizable, due to its open bolt firing cycle design which resulted in an unpredictable rate of fire. Clearing gun jams and replacing ammunition drums in flight were challenging though, and the drums limited ammunition supply.

This was eventually resolved in French service by the application of the Alkan synchronization gear with a Vickers machine gun to Nieuport fighters starting with some later examples of the Nieuport 16. The British, in the absence of their own satisfactory synchronizer, continued with the overwing Lewis but employed a new "double" Lewis drum with a capacity of 98 rounds.

During the course of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, the combination of the Nieuport 11s technical advantages and the concentration of the fighters within the first dedicated fighter units allowed the French to establish air superiority, forcing radical changes in German tactics.

The Nieuport 11 was later cleared to fire up to 8 x Le Prieur anti-balloon rockets - these weapons, crude by modern standards, looked like nothing more than oversized bottle rockets fitted in a staggered arrangement along the sides of the V-struts.

By March 1916 the Bébé was being replaced by the improved Nieuport 17, although Italian-built examples remained in first line service longer through 1916.  During its reign, the Bebe was largely responsible for a change in tactics on the part of the Germans - particularly during the pivotal Battle of Verdun (1916) where the "Baby" inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. As such, the value of the Nieuport 11 system to the Allied cause could not be overstated. Despite its relatively short career in the air, production of Nieuport 11s totaled approximately 7,200 Bebes which was an impressive number when accepted in the scope of World War 1 fighter production.

Baracca was born in Lugo di Romagna. He was the son of a wealthy landowner. The younger Baracca initially studied at a private school in Florence before entering the Military Academy of Modena in October 1907. As he had become a passionate equestrian as an antidote to classroom boredom, he became a cavalryman with the prestigious Piemonte Reale Cavalleria Regiment upon his commissioning in 1910.

After Italy's entry into the war on the Entente side in May 1915, he was sent to Paris to convert to Nieuport two-seaters. Upon his return in July, he was assigned to the 8a Squadriglia Nieuport. The Nieuport 10s that equipped this squadron were almost useless against Austro-Hungarian raids; they were too slow, with too slow a rate of climb, to bring the intruders to battle with any regularity. The frustrated Italian pilots even resorted to leaving their observers ground-bound in attempts to improve performance, to little avail. On those rare occasions when battle was joined, the Nieuports' guns usually jammed. Renaming the unit to 1a Squadriglia Caccia on 1 December 1915 did nothing to solve the problems.

The Nieuport 11 single-seat fighter with Lewis guns entered service in April 1916 with the Italians, and on 7 April, flying this new fighter, Baracca scored his first victory, holing the fuel tank of an Austrian Hansa-Brandenburg C.I and wounding its two-man crew. This was also Italy's first aerial victory in the war. This first victory featured his favorite manoeuvre, which was to zoom in unseen behind and below an enemy and fire his machine gun from pistol range.  

Baracca's second victory was an Austrian Lohner over Gorizia on 23 April 1916. After his third victory, he transferred to 70a Squadriglia. Promoted to Capitano.   By the close of 1916 he had 5 victories and adopted  as a personal emblem  a black prancing horse in tribute to his former cavalry regiment. This prompted some to call him, "The Cavalier of the Skies".

 Baracca remained with the unit until, with 9 victories and now was flying the Neiuport 17,  he transferred to the newly formed 91st Squadriglia, known as the "Squadron of the Aces", on 1 May 1917. By that time, his ever-increasing list of victories had made him nationally famous. While he initially dodged the responsibilities and paperwork that went with command, he finally settled into heading the squadron.

Baracca's friend Fulco Ruffo di Calabria nearly ended Baracca's career—and life—in June 1917. Ruffo di Calabria burst out of a cloud firing in a head-on pass at an enemy airplane, and barely missed Baracca. Later, on the ground, Baracca assured his companion, "Dear Fulco, next time, if you want to shoot me down, aim a couple of meters to the right. Now let's go for a drink and not talk of it any more!"

By late spring 1917 he had moved on to the Spad.  A dedicated fighter pilot, Baracca found life away from the front unbearable and remained as much as possible with the 91st Squadriglia, even after being promoted to Maggiore in November 1917. Baracca remained a modest, sensitive man conscious of his duty and compassionate to both his squadron comrades and to his defeated enemies. He would try to visit his victims in hospital afterwards, to pay his respects, or he would place a wreath on the grave of those he killed. He had raised his score to 30 by the end of 1917.

Soon afterwards, Baracca, Piccio, and Ruffo di Calabria were tasked with evaluating the new Ansaldo A.1 Balilla fighter. Baracca was personally decorated by King Victor Emmanuel III at La Scala at this time. It was March 1918 before Baracca convinced his superiors that he belonged back at the front. He was not long back before he found himself in a situation similar to the previous late October: his squadron was forced to withdraw by enemy advances on 27 April. It was about this time that he adopted the griffin as an insignia for the planes in his unit. Most of his pilots adopted it, though some still flaunted the prancing stallion as a gesture of respect for their commander.

Baracca saw little action in 1918, but he added more victories, for a total of 34, before failing to return from a strafing mission on the Montello (hill) area on 19 June. The Italians were taking advantage of their air supremacy to fly treetop ground attack missions into a storm of small arms fire. In the 0630 troop support mission, Baracca and rookie pilot Tenente Franco Osnago were hit by ground fire and split from one another. A few minutes later, both Baracca's home airfield and Osnago saw a burning airplane fall.

According to other sources, Baracca had left Osnago to provide him with top cover as he dived on the enemy trenches. Osnago lost sight of his commander, then he saw something burning in a nearby valley. Some days later, on 24 June, after an Austro-Hungarian retreat, Baracca's remains were recovered from where they lay, four meters from the burnt remnants of his Spad VII. A monument in his memory was later built on the site. Osnago, Ferruccio Ranza, and a journalist named Garinei retrieved his body for the large funeral that was held in his home town of Lugo.

His body, when found, reportedly bore the marks of a bullet to the head. His pistol was out of its holster, but away from his body, leading to suspicions that he elected to take his own life rather than die in a crash or be taken prisoner. An Austrian pilot reportedly claimed to have shot him down in combat. This claim is supported by evidences, but due to war time propaganda the most accepted version is that Baracca was hit by ground-fire.

It should, however, be noted that research in Austro-Hungarian records indicates that he was killed by the gunner of an Austrian two-seater while attacking from above and behind. Ltn Arnold Barwig in Phönix C.I 121.17, piloted by Zgsf Max Kauer, claimed to have shot down the Italian ace. The Austrian crew also photographed the shot-down aeroplane and noted time and place of engagement but this evidence no longer seems to exist.  

There is still controversy around his death.   The pictures here do not indicate a burned or mangled body.  His squadron mates were quoted by some as saying Baracca always carried his pistol saying he would never allow himself to be captured or burn alive in a damaged plane.  There are instances of pilots shooting them selves in burning aircraft as parachutes were not available to allied pilots, though the Germans were using them by 1918.  

Fear and risk of burning alive were very real.   The newspaper man who found the body and took these photos said there was only a small hole in the temple.   Ground fire / MG's should have done a great deal more damage as would a two seater MG bullet, but who can say.


The final agreed to explanation by the authorities was ground fire which would have included small arms from the surrounding hillsides and could have accounted for the small wound.  Baracca was like his contemporaries, a brave man, dedicated to his squadron mates who's luck finally ran out.  

A Monument established in his honor.  He is buried elsewhere.

After WWI his home in Lugo di Romagna was turned into the Francesco Baracca Museum, which displays mementos, uniforms, medals from Baracca's life, as well as rudders and guns taken from shot down aircraft. In the 1920s a SPAD VII once flown by Baracca in December 1917 was presented for display, which was subsequently restored by GVAS

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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Carousel 1 Model 6142, Nieuport Nieuport 11 Bebe, Aviatori d'Italia 70a Squadrigilia, Francesco Baracca, Udine, Italy, 1916
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