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Georges Guynemer


GuynemerGeorges Gunmeyer



Born Georges Marie Ludovic Guynemer in 1894, he became an icon to the French people.  He was slight of stature and had been a sickly child, yet school children wrote requesting his autograph, and young women wrote proposing marriage.  Before he earned fame, military doctors refused to let him into the armed services, saying he was too small and infirm.  Guynemer's father used his influence and so did Captain Bernard Thierry to help him enrol as a pilot trainee in March, 1915.  His first aerial combat was a reconnaissance mission  over the trenches at Coeuvres on on July 19, 1915.  He was the pilot of a two seat Morraine Saulnier Type L "parasol" observation aircraft.  His mechanic, Guerder took the gunner's position.  Guynemer chased off one plane, which escaped, but spotted a second Aviatik B1.  Gunmeyer used all his skills to help bring  Guerder's Hotchkiss machine gun to bear, but not before the German observer managed to put several bullets through the fabric of the Parasol, and one through Guerder's hand.  With his 115th bullet, Guerder hit the B1.  It's pilot slumped forwards and the German observer threw his hands up in desperation as the stricken Aviatik plunged from the skies in flames over No Man's Land.  On their return Guynemer and Guerder were both decorated with the Médaille Militaire.

Later in 1915  he joined Escadrille N3, known as Les Cigones (The Storks) where he flew the Nieuport N11 Bébé once this nimble machine was obsolete, the Nieuport N17.  This aircraft is accurately and faithfully reproduced by Digital Card Models and is available to download today for the price of $4.99.


Guynemer continued his career with the SPAD VII.  He was an excellent marksman and had his SPAD modified to carry a 37 mm cannon capable of firing high explosive rounds.  It was arranged to fire throught the hollow crank shaft of the Hiapano Suiza water cooled engine.  It was a single shot weapon, requiring a reload in flight.  Poisonous, acidic fumes containing  carbon monoxide, Sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides and traces of hydrogen cyanide spewed into the cockpit, stinging his eyes every time he fired the weapon.  Despite these combat deficiencies, the effect of the cannon was devastating, causing aircraft it struck to disintegrate into so many fragments splinters and shards of wood,  metal, cloth and bone.  He later flew the SPAD XIII, going on to score 53 confirmed kills.

Charles Guynemer, Darling of France was lost On 11 September 1917. He was last seen attacking a two-seater Aviatik near Poelcapelle, northwest of Ypres.  His Body was never found.


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