The Nieuport 24 and 24bis were developed from the very successful Nieuport 17 scout that entered service in 1916. The designer, Gustave Delage, added a 130HP Le Rhone engine as well as various aerodynamic improvements to the Nieuport 17, but due to various problems with mainly the new tail assembly the Nieuport 24 wasn't ready to enter service until the summer of 1917. It was actually preceded by the Nieuport 24bis, and interim version with a tail identical to the Nieuport 17 as well as a 120HP Le Rhone engine. However, by then the scout was outclassed by new allied aircraft such as the SPAD XIII, the British SE.5 and the Sopwith Camel, so the Nieuport 24bis saw fairly limited use. The fact that the Nieuport was armed with a single synchronized Vickers or a wing-mounted Lewis machine gun also limited the use of the aircraft, since by 1917 most if not all enemy scouts were armed with two machine guns. The Nieuport 24 as well as the later 25 and 27 models saw the practical end of the development of the Vee-strut, and later Nieuports had conventional strut arrangements.
Nieuport 24s were used by the Royal Flying Corps Nos. 1, 40 and 113 Squadrons
as well as Nos. 6 and 11 Squadrons Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) up to
mid-1918 in theaters ranging from the West Front to Palestine owing to a
shortage of SE.5s. The Nieuports earned a bad reputation within the RFC,
supposedly through rumors emanating from the French that had the aircraft
suffer from deficient lateral control. The British eventually removed the
canvas aileron sealing to address this issue. Aéronautique Militaire,
the French Air Force, also used Nieuport 24s and 24bis, and the French ace
Charles Nungesser flew the Nieuport 24. Most of the Nieuport 24, 24bis and the
later Nieuport 27 were used as trainers by the United States Air Service
(USAS). The USAS operated 240 Nieuport 24 and 24bis trainers. The Nieuport 24
was also used in small numbers by Russia, the Soviet Union, Japan, Romania and
Poland, and a few Nieuports may have been shipped to Belgium and Italy.
The Roden kit of the Nieuport 24bis was easy to assemble,
and the silver dope meant that this was a fairly quick build. The kit came with
US, French and Soviet markings, and although the decals were in register and printed
with sharp colors, they were also remarkably brittle, even with the application
of generous amounts of decal softener. The tail had to be painted, since the
two tricolor decals simply refused to settle on the surface without cracking.
I chose French markings, since I find that the French
effort over the fronts of the First World War has been marginalized, perhaps
due to the language barrier and the impact on popular culture of images
constantly portraying the RFC engaging their German counterparts over Flanders.
Yet, the Aéronautique Militaire was considered the first air force in
the world, and it was established on October 22, 1910. The French were world
leaders in aircraft design, and the Aéronautique Militaire had 132
aircraft in 21 Escadrilles when the war broke out. The French also
became the main suppliers of aircraft to the allies, and Nieuports and SPADs
were used by most of the allied nations. As early as 1916 the French aircraft
industry produced approximately 500 aircraft per month, and when the war ended
in November 1918 the Aéronautique Militaire consisted of 127,630 men and
3,222 aircraft. The aviators of France had claimed 2,049 enemy aircraft, 357
balloons, but at the cost of some 3,500 airmen killed in action, 3,000 wounded
or missing and approximately 2,000 killed in accidents.
This Nieuport is painted in the markings of the
commander's aircraft belonging to escadrille N 97 - SPA 07. The aircraft
is the third aircraft from the left in the photograph below:
This photograph was taken during the second half of 1917.
The first aircraft from the left is Number 4479, and the second one is
marked with a "5".
This is Caporal Maurice Caulier in a Nieuport 23 or 24 at the Villeneuve-les-Vertus base in January 1918. Notice that this Nieuport is unarmed - Caulier may have been flying off this particular aircraft to Bourget-Dugny, since at this time SPA 97 was being re-equipped with SPAD XIIIs. Maurice Caulier continued to serve with SPA 94 from April 12 to August 19. 1918 (Maurice Caulier via Delcampe France
Insignia of SPA 97. The pin on the bottom is from the 1970s.
Cheesman, E. F. (ed.) Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918
War. Letchworth: Harleyford Publications, 1960
Nieuport Fighters in Action. Carollton: Squadron/Signal
Cheesman, E. F. (ed.) Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Letchworth: Harleyford Publications, 1960