Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/725

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The New Gun-Tunnel Airplane

It has removed the airplane's "blind spot" so that all the vital parts of an attacking machine are exposed to its fire

���A "Gotha" engaging an ordinary airplane and, by means of its end-on, underneath fire, baffling the pursuer. The gunner is shown lying in the fuselage vault below the plane, along the tunnel of

��which he trains his gun to meet a tail attack

THE latest development in military flying machines seems to be the German three-seated "Gotha." The design and construction are interesting be- cause an effort has been made to give the passengers a fighting chance for their lives when they are placed in such a position that they cannot return the machine-gun fire of an aggressive adversary.

A flying machine moves in three direc- tions. Therefore its guns should be able to fire up and down, from side to side, and fore and aft. Suppose that one ma- chine is being pursued by another and suppose that the pursuer maintains a posi- tion somewhat below the tail of the pursued. Clearly, the advantage is all with the pursuer; the intervening tail of the pursued machine pre- vents his being fired up- on from above.

The new Gotha is de-

���The dotted lines show the direction of fire between the two types of machines

��In no other type of airplane is this possible

signed to improve this precarious position of the pursued. Hence the fuselage or body of the machine is vaulted below like a tunnel, and along that tunnel a gun can be trained to meet a tail attack. The accompanying illustrations show the pos- sibilities of the new construction so clearly that extended comments seem unnecessary. It is evident that the military airplane is rapidly becoming distinctive in design. Hitherto there was no way of telling a military from a sporting machine, just as there was a time when a man-o'-war on the seas could not be distinguished from a merchantman at a distance.

The day is surely approaching when the construction of a fighting airplane will be as un- mistakable as is that of a battleship. The great difficulty of mounting guns on warships so that their fire can not be im-


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