The SPAD VII, XII & XIII in USAS Service

By Bob Pearson


When the United States entered WWI in 1917, they did so without any indigenously produced combat aircraft (besides the DH-4), and were forced to use those supplied by their allies. This meant that they began with an assortment of types ranging from obsolete Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters to the superlative Breguet 14. For fighters they used the Sopwith Camel from the British and the Nieuport 28 from teh French. However it is the SPAD series of fighters that most people identify the American squadrons as flying. Shown here are a few of them.

SPAD S.VII S.11421
Lt. Jones
138th Aero Squadron USAS
March 1919
Source: CCI(25/4)

Although the S.VII was no longer top of the line equipment and had been replaced in French units with the SPAD XIII, some S.VIIs did see service with the Americans. This one was photographed postwar.

Major Charles J Biddle
OC, 13th Aero Squadron USAS
Source: Windsock 4/3

The SPAD XII was an attempt to provide a heavy-hitting fighter, and was armed with a 37mm cannon firing through the hollow hub of the crankshaft. Very few were built, and they were spread out amongst the top aces with Guynemer, Fonck, Maddon being the best known exponents of the type. One was also sent to the USAS for their leading ace to use, however David Putnam was killed in action shortly after and his S.XII was passed on to Charles Biddle.

Captain Robert Soubiran
OC, 103rd Aero Squadron USAS
November 1918
Source: via GVW

When the former SPA.124 transferred to the USAS and became the 103rd Aero Sqn in January 1918, they retained their aircraft and insignia. One of the members who went along in the transfer was Robert Soubiran, He was an early member of the Lafayette and eventually became commanding officer of the 103rd, as such his aircraft carries the stripes commonly seen on the OC's aircraft in USAS service. Postwar a row of tombstones was added along the lower longeron to signify all the unit victories.

Captain Edward V Rickenbacker
OC, 94th Aero Squadron USAS
Summer 1918
Source: Aircam SPAD Scouts S.VII-XIII

The most famous American pilot of the First World War would have to be Eddie Rickenbacker. His SPAD is the subject of numerous models and paintings, so here is one more.

1/Lt Raymond 'Jerry' Seevers
OC, A Flight
139th Aero Squadron USAS
Source: OTF 7/2

The 139th AS used a winged Mercury as their unit insignia. Normally USAS aircraft carried the flight colour on the cowl, and an individual number on the fuselage. Seevers aircraft is rather ornately decorated with additional stripes on the rear fuselage and cowl.

NOTE: All of the markings seen in this and other Internet Modeler profile features are available as ALPS decals in whatever scale is desired. For further information contact myself or Chris Banyai-Riepl.

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