William W. Whitson


Roland C.II

Roland C-II

(Photographs reprinted by permission of the San Diego Air and Space Museum)

The Roland C.II "Whale" first appeared in October, 1915. Covered with plywood and streamlined, it carried a Spandau firing forward and a Parabellum on a ring mount firing to the rear.With a speed of over 100mph and a ceiling of over 16,000 feet, it could compete with the best Allied fighters. In the summer of 1916, Albert Ball, the highest scoring British pilot, said, "It's the best German machine now, her guns firing everywhere except below." Because of the position of the top wing, its bvlind spot below and to the front gave Ball and other Allied pilots a relatively safe angle of attack.

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