Review: de Havilland DH-9 in Action

Larry Davis. de Havilland DH-9 in Action. Aircraft Number 164 (Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal, 1996) 49 pp, illus., color, B/W photos, line drawings. $7.95.

The deHavilland D.H.9 was designed to be the successor to the DH-4, with higher speed and greater load-carrying capability. Although it was structurally only a modest revision of the earlier model, higher performance was anticipated from use of the 300HP Siddeley-Puma engine. Development troubles with the Puma engine produced performance that was inferior to the earlier DH-4. Yet the DH-9 was constructed in large numbers (over 3,000 airframes) with the intent that it form the backbone of the Independent Force, the RAF strategic bombing group that was expected to commence bombing the German industrial heartland in the Spring of 1918. The DH 9's poor operational performance limited its service life, and it was later superseded by the much-improved DH 9A (Only the DH-9 is covered in this, the latest, volume). After WW1, the DH9 had a much lengthier life with several air services owing to the use of powerplants other than the Puma.

This is the best volume on a World War I subject to date in Squadron's long-running series of aircraft "in action" books. The author, Peter Cooksley, is well known for his contributions over the years to the journal Cross & Cockade International. This, of course, lends considerable credibility to the volume, something that has been sadly lacking in earlier volumes in this series. Cooksley provides a very good overview of this aircraft in its service with the RFC/RAF as well as post-war use with other air services [and in airline serviceóEd.). This is particularly welcome, because the DH9 has been surprisingly little-covered in print, in spite of the many publishing outlets that now specialize in WWI aircraft. Highly recommended.

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Text © 1997 by Charles Hart.