Air Force

BRISTOL BULLDOG IIA

Bristol Bulldog

Bristol Bulldog Images
(Page 1)
Bristol Bulldog Images
(Page 2)



Source: Great Britain

Acquired: Purchased, 1929, 1930

Type: Fighter

Engine: 440-hp Gnome-Rhone 9ASB or 440-hp Bristol Jupiter VII 9.

Dimensions
Length: 7.3 m
Wing Span: 10.33 m
Height: 2.68 m

Max Speed: 285 km/hr

Range:

Maximum Ceiling: 8950 m

Known Serial Numbers: 70, 71, 72, 73, 74K, 78K, 79, 80K, 81K, 82K, 83, 84.
Very briefly the first five Bulldogs were known as Bulldog 1, 2, 3, etc. but shortly thereafter (in August 1930) these were renumbered as 70, 71, 72K, 73K, and 74K.

Notes

  • Acquired primarily to replace the Ansaldo Balillas.
  • June 5, 1929 - a commission is formed to consider the purchase of new fighter aircraft for the Regiment.
  • Sept.23, 1929 - Capt. A.Dzenitis is despatched to England to try out the Bristol Bulldogs.
  • November 15, 1929 - the commission holds its second meeting - selects the Bulldog.
  • Dec.9, 1929 - the Bulldogs begin entering service. They are immediately dispatched to the fighter squadron (under the command of Dzenitis) and are flown not only by the fighter squadron pilots but also by guest squadron members Zeps, Raisevs and Klein, all Estonians.
  • Dec.10, 1929 - the commission meets for the last time (discussing technical matters pertaining to introducing the new type)
  • The first batch of Bulldogs had construction numbers 7353 - 7357. They had Gnome-Rhone Jupiter VI engines and, in place of the usual Vickers machine guns, Oerlikons were installed.
  • July 1930 - an additional seven Bulldog Mark IIs are ordered. These had the construction numbers 7439 - 7445. The first five had G.R.Jupiter VI engines, and the remaining two had GR-9 ASBs.
  • 1930 - parachutes became standard equipment in the Latvian air force, but pilots of Bulldogs tended not to wear them because they did not fit well in the cockpit.
  • It was rare and outside of their normal function, but the Bulldogs were even found to be capable of carrying a small bombload if required.
  • 1935 - in an attempt to standardize the naming of aircraft types (by function), the Bulldogs were assigned the code D3.
  • July 13, 1938 - pilot Binders, apparently lost, flies into Russian air space but manages to land in friendly Poland.
  • September, 1939 - six Bulldogs are still on active service, assigned to the 3rd Fighter Squadron.
  • June 15, 1940 - with the Soviet occupation/invasion looming, the Bulldogs stationed at Spilve are ordered to quietly fly out from the airfield at twilight and re-base to the Latvian University's agricultural farm near Ramava.
  • June 18, 1940 - with the Soviets now in charge, the entire Latvian air force is grounded and the Bulldogs at Ramava are stripped of their weapons.
  • The Soviets collected the Bulldogs and stored one or two of them, along with some Letovs and other assorted aircraft, in the Provodnik rubber tire warehouse. They remained there during the first Soviet occupation and the German occupation as well, being considered too outdated for military use. The remaining surviving Bulldogs were reportedly stored in wooden sheds in the eastern part of Latvia.
  • In total, six Bulldogs were involved in fatal accidents, the highest number of any aircraft type in the Latvian air force.
  • #70
    • When acquired, this plane was briefly serialed as (Bulldog) #1. Almost immediately, it was re-numbered as #70.
    • 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933... with the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • February 14, 1930 - flown by Nikolajs Bulmanis.
    • February 1933 - returned to service after repair (Checked out by pilot Iesalnieks).
    • Sept. 15, 1933 - by this date, the aircraft had logged over 1000 flights totalling 493 hours of flying time.
    • December 1934 - returned to service after repair (Checked out by pilot Bambers).
    • October 11, 1935 - crashed (pilot: Kandis)
    • July 1936 - returned to service after repair (Checked out by pilot Treijs)
    • [See profile on Photo page 1 and image on Photo page 2]
  • #71
    • When acquired, this plane was briefly serialed as (Bulldog) #2. Almost immediately, it was re-numbered as #71.
    • 1930 - with the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • April 30, 1931 - Crashed.
  • #72
    • When acquired, this plane was briefly serialed as (Bulldog) #3. Almost immediately, it was re-numbered as #72.
    • 1930 - 1937 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • October 1937 - transferred from the 1st Fighter Squadron to the 2nd Fighter Squadron.
    • While participating in the third "Flight Around Latvia" competition, Sapratnieks, flying Bulldog #72 suffers a tyre blowout while landing at Liepaja. No major damage resulted, and the aircraft continued in the competition.
    • October 1938 - appears on the roster of the 3rd Squadron.
    • This aircraft survived 10 years of operational use, remaining in service until the Soviet occupation in 1940.
    • [See image on Photo page 2]
  • #73
    • When acquired, this plane was briefly serialed as (Bulldog) #4. Almost immediately, it was re-numbered as #73.
    • 1930 - with the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • December 3, 1930 - fatal crash at Spilve
  • #74K / 74
    • When acquired, this plane was briefly serialed as (Bulldog) #5. Almost immediately, it was re-numbered as #74K.
    • 1930 - 1936 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • June 15, 1936 - fatal crash at Daugavpils
    • May 31, 1940 - crash. Considering the nature of the June, 1936 crash, this report of a further incident in 1940 is either a clerical error or another aircraft was re-numbered with "74".
  • #78K
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #78K in August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1936 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • December 3, 1936 - fatal crash near Spilve. Alfreds Danders died when his aircraft went into a flat spin while performing aerobatics over Spilve.
    • [See Profile on Photo page 1]
  • #79
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #79 in August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1937 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • July 11, 1934 - crash
  • #80K
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #80 by August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1937 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • April 30, 1931 - pilot Emils Kanna damages aircraft by striking the ground when pulling out from a dive during gunnery practice. Pilot was unhurt, and aircraft was repaired.
    • October 1937 - transferred from the 1st Fighter Squadron to the 2nd Fighter Squadron.
    • [See Profile on Photo page 1 and image on Photo page 2]
  • #81K / 81
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #81K by August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1935 with the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • November 4, 1935 - fatal midair collision at Spilve.
  • #82K / 82
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #82K by August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1937 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • October 1937 - transferred from the 1st Fighter Squadron to the 2nd Fighter Squadron.
    • October 1938 - appears on the roster of the 3rd Fighter Squadron.
    • October 1 - 2, 1938 - piloted by Lasmanis, #82 participates in the "Flight Around Latvia" competition. On the second day the aircraft suffered an engine failure which led to a forced landing near Smiltene. The aircraft suffered some damage, which was repairable but not in time to continue in the competition.
    • This aircraft survived 10 years of operational use, remaining in service until the Soviet occupation in 1940.
  • #83
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #83 by August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1936 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron.
    • June 22, 1936 - fatal crash at Krustpils
  • #84
    • Taken on charge in July, 1930 and assigned #84 by August, 1930.
    • 1930 - 1937 on the roster of the 1st Fighter Squadron
    • October 1937 - transferred from the 1st Fighter Squadron to the 2nd Fighter Squadron.
    • October 1938 - appears on the roster of the 3rd Fighter Squadron.
    • This aircraft survived 10 years of operational use, remaining in service until the Soviet occupation in 1940.
    • [See Profile on Photo page 1]


Sources

- Andersons, Edgars Latvijas Brunotie Speki un to Prieksvesture
- Bruvelis, Edvins Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture
- Humberstone, R. (ed) Latvian Air Force 1918-1940
- Irbitis, Karlis Of Struggle and Flight
- Latvijas Kareivis February 5, 1920
- Additional information provided through correspondence with Alex Crawford.

Profiles courtesy of Arvo Vercamer
Additional research materials provided courtesy of M.Bukhman and E.Bruvelis





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