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What is a Sopwith Camel and how did it get its name?

Find information on the Sopwith Camel fighter plane.

The Sopwith Camel topped out at a speed of 118 mph. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
The Sopwith Camel topped out at a speed of 118 mph.

The most successful British fighter of World War I, the Camel was a development of the earlier Sopwith Pup, with a much larger rotary engine. Its name "camel" was derived from the humped shape of the covering of its twin synchronized machine guns.

The highly maneuverable Camel, credited with 1,294 enemy aircraft destructions, proved far superior to all German types of dogfighters until the introduction of the Fokker D. VII in 1918. Altogether, 5,490 Camels were built by Sopwith Aircraft. Its top speed was 118 miles (189 kilometers) per hour and it had a ceiling of 24,000 feet (7,300 meters).

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