"Fighters" as such
did not become so until after the First World War.
The British coined the term. In the RAF such aircraft
continued to be called "scouts" into the early 1920s. The
British began using the "fighter" term after that
The U.S. Army
combat planes were termed "pursuit"
aircraft and boasted a "P-" designation from
about 1915 until the late 1940s. The French and the
Germans use words which literally mean "hunter".
This has been followed in many other
Russians see their aircraft as somewhat different, in
which the fighter is called "истребитель" (spoken
as "istrebitel") which means
Since the U.S.
did not build aircraft in World War I which were combat
quality, we need to focus on the British, French and German
On the left is a
row of Sopwith Camels, on the right is a Vickers F.B.5
"Gunbus." The two British
"scouts" did a lot of the job for the British.
The French had
some real workhorses in World War I, here on left is the SPAD
S.XIII. The Nieuport 28 is on the right. Eddie
Rickenbacker flew the SPAD with the 94th Aero Squadron.
The U.S. bought hundreds of these planes for their pilots to
The Germans had
very capable combat aircraft, and two of them are seen below.
They are Fokkers, and the one on the left is a D. VII. The one
on right is a tri-winged Dr. I. This is the type Baron von
Richtofen flew and he was known as the Red Baron because he had
painted his plane bright red.
Proceed to World War