The Nieuport II was designed by Gusave Delage for the 1914 Gordon Bennett Trophy race. The outbreak of the First World War resulted in the race being cancelled but news of the Nieuport II's fast speed and excellent maneuverability resulted in both the French and British military authorities placing orders for it.
Nicknamed the Bébé, it entered service in the summer of 1915. It was a highly popular aircraft and during the Battle of Verdun was flown by some of France's best pilots including Georges Guynemer and Charles Nungesser. In Italy, where the Nieuport was built under licence, the aircraft remained the standard fighter for most of the war.
In 1916 Gustave Delage designed the Nieuport 17. This new aircraft had a 110 hp engine and a Vickers machine-gun synchronized to shoot through the propeller disk. After making its debt in March 1916, this new machine gradually replaced the Nieuport II as France's main fighter aircraft.
Performance Data of the Nieuport II
80 hp Le Rhone
24 ft 9 in (7.55 m)
19 ft (5.8 m)
8 ft (2.45 m)
97 mph (156 kph)
15,090 ft (4,600 m)
2 hours 30 minutes