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Armament of  World War I Aircraft
Typical machine guns and their installations
When the war started, only a handful of visionary pilots and officers saw the airplane as an offensive weapon.  Arming aircraft was a makeshift process, and in the first months of the war many pilots went into the air with carbines, pistols and shotguns.  Eventually enterprising pilots like France's Roland Garros developed ways to effectively mount machine guns to their planes.   Some British pilots actually mounted Lewis machine guns on the side of their cowling to fire through the propeller without a synchronization system.  The holes made in the wooden props were plugged and bound with tape after each mission!  With the fielding of synchronization gear, such hodge-podge attempts at arming airplanes came to an end, and led to the dawn of modern aerial combat.
The primary machine guns:
all machine gun statistics from "Military Small Arms of the 20th Century," by Hogg and Weeks, unless stated otherwise
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Machine guns
Machine guns
The workings of an interrupter system