Artist depicts WWI Kites (AKA Snoopy's Sopwith Camel). The First World War saw the advent of the airplane as a viable military weapon. In a period of only a few years, military aircraft advanced from rudimentary flying craft to killing machines. During this time, aerial superiority over the front changed hands as often as new designs were introduced. In 1916, the Germans controlled the skies over the trenches, and the English developed three fighters to regain control of the air war. The best and most famous of these three designs was the Sopwith Camel. Small and lightweight, the Camel represented the state-of the-art in fighter design at the time. The Sopwith Camel shot down 1,294 enemy aircraft during World War I, more than any other Allied fighter.