||The Bristol Fighter was designed primarily as a reconnaissance aircraft, but one which also had the speed, maneuverability and armament to hold its own in aerial combat. It was first deployed in April 1917, and its initial missions were disastrous. Pilots clung to existing reconnaissance tactics, relying upon formation flying and the rear-facing guns of the observers to fend off German fighters, thereby completely negating the aircraft's capabilities. Only when its pilots learnt to dogfight, like their comrades in single-seat fighters, did the Bristol Fighter come into its own. Ultimately, the fighter came to be regarded as the best multi-role aircraft of the war being employed for reconnaissance, ground attack, and even air combat patrols. The Bristol Fighters of 1 Squadron AFC proved particularly devastating in the skies over Palestine. The British commander there, General E. H. H. Allenby, wrote, "it would hardly be an exaggeration to say the Bristol Fighters of the Australians kept the sky clear."