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Encyclopedia > Aviation in World War I
Color Autochrome Lumière of a Nieuport Fighter in Aisne, France 1917

One of the many innovations of World War I, aircraft were first used for reconnaissance purposes and later as fighters and bombers. Consequently, this was the first war which involved a struggle for control of the air, which turned it into another battlefield, alongside the battlefields of the land and the sea[1]. Given the early state of development of aircraft at the time, aerial combat missions played a relatively small part in determining the outcome of the war, in particular in comparison with World War II, just two decades later, where they played a far more crucial role. WW1 - Nieuport biplane fighter. ... WW1 - Nieuport biplane fighter. ... A box of Autochrome plates, expiry date 1923. ... Aisne is a department in the northern part of France named after the Aisne River. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

Contents

History

Prewar development

About ten years after the Wright brothers made the first powered flight, there was still much to be improved upon. Because of limitations of the engines of the time, aircraft could only afford a certain amount of weight and therefore were made mostly of hardwood (braced with steel wires) and canvas doped with flammable liquid[2]. Aside from these primitive materials, even the rudimentary engineering of the time meant aircraft might suffer a structural failure pulling out of dives, resulting in shedding the wing or tail. Look up Canvas in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


As early as 1909, these evolving flying machines were recognized to be not just toys, but weapons:

The sky is about to become another battlefield no less important than the battlefields on land and sea.... In order to conquer the air, it is necessary to deprive the enemy of all means of flying, by striking at him in the air, at his bases of operation, or at his production centers. We had better get accustomed to this idea, and prepare ourselves.

Giulio Douhet (Italian staff officer), 1909[2]

In 1911 Captain Bertram Dickson, the first British military officer to fly, also correctly prophesized the military use of aircraft. He predicted that aircraft would first be used for reconnaissance purposes, but that this would develop into each side trying to "hinder or prevent the enemy from obtaining information", which would eventually turn into a battle for control of the skies. This is exactly the sequence of events that would occur several years later.[2]


The first operational use of aircraft in war is accepted as 23 October 1911 in the Italo-Turkish war, by Captain Carlo Piazza made history’s first reconnaissance flight near Benghazi in a Blériot XI. [3]


The early years of war

The dawn of air combat

Aircraft were initially used as mobile observation vehicles[4] with the responsibility of mapping enemy positions below. This was an improvement over previous observation vehicles such as the Zeppelin, which was slow, cumbersome, and difficult to launch, and the observation balloon, which had to be tethered to the ground. Download high resolution version (600x925, 43 KB)German military monoplane 1917 Front page of the New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, January 1st 1917, and therefore with expired copyrights. ... Download high resolution version (600x925, 43 KB)German military monoplane 1917 Front page of the New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, January 1st 1917, and therefore with expired copyrights. ... The Rumpler Taube is a pre-World War I monoplane aircraft, and the first mass produced military plane in Germany. ... Flying machine redirects here. ... Zeppelins are a type of rigid airship pioneered by German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century, based in part on an earlier design by aviation pioneer David Schwarz. ... A hot air balloon is prepared for flight by inflation of the envelope with propane burners A hot air balloon takes off The balloon has just landed and is being pulled nearer to a road for deflation A balloon is a type of aircraft that remains aloft due to its...


As Dickson predicted, both the Entente and Central powers first used aircraft only for observation purposes. When rival observation planes crossed paths, the aviators at first exchanged smiles and waves[4]. This soon progressed to throwing bricks, grenades, and other objects, even rope, which they hoped would tangle the enemy plane's propeller.[5] Eventually pilots began firing handheld firearms at enemy planes[4]. Once the guns were mounted to the aircraft, the era of air combat began. For other uses, see Brick (disambiguation). ... A hand grenade is a hand-held bomb, made to be thrown by a soldier. ... Coils of rope used for long-line fishing A rope (IPA: ) is a length of fibers, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. ... For other uses, see Propeller (disambiguation). ... Firearms redirects here. ...


Aircraft

Aircraft of this early period included the Maurice Farman "Shorthorn" and "Longhorn", DFW B.I, Rumpler Taube, B.E. 2a, AEG B.II, Bleriot XI. Maurice Alain Farman (March 21, 1877 - February 25, 1964) was a French Grand Prix motor racing champion, an aviator, and an aircraft manufacturer and designer. ... The DFW B.I (factory designation MD 14), was one of the earliest German aircraft to see service during World War I, and one of the numerous B-class unarmed, two seat observation biplanes of the German military in 1914. ... The Rumpler Taube is a pre-World War I monoplane aircraft, and the first mass produced military plane in Germany. ... cunt sauce? ... The AEG B.II was a two-seat biplane reconnaissance aircraft produced in small numbers from 1914. ... Designed by Louis Blériot and Raymond Saulnier (of Morane Saulnier) the Blériot XI was a light and sleek monoplane constructed of oak and poplar. ...


Even with their mechanical problems and technological limitations, observation planes played a critical role in the battles fought on the ground during 1914, especially in helping the Allies halt the German invasion of France. On August 22, 1914, British Captain L.E.O. Charlton and Lieutenant V.H.N. Wadham reported that German General Alexander von Kluck’s army was starting to prepare to surround the BEF, contradicting all other intelligence. The British High Command listened to the pilots’ report and started a retreat toward Mons--destroying morale but saving the lives of 100,000 soldiers. Later during the First Battle of Marne, observation planes discovered weak points and exposed flanks in the German lines, allowing the allies to take advantage of them. [6] is the 234th day of the year (235th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Air Commodore Lionel Evelyn Oswald Charlton CB, CMG, DSO, RAF (7 July 1879 - 18 April 1958) was educated at Brighton College and entered the army. ... The First Battle of the Marne was a World War I battle fought September 5 - 9, 1914. ...


Problems mounting machine guns

Diagram of Fokker's "Zentralsteuerung" synchronization mechanism. Pulling the green handle lowers the red cam follower onto the cam wheel attached to the propeller shaft. When the cam raises the follower, the blue rod is depressed against the spring, enabling the yellow trigger plate to be reached when the purple firing button is pressed. This image shows a side view of one of the original Spandau LMG 08 guns, somewhat different in appearance from the LMG 08/15 that later German fighters used
Diagram of Fokker's "Zentralsteuerung" synchronization mechanism. Pulling the green handle lowers the red cam follower onto the cam wheel attached to the propeller shaft. When the cam raises the follower, the blue rod is depressed against the spring, enabling the yellow trigger plate to be reached when the purple firing button is pressed. This image shows a side view of one of the original Spandau LMG 08 guns, somewhat different in appearance from the LMG 08/15 that later German fighters used

Another major limitation was the early mounting of machine guns, which was awkward due to the position of the propeller. It would seem most natural to place the gun between the pilot and the propeller, so they would be able to aim down its sight as well as service it during a gun jam. However, this gun position presents an obvious problem - the bullets would fly directly into the propeller. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x569, 19 KB)Diagram of Anthony Fokkers machine gun synchronisation gear. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x569, 19 KB)Diagram of Anthony Fokkers machine gun synchronisation gear. ... Damaged propeller from a Sopwith Baby aircraft circa 1916/17 with evidence of bulletholes from a machine gun fired behind the propeller without an Interruptor. ... A machine gun is a fully-automatic firearm that is capable of firing bullets in rapid succession. ...


Frenchman Roland Garros attempted to solve this problem by attaching metal deflector wedges to the blades of his propeller, which he hoped would guide bullets away. Garros managed to score several kills with his deflector modification, yet it was still an inadequate and dangerous solution, as when Germany tried this, their steel-jacketed bullets shattered the wedges. The French Hotchkiss machine gun (as well as the Lewis gun) used by the Allies used more conventional copper- and brass-jacketed ammunition. Roland Garros Roland Garros (October 6, 1888 – October 25, 1918) was an early French aviator and a fighter aircraft pilot during World War I. Garros was born in Saint-Denis, Réunion. ... The Lewis Gun is a pre-World War I era squad automatic weapon/machine gun of American design that was most widely used by the forces of the British Empire. ...


One of the remedies at this time was to mount the gun to fire above the propeller. This required the gun to be mounted on the top wing of biplanes and to be propped up and secured by complicated, drag inducing mounting in monoplanes. Because the gun could not be reached, it could not be serviced during a gun jam, nor could ammunition belts or drums be changed. Eventually the excellent Foster mounting became more or less the standard way of mounting a Lewis gun in this position in the R.F.C. - this allowed the gun to be slid back for drum changing, and also to be fired up at an angle - a very effective way of attacking an enemy from the "blind spot" under his tail. But this type of mounting was still only possible for a biplane with a top wing positioned near the apex of the propeller's arc - it put considerable strain on the fragile wing structures of the period, and it was much less rigid than a gun mounting on the fuselage - producing a greater "scatter" of bullets, especially at anything but very short range. In early 1916 Sergeant Foster of No. ... The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of World War I. // Formed by Royal Warrant on 13 May 1912, the RFC superseded the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. ...


Another solution was the use of "pusher" types, widely used by the French and British in the early part of the war. The pusher design had a propeller mouted behind the pilot, facing the rear, and "pushing" rather than "pulling" the plane through the air. This provided the opportunity to optimally mount the gun, which could be fired directly forward without an obstructing propeller, and of course reloaded and repaired in-flight. The drawback was that pusher planes - because of the struts and rigging necessary to hold their tail units, and the extra drag this entailed, tended at best to have an inferior performance to a "tractor" type with the same engine. A British WWI-era F.E.2b pusher. ...


The principle of a synchronized gun - essentially allowing the engine to fire the gun at the same speed as the turning propeller and allowing the bullets to pass unimpeded between the blades - had actually occurred to inventors in Britain, France and Germany well before the war, and several gears had been designed. There was however a great reluctance to try the idea out in practice - since it was all too obvious what would happen if the gear were to go wrong. The Fokker concern were the first aircraft manufacturer to "bite the bullet" and actually offer this solution to the German Air Service - producing the famous Fokker Eindecker fighters. Crude as these little monoplanes were, they led in part to a period of German air dominance, known as the Fokker Scourge by the allies because of the losses inflicted by Fokker aircraft. These had a psychological effect that exceeded the material one - the Allies had up to now been more or less unchallenged in the air, and the vulnerability of their older reconnaissance aircraft - especially the British B.E.2 and the French Farman pushers came as a very nasty shock. The Fokker Eindecker was a German First World War monoplane single-seat fighter aircraft designed by Dutch engineer Anthony Fokker. ... The Fokker Scourge, a term coined by the British press, was a period of time in World War I in the summer of 1915. ... Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. ... cunt sauce? ...


The Lewis gun, used on many early Allied aircraft, was very hard to synchronize due to its firing cycle starting with an empty, and open, breech, ready to receive a round. Although some synchronized Lewis mountings were made, especially in the R.N.A.S) these were never entirely satisfactory. The Maxim-style machine guns used by both the Allies (as the Vickers gun) and Germany (as the LMG 14 Parabellum and LMG 08 Spandau guns) had a firing cycle that started with a bullet already in the breech and the breech closed, which meant the firing of the bullet was the next step in the cycle, making synchronizing those Maxim-style machine guns considerably easier. Personnel of No 1 Squadron RNAS in late 1914 The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of World War I, when it merged with the British Armys Royal Flying Corps (RFC) to form the Royal Air Force. ... The Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled . ... MG08 with optical sight. ...


1915: The Fokker Scourge

Main article: Fokker Scourge
Max Immelmann of Feldflieger Abteilung 62 in the cockpit of his Fokker E.III.
Max Immelmann of Feldflieger Abteilung 62 in the cockpit of his Fokker E.III.

In 1915, Anthony Fokker designed the synchronizer gear, which turned the tide of war in Germany's favor. This ingenious device mechanically linked the gun to the propeller, stopping the fire when a propeller blade passed in front of the machinegun muzzle. This was first fitted in the spring of 1915 to the production prototypes of the Fokker Eindecker, known as the Fokker M.5K/MG, making it top-of-the-line in design, maneuverability (although the Eindecker used wing warping for roll control), and most importantly, gun placement. Leutnant Kurt Wintgens, on July 1, 1915, scored the earliest known victory for a synchronized gun-equipped fighter with his M.5K/MG over a two-seat Morane Saulnier Parasol near Luneville, France. The result was devastating for the Allied powers, and gave the Germans almost total control of the air. Soon Allied planes were forced to flee for home at the mere sight of German monoplanes. A solution was needed, and quickly. The Fokker Scourge, a term coined by the British press, was a period of time in World War I in the summer of 1915. ... Image File history File links Max_Immelmann_Fokker_EI.jpg German First World War flying ace Max Immelmann in the cockpit of his Fokker E.I. Photo taken 1915 or 1916. ... Image File history File links Max_Immelmann_Fokker_EI.jpg German First World War flying ace Max Immelmann in the cockpit of his Fokker E.I. Photo taken 1915 or 1916. ... Max Immelmann Max Immelmann (September 21, 1890 - June 18, 1916) was a German World War I Flying ace. ... Anton Herman Gerard Anthony Fokker (April 6, 1890 – December 23, 1939), was born in Kediri (Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia) and became a Dutch aircraft manufacturer. ... The term synchronizer can mean more than one thing. ... Max Immelmann of Feldflieger Abteilung 62 in the cockpit of his Fokker E.I. The Fokker E.I was the first successful fighter aircraft, entering combat with the German Army Air Service in mid-1915 which marked the start of a period known as the Fokker Scourge during which the... Wing warping was an early system for controlling the roll of an aeroplane while flying. ... is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday[1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Morane-Saulnier Rallye Minerva MS.894A, built in 1970 Aéroplanes Morane-Saulnier is a French aircraft manufacturer formed by Raymond Saulnier and the Morane Brothers in October 1911. ... Aéroplanes Morane-Saulnier is a French aircraft manufacturer formed by Raymond Saulnier and the Morane Brothers in October 1911. ...


The E.III's foil came in the form of the Nieuport 11, a biplane with a tractor prop and, as needed, a cowl gun. The key event which allowed the Allies to reverse-engineer the German technology occurred when a German pilot became lost in heavy fog over France. The pilot and plane were captured when it landed, giving the Allies access to its technology. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Nieuport 11 was designed in response to the Fokker Scourge of 1915. ... Hs123 biplane. ...


Another plane contributing to the end of the Fokker Scourge was the British pusher Airco DH.2. It suffered from mechanical reliability problems, but was far superior to the E.III. The Airco DH.2 was a single-seat biplane pusher aircraft which operated as a fighter during the First World War. ...


The Fokker E-III, Airco DH-2, and the Nieuport 11 would be the first in a long line of fighter aircraft used by both sides during the war. Fighter planes were primarily used to shoot down enemy planes, mainly the enemy's two-seat planes used for recon and bombing missions. Because of this, another key role of fighter planes was to protect their own two-seat planes from enemy fighters while they carried out their mission. Fighters were also used to attack ground targets with small loads of bombs and by strafing them with their machine guns. Strafing (adaptation of German strafen, to punish, specifically from the World War I humorous adaptation of the German catchphrase Gott strafe England), is the practice of firing on a static target from a moving platform. ...


April 1917: Bloody April

Main article: Bloody April

In April the Allies launched a joint offensive with the British attacking near Arras in Artois, northern France, while the French Nivelle Offensive was launched on the Aisne and the air forces were called on to provide support, predominantly in reconnaissance and artillery spotting. During the First World War, the month of April 1917 was known as Bloody April by the Allied air forces. ... Arras (Dutch: ) is a town and commune in northern France, préfecture (capital) of the Pas-de-Calais département. ... Artois is a former province of northern France. ... The Nivelle Offensive was a 1917 Allied attack on the Western Front in World War I. The offensive was a costly failure. ... Aisne is a department in the northern part of France named after the Aisne River. ... Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... For other uses, see Artillery (disambiguation). ...


However, the Germans were prepared for the offensive, and were equipped with the new Albatros D-III, "the best fighting scout on the Western Front"[7] at the time. The Albatros D.III was a highly successful single seat, biplane fighter aircraft used by the German Imperial Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) and the Austro-Hungarian Air Service (Luftfahrtruppen) during the First World War. ...


The month became known as Bloody April by the Allied air forces. The Royal Flying Corps suffered particularly severe losses. However, they managed to keep the German Air Force on the defensive, largely preventing them from using their planes on bombing or reconnaissance missions to assist their troops on the ground. During the First World War, the month of April 1917 was known as Bloody April by the Allied air forces. ... The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of World War I. // Formed by Royal Warrant on 13 May 1912, the RFC superseded the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. ...


Shortly after "Bloody April", the Allies re-equipped their squadrons with new planes such as the Sopwith Pup, and S.E.5a which helped tip the balance back in their favor. The Germans responded with new fighters as well, such as the Fokker Dr.I but these were countered by the British Sopwith Camel and French SPAD S.XIII. As a result, the Allies were able to maintain general air superiority toward the end of the year, which was in general maintained for the rest of the war. The Sopwith Pup was a single seater biplane fighter aircraft used by Great Britain in the First World War. ... The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. ... The Fokker Dr. I Dreidecker (triplane) was a World War I fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz and built by the company led by Anthony Fokker. ... The Sopwith Camel Scout is a British First World War single-seat fighter aircraft that was famous for its maneuverability. ... The SPAD S.XIII was a French biplane fighter aircraft of World War I, developed by Société Pour LAviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) from the earlier highly successful SPAD S.VII. It was one of the most capable fighters of the war, and one of the... Air superiority is the dominance in the air power of one side air forces of another side during a military campaign. ...


Up to 1918: the final years of war

The final year of the war (1918) saw increasing shortages of supplies on the side of the Central Powers. Captured Allied planes were scrounged for every available material, even to the point of draining the lubricants from damaged engines just to keep one more German plane flyable. Manfred von Richthofen, the famed Red Baron credited with around 80 victories, was killed in April, possibly by an Australian anti-aircraft machinegunner (although Royal Air Force pilot Captain Arthur Roy Brown was officially credited), and the leadership of Jagdgeschwader 1 eventually passed to Hermann Göring, future head of Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe. Red Baron redirects here. ... Captain Arthur Roy Brown Captain Arthur Roy Brown (DFC and bar) (23 December 1893–9 March 1944) was a Canadian World War I flying ace whom the Royal Air Force officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, although evidence has shown that it is very unlikely... Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) was formed in the World War I, and was a composite fighter group made up of four Jastas or squadrons on June 24, 1917 with Baron Manfred von Richtofen as commander. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism, or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the totalitarian ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon, pronounced lufft-va-fa, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ...


Germany introduced the Fokker D.VII, both loved and loathed to the point that surrender of all surviving examples was specifically ordered by the victorious allies. Fokker D.VII Fokker D.VII Fokker D.VII preserved in the Deutsches Museum The Fokker D.VII was a late World War I fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz at the Fokker company. ...


This year also saw the United States increasingly involved. While American volunteers had been flying in Allied squadrons since the early years of the war, it wasn't until 1918 when all-American squadrons begin patrolling the skies above the trenches. At first, the Americans were largely supplied with second-rate weapons and obsolete planes, such as the Nieuport 28. As American numbers grew, equipment improved, including the SPAD S.XIII, one of the best French planes in the war. By the end of World War I, four American aviators were awarded the Medal of Honor: Fighter pilots Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke, along with recon pilot Harold Goettler and his observer, Erwin Beckley, a member of the Kansas Army National Guard who had volunteered for aviation duty. Beckley was the first of only three National Guard aviators to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the 20th century.[4] The Nieuport 28 (N.28C-1) was a French biplane fighter aircraft flown during World War I, built by Nieuport and designed by Gustave Delage. ... The SPAD S.XIII was a French biplane fighter aircraft of World War I, developed by Société Pour LAviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) from the earlier highly successful SPAD S.VII. It was one of the most capable fighters of the war, and one of the... The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... Eddie Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 27, 1973) was best known as a World War I fighter ace and Medal of Honor recipient. ... Lt. ... Seal of the Army National Guard The Kansas National Guard is comprised of both Army and Air National Guard components. ...


Impact

By the war's end, the impact of air missions on the ground war was in retrospect mainly tactical - strategic bombing, in particular, was still very rudimentary indeed. This was partly due to its restricted funding and use, as it was, after all, a new technology. Some, such as General William Mitchell, claimed that "the only damage that has come to [Germany] has been through the air"[8]. Mitchell was famously controversial in his view that the future of war wasn't on the ground or at sea, but in the air:

The day has passed when armies on the ground or navies on the sea can be the arbiter of a nation's destiny in war. The main power of defense and the power of initiative against an enemy has passed to the air.

General Billy Mitchell, November 1918 [8][9]

It took World War II for the rest of the world to be convinced of this. Finally, in 1946, Mitchell was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, "in recognition of his outstanding pioneer service and foresight in the field of American military aviation".[10] Congressional Gold Medal presented to Navajo Code talkers in 2000 The Congressional Gold Medal should not be confused with the Medal of Honor (commonly called the Congressional Medal of Honor), which is also awarded by Congress, but only to military members as the highest military decoration of the United States. ...

Anti-aircraft weaponry

Main article: Anti-aircraft warfare

Though aircraft still functioned as vehicles of observation, increasingly it was used as a weapon in itself. Dog fights erupted in the skies over the front lines - planes went down in flames and heroes were born. From this air-to-air combat, the need grew for better planes and gun armament. Aside from machine guns, air-to-air rockets were also used, such as the Le Prieur rocket against balloons and airships. “Flak” redirects here. ... Dog fight is a common term used to describe close-range aerial combat between military aircraft. ... RS-82 rockets mounted under the wing of a LaGG-3 fighter. ... Nieuport 16 with Le Prieur rockets. ... Akron in flight, 2 November 1931 An airship is a buoyant (lighter_than_air) aircraft that can be steered and propelled through the air. ...


This need for improvement was not limited to air-to-air combat. On the ground, methods developed before the war were being used to deter enemy planes from observation and bombing. Anti-aircraft artillery rounds were fired into the air and exploded into clouds of smoke and fragmentation, called archie by the allies, providing enemy aircraft with an obstacle course to fly around. American troops man an anti-aircraft gun near the Algerian coastline in 1943 Anti-aircraft, or air defense, is any method of combating military aircraft from the ground. ... Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. ... FLAK was a punk rock side project of members of the band Machinae Supremacy in 2001. ...


Anti-aircraft artillery defenses were increasingly used around observation balloons, which became frequent targets of enemy fighters equipped with special incendiary bullets. Because balloons were so flammable, due to the hydrogen used to inflate them, observers were given parachutes, enabling them to jump to safety. Ironically, only a few aircrew had the luxury of parachutes, due in part to a mistaken belief they inhibited aggressiveness (and in part to early aircraft being unable to lift their significant weight). For the 2008 film of the same name, see Incendiary (film). ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Inflate can refer to: Inflation, the process of something getting bigger. ...


Bombing and reconnaissance

As the stalemate developed on the ground, with both sides unable to advance even a few miles without a major battle and thousands of casualties, aircraft became greatly valued for their role gathering intelligence on enemy positions and bombing the enemy's supplies behind the trench lines. Large planes with a pilot and an observer were used to scout enemy positions and bomb their supply bases. Because they were large and slow, these planes made easy targets for enemy fighter planes. As a result, both sides used fighter aircraft to both attack the enemy's two-seat planes and protect their own while carrying out their missions.


While the two-seat bombers and Reconnaissance planes were slow and vulnerable, they were not defenseless. Two-seat planes had the advantage of both forward and rear firing guns. Typically, the pilot controlled fixed guns behind the propeller, similar to guns in a fighter plane, while the observer controlled a mounted machine gun that he could aim with a 180 arc at incoming fighters behind the plane. Furthermore, two-seat planes could dive at very high speeds due to their excessive weight, allowing them to put some distance between them and enemy fighters. Also, pursuing a diving two-seater was hazardous for a fighter pilot, as it would place the fighter directly in the rear-gunner's line of fire. Several high scoring aces of the war were shot down by "lowly" two-seaters, including Raoul Lufbery and Robert Little. Major Raoul Lufbery poses next to his Nieuport fighter Gervais Raoul Lufbery (March 14, 1885 – May 19, 1918) was an French-American fighter pilot and flying ace in World War I. Because he served in both the French and later the American air services in World War I, he is... Robert Little (born 1967) is a New Jersey-based criminal defense attorney and a current member of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education (2004-2007). ...

  • Bombers of World War I

    Video clip of allied bombing runs over German lines.


    Bombers of WW1. ... Bombers of WW1. ...

  • Problems seeing the videos? See media help.

Strategic bombing

Plaque commemorating a September 8, 1915 Zeppelin raid on 61 Farringdon Road, London.
Plaque commemorating a September 8, 1915 Zeppelin raid on 61 Farringdon Road, London.

The first ever aerial bombardment of civilians was during World War I. On January 19, 1915, two German Zeppelins dropped 24 fifty-kilogram high-explosive bombs and ineffective three-kilogram incendiaries on Great Yarmouth, Sheringham, King's Lynn, and the surrounding villages. In all, four people were killed, sixteen injured, and monetary damage was estimated at £7,740, although the public and media reaction were out of proportion to the death toll.[11] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 2231 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Zeppelin Bomb User:Justinc ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 2231 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Zeppelin Bomb User:Justinc ... is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday[1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Farringdon Road is a road in Central London. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... is the 19th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday[1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Zeppelins are a type of rigid airship pioneered by German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century, based in part on an earlier design by aviation pioneer David Schwarz. ... Great Yarmouth, often known to locals simply as Yarmouth, is an English coastal town in the county of Norfolk. ... Sheringham from the mound Sheringham is a seaside town (population 7143[1]) in Norfolk, England, west of Cromer. ... Kings Lynn is a town and port in the English county of Norfolk. ...


There were a further nineteen raids in 1915, in which 37 tons of bombs were dropped, killing 181 people and injuring 455. Raids continued in 1916. London was accidentally bombed in May, and, in July, the Kaiser allowed directed raids against urban centres. There were 23 airship raids in 1916 in which 125 tons of ordnance were dropped, killing 293 people and injuring 691. Gradually British air defenses improved. In 1917 and 1918 there were only eleven Zeppelin raids against England, and the final raid occurred on August 5, 1918, which resulted in the death of KK Peter Strasser, commander of the German Naval Airship Department. By the end of the war, 51 raids had been undertaken, in which 5,806 bombs were dropped, killing 557 people and injuring 1,358. London bombings can refer to a number of bomb attacks on London: The July 2005 London bombings carried out by British Islamic extremists: 7 July 2005 London bombings 21 July 2005 London bombings David Copelands nail bomb attacks against ethnic minorities and gays in London kill three people and... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... is the 217th day of the year (218th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Portrait of Peter Strasser in 1914, commander of the Luftschiffer German Airforce Peter Strasser (April 1, 1876 - August 6, 1918) Chief Commander of Germanys Luftschiffer airforce during World War I. He was the main leader of the Zeppelins command and in charge, operating bombing campaigns from 1915 to 1918. ...


The Zeppelin raids were complemented by the Gotha G bombers from 1917, which were the first heavier than air bombers to be used for strategic bombing. It has been argued that the raids were effective far beyond material damage in diverting and hampering wartime production, and diverting twelve squadrons and over 10,000 men to air defenses. The calculations which were performed on the number of dead to the weight of bombs dropped would have a profound effect on the attitudes of the British authorities and population in the interwar years. The Gotha G series was a family of heavy bombers used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during the First World War. ... The city heart of Rotterdam after being terror bombed by Germany in 1940, the ruin of the (now restored) Laurens Kerk is the only building that reminds people of Rotterdams medieval architecture. ... The United Kingdom is a unitary state and a democratic constitutional monarchy. ...


Observation balloons

Main article: Observation balloon
A German observation balloon being bombed by an allied aircraft.
A German observation balloon being bombed by an allied aircraft.

Manned observation balloons floating high above the trenches were used as stationary reconnaissance points on the front lines, reporting enemy troop positions and directing artillery fire. Balloons commonly had a crew of two personnel equipped with parachutes: upon an enemy air attack on the flammable balloon the balloon crew would parachute to safety. Recognized for their value as observer platforms, Observation balloons were important targets of enemy aircraft. To defend against air attack, they were heavily protected by large concentrations antiaircraft guns and patrolled by friendly aircraft. Blimps and balloons helped contribute to the stalemate of the trench warfare of World War I, and the balloons contributed to air to air combat among the aircraft to defend the skies for air superiority because of their significant reconnaissance value. Observation balloons were widely employed as aerial platforms for purposes of intelligence gathering and artillery direction during the First World War and beyond. ... Image File history File links Bombed_balloon. ... Image File history File links Bombed_balloon. ...


In order to encourage their pilots to attack enemy balloons whenever they were found, both sides counted downing an enemy balloon as an "air-to-air" kill, with the same value as shooting down an enemy plane. Some pilots, known as balloon busters, became particularly distinguished by their prowess at shooting down enemy balloons. Perhaps the most well known was American ace Frank Luke: 14 of his 18 kills were enemy balloons. Balloon busters were military pilots known for destroying enemy observation balloons. ... Lt. ...


Notable aces

Name Confirmed Victories Country Notes
Manfred von Richthofen 80 Germany The Red Baron, Pour le Mérite
René Fonck 75 France Top Allied ace, and all-time Allied Ace of Aces in all conflicts.
Edward Mannock 73 disputed UK Top scoring United Kingdom ace.-disputed
Billy Bishop 72 disputed Canada Top-scoring British Empire ace.-disputed
Raymond Collishaw 62 Canada Top Royal Naval Air Service ace.
Ernst Udet 62 Germany Second highest scoring German ace.
James McCudden 57 UK Victoria Cross, Croix de Guerre. One of the longest serving aces (from 1913 to 1918)
Georges Guynemer 53 France First French ace to attain 50 victories.
Roderic Dallas 51 (disputed) Australia Australian.[citation needed]
William Barker 50 Canada
Werner Voss 48 Germany One time friendly rival of Manfred von Richthofen
George Edward Henry McElroy 47 UK Highest-scoring Irish-born ace.
Robert Little 47 Australia (serving under Britain)
Albert Ball 44 UK Victoria Cross
Charles Nungesser 43 France Légion d'Honneur, Médaille Militaire
Lothar von Richthofen 40 Germany Pour le Mérite, brother of Manfred.
Oswald Boelcke 40 Germany Pour le Mérite Legendary German air hero, killed in 1916.
Julius Buckler 36 Germany Pour le Mérite
Theo Osterkamp 32 (plus 6 in World War II) Germany
Francesco Baracca 34 Italy Top-scoring Italy ace.
Karl Allmenröder † 30 Germany Pour le Mérite
Keith Park 30 New Zealand Leading New Zealand ace, flying with Australia. Croix de Guerre
A. H. "Harry" Cobby 30 Australia Once thought to be highest scoring ace.[citation needed]
Eddie Rickenbacker 26 United States Top US ace
Hermann Göring 22 Germany Pour le Mérite
William C. Lambert 21.5 United States
Aleksandr Kazakov 20 Imperial Russia Top Russian ace.
Frank Luke 18 United States Medal of Honor "Arizona Balloon Buster"
Raoul Lufbery 17 United States and France Leader of the Lafayette Escadrille
Max Immelmann 15 Germany Pour le Mérite
Field Kindley 12 United States, served under Britain
Indra Lal Roy 10 India India's only ace.
Donald Cunnell 9 UK Shot down Manfred von Richthofen
Lanoe Hawker 9 UK Victoria Cross. Britain's first ace.
Christopher Draper 9 UK "The Mad Major". Croix de Guerre
Roland Garros 5 France First nonstop flight across the Mediterranean Sea (1913). Attached metal deflectors to propellor in order to have a forward-firing gun.
† Died during Service

This is a list of World War I flying aces by nationality (Number of victories in parentheses). ... Red Baron redirects here. ... Baron Manfred Albrecht von Richthofen (May 2, 1892–April 21, 1918) was a German pilot and is still regarded today as the ace of aces. He was a very successful fighter pilot, military leader and flying ace who won 80 air combats during World War I. Richthofen was known... René Fonck wearing the Légion dhonneur. ... Major Edward Corringham Mick Mannock VC DSO & Two Bars MC & Bar (24 May 1887 – 26 July 1918) was a British First World War flying ace and posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross. ... Air Marshal William Avery Billy Bishop VC CB DSO & Bar MC DFC ED (8 February 1894 – 11 September 1956) was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 72 victories, the highest number for a British Empire pilot. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... Air Vice-Marshal Raymond Collishaw (November 22, 1893 - September 28, 1976) was the highest scoring Royal Naval Air Service flying ace and the second highest scoring Canadian pilot of World War I. Raymond Collishaw was born at Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada on 22nd November 1893. ... Personnel of No 1 Squadron RNAS in late 1914 The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of World War I, when it merged with the British Armys Royal Flying Corps (RFC) to form the Royal Air Force. ... Ernst Udet (April 26, 1896 – November 17, 1941) was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and was the highest scoring German ace to survive the war (at the age of 22). ... McCuddens grave. ... For other uses, see Victoria Cross (disambiguation). ... Georges Guynemer Georges Guynemer (December 24, 1894 - September 11, 1917) was a French aviator during World War I. Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer was born into a wealthy Compiègne family and experienced an often sickly childhood. ... Roderick S. Dallas (30 July 1891-1 June 1918) was possibly the leading Australian fighter ace of World War I. Estimates of his number of kills vary from the official tally of 39, to 51 credited to him by some researchers. ... Lt. ... Werner Voss (April 13, 1897–September 23, 1917) was a World War I German fighter pilot and ace. ... Red Baron redirects here. ... George E. H. McElroy (May 14, 1893-July 31, 1918) was a leading scout pilot of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force during World War I. Born in Dublin, McElroy joined the Royal Irish Regiment in 1914 and was gassed while serving in France. ... Robert Little (born 1967) is a New Jersey-based criminal defense attorney and a current member of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education (2004-2007). ... Albert Ball, standing in front of a Caudron G.3. ... For other uses, see Victoria Cross (disambiguation). ... Charles Nungesser (1892-1927) was a French aviator and adventurer who is best known as a rival of Charles A. Lindbergh in the race to be first to fly non-stop between New York and Paris. ... Chiang Kai-sheks Légion dhonneur. ... French Military Medal The Médaille militaire (Military Medal) is a decoration of the French Republic which was first instituted in 1852. ... Lothar von Richthofen (right) with elder brother Manfred Lothar-Siegfried Freiherr von Richthofen (27 September 1894 – 4 July 1922) was a German First World War fighter ace credited with 40 victories during the war. ... Oswald Boelcke (IPA: ; 19 May 1891–28 October 1916) was a German flying ace of the First World War and one of the most influential patrol leaders and tacticians of the early years of air combat. ... Julius Buckler, in uniform Julius Buckler (28 March 1894 – 23 May 1960) was a German First World War fighter ace credited with 36 victories during the war. ... Theo Onkel Osterkamp (15 April 1892 - 2 January 1975) was a World War I and World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace. ... Count Francesco Baracca, standing by his plane with the famous prancing horse logo, later to become the emblem for the Ferrari car. ... Lieutenant Karl Allmenröder, born on May 3, 1896, was a German World War I ace. ... The Order Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max (German: Blauer Max), was Prussias highest military order until the end of World War I. The award was a blue-enameled Maltese Cross with eagles between the arms, the Prussian royal cypher, and the French legend Pour... Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL (June 15, 1892 - February 6, 1975) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in World War II. // Early Life and Army Career Park was born near Auckland, New Zealand. ... Captain Harry Cobby in 1919 Air CommodoreArthur Henry Harry Cobby CBE, DSO, DFC and Two Bars, GM RAAF (August 26, 1894-November 11, 1955) was a notable Australian military aviator. ... Eddie Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 27, 1973) was best known as a World War I fighter ace and Medal of Honor recipient. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ... William C. (Bill) Lambert (August 18, 1894 – March 19, 1982) was an American fighter pilot who flew in World War I. He was the second-ranking American ace of World War I. He recorded 21. ... Aleksandr Kazakov Postage stamp of Equatorial Guinea dedicated to Aleksandr Kazakov Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kazakov (or Kozakov) (Russian: Александр Александрович Казаков) (January 15, 1889 - August 1, 1919) was the most successful Russian flying ace and fighter pilot during the First World War. ... Lt. ... The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... Major Raoul Lufbery poses next to his Nieuport fighter Gervais Raoul Lufbery (March 14, 1885 – May 19, 1918) was an French-American fighter pilot and flying ace in World War I. Because he served in both the French and later the American air services in World War I, he is... A SPAD S.XIII in Lafayette Escadrille livery James Norman Hall (1887-1951) of the Lafayette Escadrille, 1917 The Lafayette Escadrille (from the French Escadrille Lafayette) was a squadron of the French Air Service, the Aéronautique militaire, during World War I composed largely of American pilots flying fighters. ... Max Immelmann Max Immelmann (September 21, 1890 - June 18, 1916) was a German World War I Flying ace. ... Field E. Kindley (March 13, 1896-February 2, 1920) was an aviator and World War I flying ace. ... Indra Lal (Laddie) Roy, DFC (2 December 1898-22 July 1918) was the first (and only) Indian flying ace. ... The Royal Aircraft Factory FE2d fighter Donald Charles Cunnell (born December 1893 at Norwich, Norfolk, England, died 12 July 1917 near Wervicq, Belgium, was a British World War I fighter pilot. ... Red Baron redirects here. ... Lanoe Hawker Major Lanoe George Hawker, VC, DSO (December 30, 1890 â€“ November 23, 1916) was a World War I English fighter pilot. ... For other uses, see Victoria Cross (disambiguation). ... Squadron Commander Christoper Draper, DSC (15 April 1892 _ 16 January 1979) - flying ace, secret agent and film star with a penchant for flying under bridges Christopher Draper was born at Bebington in England in 1892. ... The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of both Belgium and France which was first created in 1915. ... Roland Garros Roland Garros (October 6, 1888 – October 25, 1918) was an early French aviator and a fighter aircraft pilot during World War I. Garros was born in Saint-Denis, Réunion. ... Mediterranean redirects here. ...

Notable aircraft

See also Category:World War I aircraft. This is a list of military aircraft used by the Entente Powers in World War I. // United Kingdom Fighters & Interceptors AD Scout Airco DH.2 (aka De Havilland DH.2) (1915) Armstrong Whitworth Siskin Bristol F.2 Fighter(April 1917) Morane-Saulnier Type L (1913) (fighter/reconnaissance) Morane-Saulnier Type... // Fighters and Interceptors Albatros D.I (1916) Albatros D.II (1916) Albatros D.III (1916) Albatros D.V Aviatik C.VI Damiler L.6 Fokker D.I Fokker D.II Fokker D.III Fokker D.IV Fokker D.V Fokker D.VI Fokker D.VII (1918) Fokker D.VIII (aka...


Popular culture

The highest scoring flying ace, Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, is the main subject of popular culture. He has had many references in popular culture. Red Baron redirects here. ... Fokker Dr.I. Replica of the famous Manfred von Richthofen tri-plane at the ILA 2006 // In the comic strip Peanuts, one of Snoopys fantasies portrays him as a World War I flying ace (Arthur Browns nickname was Snoopy) with a personal grudge against the Red Baron. ...


Red Baron and Red Baron 3D were popular flight simulators based on World War I Aviation. Red Baron is a computer game for the PC, created by Damon Slye at Dynamix and published by Sierra Entertainment. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Reconnaissance ballooning existed long before, as it was first used (rather tentatively) in the American Civil War.
  2. ^ a b c Knights of the Air (1980) by Ezra Bowen, part of Time-Life's The Epic of Flight series. Pg. 24, 26
  3. ^ p.4
  4. ^ a b c An Illustrated History of World War One, at http://www.wwiaviation.com/earlywar.html
  5. ^ Great Battles of World War I by Major-General Sir Jeremy Moore, p. 136
  6. ^ http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Air_Power/WWI-reconnaissance/AP2.htm [1]
  7. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 1, "Albatros D", p.65
  8. ^ a b "Leaves From My War Diary" by General William Mitchell, in Great Battles of World War I: In The Air (1966), Publisher: Signet. Pg. 192, 193 (November 1918).
  9. ^ This quote was also mentioned in Time magazine, June 22, 1942 [2], some seven months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, which Mitchell accurately predicted in 1924.
  10. ^ http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohspec.htm [3]
  11. ^ Ward's Book of Days. Pages of interesting anniversaries. What happened on this day in history. January 19th. On this day in history in 1915, German zeppelins bombed Britain.

“TIME” redirects here. ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other people with the same name, see Billy Mitchell (disambiguation). ...

See also

Main articles

“The Great War ” redirects here. ...

Other articles

References

  • The Great War, television documentary by the BBC.
  • Pearson, George, Aces: A Story of the First Air War, historical advice by Brereton Greenhous and Philip Markham, NFB, 1993. Contains assertion aircraft created trench stalemate.
  • Winter, Denis. First of the Few. London: Allen Lane/Penguin, 1982. Coverage of the British air war, with extensive bibliographical notes.
  • Morrow, John. German Air Power in World War I. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982. Contains design and production figures, as well as economic influences.
  • Editors of American Heritage. History of WW1. Simon & Schuster, 1964.

For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Toronto offices for the National Film Board of Canada The National Film Board of Canada (or NFB) is a Canadian public film-making organization organized to both fund and produce films that educate Canadians and promote Canada around the world. ...

External links

World War I Portal
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
World War I aviation

Italian aircraft: Image File history File links Portal. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...


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