Aviation in ww1

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Aviation in ww1:

Aviation in ww1 Color Autochrome Lumière of a Nieuport Fighter in Aisne , France 1917 World War I was the first war in which aircraft were deployed on a large scale. Tethered observation balloons had already been employed in several wars, and would be used extensively for artillery spotting . Germany employed Zeppelins for reconnaissance over the North Sea and strategic bombing raids over England . Aeroplanes were just coming into military use at the outset of the war. Initially, they were used mostly for reconnaissance . Pilots and engineers learned from experience, leading to the development of many specialized types, including fighters , bombers , and ground-attack aeroplanes . Ace fighter pilots were portrayed as modern knights, and many became popular heroes. The war also saw the appointment of high-ranking officers to direct the belligerent nations' air war effort . While the impact of aircraft on the course of war was limited, many of the lessons learned would be applied in future wars . Pablo Cardone Year 9.

The early years of war :

The early years of war The early years of war Front page of the New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, January 1st 1917. Caption reads: "A German Fighting Monoplane Flying Very Near the Ground Photographed from Directly Underneath." The aircraft is of the Taube type, either a Rumpler Taube or a copy from one of the other manufacturers involved in Taube production. From the very start, there was some debate over the uses (or usefulness) of aircraft in warfare. Many senior officers, in particular, remained skeptical. In Germany the great successes of the early Zeppelin airships had largely overshadowed the importance of heavier-than-air aircraft. Out of a paper strength of about 230 aircraft belonging to the army in August 1914 only 180 or so were of any use. [4] The French military aviation exercises of 1911, 1912, and 1913 had pioneered cooperation with the cavalry (reconnaissance) and artillery (spotting), but the momentum was if anything slacking. [5] Even so, air reconnaissance played a critical role in the "war of movement" of 1914, especially in helping the Allies halt the German invasion of France. On 22 August 1914, British Captain L.E.O. Charlton and Lieutenant V.H.N. Wadham reported German General Alexander von Kluck 's army was preparing to surround the BEF , contradicting all other intelligence. The British High Command listened to the report and started a withdrawal toward Mons, 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. [9] The Germans' great air "coup" of 1914 (at least according to contemporary propaganda) was at the Battle of Tannenberg in East Prussia where an unexpected Russian attack was reported by Lts . Canter and Mertens , resulting in the Russians' being forced to withdraw. [10]

Anti-aircraft weaponry :

Anti-aircraft weaponry Anti-aircraft weaponry A German Hannover CL III shot down on 4 October 1918 by American machine gunners in the Argonne . 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 – aircraft went down in flames and heroes were born. From this air-to-air combat, the need grew for better aircraft and gun armament. Aside from machineguns, air-to-air rockets were also used, such as the Le Prieur rocket against balloons and airships . Recoilless rifles and autocannons were also attempted but they pushed early fighters to unsafe limits while bringing negligible returns. Another innovation was air-to-air bombing if a fighter had been fortunate enough to climb higher than an airship. The Ranken dart was designed just for this opportunity. 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 aircraft 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 British. 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 this option, due in part to a mistaken belief they inhibited aggressiveness, and in part to their significant weight.

Impact :

Impact Impact “ 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. ” —Brigadier General Billy Mitchell , November 1918 [22] 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. On the other hand the effect of artillery, which had perhaps the greatest effect of any military arm in this war, was very much affected by the availability of aerial photography and aerial "spotting". By 1917 weather bad enough to restrict flying was considered as "putting the gunner's eyes out". [23] Some, such as then-Brigadier General William "Billy" Mitchell , commander of all American air combat units in France, claimed "the only damage that has come to [Germany] has been through the air". [24] Mitchell was famously controversial in his view that the future of war was not on the ground or at sea, but in the air: