The Aerial Warfare

The advent of aircrafts for use in war during 1st World War required a genuine air defense. The Fighter planes were primarily used to attack

other  aircrafts, observation balloons and airships, but could also attack ground targets with their forward-looking machine guns.

From the beginning  of the war, when the  machine gun was placed on top of a double cover’s upper wing, the fighter pilot had to stand up to reload  the machineguns.

During the war, a synchronization between the machinrgun and the engine / propellar was invented. Now the dual machine gun could be mounted on the fuselage just in front of the pilot and shoot through the propeller blades without hitting them.

To many engines fell of, and to many bullets thrown back form the propellar blades hit plane and pilot.

To observe from the air was not new. Since the Napoleonic wars balloons had been used for this. This was also the predominant when WW I started.

The observer planes needed to both observe and bring the intelligence back to their base.They was not supposeed to engage anything,  other than defend themselves.On the other hand seemed both aircraft and balloons as good observers for the artillery, and therefore it was quite important to shoot them down. For this, the observer had a  rotatable machinegun mounted.

Already in 1915  the observation aircrafts had mounted cameras.

From the start of the war the bombing was reserved airships. Both England and Germany had these ships.

Real bombers were at the beginning of the war just individual pilots or observers who took  hand grenades along for the ride.

These could be used against ground targets, but also against enemy aircraft and balloons.

In 1914 a French pilot got the idea to mount detonators and tail fins on artillery shells, and dropped them from his plane. Later special bombs to

be thrown by hand were constructed.

Real bombers came to, as aerial technology allowed bigger and bigger payload on the planes.


Handley-Page V/1500 biplane, Englands

first 4-Engine aircraft. Equipped with 6

machine guns and able to lift two big

30 small bombs Only 35 of 225 ordered

came to be delivered in 1918.


Zeppelin Flugzeugwerke GmbH

4-7 machineguns and up to two tons

of payload. Builded 1917


As the war progressed, it was obvious that the aircraft had been a tremendous offensive weapon and ought to be taken serious.