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World War One War in the Air. Emily Foster. Purposes of the airship. In the early stages of the war, the airship had the most important role in the air. Military leaders saw them as more useful than airplanes. This was because they were: More reliable Could carry heavy loads
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World War OneWar in the Air Emily Foster
Purposes of the airship • In the early stages of the war, the airship had the most important role in the air. • Military leaders saw them as more useful than airplanes. This was because they were: • More reliable • Could carry heavy loads • Had a much greater range.
Germany and the airship • The Germans were the possessors of the most advanced airship, called the Zeppelin.
The Zeppelin • The Germans used the Zeppelin to carry out bombing on civilian and industrial targets in Britain. • At the beginning of the war, the Germans had a force of 30 Zeppelins, which flew high enough that they were not easily targeted and hit.
The Gotha • The use of the Zeppelin declined, however, as British defenses improved and the Zeppelins became too vulnerable. • In its place, the Germans created the bomber aircrafts, the most famous of which was called the Gotha.
Aircraft reconnaissance • Aircrafts were used to do detailed reconnaissance work over enemy trenches. Pilots flying these planes were able to discover several different types of information from these ‘fly overs’: • Troop concentrations • Artillery positions • Enemy movements
‘DOG-FIGHTS’ • The aircraft became increasingly influential as enemy aircrafts began to fight above the trenches. • At first soldiers in the aircrafts would use rifles and pistols to shoot at opposing aircrafts and soldiers, but in 1915 machine guns were fitted and synchronized so that they could shoot through the propeller of the airplane without striking the blades.
Aircrafts and the allied victory • Aircrafts played a significant part in the Allied victory in 1918. • Several ground-attack aircrafts dropped 1,563 bombs and fired 122,150 rounds of machine-gun ammunition in order to support the troops fighting in the trenches below.
development of the aircraft during the war • Aircraft technology was only a little over ten years old when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in late June 1914. • General Ferdinand Foch, who fought for the French army in World War One and was made Marshal of France in 1918, is reported to have said that “aviation is a good sport, but for the army it is useless”.
The number of aircrafts grew to more than 8,000 aircraft in operation on all sides, and while the outcome of World War One was determined by the war fought on the ground, the increasing use of aircrafts foreshadowed the dominance in aircraft warfare in the Second World War.
The effects of air warfare • At first, pilots fighting in the war were romanticized and used for propaganda campaigns, which was in great contrast to the anonymity of those fighting in the trenches on land. However, as air warfare became more frequent with the development of mass air actions with greater numbers of airplanes, air pilots also became anonymous. • By 1918, the idea of attacking civilians from the air had become a feature of 20th century warfare which was to be continued throughout the century.