Air Power

Aviation- War in the Air

World War I was the first major war where airplanes were used as a significant part of the military.

Early Flights

The first use of airplanes in World War I was for reconnaissance. The airplanes would fly above the battlefield and determine the enemy's movements and position. One of the first major contributions of airplanes in the war was at the First Battle of the Marne where Allied scout planes spotted a gap in the German lines. The Allies attacked this gap and were able to split the German armies and drive them back.

War Progression

As the war progressed, both sides began to use and manufacture aircraft in different ways. Dropping of bombs on strategic enemy locations was a common one. The first planes used for bombings could only carry small bombs and was an easy victim to attack from the ground. Although by the end of the war, faster long range bombers were built which could carry larger weights of bombs.
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One of the biggest planes in the WWI era carpet bombing

As the enemy pilots began to fight each other in the air, at first, they tried throwing grenades at each other or shooting with rifles and pistols. The best way to shoot down an enemy plane was with a mounted machine. Then, Germans invented the "interrupter" that allowed the machine gun to be coordinated with the propeller. These fights in the air were called dogfights.
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Pilot getting ready to shoot with a mounted gun.

Airplane Markings

When the war first started, the planes were just regular planes without any markings. Unfortunately, ground troops would try to shoot down any plane they saw and sometimes shot down their own plane. Eventually, countries began to mark their planes under the wing so that they could be identified from the ground. Here are some of the markings used during the war.

Types of Planes

World War 1 Aircrafts

Famous WWI Fighter Pilots

The best fighter pilots in World War I were called "aces." Every time a fighter pilot shot down another plane, he claimed a "victory." Aces kept track of their victories and became heroes in their respective countries. Here are some of the well known fighter pilots: