The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (2023)


The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (1)

Cowardly. 1. Interior of a zeppelin with hexagonal fuselages and spars.



The original work, The German Air Force in World Wars, is about three times the size of this English version. As Major Neumann emphasizes in his foreword, his goal was to collect records of everything pertaining to the German Luftwaffe, not only in relation to its history but also in relation to its development in technical construction and organization.
It had the collaboration of twenty-nine collaborators, each of whom was a specialist in a branch of aviation or the aviation industry, and it is worth noting that the result is a very complete and concise survey.
Limiting myself to certain limitations, I was compelled to restate the work and omit much that English readers did not seem directly interested in. For this purpose I divided the book into two parts, the first of which refers to the German Air Force as a power unit and describes the machines used and the training of the personnel; the second part deals with the application of this power and is therefore primarily historical.
I hope so from this selection of essentials

The reader will be able to form a concrete picture of the strangely paradoxical German Luftwaffe.
I have endeavored to preserve as much as possible the individual style of each author in English, but here and there a revision of the work required minor changes.
To Captain W.F.J. Harvey, D.F.C., Late 22 Squadron, R.A.F., I would like to thank you for your help and criticism which has been invaluable given your extensive flight experience on duty.


Man always sits in the sand
Washed by the abysmal sea of ​​time, gathering with feeble hands
Drops in its expanse: sit and judge the shipwreck
Adrift off the shore and lost the path
Myth - is the story of the past,
Then make a book out of it.

The poor human being is sitting
IN the ocean of time: shoveling with the small hand
drops of eternity; the human child sits dwarf,
Gather the rumors that are circulating, carry them in a little book
write about it; 'History of the World.'

The words of this stanza whispered a mild rebuke to me in the days that this work was conceived and taking shape. They seemed to anticipate the arduous journey between my desire and its fulfillment, my goal and its fulfillment. Perhaps they even hinted that on such a small canvas it is impossible to paint the full picture of our Air Force, its development and achievements. But then war would never have taken to the skies had not a generation of pioneers led the way, and the aviators, whose eyes reveal the world like an open book, would never have conquered space in its third dimension if they did would have admitted existence to her, the impossibility; the airplane would never have emerged as the god of land and sea.
And so, attempts were made to collect such vivid pictures of past events from many sources, reflecting the organizational and knowledge growth of our Air Force, and also the use during the war. It is hoped that this book will later serve as the centerpiece for a complete history of air transport, as a record of wartime air performance must never be constrained by lack of space. However, my current goal is to sort through the multitude of events and save everything we should remember about our dogfight from oblivion. All this work, done through intense and concentrated thought and through works around the world from Boulogne to Baghdad, certainly deserves immortality. And so this book will be a memorial not only to all who served in our air forces on land and sea, but also to the entire German people who once watched their glorious deeds with admiration and admiration.
Much new material will be used for this purpose, and I will reveal to the world many things that have been kept as official secrets. With the help and criticism of others, it will be possible not only to outline the essentials, but also to classify the events. in order of merit or importance. In addition, we can develop an appreciation for the methods that have solved our Air Force's many organizational and design problems and have guided it through so many serious crises.
For the new generation that has the burden of carrying out the plans for future air development that will herald peace and unity among nations, perhaps this book can be a source of excitement and inspiration. In the future, anyone who turns these pages will remember with a shudder of gratitude that the foundations for peaceful aviation were laid in the bitter and bloody struggle for supremacy in the air.


On January 16, 1919, the remnants of our war machine disappeared in the turmoil of events and with them the post of “General Director of the Air Force” disappeared. the youth sacrificed for the great cause is remembered with this phrase as with a symbol. Ever since it was founded on October 8, 1916, it has stood for a sense of national duty.
After long and arduous years of work, the German genius has produced this organizational triumph, the end of which is as momentous as its beginning. Our enemies have caused their total collapse in their successful attempts to thwart the German plans of international airlines. All that was done with the greatest care in peacetime, along with this great mass of machinery, undoubtedly the most phenomenal of all built during the war, lie wrecked under the wreckage of our air services. They also led the downfall of the German aircraft industry.
The sources from which it sprang were widely scattered in regions little frequented by pure and applied science. Almost every area of ​​human knowledge has contributed directly or indirectly to its development. Hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, all branches of mechanics and statics, the construction of ships and their propellers, the most sophisticated methods of wood and metal processing were used in aircraft construction. The pure engine spirit and improved engine design combine to create reliable powerplants. It became possible to build large sheds and hangars that could be quickly set up or moved from one place to another. A special branch of chemistry was developed to solve problems such as providing pure gas for airplanes. The atmosphere and its currents were studied through aerology and meteorology, which provided the aviator with information about their peculiar element. The research protected the aircraft from atmospheric electricity; The study of airwaves made possible the use of telegraphy and wireless telephony on airplanes. Improvements were made in astronomy and other methods of navigation, while nearly every instrument fitted to a ship was acquired and modified to serve new purposes. The same use was made of the gyroscope. Even the old means of communication and signaling, including the carrier pigeon, rendered a limited service in these new and very different circumstances.
Cameras, the ancient toys of the joy of flying, attained a rather unexpected importance due to the outstanding skills of German opticians. Surveying and mapping followed the invention of photographs and complementary mosaics with new exact scaling methods. Medical research faced new problems of physiology and psychology. Especially for aviators who had to endure high altitudes, it became necessary to develop protective measures against low air pressure, severe cold and lack of oxygen in order to maintain the level of physical fitness. Like the aircraft engine, human vitality at high altitude must be supported by oxygen supply and protection against the cold.
In addition to these diverse arts and sciences, a new weapon design technique had to be acquired to meet the needs of the aircraft. For this purpose, special forms of machine guns, automatic pistols, ammunition, bombs and grenades were created. On the other hand, before the war there was practically no anti-aircraft defense. Over time, anti-aircraft guns emerged with all their paraphernalia of optical and acoustic instruments to locate, measure and keep sight of the fast-moving target presented by an aircraft. To save the aviator from these machines of destruction, the parachute rose from the oblivion into which it had sunk.
And so materials from many new and unexplored areas of human knowledge were brought together for one purpose. The wheels, borrowed here and there from the vast machinery of naval and military science, were fitted with those intended for a non-martial purpose, and the combination thus effected was used in the construction of this new design. Initially, however, the components rarely worked. together for a common goal. Only in the hour of our greatest need, when the German people was fighting for its existence, did the various forces join together and form a mighty unit of strength that is unparalleled in the history of practical science. In this hour of greatest danger, something new and almost perfect in its unity and strength arose: "The German Army Air Force".
In 1914 little could be dreamed of all this. Some units that would later form the Luftwaffe, such as the Meteorological Service and the National Air Defense, were left out entirely in the mobilization plans; others, like airplane and airship pilots, were meant to act as a kind of messenger, the rest were attached to other weapons like anti-aircraft gunners. Many tests and obstacles had to be overcome before the disorder that prevailed on October 8, 1916 could be resolved into a coherent system of combat, observation and defensive measures under the "Commander of the General Officers of the German Air Force". it was accomplished with great difficulty, as was the merger with the Naval Air Service.



The pre-war observation balloon: development during the war

The comet balloons built by Parseval and von Sigsfeld in 1896 were introduced into the German army to replace the tethered spherical balloon. Despite rapid developments in air raft design, no particular improvements were made, either in design or equipment, until the outbreak of war. Interest in the observation balloon waned with the advent of the airship and the airplane, both of which occupied the attention of the army and the airline industry to a much greater extent. It was assumed that the observation balloon would soon be replaced by the airplane. In short, when war broke out, the balloon was an obsolete means of observation and seemed on the verge of disappearing.
The team itself, made up almost entirely of volunteers and experienced mechanics, were well trained and qualified and of excellent quality. Officers were recruited from all branches of the service (highly efficient officers, some trained at Staff College) and graduated with a year-long course at the Aircraft Training School. In addition, twenty officers each year completed a four-month course to qualify as balloon scout officers in the Air Defense Corps.
After all, the service of balloon observation was little known in the army, which was never instructed in the use of balloons. It played very little role in maneuvers, and due to its limited mobility, it was often too late to take part in these rushed battles. Thus it was not expected to be very useful in open warfare, but in more immobile defensive maneuvers it had already proved invaluable and won the praise of higher command.
When the campaign on the Western Front stalled due to the development of trench warfare, balloons rendered such a valuable service in locating hidden enemy batteries and similar work that many senior officers supported the proposal to retain the observation balloon.


Demand soon arose for an improved type of balloon. The balloon (21,000 cubic feet capacity), which in theory should rise to 2,500 feet, would in practice never rise above 1,600 feet in light winds. This was not high enough to maintain efficient surveillance of enemy artillery, especially as the enemy soon began to consider the observation balloon when choosing their positions. To reach greater heights, many of the electrical devices attached to the heavy basket were removed; In fact, the observers resorted to the most fragile supports: some kind of rigid saddle hanging under the hull, or some similar arrangement. However, in early 1915, 28,000 and 35,000 cubic foot capacity balloons were sent to the front lines. These balloons could fly as high as 3,300 or 4,000 feet, and since they didn't sway as much in the wind, they were easier to spot from them. However, they did not show any fundamental changes in their design.
These balloons were considered more difficult to transport. It took a good hour's work to bring them down from 3300 feet, and it took a lot from the men. Therefore, balloons were usually rolled onto a horse-drawn carriage. This required an open area of ​​at least 1,600 yards on each side, which was even more difficult to find as it had to be hidden from enemy artillery observation. As a result, the balloon could not always rise through the points of greatest tactical advantage, as its position was constrained to the open field. This evil was only corrected with the introduction of mechanical winches. At first, balloon units helped each other by building mechanical winches from enemy-captured material. By the spring of 1915 most units were fitted with a petrol powered winch, considered more useful and efficient at the time.
Along with the development of the balloon itself, observational science underwent a significant improvement. In particular, effective cooperation with other flight units and the use of photography to investigate enemy battery positions were put into practice. Heavy artillery typically provided officers who were also trained as balloon scouts so they could direct fire from the batteries themselves.
The observation balloons thus added new tasks to their former usefulness, as a result of which the entire front, especially the heavy artillery, needed to be augmented1. By the end of 1915 over forty balloon units were on active duty.
In the spring of 1915, during the attack on Verdun, for the first time a large number of balloons were concentrated in one place and centralized in an organization reporting directly to the Army High Command.
Our opponents, soon realizing what a valuable job the balloons were doing, made a special effort to destroy them with aircraft and began to use incendiary ammunition for this purpose. Losses among the balloons became very great compared to the days when arrows, grenades and fire bombs were the means of attack.
The remarkable tactical utility and excellence of the balloon-artillery link during the attack on Verdun led to a further increase in the number of field units as well as the number of promotion slots. However, this had the disadvantage of making each group of balloons very weak in both men and horses and consequently they were almost immobile despite infantry support. This was particularly impractical on large offensives, when it was advisable to quickly change balloon positions for tactical reasons or because of heavy artillery fire. To overcome this difficulty, a special transport system was organized, which was deployed in the western and eastern theaters of war. In the east, transport units became strong enough to work efficiently in open warfare conditions, but in the west they were organized only for trench warfare and defensive action. Since all armies were equal, balloon organization was centralized.
Meanwhile, the design of the balloon itself has been improved. In addition, due to the increasing violence of air raids, it became necessary to accelerate the descent of balloons and motor winches of 24 hp or even 50 and 60 H.F.
Introduced as early as the fall of 1915, the parachute saw very little use at first, but became an essential piece of equipment as air raids became so frequent and sour; and there is no doubt that the parachute contributed much to the practical efficiency of the observation balloon.
While in the past only senior officers or artillery officers were used to climbing balloons, it is now common for officers of other branches to test parachute skill and perhaps experience the sensation of jumping out of a flaming balloon. . Of course, these officers came to appreciate the usefulness of balloons as a means of observation and directing artillery fire. They also appreciated the possibilities of photography and concluded that the observation balloon could be used in both infantry and artillery, a fact that had not previously been realized. Later, the balloons and the infantry did an excellent job in both attacking and defensive actions: it was a source of great joy for the balloon observers and for them to be able to help the commanding infantry. officers at work.
The biggest improvement, however, was a new type of balloon. Before the Somme, the French and English produced a new standard and we were able to capture one of these balloons (Claquot, Caco). It was copied by us, modified slightly and produced under the name AE Globe. This globe was oblong in shape, 30,000 c.f. capacity and was supplied with balloons instead of airplanes for stability reasons. This balloon remained almost motionless in the air instead of rolling at 30 degrees as it used to. It didn't drift downwind that much, could reach an altitude of 5,000 feet, was very stable, and could fly even in 65 ft/sec winds. soar while the 'kite' type was useless for observation purposes in 1,000 foot winds. from only 45 feet/sec.
However, a more powerful motor was needed for an AE balloon winch due to its greater lifting capacity and ability to climb in high winds. 80 or 100 hp they were used, and as a result the equipment and its rigging became so heavy that it could only continue on hard, dry ground. Since this winch was not suitable for open warfare, the lighter design was retained. Although the latter was more mobile, the limited speed of the winds had to be taken into account.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (2)

Cowardly. 2. Globus AE ready to ascend

We have already listed the most important points in the development of the observation balloon project. Added to this is the lack of raw material, a factor that has significantly influenced the construction of the balloons. Natural rubber, so important for balloon manufacture, soon became so scarce that synthetic rubber and scrap had to be used as a substitute. Over time, rubber was abandoned altogether and balloons were made from doped fabric, and in the final types an intestinal membrane was inserted between the inner and outer layers of the envelope.
In relation to technical development, the performance of observation balloons has rapidly improved, their capabilities have expanded, and therefore it was decided to further develop the personnel organization of lighter-than-air ships.


Achievements of Germany - War development - The qualities of airships - Construction of airships - Rotating scales - How an airship is built - Non-rigid types - Airfields - The gas question - Development of competition.

At the start of the war, Germany was the world leader in aircraft design. The rigid type, in contrast to the semi-rigid and non-rigid types, was particularly popular and had already achieved a high level of excellence in the airships Zeppelin and "Schitte-Lanz". Yet how insignificant they appear compared to the types existing today! During the four years of war, under the pressure of necessity, more technical improvements were made in aircraft design than could have been achieved in ten years.
Little was known about this advance to the German public as it was kept secret for military reasons, so their enthusiasm for the aircraft gradually waned and misconceptions arose out of ignorance about its worth, current capabilities and future prospects, as only experts were on it Theme. . able to come to a correct judgment on these points. The irony of this is that our enemy, England, has simultaneously fully realized the importance of the airship as a weapon in time of war and as a means of international transport in time of peace. Therefore, the British did everything possible to copy the German aircraft that fell into their hands during the war. This masterpiece of German engineering was studied with enthusiasm and imitated down to the smallest detail. Despite this, they failed to build a working airship until after the armistice, when they made the first transatlantic flight while Germany was doomed to inaction.
In any case, Germany has no reason to be jealous because an English airship made the first flight to America. Without bragging rights it can be said that this success is not due to English engineering, but exclusively to German design and inventive talent. discreetly used, "cherished" and copied abroad. A German airship unassisted made wartime flight even more remarkable and considerably more difficult than what the British could achieve under present conditions and with all modern expedients.
In the fall of 1917 a naval airship, the L. 59, was dispatched from Bulgaria to assist our troops in East Africa. A large amount of ammunition, weapons, medical supplies and other goods had to be transported. The ship was forced to fly over enemy territory without the help of wireless weather reports and without the support of a base in case of danger; through the deserts of the equator unknown to air travel; and constantly threatened by enemy forces. No doubt she would have reached her destination safely if she had not been called over the radio over Khartoum in Upper Egypt because of a false rumor about our position in East Africa and because of cowardly politicians who mistook the ship for her he was unable to go with to deal with the situation. This was just one of many mistakes politicians made during the war, mistakes ranging from fear to overconfidence. Even if the plane fell into enemy hands upon arrival due to the difficult conditions on that front, the loss would be nothing compared to the gain due to the morale implications of such a round-the-world flight. The importance of airships would have multiplied a hundred or a thousand times, not only in the estimation of the savage peoples of Africa and the imaginative peoples of the East, but also of our placid enemies, especially the Americans. , a very valuable result for us. We remember the impression that the first voyage of the U-boat Germany made on America. The L. 59 case, however, only repeated the old story of bureaucratic mistakes and missed opportunities in world politics. A bitter topic for all Germans.
Skillfully, the journey home was an even better feat than the flight to Africa. The L.59 covered 4,500 miles in a flight of approximately 96 hours without delay and could have covered a long distance without difficulty. This fact will demonstrate better than words to the uninitiated the level of excellence that Germany has achieved in the design of fixed aircraft.
Early in the war, the German Army placed great emphasis on aircraft performance as a factor in land combat, and built what was then a strong fleet of ships. Unfortunately, the Navy's aircraft fleet was only in its infancy. A private company, the "Deutsche Luftschifffahrt GmbH". he owned three passenger planes which were made available to the government when the war broke out.
All existing rigid airships were similar in size and performance to these. The petrol capacity of a zeppelin was between 650,000 and 800,000 c. f., while that of Schutte-Lanz in the same period around 860,000 c.f. The performance of these ships was comparable to the smallness of their size.
At the beginning of the war the army had Z. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, all Zeppelins; of other types, the Saxons, the Victoria-Louise, and the Hansa; the S.L.S., S-L. 2, a semi-rigid ship, the JL 4, and a small Parseval.
The Navy had only one ship, the L. 3, a fact which may be considered somewhat odd if we consider that the airship must have been the most appropriate means of conducting observation patrols over the sea and incursions into otherwise inaccessible countries. . However, the reason for this scarce supply of aircraft undoubtedly lay in the fact that they obviously did not have the ability to work in the demanding conditions required by the Navy, which forced them to travel long distances. The naval authorities recognized this, but also saw the benefit of the better aircraft type and, when the war broke out, negotiated with the Zeppelin and Schütte-Lanz shipyards about the construction of larger ships.

Fast action was required. It was obvious that a larger number of aircraft was urgently needed. At the same time, the three existing shipyards Zeppelin-Friedrichshaien, Schütte-Lanz-Mannheim-Rheinau and the "Luft-Fahr-Gesellschaft" were commissioned to build ships to the maximum capacity limit and to expand their facilities to build them as quickly as possible.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (3)

Cowardly. 3. Naval airship L. 15 just before landing. The pilot's gondola is at the front and the machine gun platform can be seen at the top of the hull.

Half of the ships built went to the army, the other half to the navy. At that time, of course, only types that had already been designed and tested could be built, even if one did not have to be satisfied with inferior types. However, it soon became apparent that these types did not meet the requirements of the Navy. Therefore, the designers had to create new plans, which were put into practice as soon as possible.
While before the war the army was most actively involved in aircraft design, now it was the navy because of the number of skilled workers it could provide. This skilled workforce, supported by the shipyards, produced the high level of excellence that exists today. The Army adapted the Navy-made types for their own purposes. New ship types appeared in quick succession. Realizing the means chosen by our enemies to fight the plane, namely the plane, forced us to increase the lifting capacity and climbing ability.
Men at the front's opinions of what was the most desirable factor in an aircraft's performance varied with the stages of the war. At one point the emphasis was on the need for great speed, at another time on climb performance.
But although new demands were constantly made, they were always met, so German aircraft construction always managed to assert its superiority over our enemies. We suffered great losses as there was much to learn about this new science.
The resistance of our enemies, the forces of nature, human limitations and mistakes all fought against development, but Germany can rightly say that not a single aircraft was lost during the war due to design flaws. This statement applies equally to rigid and non-rigid types. All three German aircraft yards were equally excellent and it is impossible to praise one of them more than the others.
The influence of skilled manpower brought over from the Navy weakened the fierce competition that existed between them, and so the highest possible level of excellence was eventually achieved, each adopting the best designs of its neighbors.
A rough overview of the best types produced during the war reveals the following facts:


length (feet)

diameter (ft)

Capacity (cubic meters)

Lift (lbs.)

Engines (hp)

Air Velocity (feet per second)


1 L.3 (L.7) 518 48 29.430 19.180 3 210 69 6.560
2 L.10 (L.Z.38) 536 61 41.725 34.390 4 210 85 9.185
3 L.20 (L.Z.97) 585-1/2 61 46.825 39.240 4 240 84 10.500
4 L.30 643 78 71.940 62.830 6 240 88 12.470
5 L.60 643 78 73.050 87.300 5 240 100 19.680
6 L.71 743 78 89.595 112.435 6 260 111 21.650
7 L.100 (geplant) 781 96 141.260 180.780 10 260 121 30.180
8 SL3 513 64 42.375 29.100 4 210 74 7.870
9 SL6 (SL7) 534 64 45.780 34.835 4 210 85 8.530
10 SL8 (SL10) 571 Sixty-five 50.615 42.990 4 240 85 11.485
11 SL20 651 74 73.245 77.825 5 240 93 16.405
12 PL19 302 51 13.080 7.275 2 180 71 8.200
13 PL25 369 52 18.440 13.230 2 210 72 9.840
14 PL27 515 60 40.740 39.685 4 240 82 14.765

This table is self-explanatory and clearly shows how quickly aircraft design has improved. For example, the Type L, 3 that existed at the beginning of the war compared to the L. 100, which was designed but never built, had a net lifting capacity of 8½ tons versus 80 tons. The L. 71, the last ship built, had a net cargo of 50 tons. Net buoyancy as a percentage of total weight increased from 33% to 64%, almost doubling. The speed of the L. 3 was 45 MPH, that of the L. 71 was 75 MPH, and the L. 100 would have a speed of 40 yd/sec at an altitude of 6500 feet: U. 83 M.F.H. The "ceiling" of the L. 3 at full load was only 6,500 feet, while the L. 71 could reach an altitude of about 21,500 feet and the L. 100 at least 26,650 feet. It is not possible to give details of the maximum distances these ships could travel, as this will depend on circumstances such as altitude, speed, number of men, bombs, etc. being carried. However, we can take as an example the fact that the L. 71 with a speed of 65 M.P,H. At an altitude of 1,600 feet, with a full war load and 2 tons of ballast on board, it can cover a distance of 11,250 miles, provided it does not have to climb to an altitude where its gas consumption is greatest. (Air distance from Hamburg to New York is approximately 3,750 miles.)
The Schutte-Lanz type was developed in the same size and performance level as the Zeppelin.
In this case, the last Admiralty designs were never put into practice, nor was the method of building the frame with hardened aluminum rods (duralumin), a method that would undoubtedly represent a marked improvement.

The development of non-rigid aircraft suffered a serious setback due to the accidental destruction of the P.L. 26, and any further advance was prevented by a lack of rubber.
Now I will consider the main requirements of the conditions of war for the characteristics of an airship.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (4)

Cowardly. 4. The Arch of P.L. 19 showing the arrangement of the propellers.

The first of these was reliability. Both the ship and the engine had to be built for endurance and for completely trouble-free flying, as the aircraft often had to stay in the air for several days at a time. In this it differed significantly from the airplane. Again, devices designed to support and protect the ship on these long flights, such as a long-range wireless device to keep in touch with home base, were essential. Wireless technology was used to obtain information about ship's position from direction finding stations and was used at night over sea, in cloudy and foggy conditions.
The plane had to be as small as possible. The larger, the more difficult and dangerous the handling of the ship on land, the boarding operations and the removal of shelters. In addition, the size required the use of large crews, leading to the use of more valuable gas, petrol and oil.
The plane had to be fast to reach its destination without delay, overtake its enemies and clear a path against a strong headwind. It is worth mentioning that experience shows that wind speed increases with altitude.
The actual net lift had to be substantial to give the pilot the ability to conserve fuel by flying low on long routes or climbing to a high altitude where he would be immune to enemy attack. In addition, net-raising regulated the number of bombs and weapons to be procured.
Each of these considerations was important, and as the war progressed, first one, then the other, came to be the most important. Regardless of the new demands placed on them, aircraft designers have always risen to the occasion and responded to the immediate needs.
Despite negative criticism from the ignorant, aircraft designers achieved everything humanly possible during the war. They worked steady and steady; the complete completion of their designs was not a remark for them, but a matter of course.
The ever-changing objects used to construct the aircraft cannot be described in detail here. The same thing kept happening. A certain type was built, and in the meantime enemy defenses may have been developed. Consequently, the airship had to be able to climb faster and therefore the lift had to be increased. As soon as a new type was built to meet these requirements, instructions came that another quality, such as speed, should be improved because the ship, designed for rapid ascents, was too slow.
The non-technical critics responsible for these constant demands have never realized that every aircraft is a compromise between conflicting characteristics and that one quality can often be improved beyond certain limits only at the expense of another.
A particularly tricky problem for our engineers was the aircraft engine, which only developed a fraction of its full power at high altitudes due to the lack of oxygen. To overcome this difficulty, they built engines with abnormal compression and powered them with compressed air carried in cylinders. Unfortunately, during the war it was not possible to practically test all the theory on this problem.
The goal of every aircraft designer has always been: "lightweight construction". Every bit of unnecessary material had to be thrown away. The weight saving has been systematically developed until it affects every detail of the boat. Every little angle or corner was cut and every beam was built as open as possible to achieve the same purpose of lightness. The overall design and detailed construction were continuously improved and refined through practical experience and theoretical science until every piece of material used could be indispensable and optimally utilized. For example, the inner frame has been constantly improved and brightened. The truss design was perfected and every two grams dropped from a small bar represented significant weight as the process continued throughout the ship's structure. New materials have been relentlessly tested and adopted.
There was a tendency to exaggerate economics in detail and discard indispensable apparatus and instruments. The designers and the flying men were at odds on this point. The latter wanted their ships to be as well equipped and with all conceivable instruments installed. The designer saw the urgent need to save weight, sought simplification and wanted to do without everything that was not absolutely necessary for war flight. Thus, it often happened that a new instrument deemed necessary by the authorities could only be installed after sacrificing some existing equipment. With patient and thoughtful work, the weight of the aircraft was reduced in this way. For example, the net lift of the 2,000,000 cf type has increased from 28 tons when equipped with six engines to 38 tons with only five engines.
Wind resistance was another issue that required special attention, since its reduction depended on a large increase in speed for the same engine power. At the beginning of the war, the value of this science was little appreciated. The eminent designers of warships, for whom the need for rationalization was already obvious thanks to many years of experience with the most suitable lines for the hulls, found in this science a wide field of research. With the help of aircraft manufacturers, they produced an envelope format that offered maximum efficiency; The continuous lines and pointed ends, mainly at the stern, served to significantly reduce wind resistance. All possible causes of wind resistance have been excluded unless absolutely necessary. The open nacelle type, uncomfortable even for those in the know, soon disappeared: the closed nacelle, initially angular and unwieldy in shape, was carefully streamlined to follow the natural flow of the surrounding air. Direct drive propellers replaced the initially complicated rod and bracket system. Even the gondola stairs have been curved and therefore offer less surface area for the wind to attack.
Treating the aircraft's outer skin with "Dope" not only reduced surface friction and drag, but also stopped the absorption of troublesome moisture. Even the antenna of the wireless device has been installed to avoid wind resistance: in short, every detail of the ship has been considered and improved.
Although these improvements brought good results, they were not enough to meet the demands of wartime conditions, which became increasingly severe over time. It became necessary to build ever larger ships, as this was the only way to increase speed and height at the same time. At the front L. 10 class ships with a capacity of around 1,130,000 c.f. has proven very useful. They were easy to handle on the ground and could get in and out of your sheds without much danger, even in cross winds. This process was more dangerous on large ships, despite the specially designed mechanical devices. Unfortunately, there was also a great shortage of turning sheds. Before the war the Navy had foreseen that airships would be useless without a suitable enclosure and so built the rotary sheds in Nordholz, but these too proved too small for the giant ships later constructed.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (5)

Cowardly. 5. Nordholz's turning sheds, showing how the ends have been lengthened.

Although aircraft designers repeatedly insisted on the need to provide rotary sheds for future aircraft development, the Admiralty took no action, not realizing that the war would last so long and it took less than two years to build a rotary shed, they wouldn't finish in time. The army authorities began building some sheds, but these were never completed as the airships were abandoned in the spring of 1917, largely due to the prodigious development of aircraft.
This lack of scales was a serious handicap for naval air service. It often happened that ships could not leave their sheds on the same occasions due to cross winds when they had to take part in some important naval operations. As a result, some military officials began to doubt the effectiveness of the operations. Airships for not understanding the true cause of the problem and wrongly attributing it to the ship itself.
However, the Navy struggled to overcome the difficulty of the shelters and built airfields in several places where the shelters faced different directions so that at least the ship whose shelter faced the opposite direction to the prevailing wind could be used. take air
Despite the lack of airship scales, improvements in type and enlargement progressed rapidly. The conditions of war called for ever-increasing efficiency, which could only be achieved by building larger ships. The only alternative would have been to abandon the plane altogether. Ship size grew first to 2,000,000 c,f., then to 2,400,000 cX. With this displacement, allowing even a very high rate of turn, it would be possible to reach an altitude of 26,000 feet when harassed by enemy aircraft. . However, this particular ship was never built.
The purpose of this book is not to describe in detail how a large modern airship is built; I must content myself with simply touching upon such an interesting and important subject. Therefore, my description is limited to the essential elements of rigid and non-rigid airship construction.
The main problem with the rigid type is the combination of strength and lightness of the frame. On the one hand there is the buoyancy of the gas, on the other hand the weight of the superstructure itself and all other additional weights such as gondolas, pumps, ballast, petrol etc. Both opposing forces must be distributed as evenly as possible over the entire length of the ship in order to ensure balance. This point must always be considered not only during the construction of the ship, but also during the flight. It can be just as dangerous for all pumps or ballast to become detached from one location as for two adjacent headspaces to lose their gas. (In one case, there is an upward force where the weight dropped; in the second case, there is a downward force where the gas was lost.) The outer hull of the ship consists of major systems of separate beams of 11 yards, placed around the corners of a polygon and tied with cables to keep them rigid in the transverse direction. These polygonal rings are connected at each corner by longerons that run the full length of the hull. Between the rings of the main girders there is a series of auxiliary rings spaced 5.5 meters apart, the function of which is to secure the longitudinal bracing. Both the rings and the tie beams are connected by diagonal cables to prevent slipping. In the middle of the ship is the main central girder, which runs through the gas chambers and is connected to each ring by trestles. In the event of a gas leak in a gas room, this bar prevents the adjacent rooms from being pushed through the ring reinforcement cables on both sides by the pressure difference. If the chambers were so pressed against the reinforcement cables, they would tend to pull the ring inward, severely stressing its supports. The quadrilaterals formed from ring carriers and longitudinal struts are additionally braced against the high gas pressure in the compartments.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (6)

Cowardly. 6. Extension of L. 59. The airship is shown cut in half.

Along the underside of the nave is a walkway based on triangular trestles that serves as a means of communication from one point to another. Along this walkway are accessories and controls such as gas cylinders, rudders, control cables, bomb launcher, telegraph and telephone cables, electric lighting system, speaking tubes, petrol and oil tanks, ballast water tanks each with a capacity of 1 ton, etc. . The ship is built in such a way that all these weights are mainly supported by the main rings, just like the nacelles. This catwalk is further supported by cables sloping upwards through the gas spaces and terminating at the top of the main rings. Near the pilot's nacelle is a vertical passage that connects to a platform on the ship where several machine guns are placed. This platform also serves as a starting point for astronomical observations. The wrap is made from strong yet lightweight canvas stretched against the frame to provide as little wind resistance as possible. The gas chambers are located in the spaces between the main rings and have a capacity of about 210,000 c.f. in modern types.
Safety valves are installed on the upper deck of the ship, which allowed the gas to escape towards the actual aisle; they open directly to the air and are connected to the compartments by a duct that runs between the walls of each compartment. This system was not originally used on the Zeppelin, but the gas was allowed to escape into the space between the compartments and the outer hull, through which it gradually seeped. The dangerously explosive mixture of hydrogen and air became harmless as it was diluted when it left the ship. The disadvantage of this arrangement, however, was that the leaking chamber was surrounded by an explosive oxygen mixture that was sandwiched between it and the ship's outer hull.
When "medication" treatment of the outer shell was introduced, this valve system had to be discarded because the "medication" rendered the fabric of the shell gas impermeable. Therefore, the assembly plan for the shafts leading to the upper deck was copied from Sehute-Lanz. This system also had its disadvantages, since an explosive mixture often formed outside the ship, which took some time to disperse and become harmless. Therefore, neither method was an ideal way to ventilate the gas.
The problem was that the safety valves, even when opened in the cold, humid atmosphere at high altitudes over the sea, were iced up and could no longer close sufficiently to prevent gas leakage. This difficulty was never really overcome. While very useful special equipment was installed, even then the ice build-up had to be monitored and removed very closely to ensure that the valves closed properly. Therefore, the upper deck valves have been made available so that they can be closed manually if necessary. These valves were needed to release the gas before landing when, strange as it may seem to the layman, due to the large buoyancy, it was not possible to bring the ship ashore in any other way.
This question of the gas space was and is one of the most difficult in the science of airship construction. The housing should be as light as possible, gas-tight and insensitive to moisture. Before the war, fans were made of one or two layers of rubber, or seven layers of golden skin. Rubber cases were unsuitable because of their weight and electrical properties. Pure Gold Beater Skin could not be used due to insufficient raw material. Furthermore, it had the added disadvantage of being very easy to break even if a small hole appeared. Therefore, it became necessary to make cloth fans, the so-called "cloth", consisting of a layer of linen and several layers of golden scout skin, which are superimposed and glued together. Eventually, linen and a lighter type of silk were used together after it was discovered that silk had no dangerous electrical properties.
All types of compartments shared the same disadvantage, namely their tendency to absorb moisture as this made them heavy and thus placed unnecessary stress on the ship. In addition, the gas in the compartments became saturated and lost some of its buoyancy. It is hoped that these difficulties will be eliminated in the future when good quality raw material is obtained again.
The compartments were manufactured by Ballonhullen-Gesellschaft, a Zeppelin subsidiary, and by Balloon Fabric Co., Riedinger-Augsburg.
Another serious problem closely related to airships is the issue of gas supply. During the war, when the focus was on efficiency rather than economy, it was impossible to save on gas. After each raid or patrol, the compartments were refueled with pure gas; But in the future, when planes are used for peaceful purposes, this practice of gas refueling will be a serious matter. Due to the consideration of operating costs, there may be unlimited gas consumption. Therefore, care must be taken to keep ships with compartments that are not fully filled within their scales and to avoid diffusion of gas through compartment walls, as such diffusion will cause gas deterioration. This provides much material for further research and ingenuity. The question of raw materials during the war also had a strong impact on the construction of the outer hull. In peacetime, the fuselage of a zeppelin was made from an alloy of zinc and aluminum. As ships grew in size, this substance proved to be insufficiently potent, so "duralumin" was used. The great strength of "duralumin" made it possible to try constructions for which any other material would have been completely unsuitable. It was also evident that only the best quality of materials could be used in the manufacture of other parts such as reinforcement wires, nuts, bolts, pins, etc.
With regard to the "Schutte-Lanz" type building, in which the beams are made of wood*, another difficulty arose. Warships of this type used to absorb moisture from the sea air; the wood therefore became heavy and lost its strength. Several adhesives used in construction were also affected. These inconveniences were avoided by an ingenious new process in which the wood was smoked, treated with resin and impregnated with a special preparation. Despite this, wood was discarded as a material for the construction of new large aircraft, and only thin plates or “duralumin” were used. Though difficult to manufacture and process, weight for weight: the latter substance is twice as strong as wood. A design consideration for the aircraft, placed above all others, was the need to remove anything that could ignite, as far away from the gas as possible.
All of this had to be contained within the nacelles, which in turn were suspended far enough from the hull to allow free passage of the wind, as the draft caused by air movement was itself a valuable safeguard. There was no connection between the fuselage and nacelles through which combustible gases or vapors could be routed to the engines.
Naval designs deviated from this practice, and the semi-rigid M-Type had the nacelles mounted in the fuselage along the center aisle. Eventually, each aircraft received the same number and arrangement of nacelles; two gondolas, each with one or more engines, were suspended under the ship at the bow and stern, the former also serving as landing gear.
Two more gondolas, each with one engine, were carried, one on each side of the ship. The position of these gondolas was calculated so that they would never touch the ground upon landing.
However, there was a difference between the Schützen-Lanz and the Zeppelin, as the former had a special pilot's nacelle installed in the stern near the ship's hull, while the Zeppelin was controlled by the front engine nacelle. In subsequent projects, the previous system was used exclusively, because with the increasingly difficult maneuverability of large ships, it was necessary to pay special attention to the protection of vital parts, such as engines, because the nacelle turned out to be able to withstand the impact of the landing and it broke very easily. It is true that such gondolas were protected by mats and skids; However, this was often insufficient to prevent damage in the event of a bad landing due to pilot clumsiness, bad weather, or other reasons. In order to prevent the ship's structure from being damaged in the event of a false landing, the ground gondolas were attached to the ship with struts in such a way that they would only withstand a certain tension and would break if the force exceeded this. Mooring a boat in bad weather or getting it out of shelter in cross winds is a very difficult operation to do without damage. The larger the ship, the more dangerous it becomes, since the gondolas are not sufficient to carry it in these conditions. On these occasions, therefore, a kind of frame is used that is firmly attached to the catwalk and detaches when not in use. There was little difference between engines used in airships and those fitted to aircraft, only in airship engines longer life was desirable as they had to be used for longer periods of service. Therefore, reliability was more important than great performance. In order to operate them properly, they were housed in gondolas large enough to accommodate the mechanics as well. Some critics complain that types other than the Meybach engine were never used. These people forget that during the war there were no unlimited industrial facilities and that it was necessary for one factory to specialize in aircraft engine design because other factories were too overburdened to carry out their studies and developments. It is true that difficulties arose from time to time, but this was to be expected in so young a branch of technology, and it can be said with certainty that all deficiencies were eventually corrected. The power of these engines increased from 210 to 240 and 260 hp, all of which were designed to develop their full power only at high altitudes. Significant improvements were also made to the design of the propellers. The problem of driving a propeller with two motors was solved and an attempt was made to design the blades so that the pitch could be varied. Each engine nacelle was an independent propulsion unit that could be operated independently. Gasoline was carried in tanks placed on the center gangway as vertically as possible above the engine they were designed to power. The tanks themselves were made of thin aluminum plates to save weight and could be detached from the ship in an emergency. In the pilot's gondola a cabin was reserved for the wireless telegraph apparatus. A very simple form of wireless antenna might come off the shelf through a curved drum.
An active-duty aircraft is useless without wireless technology and therefore, because it was vital that wireless technology be absolutely reliable, the most elaborate precautions in the form of auxiliary dynamos etc. were taken. Several different motors could be used as an electrical energy source, and various electrical machines and accumulators were also charged. If the engines failed, the necessary energy could be obtained from a wind-driven propeller. For various military reasons, the "s-damped" transmission system was used. Radiotelegraphic location enabled the ship to determine its whereabouts at any time and to be independent of drift. The ground stations for direction finding and the system of calling two home stations to get the ship's position by triangulation had a major disadvantage, since the enemy could also receive messages or jam the signals. From then on, the signals were no longer sent from the ship, but only received and sent from stations on land. In addition to the radio, the pilot nacelle was equipped with controls and various instruments that enabled the captain to navigate and steer his ship. These included a telegraph system for the other gondolas, microphones, speaking tubes, navigational instruments such as the compass and a bow to measure the angle to the horizontal; the variometer to measure the rate of ascent or descent, an electric thermometer to record the gas temperature; Ballast controls, electrical controls, projectors for night landings, signal lamps, high-altitude oxygen devices, etc. To enable the instruments to be used at night, when a light display would reveal the ship's whereabouts, all dials and pointers of these instruments were made self-luminous. In these details, rigid and non-rigid airships were identical.
The distinguishing feature of the non-rigid type is the shell, the shape of which is not supported by any internal structure but is fully constrained by the internal gas pressure acting directly against the rubber skin. The engine nacelles were fitted with mechanical pumps whose function was to supplement internal pressure by forcing gas into the balloons. The ship was divided into several partitions by layers of gas-permeable material arranged obliquely along its length. Whenever any part of the ship became damaged or tended to lose air, it was possible to preserve its shape by pumping y: directly into the gas chambers.
An ingenious arrangement of springs at the top of the envelope automatically closed any small holes that a bullet might have made. The pressure in the gas chambers and balloons was automatically regulated to be correct in all conditions. A manually operated auxiliary regulator was also installed. The weight was distributed throughout the ship via a system of cables so that it was supported by the hull itself without undue pressure on any given point. Suspended immediately below the enclosure was a catwalk of semi-rigid construction which supported the fuel tanks, pumps, ballast water, etc., as well as the engines and controls. Outside of this walkway were the two large ducts, one on each side of the ship, that connected the balloons to the automatic gas regulator. Exceedingly difficult work was required as the outer casing and inner partitions had to be made from a single piece of material. Ballonstoff Co. in Augsburg, he took over this work with resounding success. The excellent qualities of the airship type, namely lightness and gas economy, together with the remarkable improvements made during the war, have given rise to hope that both the airship and the rigid airship will prove of great value. Future.
In addition to the development of the aircraft itself, a number of other problems arose that needed to be solved. Airplanes not only had to be built in large numbers, they also had to be supplied with the necessary materials, in particular gas, in sufficient quantities.
Before the war, the military authorities had spread their airfields along the borders, each equipped with a small gasworks and the necessary equipment. During the war they built a few new airfields of a similar description, as well as some at the more remote theaters of war in Ghent, Brussels, Warsaw, Russia, Bulgaria and elsewhere. The sheds were built in canvas and were easy to transport, as were the gas installations.
In times of peace, the navy only owned the Nordholz airfield, which, however, corresponded to the most modern stamp. A rotating boathouse allowed the boats to fly in any wind, even in bad weather. As the war progressed, when it became necessary to accommodate a large number of ships, the question arose whether to follow Army practice of building only one shelter per airfield, or to combine several shelters. in one place
Because of the number of men that had to be stationed at each airfield, the Navy adopted the latter plan and rows of scales were erected at Nordholz, Hage, Namur, Tonderan, Ahlhorn, Seddin and Seerappen.
The big disadvantage of the double shed was the possibility of losing two ships at once in the event of a fire. It was also not advisable to build sheds very close together, because in Ahlhorn it once happened that an explosion in one shed destroyed several others along with the ships in them.
Sheds were to be of the most modern design, with mechanical aids for loading and unloading boats, methods of lifting deflated or damaged boats, gas equipment, etc. Unfortunately, no turning sheds were built during the war. The only existing hangar of this type in Nordholz was lengthened to accommodate the larger aircraft type. Despite this, it was not large enough for the newer types, but could no longer be manufactured.
Shops, workshops and other buildings were near the sheds, while the men's quarters were always nearby. Telegraph and weather stations, fire beacons, and an observation balloon to mark the airfield when it was cloudy were part of the equipment of every airfield, along with whatever protective devices human ingenuity could conceive.
As the war progressed, the supply of airships with gas came to the fore. The demand for gas increased with the number of ships and the high altitudes at which they operated. All DropShips had to be refueled with gasoline and made ready for another flight as soon as possible. For example, naval airships alone required 5,650,000 c,f. gasoline daily. This large amount was mainly supplied by private companies, which installed many new factories and greatly increased their production. At stations where the existing factory was no longer producing for daily needs, the gas was delivered by rail in trucks specially designed for this purpose. The reason for this was the shortage and poor quality of the gas at the beginning of the war. many problems and many accidents. However, these difficulties, like all others, were overcome through tireless work and research.
Little can be said about the recent development of aircraft among our enemies, since we do not have the necessary information. England, more than any other country, recognized the value of aircraft as an offensive weapon and for coastal and ocean patrol. Therefore, he undertook the development of the airship with the greatest energy and produced a variety of ships of different types, mostly non-rigid. A sort of small ship that seemed very useful, containing the design of both an airship and an airplane. , since it consisted of the fuselage and engine of an airplane suspended from a non-rigid hull. The rigid type, which had been used unsuccessfully since the war, was also built by several English companies based on German airships that had been shot down. As far as is known today, the modern English rigid airship is an exact copy of the German one.
Little is known about American aircraft design. There were rumors of a purpose built small rigid type and that larger ships would be built on the same lines. However, no details have reached us.
It is suggested that Prance used non-rigid ships for both observation patrols and raids in the early stages of the war. It is also claimed that, like England, it built a large number of non-rigid ships for similar tasks.
Although it is difficult to estimate our enemy's aircraft designs due to the limited information available to us, it seems certain that Germany is still ahead and, with any luck, will continue to be in the future.
(Get pregnant.)


The Effect of Wartime Conditions on the Development of Types: Classification of Types: Long-Range Reconnaissance Machines, Trench-Bombing Machines, Scouts, Bombing Machines, Night Bombers, Giant Aircraft, a Survey of Developments During the War .

It is more than doubtful that the aircraft would ever have achieved such prominence as a means of attack and a decisive factor in warfare if the Great War had continued as an open campaign and consequently ended in a short time.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (7)

Cowardly. 7. 'Tauibo' (Type A). 100 hp Argus reconnaissance machine.

We entered the field in 1914 with a "reconnaissance machine" equipped with a 100 H.F. This machine could stay in the air for four or five hours, its "ceiling" was about 5,000 feet when fully loaded, and its speed was 55 to 60 M.P.H. On the Western Front we launched an L.V.G. biplane in the fall of that year, which had slightly better lift but excelled in its ability to climb and travel faster. Unarmed, without wireless devices and with the observer's seat forward, this machine performed well and usefully in the first months of the war, especially in reconnaissance and artillery observation. However, when the ground war was concentrated in the trenches, and the fighting became stationary with a closed system of enemy lines, this type proved insufficient in the new conditions. The relentless elaboration and refinement of the tactics and science of trench warfare has so urgently required the rapid production of efficient aircraft that trench warfare can be said to be the birth of the modern flying machine.
[...] The only position that gave the observer the unobstructed view required for artillery observation and photography, as well as a good firing range for his machine gun, was behind the pilot. It must be remembered that the spotter gun was mobile and mounted on a swivel mount. In order to provide a good firing range, quick machine construction and trouble-free connection of new aircraft, it became necessary to simplify and reduce the number of struts and locking wires between the At. The development then led to a further increase in engine power to 260 and 300 hp, while observation and reconnaissance machines, which were constantly threatened by enemy scouts, received a second machine gun. For example, in cross-line reconnaissance patrols, our machines could only break through enemy defenses at high altitudes (between 19,000 and 22,000 feet), and similarly, when busy creating photographic maps, cameras could just do their job and escape faster than your pursuers . All of this was the direct result of trench warfare.
The constant narrowing and concentration of today's combat area and the increasing number of aircraft used by both sides provoked a kind of air war in which the original machine type, whose raison d'être was purely strategic in nature, had to constantly take part in air battles. In fact, it became necessary to fight to get work done, since our machines not only had to overcome fierce resistance every time they crossed the lines, but also drove out the enemy's reconnaissance, bombardment and artillery observation machines . our territory. Consequently, it became necessary to develop a type of machine specifically designed for combat, and air combat has always demanded a higher standard of performance, even higher than that demanded of "worker aircraft". In order to compete with the excellent French and British fighting machines, we had to build aircraft that climbed higher and faster, extremely fast planes, quick commands and quick maneuvers to instantly exploit the enemy's mistakes or weaknesses in these lightning-fast air duels.
In the spring of 1915, it became clear that, despite all the improvements, the original standard type had to be replaced by special types, as it had to cope with the new demands of warfare requiring u of much greater action. Also, the old man could never carry 1,000 or 2,500 pounds. from bombing or attacking landfills and enemy camps behind the lines; Nor could she have attacked the coastal ports of England and France, or penetrated the heart of England to bombard its industrial centers and shipyards. In short, the standard type designed for general purpose is obsolete.
Trench warfare itself spawned a specialized type of machine, "contact machines," which often flew as low as 30 or 40 feet. Heavy armor was required to protect the engine, tanks, pilot and scout from the devastating rifle and machine gun fire they were subjected to, and this armor could only be borne at the expense of climb performance, flight endurance and flight speed . Movement. On the other hand, the two-seater combat machines, which attacked the infantry directly with machine guns, bombs and hand grenades, had to be as fast as possible and very quick to give orders. Because of this, this guy had light armor or no armor at all. All these multiple considerations emphasized the desirability of specializing types according to their work. Speed, rate of climb and rapidity of maneuver could never be compared with the ability to carry heavy loads and flight endurance. As said, the result was the production of many types, each designed for a specific purpose. Over time, flight operations have therefore been divided into four main categories:
(a) reconnaissance and observation, (6) infantry attacks and other work related to field combat.
(c) Dogfights.
(d) Bombing.
The German aerospace and engine industry has always complied with the wishes of the armed forces and has constantly supplied them with the most modern and specialized machines. This achievement is made all the more remarkable by the lack of internal material and other industrial difficulties, especially from the spring of 1917 when the Allied forces gave us the advantage in this regard.
Forty-seven thousand six hundred and thirty-seven aircraft were withdrawn from factories by the Luftwaffe between August 1914 and the end of December 1913. During this time around 150 different types (not including test machines) were constructed. At the end of the war, 35 companies were involved in building aircraft, instead of 12 when the war broke out; In addition to these factories, there were 90 parks for the assembly and repair of aircraft. To briefly summarize the line along the
As the aircraft's design evolved, it could be said that advances were being made toward two diametrically opposed goals. On the one hand, the design aspired to produce machines of incredible size and power; on the other hand, to make machines so small that they almost looked like toys. (Neumann.)


From the spring of 1915, the 160 H.P. The engine was used for reconnaissance, observation and similar work. The observer received a cantilever-mounted machine gun and a wireless receiver was installed in the summer of 1915. Although operational and equipped with machine guns, it cannot be compared to later combat and bombing machines. At the beginning of the long series of C-Type machines, it was the first German "fighter plane" to appear at the front in spring 1915. In addition to its excellent flight characteristics, this machine was also easy to take off and land. The French monoplane of the time, armed with a fixed machine gun, was defenseless against the Type C except in the unlikely event that it attacked from behind, or particularly under the stern.
Slight differences soon emerged between machines intended for different branches of reconnaissance and observation work, which gradually led to C-type subdivisions.
However, the old regular Type C with a 200 or 220 HF engine was still used for short-range photography and artillery targeting. It was fast enough, easy to control and stable. The observer's field of view was excellent and the machine could fly for long periods in inclement weather without undue effort on the part of the pilot. For artillery observation, the observer's cabin was modified and improved to facilitate radio handling.
An aviator dedicated to locating artillery shouldn't rely solely on wireless technology, but should have several communication tools at their disposal. The observer's seat must allow enough movement space to be able to observe every region of the sky and earth and to rotate the machine gun freely and unrestrictedly. All of the following instruments had to be installed in a confined space in one booth: wireless transceivers, amplifiers, etc.; a drum for winding or unwinding 40 yards of antenna cable; a morse key, an ammeter, an electric flash lamp, various cartridges for colored lights, smoke signals, etc., all the equipment weighs about 220 lbs. Anything carried on the plane should be conveniently placed and easily accessible, as a disorderly arrangement would severely hamper the efficiency of the most experienced observer.
In addition to these means of communication, each observer's cabin was equipped with a board for his maps, a stopwatch, a notepad, crayons, etc. or mounted on a prop and moved by the force of the wind, which turns a small propeller.
The weight of the wireless installation and other equipment, as well as the increasing size of the cameras used, made it necessary to increase engine power to 200 and 220 hp. and make various improvements to the design of the machine itself.


As already mentioned, the progress of the war made it more and more necessary to build fast machines that could reach great heights to break through enemy air defenses, to spot and photograph the areas furthest from their lines.
When the original low horsepower Type C was deemed unsuitable for the job, a 260 hp. Motors were installed and a special camera was constructed. The G-Twin type, designed as early as 1915, was particularly suitable for this and, after being significantly lighter and improved in several respects, was actually used with very satisfactory results.
Increasingly, machines were used for contact strips and other infantry-related work, for this purpose also the C-type was originally used, but which was abandoned in 1917 due to the very high losses from ground fire had to be heavily modified, although the main design was still retained . The front part of the hull encased the occupants, the engine and the tanks with heavy armor made of chrome-nickel steel. A completely new direction in aircraft construction in 1917 produced a very interesting type, the Junker-Fokker, which was built entirely of duralumin and had an internally reinforced monoplane wing. The wings of this machine were characterized by their extraordinarily thick camber.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (8)

Cowardly. 8. Junker-Fokkei CL I, all-metal machine. Exceptionally good shooting range. No external bracing.

The inevitably high relationship between wind speed and drag, a factor that causes many problems for designers, was reduced to a minimum as the aircraft's unusual thickness prevented the formation of air vortices that result in 'drag'. while its lift was as efficient as other wing designs with their complicated systems of struts and reinforcement wires.
The all-metal construction was excellent fire protection, and the one-fifth-inch diameter chrome-nickel steel armor was impenetrable at close range. This armor also completely enclosed the engine. (Neumann.)


With the increasing practice of hunting infantry with low-flying aircraft, the need arose to develop the Type 0 specifically for this purpose. Equally important, a machine designed for this purpose should be fully equipped with offensive weapons such as machine guns, bombs, etc., and also be extremely fast and quick in controls. As a result, climb performance and flight duration had to be sacrificed. Armored machines with rapid-fire weapons were initially tried, but later abandoned in favor of the new CL type, which was a lighter variant of the C type. The CL machine was able to quickly attack and escape due to its speed. and was also better suited for aerial combat.
The Hanoverians and the Halberstadt were among those specially designed for this purpose. The former did not survive as long as the Halberstadt because she was not as light at the helm and because a significant portion of the terrain was invisible to the onlooker due to the hull being too wide.
The Halberstadt CL 4 and the Hannoveraner CL 5 were built very similar to the Type D single-seaters.
As an all-metal machine, the Junker-Fokker CL 1 was an extremely fast two-seater monoplane whose aircraft were not supported by external suspension cables. An advantage of the all-metal construction was the fact that the wings were not prone to tearing when pierced by bullets; In addition, the additional protection of important parts and occupants made the machine almost safe from attack.
The contact machine functions required heavy weaponry. Therefore, two fixed machine guns were mounted in the cockpit, both of which were synchronized to fire through the propeller. The spotter was armed with the standard Parabellum machine gun on a swivel mount. Despite the lightness of the CL type, they could carry a sizeable load of bombs and ammunition. Typically in 1916T they carried four or five 22-pounders. high-explosive bombs in the form of torpedoes and of course the special "Trench Attack" bombs, which are equipped with extraordinarily sensitive fuses. These bombs detonated when dropped from a very low altitude, while previous bombs required a drop of at least 1,500 feet before detonating. Also carried were ten to twenty high-explosive shells, usually suspended from a wire cage fitted with a simple form of bomb sight. Another, but extremely unpopular variety was the "flying mouse". These small bombs, only 4 or 5 inches long, "were suspended from rods attached to the machine. As soon as one of its rods was removed, it became "alive" and had to be thrown overboard immediately. Their fuses were very delicate. ". and therefore the bombs were dangerous to handle. The pouring wands, each containing about six pumps, could be mounted on a machine
Formation and squadron leaders also carried a wireless device to transmit any vital information they might acquire or register our artillery on a moving target.


Like the reconnaissance, artillery and trench bomb machines, the combat reconnaissance aircraft was developed from the original C-Type. It is true that all Explorers resembled each other and developed different characteristics in terms of general construction, engine power and flight performance. In any case, they did not deviate too much from the old Type B, the ancestor of the C family Luft, neither in their external appearance nor in their essential design features; and the racquet was therefore built for speed, rapid rise, rapid movement and great structural strength. Machines whose common daily task was to dive, roll, circle and perform aerial developments that even birds cannot do must be robust down to the smallest detail. Compared to these stunts, the ability to carry a heavy load was unimportant, so it became common for scouts to be single-seaters. The original Fokker monoplane, with its cable-launched planes and fixed guns synchronized by the engine to fire through the propeller, gave way to the biplane and triplane types. These last two types were entirely devoid of external reinforcement wires. Finally, another Fokker monoplane was constructed with the internally reinforced wing construction that had proven so excellent on the Junker-Fokker.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (9)

Cowardly. 9. Fokker Dr 1. Single-seat combat bat. Triplane with Wankel engine. No external auxiliary cables.

A stationary engine was installed on the double-deck type, while rotary engines were installed on the tri-deck and mono-deck types. All types were armed with two fixed machine guns that fired through the propeller of a motorized timer. The reduction in external dimensions and the consequent reduction in wind resistance combined with the corresponding increase in engine power resulted in a high speed and rate of climb.
Careful construction ensured the necessary maneuverability.
Whenever a certain quality was desired, the standard was changed. For example, at the request of the military authorities, the pitch of the Siemens D 3 aircraft was slightly reduced, which increased the machine's speed to over 150 km/h. and climb performance decreased, although span and engine remained unchanged. (Neuman)


The vast accumulations of material of all kinds, the concentration of troops in camps, the railway stations and ports with their many loaded trucks and ships were excellent targets for bombing expeditions. Open war could never have permitted these conditions, and therefore the development of bomber aircraft must be attributed to trench warfare.
When it became possible to hit objects from high altitudes due to greatly improved bomb sights, much larger areas could be destroyed. So it turned out that even with joint attacks by several squadrons, the light bombs of 20 or 40 pounds did not cause as much damage as possible.
When attempts were made to bombard the coasts of France and the interior of England, the Type C aircraft proved largely ineffective, unable to carry bombs or the quantity of fuel required for such long flights. In addition, the enemy's defenses were tested against all but the heaviest projectiles. Consequently, just like the Scouts, special types were developed from the original model, with the only difference being that the first sought speed, height and maneuverability, while the bomber was designed for heavy loads, stability and capacity.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (10)

Cowardly. 10. Albatross G 3. Twin-engine bomber. The crew consisted of rear gunner, pilot and observer; Pilot seat in the middle.

Combat machines tended to become smaller and smaller while bombers grew in size and became twin-engined machines, the first types of which were mostly open-body and fitted with 150 hp engines. Then the engine power was increased to 260 H.F. elevated.
At this power the machine's speed was about 95 MPH and its net lift was about 45,000 pounds. So a strong armament, consisting of about four machine guns, could be carried, and the crew included two gunners in addition to the pilot and the observer. Without exception, powerful long-range cordless devices were provided and experiments were conducted with a 2-inch rapid-fire pistol. The 110-, 220- and 660-pound bombs were carried under the wings behind the stage, and a single G-Type aircraft could even work with the concentrated weight of a 2200-pound bomb, the heaviest ever used in the war had been.


The N-Type or night bomber family first appeared as a middle ground between the original C-Type and the G or day bomber machines. The abnormal curvature of the wings allowed the machine to carry extremely heavy bombs over short distances, and also allowed take-off and landing in tight spaces, which is very important for machines flying at night.


Before the war, the project to build giant aircraft was seriously and carefully considered at the Zeppelin plant and at the Bosch plant in Stuttgart, but the idea was later abandoned. The idea was taken up again in 1915 and actually implemented by the Gothaer Waggonfabrik, which built the first Gotha-Ost test wagon. Sixty-four giant aircraft (Type R) of twenty different designs were built during the war, and six separate factories were dedicated to the work. The first entered active service in the summer of 1916. Of these, about twenty covered more than 3,000 miles and dropped over 100 tons of bombs.
The first R was designed as early as 1912 by the Russian engineer Sikorsky, who was the first to dare to put four engines on an airplane and who also made a big step forward by modeling the front of the fuselage in the form of a closed cockpit. space for all occupants. Another machine was designed by him in 1915. This was also equipped with four engines and had really gigantic proportions. Later, however, it took over the twin-engine model.
The first Sikorsky machine was, so to speak, the forerunner of the first German giant aircraft, the experimental machine SSW R, which was built by Siemens-Schuckertwerke in the winter of 1914. The many improvements and increased strength of this experimental machine were evident. , and heralded the growth from simple large aircraft to modern giant aircraft, but the twin-engine system proved too weak and unreliable to support the enormous weight of the new types.
In 1915 Siemens-Schuckert therefore produced a machine in which the two side engines were supplemented by a third positioned in the center of the fuselage. This engine was connected to the two side propellers.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (11)

Cowardly. 11. Siemens-Schuckert R 8, the largest and most powerful German giant aircraft. A pair of two-blade propellers and a pair of four-blade propellers are located behind the radiators on both sides of the hull, as is the staircase communicating with the machine guns on the upper level.

Almost all subsequent R machines followed the lineage of this first SSW R, only increasing engine power to 1800 hp. In fact, development since that time has mostly concerned the number of engines and the most efficient placement of the propellers. (Neumann.)


A period of only ten years is traversed by a curve representing the growth of our Luftwaffe, from its inception to the climax of mighty air power, the decisive factor in combat, and from that climax to the collapse of Germany. .
The word "flying" has always been synonymous with combat, first against prejudice, then against wind, weather and the malice of inanimate matter, then for the laurels of records of altitude, speed and duration: finally against a multitude of enemies. Our fledgling Luftwaffe seems to have been cursed by the spirit of misfortune most of its life, but I confine myself here to a rough sketch of the extent and force of this astounding development in air service, brought about by the weak German Army enlisted in 1914 with 49 flying Units, including home defense, into the field. In the winter of 1918, 350 "formations" were demobilized, not counting the 77 "field staffs" who were not on active duty. At the beginning of the war there were 15 training schools in reserve, up from 64 when the armistice was signed. The airplane and aero engine factories were producing between 50 and 60 airplanes a month in the autumn of 1914, while in the autumn of 1918 more than 2,000 airplanes were being built a month. When war broke out, the flying staff at the front numbered 550 men: By the end of the war, around 5,500 were on active duty, and an equal number were working from home for training and other purposes.
The aircraft in use at the start of the war could almost be likened to the Archeopteryx of yore, or, to use a more modern simile, a sort of tangle of flying cables. With your 80 or 100 hp. Machines at that time could only reach a speed of 60 or 70 M.P.H. Instead of the outdated and complicated bracing system, we now have the "self-supporting" or internally braced flange. Wind resistance decreased as the plane's lines got thinner and thinner. The engine power was tripled in normal reconnaissance machines, quintupled in larger types. The total engine power of a modern giant aircraft is more than 1500 hp. and the wingspan of these machines over 100 feet. Airspeed increased to 90 or 100 MPH and on certain highly specialized types up to 130 MPH.
At the beginning of the campaign, a certain slogan was repeated over and over again - "Limited Tactical Height" - which all aircraft should do their job, I doubt that the inventor himself knew exactly what he meant by this phrase. Two and a half thousand feet were chosen as the magic altitude, and so it was assumed that the plane was protected from enemy fire of all kinds by a mysterious agent. However, the altitude limit has been removed to 18,000 or 20,000 feet. British bombers in particular, having dropped their bombs and being lighter for the amount of petrol they were using, returned across the Channel at this altitude to avoid interference. The "lone patrol" reconnaissance machines had a habit of flying level in order to reach their target without being seen by the enemy.
But it was also necessary to clarify the understanding of height from a diametrically opposed point of view. In a small pamphlet published in December 1912, I dared to question the hallowed infallibility of "limited tactical altitude" and stated that the infantryman's axiom "come close at all costs" also applied to the flying one under certain conditions man applies. The old chair pilots shook their heads! It fell to the contact patrols and trench pilots to correct the specialists' error. An order to an infantry observation machine to determine with certainty whether maisonettes are in possession of white or colored troops will show the highs, or rather the lows, to which the machines had to fly, whatever the fire of the ground such information was obtained .
A few words about how to increase reliability in war. Think of Prince Heinrich's flight in 1914, which featured the finest pilots and machines. Crash landings and crashes on the jetty defeated most of these experienced aviators.
When in the spring of 1915 was on active duty, the Ostend headquarters squadron was sent to Metz. 29 machines left Ostend and arrived at their new airfield in the afternoon of the same day, ready to take part in the attack on Verdun. At that time it was not allowed to immortalize history in an epic. The infantry marches and the plane flies! That was the only thought of experts who had never sat in the trenches or in a pilot's seat.
Although the aircraft's armament was grossly inadequate at the time of mobilization, later science reached near perfection. In the spring of 1914, extensive literature appeared on the possibility and feasibility of transporting cavalry swords on airplanes. For our first flights against the enemy, we were given automatic pistols with shoulder pads. Today it sounds like I'm speaking a dead language when I recall flying over Belfort in August 1914 with a carbine as my only weapon. I had a gramophone horn nailed to the shaft so that should I run into an enemy I could at least startle and startle them with its elusive caliber. Later rockets and Mauser pistols were used. However, as early as the summer of 1916, daily skirmishes were taking place, with hundreds of machine guns used against both adjutants. Even the largest caliber guns became part of the aircraft's equipment.
The development of aerial photography was similar. The focus has been increased from 25 cm to 120 cm. The science evolved from photographs that looked more like puzzles to the stereoscopic clarity of the smallest details: from the crude and imprecise confirmation of maps to the exact science of surveying the air. from individual hand-held camera shots to cinematic series of several hundred shots: from total dependence on sunlight to the possibility of taking photos at night.
One cannot allude to the development of wireless telegraphy without recalling the difficulties
this hampered its application on the plane. Our young pioneers and the aviation industry were enthusiastic, daring and eager to experiment as early as 1910. But again our old friend, the weeping godmother of this sleeping beauty, stirred and waved her finger in warning. , and said, "Do you want to add an electric chair to the current dangers of the plane?" The war forced the pilot to articulate himself through wireless telegraphy. It literally became a bridge between heaven and earth.
With the somewhat ironic title "Fair Weather Warriors" we fly to war. Wind and rain, clouds and snow soon lost their terror for U3 under the unrelenting pressure of war. Night flying, that practice much derided, continued during the day, and the only insurmountable obstacle left to the plane was ground fog, just as a swamp makes cavalry charges impossible. But the aviator will eventually find a way to overcome even the fog on the ground, because whenever he set out to achieve a certain goal, he invariably achieved it.
It is with pride that I take on the task of analyzing the diverse human elements that combined to create our mighty Air Force. Most credit goes to the enterprising individuals among our young officers who took to the air and the few veterans who, despite being in positions of responsibility, hid the spirit of a subordinate beneath a general officer's uniform.
A bold, forward-thinking industry has served the flying man through thick and thin, despite prophecies of doom and the never-ending frenzy of naysayers. The government and the press, especially as far as pre-war aviation is concerned, owe more than many officials whose office should exist solely for the purpose of aviation development. However, I have to admit that from time to time aviators subordinated practical design to a kind of nebulous fanaticism.
Since the beginning of the war we have had to fight against superior odds. The markets of the world were open to our enemies, and the Allies were able to take advantage of the good weather in the colonies throughout the winter to train their people. We would not be able to build up reserves or replace our flying units, allowing them to rest regularly. Darkness and the forces of nature, which initially automatically gave the aviator brief respites, quickly lost their power in this regard. Despite everything, we defended ourselves against our man. In November 1918 there were still isolated formations attacking their enemies! (Winner.)


Pre-War Development - Early War Condition - England and English Designs - Early Types - Bold Development for War - Dismantled Aircraft - Aircraft Carriers - The "Femlenkboot" - Reconnaissance Machines - Fighting Machines - Flying Ships - Giant Seaplanes - Torpedoes - Long-Distance Reconnaissance Machines - Personnel Organization - Development Among Our Enemies.

Before the war, seaplanes were like stepchildren to the Navy, as little was expected of them; On aircraft, the Navy relied on reconnaissance and observation patrols. When seaplanes weren't considered toys, they weren't taken seriously anyway, and they fared poorly in terms of men, material, and money. The naval aviation service was stationed in Putzig, to which the seaplane department was attached. There were also seaplane stations in Kiel, Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven. The total number of personnel in the pre-war period was around 200, so only Putzig and Kiel were able to maintain their full strength. Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven were only used as landing sites for sea maneuvers. About twenty flight officers, almost all junior naval officers, had been fully trained before the war, but there were no scouts among them. In the event of a general mobilization, it was assumed that younger officers would be withdrawn from the fleet and assigned to observer functions without special training.
The existing stock of aeronautical material was not sufficient, either quantitatively or qualitatively, for the most modest needs. Honey had to be found for future ventures and research as soon as passenger planes showed promising signs. One might wonder how a promise could be found since we don't own a single viable machine. When we, along with the other great powers, first tried to build seaplanes, no attempt was made to develop a special type for this purpose, for reasons of economy. Therefore, floats were installed on agricultural machinery. It often happened that the machine had to be content with sliding along the surface instead of coming out of the water. It quickly became clear that this state of affairs would lead nowhere. Seaplanes were brought over from England and America, and French racing machines were studied: so we set to work building our own models.
As a result, when the war started, there were many different types. Holtenau's hangars were like a museum. Among the German machines with fuselages and tail booms were the productions of English, American and Austrian designers. At that time, the flying boat was still in the early stages of development, but even then the flight officers unanimously prophesied that the double-hull type would be superior to all other designs and, especially in terms of seaworthiness, would far surpass the prototype. flying ship. By seaworthiness I mean the ability to ascend, descend or move on the sea surface in bad weather. Our first service machines were anything but seaworthy. A forced descent into the open sea caused the least damage and often involved loss of machinery and men. That the entire Naval Air Service was not wiped out in the first days of the war is only thanks to the reliability of the German engine. The German aircraft industry was based inland, and designers often had no experience at sea except as bathers. Therefore seaplanes were only designed in theory and not built on the basis of practical experience. Only the aircraft factory in Priedrichshafen, which had a base in the Baltic Sea, was able to produce airworthy aircraft in peacetime. It must be admitted that this company managed the seaplane project until the end of the war.
The experimental machines built before the war featured a 100 H.P. A Mercedes, Axgus or Gnome engine was installed. Initially, the Wankel engine was particularly popular because it allowed the flying boat to get out of the water easily due to its light weight. However, the rotary engine was later abandoned in favor of the stationary engine due to its higher fuel consumption on long flights and its unreliability. Actually only the Mercedes 100 H.P. They were used on the North Sea machines in the first weeks of the war due to their proven reliability.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (12)

Cowardly. 12. A primitive seaplane: Friedrichshafen type with center float. Note the many auxiliary cables.

The tireless work of the senior officers of the Naval Air Service, combined with the pilots' belief in the great future that awaited them, managed to attract the attention of the highest government authorities in the final months before the war. on the importance of his work and thus laid the foundation for German naval aviation. And yet, in the first weeks of the war, only six machines were operational on Heligoland with the High Seas Fleet and only three machines were used for observation work on the roads of the Baltic Sea.
The performance of the first seaplanes was normal. Fully charged with gasoline for four hours, two occupants, the necessary signaling equipment, but without armament or bombs, these machines could only reach a speed of 65 MPH. and could not climb above 3,000 feet. On special occasions when you had to carry more gas, bombs or whatever, they weren't strong enough to get out of the water even in a light wind.
Our main enemies in naval warfare, England and France, were ahead of us in the design of seaplanes before the war, Russia, which played a supporting role in the Baltic Sea, originally used French types. France too tried to convert agricultural machinery into seaplanes as we did, and met the same misfortune; however, he managed to gain an advantage over us before the war by spending large sums of money, and with the help of naval specialists England and the United States were even luckier, most of their factories being on the coast and consequently , the results of their experiments could quickly be used for further development: Both countries therefore produced types that were far superior to our pre-war designs. Many of the flying boats we bought from them were the basis for the types we later produced. England, as a shipbuilding nation, initially placed great emphasis on the importance of seaworthiness, and even before the war produced models as good in this respect as those we built in 1915. Beyond the value of this recognition Early on the importance of seaworthiness for observation patrols over the sea The English aircraft engine, like our own Mercedes, served them well because of its reliability. Probably for reasons of airworthiness, hull or tail types were developed, while Erance and America specialized in flying boats.
England also found the right standard for wireless devices by adopting the hanging antenna, while our peacetime experiments were unsuccessful due to the adverse effect of the antenna mast on the aircraft's flight characteristics.
The performance of our seaplanes was initially limited by their limited fuel capacity to a range of 75 nautical miles and therefore an overall flight limit of 150 nautical miles. Since they did not carry radios with them, they could transmit information to ships at sea only by means of signal lamps. These machines were not strong and therefore could not withstand bad weather. Our warm-spirited pilots, however, performed frequent flights that greatly improved their overall efficiency and, thanks to the excellent engines, tended to greatly increase pilots' confidence in their machines.
The investigation, once halted, continued with every means at our disposal, but it was a difficult task. The practical project was still in its infancy, the number of flight officers was small and, moreover, the military authorities took control of the aircraft engine factories at the beginning of the war.
Therefore, the Navy was forced to adapt the Army's flight engine to its seaplanes, temporarily losing the ability to produce a powerful engine, which is paramount for seaplanes due to the difficulty of getting out of the water. However, this disadvantage had to be accepted in order to avoid a split in the aircraft engine industry and to ensure the necessary mass production. Fortunately for seaplane development, the rivalry between land and sea forces still raged, and so the Navy was able to take the best stuff from its sister weapon and adapt it for its own purposes. From these beginnings emerged the Experimental Seaplane Division, which gradually took over most of the ongoing development work. As already mentioned, it was initially only a makeshift, composed of officers and men without practical experience, who had to do their work without adequate means. It is easy to understand why the men on active duty were initially extremely dissatisfied with the work of this department. Due to the demand for aircraft, many machines had to be used in the first months of the war, which had serious defects that were quickly discovered and corrected by the designers, but could only be corrected for machines in active service. through laborious investigations by the flight officers themselves. This situation was not necessarily desirable, but had the advantage of increasing the technical efficiency of the flight officers and thus being able to fall back on highly qualified officers with practical front-line experience in the test department. It must be admitted that, despite initial difficulties, the Admiralty's Aircraft Department and its auxiliaries undoubtedly achieved their objective; for it not only surpassed our enemies in seaplane design, but also secured the superiority of German naval aviation to the end of the war, even though our enemies had better material at their disposal for the last two years.
As I have already said, by the time hostilities began, the stations in Helgoland and elsewhere that existed before the war were poorly equipped with machinery.
Mobile flying units, in the Army's view, were never formed in the Naval Air Service because all seaplane stations were necessarily stationary. Only flying amphibious units can be considered mobile.
The first active seaplane unit was formed on December 4, 1914 in Wilhelmshaven. It consisted of three flight officers, one ground officer, 55 men and two 120 H.F. Priedrichsbafen. In the barracks he reached his destination on December 6th, the desolate embankment of Zee-Brugge, which still bore the marks of last November's bombardment. Initially, the station buildings on the promenade served as hangars. The train, still carrying steam, served as a cold store for personnel and a mobile base for the entire unit, as seaplanes could be quickly mounted on low trucks in the event of a bomb attack, men and machinery. could be taken inland to a safe place. While the weather was bad for the first two months, the weather was used to build workshops and shelters and to conduct short test flights and observation patrols with the machines. Observation patrols and incursions into the English Channel, as well as attacks on French and English coastal towns, which took place from the end of the year will be covered later.
The first land unit of the Naval Aviation Service went to Flanders on December 20, 1914. This unit took part in the Yser's battle circle, first at Snaeskerke and later at Mariakerke. On February 20, 1916, it was reinforced by a second unit. Both units relentlessly guarded enemy territory and, for the first few months of their existence, conducted very rapid and successful photo patrols over Boulogne, Calais and Dover, as well as successful bombing raids. As early as November 1916, one of their planes flew over London and destroyed an important military position with six bombs.


Observation Patrol Machines: Only 100 HP Naissanco reconnaissance machines were available for the early operations of the war. These planes were two-seaters and had enough fuel for a four-hour flight. The first step forward was the 120 hp. engine that allowed it to carry enough fuel for a six-hour flight while also greatly improving the machine's speed, climb rate and navigability.
Especially when attacking submarines 20 kg. Bombs can also be loaded. But even this type could not perform the most important function of a seaplane, namely the rapid transmission of information about enemy forces, due to its inability to carry a wireless installation. This was possible for the first time thanks to the 150 and 160 H.F. The reconnaissance machines used in the North Sea were later equipped with wireless transmitters and later with receivers. In addition, anchors and sea anchors were provided, tools and spare parts were transported and a useful set of navigation and signaling instruments was installed. Performance in the air and on the water has also greatly improved.
The last type of reconnaissance machine was a Friedrichshafen type, equipped with a 200 hp Benz engine, a type which by the end of the war did as much work as possible on a single engine without difficulty. This aircraft could conduct non-stop reconnaissance patrols within a 130 nautical mile radius of its home base. It was equipped with a full wireless installation, improved armament, bombs for use against submarines and a mobile machine gun for defense purposes. The machine was so seaworthy and reliable that it could go up and down when the North Sea winds measured a force 5. Especially in questions of airworthiness, the development of the reconnaissance machine had to overcome these enormous difficulties. Good performance in the air required the lightest possible structure; Strength, on the other hand, so important to seaplanes, implied considerable weight. A middle ground had to be found between these contradictory properties, and this middle ground could only be discovered through painstaking practical investigations. Above all, the seaplane must be solidly constructed in all its parts. Any small vulnerability that would only cause minor damage to a farm machine, for example, would mean the certain loss of the seaplane in the event of an emergency landing and, should it not arrive in time, the death of its occupants as well. . Types already in active service were constantly tested at sea and weak points were strengthened or the design changed.


Valuable experience gained from aircraft in the North Sea was used in the design of machines for other theaters of war, such as Flanders, Kuriand and Turkey, where reconnaissance patrols over the sea could not be conducted without a certain amount of combat. , where consequently the machines should have speed, climbing ability, speed of movement and armament at the expense of navigability and a large radius of action. Single-seat seaplanes were built on principles similar to Army Scouts, and their work at sea was similar to that of Boy Scouts on land. Of course, although some level of seaworthiness was sacrificed, their heavy float meant they could not achieve the same level of performance as combat scouts, despite being designed on the same principles. However, when the enemy, concerned about the heavy casualties our seaplane fighters were inflicting, began using their land machines for defensive patrols over the sea, the single-seat seaplanes became outclassed and had to be replaced by two-seat fighters. Our ground combat machines could not perform such a task, because our patrols took us far beyond the English coast or between the islands of the Mediterranean, and therefore our machines were forced to fly long distances over the sea. to conduct their observations, while our enemies only had to defend the area around their bases against our observations. Industrial research, supported by the Navy, managed to produce a two-seat fighter capable of performing any type of reconnaissance on enemy shores, defeating its seaplanes in all types of warfare, and so efficient that even its Scouts never attacked. except in higher numbers. These fighting machines, usually armed with two fixed machine guns and one movable gun, were of the two-swimmer type. They were with a 180 H.P. enough engine and fuel for 3J flight hours; their speed was 100 MPH, and because of their aluminum floats, they were seaworthy enough to leave sea or land in a Force 3 wind.


The seaplane type was mainly favored by Austria, the United States, France and Russia. Its main advantage was less drag due to the seaplane fuselage replacing the seaplane fuselage and floats. Consequently, a seaplane could fly and climb faster than a seaplane with the same engine power.

The disadvantages of the seaplane, on the other hand, can be listed as follows:
1. They are not navigable because the planes are close to the water, nor are they as laterally stable as the seaplane, where the weight is shared between two floats that are some distance apart.
2. there is no frontal protection for air combat as offered to the seaplane pilot by his engine,
3. With single-engine seaplanes, even with an observer, it is impossible to repel an attack from behind, since the propeller, which is located in the center of the ship, occupies the entire field of fire.
4. Limited manoeuvrability, since the seaplane pilot who sits far forward can never control his machine as well as the seaplane pilot who sits over the center of gravity. It would not be unreasonable that the twin engine seaplane is fundamentally superior to the single engine seaplane and that our development of the first type during the war was entirely justified. This claim is supported by the combined evidence of peacetime and wartime testing. We buy, test and copy English, American and Austrian seaplanes and also produce types built by our specialist yacht designers. Seaworthiness, and we invariably return to the twin-tube seaplane. Although rising faster and faster, the single-engine seaplane never gained a foothold with German Naval Aviation,
However, the weight shifted in favor of the seaplane as large aircraft with two or more engines appeared. Frontline protection wasn't that important, since they're really just small, fast machines that participate in duels. A certain field of fire was also opened up, albeit somewhat limited, to the rear of the machine between the two engines. Airworthiness is also less important for large seaplanes, since crash landings become less of a factor in the calculations as the reliability of two or more engines increases.


In the last year of the war, the naval authorities ordered the use of airplanes instead of airplanes to conduct observation patrols over the North Sea, because of enemy counter-patrols during the day, aircraft could not fly west at a convenient altitude for observation and the risk of lighter-than firebombs -air planes. This resulted in the construction of long-range reconnaissance planes, which could carry a larger crew and fuel for eight or ten hours, as well as large seaplanes and seaplanes with two or more engines, such as the G and E types, which is increasing. more to the fore. Unfortunately, giant seaplanes were never really used at the front, but initial tests already showed that our theory led us in the right direction in this branch as well.


From the practical experience of the first year of the war with torpedo bombers, which were originally intended to be highly specialized but eventually developed into a regular aircraft, designs for the first long-range reconnaissance aircraft were developed. Machine. The idea of ​​firing torpedoes from planes is old. Even before the war, experiments were carried out in America and Italy, but they were completely unsuccessful. During the war every means had to be used to sink enemy ships approaching our shores. All the resources of science and specialized design in the construction of torpedo engines have been incorporated, mainly with a view to their use in Flanders and the Dardanelles.
Initial efforts were made to place torpedoes under single-engine landplanes capable of flying short distances over the sea. The idea was that the torpedo would get its muzzle velocity from the actual speed of the machine and be fired at any enemy ship at close range. For weight reasons, bronze torpedoes were also built and carried by single-seat agricultural machinery. However, none of these methods were expected to be successful. The enemy could soon spot such machines, and besides, a ground launch with an active torpedo on board was certainly not without danger. So nothing came out of the ground torpedo transport machine. So we tried to build planes that could fly long distances over the sea and could carry a heavy torpedo and two men, the pilot and the torpedo boat. This could never be achieved with a single engine and the result was the construction of twin engine seaplanes for the purpose. The unloading of the torpedo was to be done by the speed of the machine, and the aircraft was expected to be lost if it crashed on landing while still carrying the torpedo. It was necessary to put up with a short and inept life. For reasons of weight, the construction of the machine had to be extremely fragile, otherwise even two 100 H.P. The engines could not carry the heavy torpedo.
Things were further complicated by the fact that anything connecting the two floats, like that installed on the normal seaplane, had to be scrapped to make room for the torpedo. Despite efforts to make them light, the first torpedo-carrying machines appeared to hover rather than fly, and only exceptionally skilled pilots could attack in such conditions.
After the first tests at the front, it became apparent that the chances of success for such an attack were not as good as initially thought. Many ineffective flights were made, and in most cases the torpedo landed again. From then on we knew the plane had become very light, but as all the nooks and crannies were reinforced the weight of the machine increased. The appearance of more powerful engines, the 200 H.P. and the Mercedes 260 H.F. and a safer machine, but only slightly improved flight characteristics, so even the most modern type required very skillful pilots, well-trained torpedo boats and long training. In the last year of the war, torpedo machines were abandoned, since the results obtained did not justify the loss of people and materiel. After the first two torpedo attacks in Flanders and the Gulf of Riga, enemy countermeasures became so effective that there was little chance of success.
Our experience, which we certainly gained as it went into the design of the aircraft itself, has proved useful in the construction of long-range, multi-engine reconnaissance aircraft.


When it was suddenly recognized in 1917 that the airship was unsuitable for use in the North Sea due to its flammability, there was a demand for an efficient replacement in the form of an airplane. The designers were faced with a daunting task and it took several months to produce a viable multi-engine flying boat, as industrial overload and shortages of materials made it impossible at the time to produce a machine that could withstand wartime conditions. This is where twin-engine aircraft came into play, which are now no longer needed to carry torpedoes. They were strengthened, the floats were repaired and a gas tank was installed instead of the torpedo, which could be launched if necessary. The machine could stay in the air for ten hours at a time and, as it soon turned out, would have served its purpose admirably if it had been strong and reliable enough. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case; it was not efficient at sea or in the air. As soon as an engine failed, even after its auxiliary tank dropped, the heavy machine was crushed and almost certainly crushed in inclement weather. After many were lost in this way, these machines were only used for convoy escort and similar work. Eventually they were completely abandoned.
Unfortunately, long-range reconnaissance machines with two or more engines and two floats were never fully exploited in wartime conditions. So it's impossible to say how well they would have served your needs and which types would have been the most efficient. However, there is reason to believe that the multi-engine seaplane just described will be used more often in the future as a means of remote observation. At 1000 hp This huge four-engine seaplane, built entirely of duralumin, although never tested in wartime conditions, was tested at the Warnemünde and Nordsee seaplane stations. These tests tend to indicate that the giant seaplane will be a better reconnaissance machine than the hull-float seaplane.
A question of particular interest that affects all seaplanes is whether they can be carried on board a ship. Unlike the army's constantly moving airborne units, the seaplane station is stationary. Both reconnaissance and combat machines could only be stationed at fortified locations along the coast. In operations with the Grand Fleet or a battlecruiser squadron, it is of paramount importance that the pilot have some sort of home base when engaged in observation patrol outside the region covered by seaplane stations. When the airship failed, the planes had to be taken aboard a ship or a specially designed transport ship so they could take off and recover after their work was done. So the seaplane must not only be designed to take off in the air and land on water, but also be strong enough to be safely towed onto the deck of a ship. This difficult problem was also solved, and finally all kinds of machines used by the Navy could be taken on board the ship if necessary.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (13)

Cowardly. 13. A plane about to leave the aircraft carrier

Also the enemy, mainly England and the United States, adapted freighters and warships to serve as aircraft carriers to bring their machines closer to the target, England even built a special ship for this purpose, the Argus, which was extremely fast . . and it was fitted with an open upper deck on which land planes could take off and land. Other aircraft carriers typically only carried seaplanes, which were launched and then salvaged. Some of these aircraft carriers, particularly American battleships, were equipped with a short corridor between the forward towers into which light single-seaters could launch, or had a catapult device that could be used to unload land and seaplanes. of the ship Shortly before the signing of the armistice, the German Navy carried out tests with a similar device and achieved good results.


A few words about the 'Fernlenkboot'. This device, the practical development of which began as early as 1915, had to undergo many tests and research before it could be used at the front. The "Fernlenkboot" was a type of torpedo that rode on the water surface and was under the gunner's control. It was powered by a gasoline engine and contained a large mass of explosives in its nose that would destroy or seriously damage a ship on impact. An electric cable, which unwound as the ship moved, connected it to a shore observation post, from which its movements were originally directed. Since it was impossible to closely observe their movements from afar, an aircraft for direct operations was soon adopted. This aircraft transmitted its instructions wirelessly to the ground station, from where they were automatically transmitted to the "remote control boat". Two stations were set up on the Flemish coast to test the usefulness of this new invention under wartime conditions.
They managed to disable a monitor with a direct hit. No further attacks were undertaken as the large battleships never came within range of the 'RC Boat' and it was not worth offloading onto torpedo boats and smaller craft as their greater speed and maneuverability made any chance of success very slim.

In conclusion, I must point out that the development of the seaplane had much greater difficulties to overcome than the development of the agricultural machine. Many different types were developed for different purposes, almost more than for the army, although the seaplane supply was much smaller (about 2,500 machines during the war versus over 44,000 for the army), naval and seaplane designers. great improvements in their machines, as the army had done, and they also suffered from this disadvantage that, because of the great amount of labor they had to produce, the factories could not build a series of any kind, once it was proven - succeded. With what dedication the officers, mechanics and craftsmen did their job despite everything! Hardships, often thankless duties, deserved the fullest credit, and that credit they finally found when German Naval Aviation consistently proved to be the best.


At the beginning of the war, the Naval Air Service personnel, including sea and land units, consisted of about 200 men (at that time there were no combined land and sea units for land flights); at the end of the war about 18,000 men.
When the armistice was signed there were thirty-two seaplane stations and bases in Flanders, the North Sea, the Baltic States, the Balkans and Turkey; four aircraft carriers and twenty naval land units. Of the last sixteen were stationed in Flanders. These were made up as follows: three naval land-based aircraft units for artillery observation and reconnaissance with naval forces serving on land; two Coastal Squadrons, stationed on the coast directing heavy gunfire; two escort trains to protect the latter; further back a combat unit consisting of five squadrons of scouts fighting for the land and one unit

fight for the sea. In addition, there was a team photo squadron and a flying unit that were deployed to Ghent Park for secret services. At the end of the war, the Naval Air Service was organized as follows: At the head was an Air Service Commander. , subordinated to the "corps command"[1] in all its functions and to the "naval flight chief" in personnel and technical matters under the direction of the Admiralty. Reporting to the commander of the air service were the 'Group Commander' of the seaplane squadrons with seaplane stations and waterfront formations, the 'Group Commander' of the coastal formations and artillery observation squadrons and the 'Commander de Grupo' of the terrestrial air service, the units under his command.
[1] As there are no exact English equivalents for these names, I have retained Gorman's nomenclature in some cases. - CROSSING.


As I said, before the war our enemies were ahead of us in terms of seaplanes, and England in particular provided much valuable material for mobilization. While we were indeed able to overcome our enemies in a short time and maintain our advantage, we must not forget that England was fully occupied with enlarging her army and meeting her army's consequent need for land units. Another point to consider is the fact that England was in control of the seas, so it wasn't that important that its seaplanes were navigable as the spine could be salvaged in the event of an emergency landing. The development of seaplanes in France followed the same line, as the importance of their behavior at sea itself was relegated to the background,
For our enemies, the most important task in naval warfare was the need to fight submarines. For this reason, aircraft with a good forward field of view were particularly needed in order to be able to accurately drop bombs from low altitudes. Our enemies therefore specially designed and maintained the single-engine seaplane. The spotter at the bow of the seaplane has an excellent view of the region immediately ahead, while the pilot can steer straight to his target, unhindered by engine or wings. The ineffectiveness of flying ships at sea itself was a minor factor due to England's dominance at sea. There was no need to pilot the machine lightly, since in most regions there was no reason to fear interference from enemy aircraft. In Flanders, where our combat machines faced the enemy, seaplanes were supported by two-seat seaplanes armed with a rear gun and single-seat seaplanes modeled on reconnaissance lines.
That England in the end attached little importance to seaworthiness is shown by the design of its seaplanes, which in addition to the two main floats were fitted with a third at the end of the hull, the aft float, a machine which rests on three floats in the water, but is never so seaworthy as a machine with long main floats and a hull sticking out of the water. This curious development of English design was all the more remarkable because, before the war, it favored the German method, which we had already invented by then. In the final months of the war, British long-range reconnaissance planes appeared in the North Sea to disrupt our minelaying operations. They were American designed seaplanes. At first you heard a lot about these machines; one almost feared that the enemy had gained the upper hand over us. As a result of dogfights and reports from enemy aviators, it was finally determined that the fearsome ship Curtiss was just as unsuitable for its purpose as our long-range reconnaissance craft with the two floats. In addition, they could only be used successfully in conjunction with naval forces. (Prostitute.)


General - Observation Balloons - Airplanes, Navy and Military - Military Aircraft - Observers - The Pilot and the Observer as Individuals - Pilots of Sea and Land Machines - Atlantis.


With the increasing importance and diversity of the tasks of the airship, higher and higher demands were placed on mentality, physique and, in particular, on the morale of all ranks. Our rapidly depleted reserves at home and in the field required incessant supplies, and there had to be some sort of "common fund" from which to draw resources for the formation of new units. It was imperative that these requirements be met, and consequently Air Force personnel selection and training problems have increasingly focused on the three qualities listed above, namely mentality, physique, and morale. Between August 1914 and October 1918 we lost 1,399 pilots and 401 observers among those employed exclusively in domestic service, most of whom were trained as students or instructors. These figures do not need to be commented on.
In general, all men who fly must have the following qualities: great joy in flying, a strong sense of duty, self-control, willpower and the ability to make quick decisions; good eyesight, physical dexterity and a healthy build, especially of the heart and nerves; no tendency to dizziness or dizziness; a well-developed sense of direction; quick grasp of tactical and strategic circumstances; knowledge of the principles of open and trench warfare; Familiarity with artillery science and issues affecting firearms of all calibers; the ability to take aerial photographs and interpret them; Basic knowledge of petrol engines, weather, field and wireless telegraphy, the field telephone system, signal lamps and the use of carrier pigeons. The flying man must also be proficient with machine guns and automatic firearms, and be able to understand and intelligently use operational orders and orders from higher commanders. In addition to these common characteristics and general information, each aviator should be trained in the specific knowledge pertaining to his particular branch of service, depending on whether he was a balloon officer, airship officer, airline pilot, or seaplane pilot.
For example, balloon officers had to be familiar with: knowledge of the properties and uses of the gas, the science of balloon gliding, experience in countering air raids, and the proper use of anti-aircraft fire. fast. Rifles and machine guns, practice using tilting binoculars and experience leading troops during an assault to carry out infantry operations and similar work.
Airship officers had to be specially trained to control the ship's lift or direction, either as engineers or as commanders actually in charge: airplane pilots had to learn to fly the different types, while airship officers and airships had to be instructed in the navigation of the bomb mechanism, bomb dropping, etc This training was inherently more ambitious than required for any other weapon. We will now take a closer look at the training of each branch of the Air Force.


As a rule, there was only one observer in the basket of an observation balloon, only during training two were sent at once.
In order to make better use of the balloons without increasing their number, experiments were made in 1917 with two baskets suspended under an envelope, a method which gave satisfactory results even up to an altitude of about 3000 feet. This practice was soon abandoned, however, as the two baskets disrupted the stability of the balloon, causing it to sway wildly.
In general, junior officers were unable to perform all the work expected of observation balloons, and even particularly qualified officers required about a year's training, although a large number of junior officers became excellent observers.
It took a great deal of courage and stamina to stay airborne for eight straight hours in inclement weather, and an uncommon sense of duty and self-control to combat seasickness without loss of personal efficiency. The balloonist had to perform his duty alone and unseen, without the moral support his men give to the infantry officer, and without the knowledge that he must lead by example and move them to action. Thousands of meters high, alone and often suffering from the intense cold, it endured bombing and air raids without any form of defense. He must make his observations and never be alarmed by the thought that if his balloon caught fire overhead, he would only have seconds to parachute to safety. Since he could not see or judge for himself, he had to rely on the ground service officer to give him the order to bail. When this telephone order came, he had to jump out of his basket without hesitation. Still, their troubles weren't over yet. The attacking plane would unleash furious fire on the man hanging helplessly from the parachute. The tracers would attack him. Only exceptional willpower, self-control, strong nerves and a brave heart allowed him to withstand the strain and climb back up after the descent! Many infantry officers who enrolled in balloon scout training to recover from the difficulties of the trenches have said after such an experience: “I would rather endure a five-day bombardment than make another climb! '
It was even difficult to learn how to use binoculars with the basket rolling and bouncing. The observer had to memorize maps of his own lines and those of the enemy, since using a map, especially in high winds, was so difficult that it was used only in emergencies. The aerial photographs, however, were a useful mnemonic for him.
During the war, balloon officers were recruited from the infantry and other branches of the service, particularly the artillery. Tests of their qualifications and skills, which led to rejection in large numbers, were followed by technical training lasting three to five months for officers and about a year for other levels. During this period, when circumstances permitted two observers to climb into a basket, the student also received hands-on instruction in the air on good days. He was entrusted with an experienced observer who was thoroughly familiar with the area, but when directing artillery fire he had to make his report directly under the observer's instructions. Later they sent it in bad weather.
After a month or two of service in the Balloon Corps, during which time he was required to do light artillery work, he was sent to aviation school, where he stayed for six to eight weeks. This course was followed by four to six weeks of artillery training. Along with the young artillery scouts, the student now learned the science of gunnery and the difference between ground and air reconnaissance, both of which were practiced simultaneously in this course. An assessment of the shots on and around the pane served to clarify the misdirection.
At this point in his career, the student has returned to the front lines as an "Assistant Observer". On days when there was no major foot surgery, he could scout and register himself to shoot at easy targets. Whenever there was heavy fighting, he would work with an experienced scout operator as long as the balloon didn't need to climb much higher than 3,000 feet. Recording results were usually confirmed by graphic cameras*.
He then completed a course at a training department during which the student, now an almost fully trained scout, learned the methods of interfacing with other weapons in various conditions of war. In this way he improved his tactical knowledge. He also learned to work with the Intelligence Corps in their training camps and became familiar with the Intelligence system used by the Chief Medical Examiner.
The Escola de Instrução Aeronáutica offered only general training in aerial photography, but the Department of Aerial Photography offered specific training on the matter.
Over time, balloon spotters began to specialize in different branches of their work. One man, for example, could get exceptional results with heavy artillery at long ranges, hitting the various enemy command centers; another, who had been seriously probing the enemy's ammunition depots from aerial photographs, bombed them until they exploded. Another would be exceptionally quick and adept at catching marching columns, trains, and other moving targets and directing its battery fire at them. A very useful observer was one who could report the essential features of each phase of a battle, omitting the details, but at the same time drawing valuable conclusions from the results of his observations. It was the duty of the Ballon Corps unit commanders to see that the right man got the right job at the right time. No balloonist can say that he has completed his training, because he always has to acquire new knowledge and experience. (Stottmeister.)


The crew of a naval airship consisted of 23 trained aviators and another 24 whose job it was to look after the ship. Each man received special training, either as a navigator or as a technician. The flight crew included:
(1) The commander,
(2) An observation officer who was also in charge of the wireless device.
(3) A helmsman.
(4) A chief engineer,
(5) Two men for the lift and two men for the lateral controls.
(6) Two wireless service providers.
(7) A sailing boat.
(8) Twelve mechanics take care of the engines and tanks.
It was the Observation Officer's duty to give orders
the ship's movements before climbing and after landing, since the captain could not leave the pilot pod during these times. When the ship was in flight he was in charge of the wireless device, encrypting and decrypting all messages and roaming the ship. When an attack was underway, he operated the sights and dropped bombs. On land he served as deputy.
Navigation was the responsibility of the helmsman under the direction of the captain. It was the helmsman's duty to maintain course and speed and to check the ship's position on the chart. During landing maneuvers, he used the ship's telegraph system to relay commands to each individual engine. On the ground he was primarily responsible to the commander for the work of the entire flight crew.
The chief engineer was in charge of all ship's machinery and responsible for testing the engines and fuel before launch. In a warflight, its position was in the rearmost engine nacelle.
The men responsible for the altitude control advised the use of ballast and valves that could be opened manually. When not on duty, they manned the machine guns and searchlights, while also serving as lookouts. A man was assigned to keep an eye on the gas supply and ensure each engine received the required amount. The sailboat constantly inspected the gas chambers, tested the operation of the valves, repaired small holes3 in the hull, etc. The flight crew consisted exclusively of officers or non-commissioned officers.
The crew responsible for the aircraft on the ground consisted of all the necessary craftsmen; i.e. sailboats, rafters, mechanics, electricians, etc. They did not actually fly but assisted the flight crew in maintaining the ship. All crew members were High Seas Fleet volunteers and received special training under the direction of the Commander of the Aircraft Service.
Special training ships were used for this,
and by the beginning of the war already built passenger shears such as the Hansa, Sachsen and Victoria-Louise were used for this work. Training centers were initially in Leipzig and Dresden, then until the autumn of 1916 in the Hamburg district, later in Nordholz, which had meanwhile advanced to become the most important station for the naval aviation service, along with a hand-in course for the general subject of aircraft piloting . The most important training was of course that of the commanders, due to the variety of their functions.
Due to his experience at sea, the naval officer brought with him a wealth of knowledge that was also useful for air navigation. As a rule, his training lasted about half a year, but it often happened that this time was reduced when ships were built in larger numbers. Sometimes this reduction in her education was regrettable. Wherever possible, arrangements were made for an airship commander to go on active duty with the crew with which he had been trained. It was a very necessary condition for the success of the flight and overall efficiency that the captain and his crew work together and get to know each other.
Especially in the last year of the war, when ships had to fly to great heights due to strong enemy air defenses, the pressure on the airship crews was extremely high. Only men of solid build and strong build could be used for this work: only those with real experience can imagine what it is like to be crammed into a cramped engine nacelle with the engine pounding in your ears for twenty years -four hours followed. You also have to factor in the extreme cold and the difficulty of working in the rarefied atmosphere of 19,000 or 20,000 feet in conditions your body isn't used to. The effects of the lack of oxygen took various uncomfortable forms, such as mountain discomfort, slackness, etc., making it necessary to carry oxygen on long war flights when the ship was likely to stay at those altitudes for as long as possible. ten hours straight. (Hollender, Steel.)


When German mechanical engineering reached its peak. Climax in the construction of huge multi-engine airplanes, equipped with every imaginable instrument, capable of carrying heavy bombs and manned by a crew of six to ten men. The staff included some or all of the following groups; Pilot, observer, commander, machine gunner, radio operator and mechanic.


The spotter, invariably an officer, was usually the actual person in charge on the plane. This was not only the case with the giant aircraft, where the commander was mostly an observer, but also with the smaller types, where the pilots were often non-commissioned officers. His iron will and devotion to duty were the only things the pilot could count on in a moment of great danger, isolated in the high altitudes, under the intense cold of 40 degrees or more frost and surrounded by the projectile. Explosion, without the moral support offered by his combat comrades to the infantryman. It can be said of the pilot: “He got up on his own without help.” This phrase can be applied both physically and mentally. With the increasing number and changing tasks of aircraft, ever new demands were placed on airmen, especially observers. While pilots could be trained and classified to fly any type of single machine, the spotter was required to have a general knowledge, including all branches of aeronautical science, and the ability to apply that knowledge in a variety of conditions. The war, which was the mother of all things to flee, also made the viewer what he is and always will be. With his all-round skill, his mental and physical strength and his ability to perform his duties, the scout proved indispensable in all wartime situations, not only for the high command but also for the military. also in the high command.
He had to be able to think both strategically and tactically, otherwise his activity would be useless, both for the high command and for the troops. He had to know how to use machine guns of different patterns and fire all kinds of ammunition in his dogfights while using bombs against ground targets. In the rapid-fire gun, he found a useful weapon against tanks, trains, and anti-tank guns. At the end of the war we wanted to use aircraft flamethrowers.
Unless he had a thorough understanding of artillery science, artillery would have lost much of its effectiveness, even if still supported by some form of aerial observation. Knowing the behavior of falling bodies, from high-explosive bombs to supplies, from propaganda leaflets to one's own fall from a burning machine into a parachute, required meticulous study of trajectories and the use of extremely complex and complex. . .
Soon after the war began, the observer officer, who by then performed a job similar to that of a cavalry scout, was to undertake the study of camouflage in all its branches. Closely linked to this work was the need for reliable aerial photography and a working knowledge of all types of cameras, including eventually the film camera, was essential.
He had to have a solid understanding of wireless telegraphy, the applications of which were becoming more common and varied by the day.
To complete the list, we must mention that the archaeological works were planned and carried out by airplanes. In February 1918, archaeologists emphasized the importance of a photographic study of the ancient civilization of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Palestine, and proposed that such a study be conducted using standard Luftwaffe methods.
We have not yet touched on all the branches of knowledge necessary for the aviator, such as meteorology, which he must know not only in order to correctly interpret the reports from the meteorological stations, but also in order to be able to choose the best airline in bad weather. It is the duty of the observer to note and take into account every circumstance.

The attacks on England required the use of all means of navigation, including astronomy, to determine the aircraft's position. Finally, the spotter had to be able to take control of the pilot if he died or became incapacitated due to his wounds. This fact brings us to a very important point, which is mutual trust and cooperation between pilot and observer. (Neumann, Siegert.)


The pilot, far from being a simple air pilot, was the observer's trusted companion and complement, so it was expected that the observer would assist the pilot in his multiple technical functions both during and after the flight. This required technical knowledge and the observer had to be as familiar with each part of the aircraft as with the engine mechanism, the problems involved and how to solve those problems.

Only this knowledge could give him the confidence in his machine that is so essential for his own performance, allow him to examine and test all parts of the machine with the pilot before a flight and, if possible, to repair any problems or damage to the balls during the flight himself. He must also be able to assist the pilot in repairing the aircraft if it is damaged after a hard landing, and if the pilot becomes incapacitated he must have sufficient presence of mind to get the machine on the ground . Even if it caught fire, whether it was a bullet in the tank or igniting gasoline fumes, he had to stay in control. In such a case, the airman has only a few seconds to save his life, and he can only do that by lightning; Such speed can only be guaranteed through extensive knowledge and constant practice.
The cooperation and mutual support of pilots and observers in two-seaters and all occupants in larger machines led to confidence and confidence, both mentally and physically. The two men were bound by a bond of camaraderie forged through many hours of shared trouble and danger, and that bond was reluctantly broken. It did not matter whether only the observer or both the observer and the pilot held the post of flight attendant. Both must fit together so precisely that it works almost automatically. An instinct had to be developed with which to understand and almost predict each other's desires and actions. Despite all the mirrors, speaking tubes, and slates, there was no time for reflection or deliberation when the pilot wanted to direct his scout's fire at elusive targets that presented themselves during dogfight.
Many times during the war, a pilot mortally wounded and life drained from his body would return his comrade to friends waiting behind our lines. Observers have sometimes crawled thousands of feet in the air over their machine's planes, holding on to the support wires and standing to restore balance to the wrecked plane in the face of a storm that almost knocked them off their feet, killing him in the process , so they saved their pilot's life and their own. Other spectators took control of their unconscious pilot when he was critically injured, thus stealing Death's spoils. But it was not only on such rare and extraordinary occasions that life and freedom lay in the hands of one another. The pilot's fate, like that of all other occupants of a machine, depended on the coolness and accuracy of the shot. of the observer in any dogfight, just as only the quiet dexterity of the pilot would suffice to save him from dangerous flak fire.
Again, the presence of other machines should never escape the observer's attention. It wasn't enough that he could tell friend from foe at close range and recognize when the cross or black badge was visible; the viewer had to be able to recognize their nature from afar, just by their appearance and design. On this knowledge depended his ability to exploit any weaknesses in his enemy's position, and hence it could be said that this knowledge was the basis of air tactics. (Neumann.)


At the start of the war, few naval officers had been trained as seaplane pilots. Special training for the observers was not considered necessary, but the first weeks of the war clearly showed that special training was required in order to be able to carry out all work properly. In a short time not only the officers, but also the officers. but non-commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men were trained as observers. Qualifications required were physical and mental fitness, experience at sea and, where possible, proficiency in navigation and signalling.
The training of seaplane pilots followed the same general principles as that of army aviators, receiving only specific instruction in navigation, as their lives often depended on knowledge of this science.
The high stress of single-seat combat, which required the pilot to act entirely alone, made it preferable for scout pilots to be officers. Not only was it important for the fighter pilot to have complete command of his machine and be able to fly, since even a bird cannot fly; He also had to be familiar with many of the observer's sciences such as direction finding and meteorology. It was advisable that he had a keen sense of assessing a strategic or tactical situation in order to be able to understand his observations. from the air and communicate wirelessly with the ground.
However, apart from actual air combat tactics, his most important qualifications were good shooting. Familiarity with the workings of a machine gun and its timing mechanism, as well as his ability to aim his fixed weapon using the aircraft's own controls. The fact that exceptional skill, nerves of steel, and the mentality of a sportsman or hunter were the defining traits of the fighter pilot in no way diminishes the excellence of thousands of other pilots less fortunate in their jobs. . Day and night they went about their business at these sultry heights, often climbing several times in the course of twenty-four hours; the front engine fires 1400 times per minute; his eyes ever alert of battle; honoring his duty to remember, fully aware that in the case of his earthly comrades, an inheritance that would be quickly dealt with meant terrible shock and death on fire, while a forced landing behind enemy lines meant death. also in the hands of the vengeful populace.
Pilots of most machine types were taught to fly C and J type machines, then G through R, night flying was a different matter and required separate training. We must also remember that our fliers did a lot of pioneering work in home defense for the development and refinement of new types. The practical experience of the active pilots was used for promotion at home. We should also not forget that the administrative work in the home required great entrepreneurial, organizational and judicial skills. The old adage, "A soldier must know how to measure a saw or a pair of pants, and weigh a loaf or a matter of justice," no longer makes sense when applied to our flying men.
Imperial German Air Force! I threw a pebble into the memory sea and created waves in rings that came together, moved to the shore and then back again. Today the waters of this sea lie calm and like a mirror, mercilessly reflecting the image of the past. Down below the eye can see the sunken city of your dreams; in the distance you can hear the ringing of bells. Atlantis! (Winner.)



In an Observation Balloon - Naval Airships: Reconnaissance over the North Sea - Over London in & Zeppelin - Military Airships - Air Raids on England - My First and Most Dangerous Raid.


{Based on balloon observer's report)

I arrived at the balloon shed eight miles past the lines at 6am. The registrar had made all the preparations for the ascent and the balloon was already outside. Using a flashlight, I surveyed the gear in the basket, adjusted the altimeter, and put away my maps and aerial photos. Then I climbed into the basket, clipped the parachute to my belt, checked that the scarifier mechanism and valve control lines were clear, and tested the basket's telephone connection to the ground. At the same time, the operator gave me the reports from the weather station, which said: wind force at ground level 5 ma; 1500ft 11m - S.W. ; 2500 feet 12 to 14 m. SOUTHWEST.; low clouds; rising and stormy wind; Temperature of -10C. That meant poor visibility, I made a quick mental calculation: at 2500 feet the temperature would be as low as -18C, with pretty good turns to boot.
' Everything's ok. Ready to ascend,” I announced. Let her go! Calm down boys! the commander ordered. And then the balloon went up; the wind whistled. After a while there was a slight jerk and the balloon stopped rising. "They will lay the cable 200 meters away," announced the operator. I sat down at the bottom of the basket to protect myself from the biting wind, for the day's work would be difficult. However, that day we managed to drive the Russians out of their front trenches and throw them into the Dvorczak River.
At 7:30 a.m. the balloon reached its ascent point, two miles behind the lines. All was still shrouded in darkness and all was quiet along the lines save for the occasional artillery barrage from both sides. The ground team made telephone contact with the divisional and artillery commander, whom I informed and asked if there were any special instructions. So I applied for a promotion. I stopped at 2400 feet, near the clouds. The thermometer read -21°C and the wind howled through the rigging, causing the balloon to sway and roll in a circle at least 100 meters in diameter at the end of its cable. It was useless to think about looking through the binoculars. It was barely possible to see down to the enemy front line's trenches, and there was plenty of room for good reconnaissance work. Then I heard the words "eight o'clock" in my headphones. . At one blow the whole front began to belch fire; The preliminary artillery fire had begun. Soon the light was so good that I was able to report the effect of our fire: "Good shot in the Aloff gun pits, only two batteries answering from there"; "Northern wing of Nakov Batteries not receiving enough attention, five batteries responding from this position" (more detailed instructions are followed here). Ten minutes later I was able to tell the artillery that our fire had also reached this last position and that the enemy artillery fire had lost considerable volume. We met little resistance, so it seemed certain that our surprise had succeeded.
So far no new enemy batteries have been reported, but the enemy infantry kept calling for help with rockets.
By now the day was clearing and visibility was excellent. At 8:45 I thought I saw a column leaving the town of Nakow, eight miles behind the lines. Immediately my binoculars went to my eyes. At first I couldn't see the road, but eventually I managed to hold my ground for a second or two, and that was enough. An artillery column was moving. I immediately communicated with the division and artillery and teamed up with the balloon battery (10 cm guns), because if possible we wanted to catch up with the column on the march, it was already quite warm despite the cold and he hardly noticed the basket swing , because here was real balloon work. From the speed of its advance I finally decided it was an artillery column and estimated its length at 400 yards, three batteries. At 9:20 a.m. The entire train passed the fork of road 205 about 3 miles past the lines. However, he did not deviate, but continued on the main road.
After a brief discussion with the battery commander, the order was given: (The battery will bombard the area about 300 meters along the road/ The Honorable Russians were no doubt rejoicing at the (failure7) of the German batteries, until suddenly "We bypassed the battery directed her fire on the road itself and shelled it to pieces.The shells followed the shells and few missed or overtook them.The advance stalled and the column pulled off the road in small groups, showing that it was spreading evenly I immediately asked the battery commander to spread his fire over a larger area, but at that moment I received word from the ground that the artillery must now be directed against the forward infantry trenches.
I almost forgot: at 9:40. there would be an attack on the trenches themselves. A wonderful spectacle unfolded before my eyes, the shells bursting in a continuous line like a string of pearls, except for a gap near the small Pitzka forest. A short discussion with the battery commander and five minutes later this deficiency was remedied. After that, I was able to return to the previous goal. The enemy artillery division had spread out on either side of the road, and each battery of three or four guns was now firing like it had gone mad. Then the 10cm. The battery under the balloon's control began a bombardment as calmly and deliberately as if it were a training ground. Soon we registered our enemy correctly and the shells landed with such good effect that his fire was weakened. We then turned to the other side of the street, but after three shots even those guns gave up the fight.
10 a.m. Infantry charge.” Although I could not see our brave infantry as they advanced to charge, I was with them in spirit. Until now our bombardment had remained stationary in the front-line trenches, but now it was slowly advancing, 65 The red-light rockets called for help and artillery support, but all to no avail, as the Russians had only five batteries deployed at that moment, all of them convulsive fired and one of them I silenced with the balloon battery was able to report in succession: "Our bombardment went through the second line; now the third line", and at 10:32: "Our fire is on the other Bank of the Dvorczak. The attack was successful!"
As soon as the nervous tension eased, I felt terribly overwhelmed. The air god took his toll and my breakfast left my stomach like an offering.
"The division personnel officer is on the phone, sir."
I knew then that I had to pull myself together because I had to give detailed answers to situational questions. Willpower triumphed and overcame my physical weakness. But who knows what seasickness means, and seasickness in a balloon is much worse than seasickness at sea, can see what I was struggling with. The balloon observer who succumbs to this disease is unfit for his work. However, not many are always able to control themselves.
In fact, I continued with my observations.
Enemy artillery was now completely silenced,
and accordingly the batteries of the northern sector of our neighboring division opened enfilade fire on the Dvorczak River. Since there was no communication between the balloon and this division, the artillery commander sent them the results of my observation,
Then I received the following message from the ground: 'The balloon will advance to our old front, the trenches.' The storm was blowing harder now, making the balloon rock and sway more and more violently. I was thrown from side to side in the basket, the freezing cold piercing me to the bone. Suddenly absolute silence! The wind stopped whistling; the basket swayed against the balloons as the nose of the balloon rose until it was almost vertical; the phone didn't answer me: the clouds surrounded me. The balloon had come loose!
At first I felt a sense of consolation at being free from the perpetual rolling; but immediate action was required, as he should have crossed enemy lines in six or seven minutes. Maps and aerial photographs floated out of the basket in small fragments; I quickly checked the rigging of my parachute to see if it was free, then disconnected the cable from the release mechanism. Without reason I dared to let the balloon fall into the hands of the Russians, I pulled hard on the cable; I don't give anything! I broke out in a cold sweat, gritted my teeth and felt every muscle in my body tighten. I drew again. Hurrah! I shouted loudly. The fabric sagged; the balloon burst and I heard the escaping gas hissing into the upper air. two stronger
drawstring; a look at the altimeter, which read 6,000 feet; then it slides down the side of the basket and falls into the bottomless abyss.
As I fell, I closed my eyes and wondered if the parachute would open or if I would fall like a piece of lead and hit the ground. Those three or four seconds of falling felt like an eternity. Then I felt a slight tension in the harness around my chest and heard a faint creaking sound above my head. Looking up, I saw the slide deployed tightly and completely above me. I was saved! But he still had no reason to be happy because he didn't know where he could fall. I wondered if I should land within our own lines or if I was doomed to inglorious captivity. Soon I sank below the plain of snow clouds, and then feeling as if the earth would rise to meet me, not that I fell, I could not help but think of my comrades in western Erontf who were at on such occasions, when they hung helpless and helpless in their parachutes, they were machine-gunned by planes.
Only 200 meters away I saw my balloon fall. This sight made me realize that I needed to prepare for my landing, knowing that if I didn't release the parachute quickly I would be dragged along the ground. I quickly grabbed my knife. Nearby I could see our own supporting trenches. I raised my left hand and grabbed the parachute so I could free myself. But at the same moment I found myself lying on my back in a ditch, and a moment later I was caught up again; The parachute harness squeezed my chest as if breaking my bones. Then my face hit the edge of a rigid ledge and my eyes filled with blood. The wind had taken over the parachute and was putting enormous pressure on it. Do; Where was my knife! Surely he couldn't have dropped it! I grabbed the threads with my left hand, trying to grasp as much as possible: one or two cuts with a razor: the threads broke; the pressure eased and darkness closed over my eyes.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (14)

Cowardly. 14. Parachute landing. The observer is about to free himself from the parachute.

When I regained consciousness I was lying in a shelter and two gunners were bandaging my bloody forehead. "Another ten feet and they would have dragged you to the barbed wire, sir!" said one of them.
Weeks later, a broken bone and a purple spot around my chest that still hurt me reminded me of my first parachute descent. (Stottmeister.)

Naval airships: Reconnaissance over the North Sea: escort and support of minesweepers

The many different types of reconnaissance that fell to the aircraft batch varied as the war progressed. Experience soon taught us that, as a rule, three planes simultaneously patrolling the entrance to the bay were enough to provide security against unseen enemy incursions. Consequently these patrols were established as a matter of routine, for from morning to evening, in fair weather, an airship would patrol on a north-south line, the southern tip of which was slightly west of the island of Tesel, near Dutch waters, and the north point was south of Dogger Bank. Similarly, a second aircraft surveyed the entire Dogger Bank from its partner's northern boundary and a third surveyed the district from the northern tip of Dogger Bank to the Horns Reef lightship on the Danish coast. The orders given to the commanders of these aircraft were usually expressed briefly as "West Defense Patrol, Medium Defense Patrol, or North Defense Patrol", with an indication of the boundaries between which they were to operate and an appropriate annotation. They should stay airborne until sunset.
It was the commander's duty to closely monitor the area assigned to him and to transmit to the authorities by radio any information that might be of value to our naval warfare. Of course, such information mainly concerned enemy naval forces, but there were also a number of other facts that could be useful to the authorities, such as reports on freighter movements, mainly between Holland and Scandinavia, and the position of each of them. .the enemy ships. Minefields unknown to the Admiralty. May I mention here that when the sea is calm it is very easy to detect mines from a zeppelin at low altitude. The airship was better suited as a means of observation than the airplane because it could hover over its target for a long time with the engine switched off. This fact, combined with the stability of the pilot's spacious cockpit, greatly facilitated the observation work and expanded its possibilities. For example, we were able to use buoys dropped from the airship to mark the boundaries of emerging minefields and thus show our minesweepers their position. The incessant aircraft patrols on these three lines already mentioned enabled the minesweepers, which consisted of slow steamers and were not heavily armed, to go about their hard work undisturbed by the enemy. The airships were always far enough away from the minesweeper flotillas to give them early warning of surprise attempts to escape safely. Surprise attacks of this type have been attempted more than once, but without success. In this regard, it is worth noting that once the unrestricted submarine campaign began, England tried to defend itself by blockading the entire bay with a heavily armed minefield, hoping to make it impossible for submarines to surface. . It was then the minesweepers' duty to clear the roads through this minefield, and constant anger was the natural result, as the British naturally made great efforts to block the roads again as quickly as possible. . Of course, the layman will perhaps recognize the difficulty of this work, about which not a word was spoken publicly, by the fact that during the last year of the war the English, even at their own expense, sowed an average of 10,000 mines a month. It was almost impossible to stop activities in this direction, since the work was carried out at night by minelayers or cruisers or submarines specially adapted for laying mines. Without reliable aerial reconnaissance, it would have been impossible to control the extent of these minefields and consequently it might have been impossible to continue the submarine campaign.
We often encounter the following criticism, particularly from naval officers, that aerial reconnaissance is incomplete due to its strong weather dependency. It is true that the weather tours were sometimes impossible, especially in winter when conditions were bad for weeks; but one must not forget that the old principles that applied in the days of sailing ships, as light ships, i.e. torpedo boats, etc., still apply to modern naval warfare. , they can only participate in naval operations. when the weather is good. Even a light wind and calm seas are enough to diminish the general usefulness of these ships so much that no naval commander would willingly go into battle under such circumstances. Throughout the war, as long as sufficient aircraft were available, no serious conflict was fought or succeeded without the aircraft cooperating and the British avoiding contact with the Germans. Fleet as much as possible not so much to be attributed to our submarines as to the fact that they could not get rid of our aerial reconnaissance. Our airships kept the German fleet commander constantly updated on the enemy's strength, formation, course and position and were therefore usually able to secure any tactical advantages long before the enemy noticed. the proximity of the German armed forces.
Sometimes the above-described patrols over the bay were increased when special reasons made it necessary. From time to time, individual airships were exclusively occupied with the search for mines, sometimes accompanied by other ships that patrolled the area at the same time, so that the attention of the entire crew could be focused on this work.
Other ships, alone or in pairs, explored the entire North Sea area down to the English coast on one side and the Norwegian coast on the other. This work was usually carried out with the aim of observing cargo ships in the North Sea region, which was blocked at the beginning of the unrestricted submarine campaign. The so-called Neutral Channel, a narrow belt of water running north from the island of Terschelling through the Dogger Bank, the purpose of which was to allow Dutch ships passage to and from neutral countries, was kept under control. continuous observation of the aircraft dedicated to the “medium defense patrol”.
The enemy's efforts to combat our planes prove that he found our activity in the air extremely unpleasant. In fact, they were almost helpless in this regard and could not implement similar methods due to the lack of sufficiently useful aircraft. The only success they could boast of was the fact that from the summer of 1917 our planes had to stop searching for mines, and the ships of the western and medium defense patrols had to carry out their work from a greater distance. Altitudes: 7,000 to 9,000 feet instead of the original 2,500. This happened because the British gradually came to appreciate the weakness of airships, namely their tendency to catch fire with the hydrogen they contained. Because of this flammability, an airship is almost certain to be destroyed by any aircraft that might soar above it. Of course, reconnaissance suffered at these altitudes, and flying itself put a greater strain on aircrews, especially in winter, because air temperatures dropped rapidly with increasing altitude. However, the enemy never managed to finish off our defense patrols.


In addition to the possible uses already described, airships were of great importance for all offensive operations of the high seas fleet. They were able to provide a significant portion of those reconnaissance forces that the German fleet needed but had previously missed, and were able to maintain contact with the enemy because of their speed, which was well in excess of that of any seagoing vessel. In addition, an airship could regulate its distance from the enemy so that it could still make all the necessary observations with very little risk of being shot down or prevented from completing its work. The main source of danger was enemy naval forces, as British reconnaissance ships were superior in number and speed, although submarines and mines made reconnaissance by seagoing vessels significantly more difficult. It must also be remembered that an airship with a crew of twenty-three men could easily be replaced in six weeks, while the loss of a cruiser was a much more serious matter, as we had so few that it took a long time to build. , and both the men and the ship were immensely valuable.
During offensive operations, the fleet endeavored to assemble as many aircraft as possible on the spot for long-range reconnaissance. This screen, as it might better be called, must be close enough to keep the nearest aircraft in view at all times, to thwart any attempt by the enemy to slip past our lines unseen. During a sortie and when it seemed likely that the fleet would be at sea for several days, some aircraft were left in reserve.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (15)

Cowardly. 15. The return of the German fleet after the departure of August 19, 1916.

It was not as easy to carry out this work in practice as it might seem from this description, since it should be borne in mind that until the beginning of the war there were no opportunities for training due to the lack of aircraft. . , and that, moreover, the difficulty of navigating aircraft in the varied visibility and weather conditions over the vast area of ​​the North Sea, together with a number of other factors, caused many problems. Also due to the fact that the English fleet rarely appeared on the open sea, but, as is well known, usually remained hidden at Scapa How or elsewhere, a conflict between the two fleets was so rare that our airship officers had little opportunity to gain experience. However, on two occasions when victory or destruction of the German fleet was at stake, cooperation and reconnaissance of our aircraft were extremely important factors in the plans of the admiral in command of the fleet. The first of these events was the Battle of Jutland and the second was the withdrawal of the German fleet on August 19, 1916.
Despite poor visibility, ten aircraft took part in the Battle of Jutland. L. 24 made the important discovery that the main part of the British fleet, which had engaged the German fleet during the day, had returned to its scattered units on the night of 31 May; while L. 11 was able to report the exact strength, formation and course of a brand new English force sailing south during the day.
It was clear that these reinforcements were intended to prevent the retreat of the German fleet from the high seas. The intelligence of these two aircraft, admitted by the admiral in charge of the German forces, prompted him to continue his retreat south and to develop his attack against this new adversary.
The fact that the enemy did not renew the battle in the morning, but hurriedly retreated west as soon as our planes touched him, is certainly due to a direct order from the British commander, who realized his mistake. , and he must have feared, rightly, that resuming fighting would complete his defeat.
The departure of the German fleet in August 1916 took us into English waters, accompanied by eight aircraft reconnaissance in a fan formation in front of the fleet. Of these, five were actually in contact with strong enemy forces and were able to direct the German fleet and allow it to develop its attack against these units before the enemy noticed the proximity of the German ships. The fact that the enemy did not take part in the battle, although, as we found out later, that day he was at sea in full force, but made a hasty retreat, in my opinion, must be attributed to the fact that despite the unlimited spending on ammunition, they could not repel our reconnaissance planes, which gave the German leader much more security and certainty in his position, allowing him to exploit any tactical advantage. Even with the many British attacks on the Eight, experience has shown us that as soon as the plane appeared, the British forces retreated and gave up their enterprise, with the great benefit of surprise then gone. This activity by our aircraft resulted in numerous engagements with enemy naval forces, a welcome change from the monotony of watch commanders over the largely deserted North Sea and virtually no danger. , although often more than thirty ships tried to shoot down the plane at once, shelling it with cannons of all calibers. Our flight crews used to take great delight in seeing ships zigzagging wildly across the sea, sprawling to avoid their bombs. Later, our airships frequently engaged in combat with enemy submarines, many of which happily joined the fight rather than quickly disappearing and were destroyed by precise bombing.
Airships also played an important role in cruise operations against enemy freighters. The L, 40, which landed in the water, raised a steamer to check its papers. On April 23, 1917, K 23 sighted a Norwegian three-masted barge sailing some fifty nautical miles to the north-west. As the airship approached Horns Reef from the lightship, this ship cut its sails and launched two boats. After long and careful examination, fearing she might be dealing with a booby trap, the L, 23 landed in the water near the ship, which, although unquestioned, had run aground and found that it was on West Hartle was heading. - Pool with a lot of pit props. The crew was ordered back on board; The helmsman of the airship and two NCOs with pistols were sent along, and after a forty-three hour voyage this valuable booty was safely brought to a German port.
However, such feats were soon abandoned, since the risk was out of all proportion to the possible success, since there was always a significant risk that the plane, floating motionless on the water, would be destroyed by some submarine, plane, etc. . or suddenly appearing warship.

C 59'

Airships were also used as a means of transport to inaccessible areas. For example, in the bitter winter of 1916 and 1917, the L, 16 brought necessary provisions to the inhabitants and garrisons of one of our small islands in the North Sea, which was threatened with starvation because all sea communications had failed. been cut by the ice.
A far greater achievement, however, was L, 59's attempt in the fall of 1917 to provide medical supplies and many other war supplies to our heroic troops in East Africa, who were fighting against overwhelming odds. of rather exceptional importance for its moral effect on the Zeppelin airship designers and at the initiative of the Navy, was unfortunately abandoned due to a false rumor that our garrison in East Africa had evacuated the entire region. The airship rose from Yambol in Bulgaria, flew diagonally over Egypt to the confluence of the Blue Nilea and White Nilea south of Khartoum and was hailed by radio more than halfway through its flight and landed again. Difficulty. He was airborne for ninety-six straight hours, flying some 4,200 miles over a completely unexplored region. The commander, Captain Bockholt, announced in his flight report that he could easily have spent two more days in the air. In comparison, the first peacetime flight from England to America on the English airship It.34, an aircraft which, by the way, was copied from our project and which was talked about as much as possible, was as child's play as it was possible for our aircraft for many years.


The weather chart of April 25, 1916 showed favorable conditions and we had every reason to hope that the future attack on England would actually take place. Instructions have been given that our ship, the L.Z. 97, to be ready for departure at 18:30. We had landed at dawn after a long cross-country flight and immediately refreshed ourselves with a short sleep for the new adventure.
We spent the whole afternoon making the necessary preparations for our expedition. The men in charge of filling rushed to work, whizzing petrol into the envelope compartments while the mechanics tested the engine speed. Clouds of dust swirled high in the blast of the rotor blades. When the commander appeared through the hangar doors, the officer on duty informed him that everything was ready. At a signal given by a whistle, the landing party, which had been standing for some time, clung to the rail of the gondolas. A command, a sharp nudge forward, and the vehicle slowly pulled out of its hangar. .
Gently guided by the ropes, the ship glided along, its skids squeaking softly on the steel rails. A trumpet blast announced that the stern had surfaced and the ship had exited the hangar.
A signalman assigned by the captain gave instructions to the crew by flag and soon the ship was rolling gently in the wind on the wide airfield 200 meters from their boathouse.
'Hands off: Calm down the boys'. The men on the ropes freed themselves and the landing party moved away from the gondolas. The ship stopped for a moment before majestically climbing upwards. 'Stop!' The handrails and ropes were grabbed again and the ship capsized. Then the captain climbed on board and after a hearty "Good luck" hundreds of muscular arms pushed the gondolas into the sky.
We take a quick look at our airfield, flooded with light from the setting sun, and then start our engines. Everyone was filled with unspeakable joy; We went to England!
A long journey awaited us, the first stretch into conquered Belgian territory. After a short time Brussels was over and it quickly got dark. It was late evening when we reached the shore and sailed for hours across the English Channel, which was dark green, almost black, visible below us. The night lay over us, only millions of stars twinkled in the sky and reflected their light on the waves. But here and there were blobs of red beneath us that we knew weren't reflected images of stars. There were patrol boats and patrol boats through whose smokestacks you could see the annealing furnaces in the background. Besides these there was no light; everything was shrouded in unfathomable darkness and silence.
Thousands of feet above that desert water passed our narrow ship; the deep throbbing of their engines echoed in the stillness of the night, shaking the nacelles and flying cables.
We kept checking our course and keeping watch all night, but there was nothing to be seen until at last we came in sight of the coast of England. At that moment the moon came to our aid. It loomed over the dark green sea, a friend perhaps, but not a trustworthy one, for as plain as it showed our enemies below, our ship's presence in the sky betrayed them. Again we made a brief comparison with the map, although we had already realized that the coast was near Blackwater, the exact point we expected to reach. The calculation of our bearing was completely error-free.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in these flights across the sea, as anyone who has made raids involving the English Channel crossing knows. During the war we were deprived of aerial weather reports over England, particularly the west of England, and consequently it was impossible to form an accurate judgment of the meteorological conditions, as they depend chiefly on the barometric lows coming from the west. . We only had to rely on observations from the shore itself, allowing for the possibility that a strong wind could suddenly blow and throw the ship off course. That was a factor over which we had no control, and besides, when you're over the sea, especially at night, there's no way of knowing where you are.
Finally, over England, our hands are drawn to the bomb-throwing lever like iron to a magnet: but the time has not yet come, London is our destination, and we still have a good two hours' flight ahead of us before we reach the end of the day, our journey. We peered through the gondola's portholes again, picking out landmarks and pinpointing them on the map as best we could from this altitude in the bright moonlight. Below us all is dead quiet and the land is completely dark. No guns are fired, no searchlights are aimed at us.
The British, of course, do not want to be too hasty in revealing the positions of their defensive batteries and the cities they are protecting.
In the distance, far away, we see a light, and then a second. You are on our course. A small calculation follows. We should be fine over London. Impenetrable shadows envelop the gigantic city, broken only here and there by tiny points of light. Nevertheless, in the moonlight, the different quarters and main streets are unmistakably recognizable.
Coming out of the interior where I tested the bomb release mechanism, I am amazed at how clearly the floor can be seen.
We know that the eyes below must be watching us too, but the stillness remains unbroken. Did you really expect us not to find your London?
With great speed we headed for the city, the commander on standby on the bomb platform. The electric lamps you turned on now glow dimly in different colors. Your hand is on the buttons and levers, "Let go!" he shouts. The first bomb fell on London! We lean to the side. What a damn time elapses between fall and impact as the bomb travels thousands of meters! We fear it was a "failure" until the explosion calms us down. We've already frightened them; the second goes, an incendiary bomb. It burns up and ignites something giving us a point from which to calculate our drift and speed over ground. While one of us drops the bombs and the other watches the results, I do quick calculations on the navigation table. Now the second fire blast can also be seen. As its flames spasm upward in a shower of red sparks, we hear the rumble of an explosion, loud enough to be heard clearly above the roar of the propellers. At the same time, the headlights come on and hit us like giant spider legs; right, left and around. In a moment the luminous body of the ship lies in the rafters.
'Difficult entrance!' The helmsman turns the rudder, and in a moment the big ship obeys the rudder. We're out of the blinding rays and back into the depths of the night. But it's no longer pitch black. The myriad beams of searchlights fill the sky with vivid light. They lost us, they beat us as it were, they wildly passed us, they entangled us again, they ran us over; one remains immobile, the others chase, roam or search along it for the goal, while we sail in a completely different direction. This crazy party goes on for hours. We lose all sense of the passage of time as we fly by, dropping a different bomb every half minute.
Each explosion is observed and its position is marked on the map.
It's hard to understand how we managed to survive the shell and shrapnel storm since according to the timer we've been under this raging fire for a good hour. If London is far behind we can still see it clearly; the headlights continue to stab into the darkness - more than sixty - looking for the bird that has already flown. Silence settles around us and everything below seems haunted by death.
Now we have to fight against the freshened wind, but fortunately the boat was undamaged and all engines intact. We are therefore dealing with the storm as we have just dealt with our enemies.
The last hours and the events that fulfilled them are still fresh in our minds. The English coast lags behind, receding further and further, and the foam on the crests of the waves glows phosphorescently in the moonlight. A vague twilight surrounds us. In the nacelle it is completely dark except for the very faint points of light on the instrument pointers. Colorful stars still dance before our eyes, the result of dazzling headlights. We are over the sea. The man at the elevator wheel rubs his eyes, blinks, opens the shutter of his lamp and casts its rays on his instruments. The nacelle is illuminated as the light hits the aluminum. Then all hell breaks loose! They waited for us down there for a long time, and now a point of light from a gondola has betrayed us. At one point we were caught and caught by the searchlights of warships in the Thames estuary. Once again a devastating burst of fire is aimed at us. Turn off the light! The captain puts his arm around the helmsman's shoulders and turns him off. But the ship, once captured, cannot escape the limelight. Shell after shell howled at us, including incendiary shells; they exploded dangerously close. After ten minutes the light faded and the shots died down. Again hour after hour we travel through darkness and silence.
The sky turns from indigo to gray as dawn nears the horizon. There are still many kilometers ahead of us and the eastern horizon is red before we cross the Belgian coast at Ostend. Darkness still envelops the land below, but daylight is already shining above.
"Attention airplanes!" orders the commander. Whenever a German airship was reported from England, planes would take off from coastal airfields and fly across the English Channel to track and intercept its passage to the Belgian coast. They knew very well the route we took on the way back.
Two enemy planes are reported from the upper deck between Bruges and Ghent. I stand on the starboard side of the forward nacelle with a machine gun. I watch them approach, but they're flying so high I can't aim my gun unless we're above them. The machine gun rattles on the platform. A stream of flaming bullets passes us very briefly.
Again and again, at short intervals, there are bursts of fire at the top. We know her from the past. 1 The Commander orders an escalation: You won't forestall us. They are faster than us, of course, but we can beat them by climbing. The distance between us increases and they fall behind. Suddenly there was another machine gun fire. The enemy managed to overtake us and are attacking us from below. We must not let them pass us at any cost so that they can dive.
We climb higher and higher. The gas shoots madly amid the roar of machine guns. A minute later, the flaming balls pass again. Again very short. Suddenly, one of the planes makes a turn and skids. Suddenly he is surrounded by balls of wool. We are near the Dutch border. However, the machine dies and must therefore be damaged, presumably by bullets in the engine.
The other level doesn't like the way things look. You may have used up all your ammo; in any case, it gets lost and disappears.
Looking at the altimeter, it turns out that we broke the airship height record.
The rest of our journey home goes smoothly, we land at our own airfield after a flight of almost twelve hours. Our brave ship has completed its maiden voyage, our bombs lie in the City of London, (lampel.)


Of course, the raids on England brought more credit to the officers involved than any other job. They became known to the nation in the newspapers for a reason.
On the night of January 19, 1915, the first zeppelin attack on the fortifications on the east coast of England was made by two ships -L. 3 and L. 4 only - caused consternation and horror throughout England and great joy in Germany. This attack showed us that the island, which had been inaccessible until then, was accessible to German weapons and that the war could also be carried into enemy territory here. On the other hand, it raised the most exaggerated hopes, as many were led to believe that the naval airship could do the impossible, wreck all of England in no time, and thus decide the war. We ourselves have never entertained undue hopes as to the effect of our attacks, although despite all English attempts to conceal the results we have always been fully aware that the effects were extraordinarily great. Apart from being able to personally observe the results of our raids, Airship Service has always received reliable reports about our work.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (16)

Cowardly. L. 35, L. 41 and L. 44 just before relegation after an attack on England in August 1917

If the attack really was as ineffective as England claimed, it's hard to understand why it felt it necessary to adopt the sophisticated air defense system built up during the war. The simply fabulous defenses in action across the country, and particularly in close proximity to the east and south coasts, defy almost description. According to a conservative estimate, at least 500,000 men were employed in them alone, with a lot of material in the form of weapons, ammunition, aircraft and searchlights that would otherwise have been used on the western front. In addition to their destructive power and undoubtedly their great moral effect on the population, air raids relieved the pressure at the front. The first sign of demoralization was the flight of all wealthy people from the East Coast, the depopulation of resort towns, and a general panic in that part of the country.
In addition, the actual destruction must have been very great considering that each individual aircraft can carry up to three tons of bombs. In clear weather, the fires they set were often visible twelve miles out to sea.
At first, the attacks met with so little resistance due to poor air defenses that individual zeppelins launched attacks from less than 3,000 feet. However, this state of affairs soon changed, as the strength of the air defenses increased rapidly month by month. In fact, from the summer of 1916 we suffered heavy casualties, despite attacks from 9,000 feet. However, despite a generous expenditure on ammunition and the use of the most powerful searchlights, the anti-aircraft guns never managed to score, except with lucky shots. By now, however, the pilots of the planes were learning to fly at night, and it was easy for them to spot a plane and bring it down with incendiary ammunition, for once caught in the headlights it was almost impossible to escape and burst into flames.
In England it was believed that the attacks of the zeppelin ace were over. From late November 1916 to March 1917 there were no attacks. This hope was soon dashed. During this time an entirely new type of aircraft was being developed that could reach an altitude of 18,500 feet where the most powerful searchlights were utterly useless. Consequently, both anti-aircraft guns and aircraft had to work in the dark, and anti-aircraft defenses were broken.
However, other difficulties soon arose, the extent of which we could not estimate until then, and the presence of which was the main reason for the gradual decrease in the frequency of attacks. A long flight in the bitter cold – temperatures of up to 40 degrees were measured in some places – the lack of oxygen and the thin atmosphere affected the vitality of the flight crews so much that in the end many men could no longer endure the cold. height and had to give up flying. Especially at the beginning of high-flying and before the invention of the oxygen apparatus, it was common for many crew members to become incapacitated through weakness or other symptoms of seasickness. On the L 44, for example, during a raid on Harwich in May 1917, so many became seasick that the ship drifted completely uncontrolled and without a single engine running over the city. Only when they were halfway across the North Sea were two of the engines restarted and the ship was able to return to its home base.
What bothered the invaders the most were the unfavorable weather conditions at high altitudes. A strong westerly or northerly wind almost always blew in their face, and the aircraft, which developed only a quarter of its engine power at this altitude, could hardly counter it. As a result, our ships often missed their target, even when there was favorable weather at a lower level. It was also for this reason that the Luftwaffe suffered its grievous loss in October 1917 when four aircraft were blown over by a storm from the north. on French territory and were lost. But even this difficulty was overcome in 1918, when aircraft were fitted with more powerful engines designed to develop their greatest power at high altitudes. This gave the zeppelins a considerably larger radius of action and enabled them to conduct nights of much longer duration. An attack lasted twenty to thirty hours, depending on the weather and target. The latter was generally left to the commander's discretion as it was almost entirely dependent on weather conditions and the weather on base gave no indication of what might be found in England. When our giant planes in Flanders managed to reach London and the south of England, the planes' radius of action was mainly limited to the industrial areas of the Midlands and the North, which were out of reach of planes. The number of aircraft participating in each attack varied according to the number of those able to fly; The largest attack was successfully carried out by thirteen aircraft.
In the Baltic Sea, our naval aircraft did useful work conducting naval observation patrols and raids on Russian territory. However, since England was our strongest naval opponent, most of the aircraft operations naturally took place in the North Sea. Only those lucky enough to serve as a Zeppelin pilot or crew in the Luftwaffe during the war can realize what a magnificent Luftwaffe was created by German ingenuity and energy. None of our opponents has achieved anything comparable.


At noon on November 27, 1916, three officers were sitting in the Casino Nordholz. One of them, Korvettenkapitän Max Dietrich vom L. 34, was celebrating his birthday and his chair was decorated with fir branches. This morning's weather chart told us that the storm that had been laying on the biological wing over the North Sea for days was over. When Captain Straffer, the plane's pilot, finally calmed down, he asked his commander if there would be an attack on England that day and was told that it depended on the expected weather report from Bruges. We had almost given up hope when the aide-de-camp burst into the dining-room shouting, 'Gentlemen, orders to attack the industrial area of ​​the Midlands of England; bright prospects; The first ship should be in the air at one o'clock!
After that nobody thought about food anymore; There was much commotion and noise from telephones ringing. Oberleutnant Frankenberg, commanding the L. 21, said to his companions: Leave the anniversary things as they are; We're having our party tomorrow. At 12:45 p.m. sharp, L. 21 left his shed and set off for England. Fifteen minutes later I started with the L. 22, followed by the L. 34. I don't remember what I was thinking at the time, but I remember the beaming faces of my men, because it was our first foray. In other words, our greatest wish came true.
In a short time we arrived in Heligoland. There was not a cloud in the sky, and a glorious sight met the eyes. On all sides were the gray forms of these huge birds of prey, flying together over the water. On the left were the planes of Ahlhorn and Hage; amidst our Nordhok ships; and on the right were those of Tønder, I counted ten in all, each running to Plamborough Head. It soon got dark and they gradually disappeared from view, only the L. 21 remained visible for a long time, right in front of us. Great masses of steam drifted west at an altitude of 7,000 feet; We climbed over them into the clear, starry sky. The Northern Lights shone in the north, throwing great beams of light towards the zenith, making the horizon as clear as day. Suddenly emerging from the edges of the clouds, the L. 36 crashed down on us only a few hundred meters away and then disappeared again like a ghost. Nest, to our great annoyance, we were enveloped in a dense fog and the thermometer showed 16 degrees frost. We strain our eyes to penetrate the darkness ahead, from where enemy territory should be visible on a clear day.
10:15 PM The thin crescent moon had disappeared below the horizon in a halo of orange light, and ahead of me, just fifteen nautical miles away, the English coast of Flamborough Head was clearly outlined. A bright jet of flame appeared to the south, steadily increasing until it lit up the whole sky: a zeppelin had dropped its bombs there, and the ship itself shone in the light of innumerable searchlights. Again my men's eyes gleamed with delight, for they knew we would soon be over enemy territory ourselves.
The next hours passed like minutes. We reached our destination amid the blinding beams of searchlights, the roar of guns, and the bang of incandescent shells. Above all, we heard the explosion of our bombs as the plane trembled along its entire length. It was like some kind of wild phantasmagoria. Suddenly, to the north of where one of us had been hit by the searchlight, a crimson ball of fire appeared, growing rapidly. A minute later we see the glowing skeleton of an airship bursting into flames. We wonder who that could be. At 1:30 a.m. the attack was over. As we walked back to the house, darkness enveloped us again. Far behind, many fire marks on the ground testified to the success of our attack. While watching the scene, the pilot suddenly exclaimed that the ship was rapidly losing altitude and there was nothing he could do about it. This was not surprising as we found that the compartments inside the envelope were punctured with shrapnel and shrapnel and gas was pouring out. It was a moment that required a cool head. Because of the darkness, no part of the ship could be seen. I lowered it below 2000 feet as quickly as possible to release the internal pressure and thus lose less fuel. In addition to this consideration, engines at the time were developing more horsepower. Everything superfluous was thrown overboard and disappeared into the depths. The machine guns, every drop of our ballast water, even gasoline, everything we could salvage was sacrificed that way. Even so, I had little hope of returning the ship safely to its home base, and my spirits were beginning to sink at the thought of staying anywhere beneath the waters of the North Sea.
The men were still so excited about the attack they had just launched that they didn't hesitate or even fully appreciate the danger, so I quietly ordered the officer on watch to radio the admiral of the rally. to report our attack and add these words: "The aircraft has been badly damaged by artillery fire and is in urgent need of assistance." Five minutes later we received an answer that torpedo boats and cruisers were being dispatched, and in the gray light of early morning we found the second torpedo boat flotilla looking for us in the sea sixty nautical miles northwest of Borkum. A westerly wind helped us along, and the gas, expanding as it warmed, added to our buoyancy. That was the deciding factor for us when we arrived at the nearby Hage airfield with the last drop of petrol in the tank. Everything movable had been thrown overboard and the engines would not be running for another half hour. A return to Nordholz was not possible that day, as the other two ships fell victim to terrible enemy fire.
The birthday had become an anniversary of death. (Dutch.)


The influence of trench warfare on types: Reconnaissance: strategic, tactical and photographic: artillery observation.


THE colossal armies that faced each other in closed lines a hundred kilometers long in September 1914, when trench warfare began, did not allow either the armies themselves or the auxiliary cavalry to move. Consequently, strategic and tactical reconnaissance had to be conducted over the heads of the armies. Old-fashioned open flanks where reconnaissance cavalry corps could slide along the wings to survey the situation behind the lines and observe the enemy's movements, the disposition and distribution of his reserves, the rail and road system and the extent of his fortifications, etc. ., were now almost non-existent. The distances to be covered and the area to be surveyed increased in proportion to the number of belligerents.
The longer ranges of the guns, the development of indirect fire tactics and fully camouflaged and concealed battery positions, and the increasing volume of artillery fire made it difficult to observe the artillery and conduct operations. necessary firefighting. Therefore, the need for a new means of observation arose. The artillery observation machine had to meet this need by first detecting hidden targets and then making it possible to bomb them successfully with only a small expenditure of ammunition. The observation balloons, which usually had to stay some distance behind the lines, could no longer withstand the situation, although their help to the infantry was still indispensable. On the other hand, attacks on enemy balloons could only be carried out with aircraft. So it came about that the aircraft, which was originally only used for purely strategic purposes, was now also used tactically.
In addition to long-distance reconnaissance, which always pursued more distant targets, various specialized forms of tactical reconnaissance developed, work that required the use of all scientific means, especially the camera, and this is how it came into play. there are special types of machines, such as the already mentioned artillery spotters and infantry contact machines. Due to the observation eyes in the air, the high command was forced to use the night more and more to move troops and material and to expand the anti-aircraft artillery in number and effectiveness. The result of this soon appeared; The aircraft was forced to fly at night while its original altitude of 1,000 or 1,500 feet, scarcely safe from rifle or machine gun fire, was increased to an altitude of 7,000 to 10,000 feet and later, as a result of air raid fighting, at even higher altitudes.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (17)

Cowardly. 17. Ramsgate photographed by a German reconnaissance plane at 17,000 feet. A "mosaic" photo composed of multiple shots stitched together.

Air combat itself can be seen as a link in the cause-and-effect chain between trench warfare and aerial development. Dogfights for which no peacetime preparations had been made in Germany, although England and France had foreseen their possibility, were the result of the second year of the war. The first phase of the Great War knew nothing about them. In the period of open warfare, it was necessary to avoid skirmishes with enemy machines, since the main task of aircraft at that time was long-range strategic reconnaissance, due to the associated rapid movements and long-range attacks. of the war and as a result of the long time it takes the cavalry to do this work. The cavalry then took on the role of coordinating the movements of the army, i.e. tactical reconnaissance. The advent of trench warfare completely changed all this, and all reconnaissance and detection operations were handled by cavalry aircraft.
In the past, mounted troops had to fight their way through the enemy's reconnaissance screen in order for the reconnaissance squads to do their job, and similarly today combat machines have had to use anti-aircraft guns to break through enemy air lines. Defense to clear the way for our own observation machines. Also the artillery observation machines at the front and the areas behind our lines and in the furnace had to be protected from enemy bomber attacks or projects; On the other hand, we had to clear the way for our own squadrons and protect them from attacks. So the planes had to do new work. Air tactics emerged and soon led to the use of air combat units or squadrons to replace individual combat machines.
Cooperation with the infantry became ever closer, until finally aircraft in the form of contact patrol machines actually took part in ground operations and actually became a decisive factor in combat. The influence of trench warfare, therefore, gradually expanded the scope of airborne activities from purely strategic reconnaissance to work in close proximity to our front lines and enemy trenches, until finally, on major offensives, aircraft became the only reliable link of combat. . Troops.
Finally, the enormous accumulations of war material of all kinds, from ammunition depots, from troops gathered in camps; the railway stations and ports crowded with trains and ships behind the stationary trenches; all offered such targets for air attack that would never have existed under conditions of open warfare. Although attacks by single planes, which could only carry small bomb loads, had a moral if rarely material effect, in the second year of the war it became necessary to organize large-scale bombing raids and use the big machines. however designed. This led from the initially only sporadically applied combination of several small units to the systematic use of large bomb squadrons, for which a special tactical science was developed, such as combat machines and infantry contacts. The use of great height, that is, the full incorporation of the third dimension, was the most peculiar feature of it

Science, and that was the factor that made it most different from what we were used to. All of the different types of work that we have described in this brief overview have produced their own particular type of machine, each type being developed through experience, frequently modified and improved to suit the general purposes we are about to consider become. (Neuman)


The main task of the aircraft is strategic reconnaissance. This fact remained despite all the changes that the young service naturally had to go through during the four years of war. Since at the beginning of the war this work was carried out exclusively by flying men, it happened that, despite the greater numerical strength and differentiation of the units formed later, purely strategic reconnaissance was entrusted only to the oldest and most experienced. . Airmen who, to meet the demands of higher command, were usually senior officers of exceptional experience.
In detail, the development of long-distance reconnaissance went with the requirements of field operations. Depending on whether the ever-changing situation on the ground meant that the higher commands placed more emphasis on observing enemy intentions or developing their own plans, long-range reconnaissance came to the fore or was pushed into the background. Bottom. Over time it became mainly a matter of available material, and sometimes it even depended on that factor alone. The area that these machines could see was sharply demarcated between the strip of land visible to infantry patrols and the enemy's rear areas, about which we could only get information from unreliable sources in the press or through agents.
In open warfare, both on the Western and Eastern fronts, it was up to the pilot to monitor the territory inaccessible to horses, and therefore, in the eyes of the cavalry, to inform about the disposition of enemy troops and reveal their intentions. Observation of movements on highways and railways. But at first neither the infantry nor the high commands recognized the aircraft's value as a means of observation and of little use even in the most urgent cases. But time and time again, whenever a commander with a proper understanding of the limitations of air surveillance at the time used this tool, the aircraft would have a predominant influence on the operation. A lot of work was done especially before and during the Battle of Tannenberg, and the disposition of the small forces at our disposal was based on aerial reconnaissance, which received information about the movements of the Russian hordes. The same applies to the decisive operations of the German attacking flank on the Marne.
When the German Wehrmacht was forced onto the defensive on the western front in early October 1914, the new methods of trench warfare initially had little impact on the flying man's duties. However, tactical reconnaissance work was assigned to aircraft, as infantry patrol operations were severely limited in these conditions. Nevertheless, strategic reconnaissance remained fundamental, indeed increased in importance by these new conditions, since reliable surveillance of the disposition of enemy troops was all the more desirable when our defensive operations had to be carried out with such precision. insufficient forces.
As fighting in 1915 and 1916 became increasingly focused on the trench system - we acted mainly defensively and attacked only once (at Verdun) - new demands were placed on both the infantry and the high command and consequently the Luftwaffe had to make new efforts perform tasks. Reconnaissance was almost entirely confined to the area within range of our own artillery, battery positions and concentration points near enemy trenches became the main targets of our guns, and artillery observation and contact patrol work consequently became more important.
As Luftwaffe personnel did not grow in proportion to the increasing work they were called upon to do, air units were devoted almost exclusively to infantry service and long-range reconnaissance was effectively abandoned. During this period of war, neither side achieved any strategic successes, and the considerations of the higher commands were mainly tactical. During the hard fighting around Verdun and the Battle of the Somme we were content to deal only with the front line and the need for intelligence from the rear did not seem urgent. This situation changed after Field Marshal von Hindenburg took control in the final stages of the Battle of the Somme. Since the general situation was unfavorable for an offensive operation the following spring, we concentrated on preparing for the expected attack. from the enemy to break through our lines. When our voluntary retreat interrupted the enemy's plans of attack and forced an unexpected further advance, another moment of strategic importance for the warfare arose. Long-range reconnaissance was again a vital necessity as we needed to monitor enemy concentrations to determine the most likely direction of their main attack.
It was fortunate for the Luftwaffe that it was precisely at this time that their work was given more importance than ever before, the "Hindenburg program" was instituted to compensate for the numerical inferiority revealed during the Battle of the Somme, and consequently the flight service was greatly improved. In the spring of 1917 we could feel that we were at least materially equal to the Entente, if not numerically superior. Newly created units made it possible to do new jobs alongside old ones. From then until the end of the war, the results of long-range reconnaissance became one of the most important factors in the plans of the G.H.Q.
Long-distance reconnaissance tactics depended on the general war situation. The enemy was able to defend its line so well due to its large number of combat machines that it was difficult for a single plane to break through. Due to the small forces at our disposal, we were unable to escort our reconnaissance craft or even attempt to reach the target with a formation of several two-seat fighters. Therefore, we had to strive to conduct our long-range reconnaissance with very fast machines that would fly above enemy counter-patrols at high altitude, giving them a better chance of evading observation and pursuit. To that end, climb performance and speed were of course the most important considerations, and in the end the aviation industry always rose to the occasion. The fact that, despite increasingly strong and cautious enemy air defenses and despite the increasing difficulty in obtaining materiel, there was no target, including the Thames estuary and the distant coast of France between Calais and Havre, which was inaccessible to our reconnaissance machines, demonstrates the Excellence in German workmanship and the general efficiency of the aviation industry.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (18)

Cowardly. 18. Dover Submarine Base, Coastal Batteries, and Airfield (April 1316) taken from a German aircraft, (a) Submarine Base and several Submarines. (b) reservoirs, (c) military prison. (d) Shore batteries of Langton Fort. (e) Barracks, (f) Infantry trenches, (g) Aerodrome and 7 aircraft.

Due to the great heights that our machines had to reach from anti-aircraft guns, the camera was increasingly used. Even the most experienced eye cannot grasp all the important details of the numerous objects to be seen at 18,000 or 20,000 feet, and also the need to remain for hours in such dangerous conditions, during which attention must be so focused and so divided , causes a gradual relaxation of nerves and a loss of personal efficiency. Consequently, the camera lens took the place of the eye for detailed observation, with the only expectation being that the viewer would get a complete overall impression of the situation, which would help him to interpret the images obtained after landing. The information captured by the BO would be used to formulate the flight policy for the next day.
It was important to keep a close eye on all navigable rivers and canals and to obtain as detailed information as possible about enemy rail traffic. Although the enemy moved their material at night, the accumulation of rolling stock in train stations and landfills gave them away. The newly built huts were initially proof enough that the enemy was massing their troops in preparation for a major offensive. However, this evidence soon lost its value, as the large number of huts built for earlier operations made it unnecessary for the enemy to build more for their later offensives. Before the end of the war, the region on either side of the peaks of the western front looked like a huge camp. From above, the huts looked the same, covered or uncovered, and even when large groups of troops were moving, this fact, aided by sophisticated methods of camouflage, made it almost impossible to see any change from above.
However, the disposition of enemy air forces on this point always provided reliable evidence: airfields, with their characteristic layout of large, clearly visible hangars and incessant activity, could not be hidden even after the end of the war. But the Allies were so strong in this respect that they were hardly compelled to weaken the air forces on either side from the point at which they wished to launch their offensive. However, the concentration of flying units was always a sign of preparation for a major attack. Experiments were conducted with dummy airfields, but they turned out to take a lot of time and labor to get to the required scale. In early 1918, when both sides fought for the outcome of the war with unlimited commitments of men and material, great importance was attached to ship movements in the English Channel and in the ports, while much attention was paid to the vast enemy dumps and warehouses large enough appeared to outfit the populations of the whole world. Tankdromes far behind the lines became a constant point of observation. Wherever the enemy attacked, they used tanks. The movements of the tanks, their proving grounds and staging areas always betrayed the point at which the attack would be launched. Finally, long-range reconnaissance provided excellent targets for the long-range blind arm of our bomb squadrons in locating supplies of material and ammunition.
The work we have described above was a very heavy burden on the flying men. Among other things, they had to endure the terrible cold, which at 15,000 feet often reached -50 degrees Celsius even in summer, and suffered from a lack of cold oxygen due to the long stays at these altitudes. . Many poor boys, having made a long and successful flight deep behind enemy lines, lost their strength before their work was done. Weakened and unable to concentrate his forces, he would fall victim to an enemy war machine on his return flight. Others, unable to use their machine guns due to frostbite, succumbed helplessly to the enemy's relentless onslaught. How often were the minutes anxiously counted while calculating the remaining amount of gasoline, when the flight home, against overwhelming odds, ran into an unexpected conflict and our own lines seemed no nearer! And who doesn't remember that feeling you get at the slightest sign of engine failure after a long, long flight? But when the work was hard, the reward was great. Weren't we always proud to know that we were waiting for the high command and watched our comrades on the ground in their selfless and bitter fight high above the devastated battlefields? Hard as the battle between mental faculty and weakness of the flesh may have been, every man who took part in long-distance reconnaissance flights during the war will secretly look forward to those glory hours in his brave and trusty machine when flying under the Von bathed in sunshine and bathed in dazzling blue skies, it carried you safely along the rugged curve of the French coast to the gray mists of Paris and back to the glittering peaks of the Alps. German manhood was drawn to many other theaters of war in its search for the joys of tumultuous adventures in distant lands of all persuasions; the sunny Adriatic and the wild cliffs of Macedonia lured the adventurer; perhaps he even heard the call of the pyramids, or beyond the waves of the Black Sea he was drawn to the mysteries of the East. It is not unfair that our Boy Scout Airmen were called "Army Cavalry" when trench warfare had once buried that valiant service. The aviator has inherited the bravery of the knight for whom no horizon is too far away. (Dickhoff.)


We have already described how, over time, tactical reconnaissance and target recording fell almost entirely to the Luftwaffe; how this work became increasingly identified with photographic acclaim; how the camera and the camera evolved; and how special photographic units were set up in the final phase of the war. We also assess the tactical value of photo reconnaissance. The next section takes a closer look at the topic of artillery observation. A few typical descriptions should suffice to illustrate our subject. The superior demanded information about the significant changes in the enemy's trench system and all the facts established by photographic reconnaissance that could clarify the enemy's intentions, possible reorganization of its forces, expansion of its lines of communication, etc. ., while all the details of the infantry, artillery, sapper and trench mortar units should be recorded with the utmost accuracy.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (19)

Cowardly. 19. Trenches at La Ville aux Bois, 10 days before the attack. (April 6, 1917.)

Photo reconnaissance required a continuous exchange of information between infantry and air force; only in this way could they be fully utilized - reports from frontline trenches and observation posts, periscopic photos, facts obtained from prisoners and from infantry patrols; above all, the observations made of the balloons and panoramic photographs of the balloons should be consulted for additional information. Tactical reconnaissance was perhaps the most dangerous task an aviator had to perform because of the relentless threat of enemy war machines and anti-aircraft guns that tried at all costs and by any means to prevent the cameras from spotting every detail. of tactical importance.


The artillery observation machine had to support the artillery and do work that could not be done by ground observation alone. This work consisted mainly of finding targets and observing the effect of our own fire. By "target" I mean anything that can or should be hit by artillery. The most important targets are enemy artillery, bases, sap and mine works, infantry camps, parks, railway stations, launch sites of your balloons, roads, quarters and infantry bases, tanks and road transport, and railways. . In addition to aerial photographs, observation information also provided valuable information, particularly on the question of whether a position was occupied or not.
This circumstance had the particular advantage of allowing the artillery to be deployed immediately, while even under the most favorable conditions a few hours would have elapsed before a photograph could be used. At the end of this time, most moving targets would no longer be within the range shown in the photo and therefore could not be attacked.
The search for targets became more difficult with each passing day of the war, as both sides were forced to hide all targets from enemy observation as much as possible. Many camouflage experiments were conducted during the war, and through competition with the enemy, the science grew from clumsy beginnings to refined maturity. Not only did forests, gardens, quarries, gravel quarries, bushes, hedges and corn piles serve as hiding places, but even a special backdrop was made to hide certain objects. Small groves were planted, avenues and covered paths laid out, large nets paved with branches and leaves were stretched over the hiding place. Guns and trains, tents and barracks, even airplanes were daubed with bright colors and were therefore difficult to see. Finally, all uniforms and equipment were painted with protective paint. Artificial clouds or smokescreens were used for temporary concealment, and fictitious positions were often used to deceive and divert enemy attention.
Enemy artillery was easier to locate by observing gun flashes and plumes of smoke, while in winter gun positions could be identified by patches of thawed terrain ahead. Further indications were provided by foci, which were particularly evident in winter. Only in the open war of 1914 and partly on major offensives was it possible to scout from guns and royal troops, as on the latter occasions there was no time for lengthy camouflage preparations, while 1914 was scouting from as low as 3000 feet. Railway guns tended to be easy to see from very high altitudes. Earthen ramparts and fortifications could be seen in the freshly turned earth. Road traffic was clearly visible in dry weather because of the dust clouds, while at other times vehicles appeared on the white background of the road and left tracks in the snow in winter. The railroad trains could hardly be obscured by the smoke and steam from the locomotives. Despite this, during the 1918 offensive, the enemy attempted to push the line from Doullens to St. Pol.
The airman informed the personnel of the unit he was working with of any targets he could observe. This information may be transmitted in a number of ways:—
1. By word of mouth or by telephone after landing at home airport or auxiliary runway.
2. Drop a bag of messages or a map fragment with appropriate notes, or send smoke signals over your unit's headquarters.
3. Via WLAN. This method was by far the fastest, but had the disadvantage that the opponent could "hear" and cause confusion with counter-messages. Therefore, it was necessary to use some codes or abbreviations that were incomprehensible to the enemy. These abbreviations had to be changed frequently.
In order to avoid long and boring descriptions, the entire combat area was divided into a series of squares with a side of 1,000 meters, and the horizontal and vertical lines were marked with numbers or numbers and letters. These large squares were divided into twenty-five smaller squares, and these were divided into labeled quarters. So it was possible to specify an area of ​​100 square meters with six numbers and one letter, for example 2635.20.C.
In addition to this method of "pointing" by squares, each marked target was indicated with an alias, proper names were used, or names of cities, rivers, etc. Of course, if a message was abbreviated, the recipient had to use the same abbreviations and map divisions as the viewer.
Each radio station had its own two- or three-letter call, which enabled each radio message to be directed to a defined address. Communications between the ground station and the aircraft were handled via white strips of fabric in the summer or red in the winter, each strip measuring about 16 feet by 2 feet. These strips have been arranged in specific figures, with each figure indicating a particular abbreviation. . Wireless telegraphy was also used to communicate with aircraft from the ground. Good results have been obtained at night using colored lights for artillery guidance.
The artillery scout's job can be broken down into three main categories: directing fire at an agreed target before flight; at targets picked up in flight by the observer and indicated to the artillery for immediate attack; and finally the control of the barrel shot (preliminary barrage, barrage, progressive barrage, etc.). The first style was commonly used against enemy artillery and support. Therefore, the artillery observation engine mainly dealt with those targets that could not be observed in any other way, such as. B. Hidden targets behind thickets or high positions. The systematic bombardment of enemy artillery was an important element in preparing an attack and weakening enemy defenses. The second method was used when the spotter "sighted" a target, radioed it to the artillery and immediately fired at it.
With the drum shot, he was primarily concerned with the general position of the barrage and filling in gaps or weak points.
For his work, the artillery observer had to know, among other things, the exact position of our own batteries, lines and news receiving stations. He was not allowed to take maps marked with notes related to his flight, lest important information fall into the hands of the enemy. He also had to memorize the entire region behind enemy lines. It was worth studying the latest aerial photographs before boarding the plane. The following example is intended to give a practical illustration of the way the artillery scout carried out its work. Their orders might read as follows: “Direct fire from a 2/Fs.A.7 heavy howitzer battery on the enemy battery at 3251.24.a as target #1 and fire from a 5/Fs mortar battery. A.7 on battery at 3452.11a as target #2.'
First, the observer makes telephone contact with the two batteries with which he will be working. He informs her, “I'll start at 6:30 am. and attack target #1 first, then target #2. My call is Ka. Ground station shows ready to fire sign for both batteries.
The machine boots, scans the remote station and calls it repeatedly as follows:
'Ka Target No, 1' to make sure the wireless station is picking up its signals. The "Received" sign is then placed on the floor. Once the battery is ready to open fire, another signal will appear. Filming can now begin. The machine flies towards the target and gives the command to open fire. The battery ignites and after a short while the observer notices a popping sound near the target. The position of this burst is announced by radio, e.g. '200 is 400 short.'
The battery will change the direction and elevation of its guns, and after about two minutes the scout will again signal to fire, announcing the position of the salvos, such as "100 right, 100 up." Shot after shot is observed until the projectiles actually hit the target. At this point, the overall effect is reported and the observer signals multiple shots at once, e.g. "4 over, 1 straight, 2 over," when the drum kit is happy with the result, it puts the "change target" signal on the floor. The observer replies: 'Roger, Target No, 2'. Then the ground station again shows the signal "ready to fire" and the second shot is executed like the first.
Before the wireless device was installed, the location of each round of artillery was told via colored lights fired from the machine. A white light meant more, a short red, a green on the right, two green on the left. Later the colored lights were replaced by electric signal lamps.
An effective means of weakening the enemy and inflicting damage and moral effects was provided by the practice of attacking moving targets. Special batteries were chosen for this purpose, usually long-range batteries that can fire quickly. These batteries were made available to the artillery scout, whose job was to observe the enemy and report suitable targets. Any target that seemed appropriate to the observer he reported in the form of a question and then waited for the yes or no signal or until he was told by radio whether the battery intended to open fire or not. . If agreed, the shooting was carried out in the manner already described. A lot of work was done thanks to the cooperation between the Luftwaffe and these special batteries. In English offensives it often happened that infantry and cavalry ready to advance were attacked before they could go into battle; As a rule, having suffered heavy losses, they dispersed. Most of the time, the impressive tanks were damaged and sometimes even destroyed before they could attack. In Flanders we managed to repel the destructive anti-aircraft battery near Ypres towards the west bank of the Yser. Rail transport in the immediate vicinity of the front was not possible with these batteries in good weather. On our own offensives, enemy columns preparing to counterattack, advancing tanks and artillery were treated in the same way.
The work of our machines was greatly hampered by the intense anti-aircraft fire to which they were subjected. Some of the targets were well behind the lines, 30 miles or more, and because of this and the heavy resistance he had to overcome, the artillery sighter was seldom able to remain on target for very long. The work of this description was therefore usually carried out under cover of darkness. The artillery scout was also assigned to direct our barrage. Preliminarily, the observer marked on a photographic map the area to be covered by the barrier, along with the positioning direction of each battery and the number of targets. The batteries were then sequentially driven in the manner already described. For example, in defensive operations in Flanders, up to sixteen batteries were controlled in one flight, a feat that would have taken half a day if observed from the ground.
The activity of artillery machines and the damage they caused forced the enemy to take special countermeasures. Together with the anti-aircraft batteries, they formed a powerful force of fighting machines to hinder and limit the work of our artillery scouts. Often the work could only be completed after countless dogfights, and many tasks could only be accomplished under the escort of our own fighting machines. The indefatigable work of these airmen and the selfless determination of the artillery pilots must be appreciated by the fact that, despite the superiority of the enemy, the German artillery machines did their job satisfactorily and completely, and gave the infantry the hard support they needed. they were required


I left at 6am on a beautiful June morning, when the sky was clear and the atmosphere remarkably clear. to register a throw for a light and heavy field battery and a 15 cm throw. Gun. Archie's outbursts to the west were densely dotted, announcing the devil was back in the air.
We flew over the region of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, a region chastised and devastated by the hammer blows of the god of war. Here, where people once lived, there were no ruins and no tree to save. Visas. Only the sad and numerous heaps of rubble remotely resembled the sites of ancient dwellings. On the way to Albert we fly over Bouchavesnes, Maurepas and Maricourt,
An English squadron of eighteen D.H.9s flew high overhead, turned south, closely followed by our flak fire, and dropped their belated Easter eggs on Cappy-sur-Somme, shrouding that little town and its neighboring airfield in thick clouds . von Rauch - According to official information and instructions, it was necessary to be very attentive to all aircraft in order to distinguish friend from foe and not to be surprised.
The Becourt-Becordel landfill has long been marked in large white letters on the map as "Target #1, awaiting registration" and it was decided that filming could also take place at the Ribemont sugar factory. In this position was a battery which had shelled the bridges over the Ancre and tracked the advance of morning rations for troops at the front. A light tap of the radio button and the four barrels of my battery flashed into a small forest. Forty seconds later, four shells exploded in the garden about 200 meters away east of the factory. The enemy battery, wishing to cover up its whereabouts, ceased fire, but we must not be fooled by such a crude ruse. Two minutes later, the next salvo put two shells on the factory and two nearby. After half an hour's bombardment the factory caught fire and the munitions explosion told us that our friends the Tommies had stored all sorts of useful material there. We were busy looking for our first target when five hideous machines, dirty green and decorated with three-colored circles, approached from the west, but when they saw the three-deckers coming towards us, they decided we had better let ourselves go. in peace. His decision was wise, because the brightly colored three-deckers didn't understand nonsense and were amazingly accurate with their machine guns.
Then we went to our second target, a battery on the southern outskirts of Bresle, and started bombing it. She paid for that with her own coin because we interrupted her shelling out our own battery. The work seemed to be taking so long that we were worried about the gas supply as we were planning a third battery. on our map as ready to get our attention.
However, after two hours we had reached our second destination and signs were placed on the ground to let us know that we were now going to 'Destination #3'. That was the most important goal and also the most difficult. namely the ammunition depot east of Warloy. Unfortunately, at that moment an albatross formation took the place of the triplanes, so the hated Sopwiths tried to surprise us by diving into the sun. Before we could get to work with our machine guns, we were twice driven far behind our own lines by the front. A depressing feeling, certainly not unknown, but today those nasty attentions were particularly persistent. Then the scouts of the albatross charged these riders, and soon one of them was punished for his daring by bursting into flames. The others, slightly startled, flew over the lines and I was able to continue my work.
The first shot landed right in the center of Warloy, causing a column of mechanical transporters parked by the roadside to retreat at great speed along the road east out of the village. I was very happy about that, because we were able to follow them with our grenades. The next salvo, although actually 550 meters from the ammunition depot, released a large cloud of smoke and dust just 120 meters from the broken column. With that, the brave motorists were close to despair. They were unable to take shelter under the protection of Kanus, and their retreat was also cut short. So they left the trucks to their own devices and probably retreated to safety.
I held my position under the albatross formation and, feeling absolutely safe now, fiddled with my binoculars trying to figure out what had really happened to the column. After watching the explosion of the fifth shell, I was rudely awoken from my interesting occupation by the sudden crackle of a machine gun in my immediate vicinity. Immediately the rear gun swung toward this new attacker; I had to save my skin from the attentions of two sop-withs less than 100 yards away, burning like a duke. Our radiator was bullet-riddled and water ran down our faces as we descended in the tightest spiral possible, cables squeaking and groaning. It is only thanks to the skilful flying of my pilot that we did not heed the call for a better world, made worse by a few dozen bullet holes, because the two Englishmen with their four machine guns managed to overtake us. every time, so the odds were heavily against us. Our spiral was so steep I really thought our machine was out of control and the pilot badly injured. There was no time for such fears, however; we had to flee, that much was clear. We were then only about 45 meters above Albert, but the pesky boys wouldn't let us, so we had to push further east.
But the good old machine couldn't stand the water anymore and it was clear that we had to land between the shells. So finally, our uninvited escort left us to our own devices and set about establishing a relationship with an observation balloon. However, its advances were not well received this quarter. When we finally got to Montauban, the engine stopped completely. We didn't have time to choose a landing site because our altitude was only 150 feet and each shell hole was next to its neighbor anyway. My pilot glided the machine as far as he could and then, with only 15 meters of clear ground to land, put the old L.V.G. without a stretched cable, a few meters from a deep crater, between the ruins of Montauban. Before help arrived and we could leave this place, we had the satisfaction of seeing one of our dead opponents suffering in the distance in the smoke clouds from the Ribemont facility. Two days later, my LVG ​​with a new locomotive whizzed over the ruins of Montauban again. (Frhr. von Pechmann 'Ordre pour le Merite'.)


The primary function of aircraft is reconnaissance and artillery observation, and the bomber must prioritize these functions. Although in early 1915 the newly appointed G.O.C. The Luftwaffe stressed the importance of bombing and ordered all aircraft to carry bombs on every war flight, but bombing continued to be very unpopular with the majority of squadrons throughout the war and became a reality in a specialized branch of our Luftwaffe. In September 1914, GHQ organized the "Ostend Carrier Pigeon Squadrons" whose sole task was to conduct bombing raids. The original intention was to use these squadrons primarily for attacks on England, but this expected objective was unattainable due to the long distance between the English coast and the nearest airfield. These squadrons from Ostend consisted of the best and most experienced pilots from all branches of the Luftwaffe. To increase their mobility, they were placed in sleeping cars and flew their first missions from an airfield in Flanders. From this base they made their first attacks on Dunkirk and other targets behind the Fourth Army front. In the spring of 1915 they were transferred to the Eastern Front and at the same time an additional squadron was formed, which became known as the "Metz Carrier Pigeon Squadron" after the name of their first airfield.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (20)

Cowardly. 20. Types of German bombs. From left to right they weigh 110 pounds, 220 pounds, 660 pounds, 27-1/2 pounds and just under a ton respectively. The latter was the heaviest actually used in the war.

Shortly after our army entered Görlitz, the Ostend squadron returned to the western front, equipped with a newly designed 150- or 160-H.P. Type C machine with the pilot in the front and the observer in the back; but even with this type it was not possible to attack England. On 1 January 1916 the squadron was renamed Ostend, henceforth known as Nr. were trained for the same work.
No. 1 Squadron was deployed in 1916 with excellent results in all operations of importance and in various districts on the Western Front. Its railway headquarters gave it exceptional mobility and enabled the squadron to depart with the least possible delay. There was always cheering among the infantry when the No. 1 "Battle Squadron" of thirty or forty aircraft, flying in close and well-disciplined formation, crossed the lines to engage the enemy; and many brave men in gray field uniforms saluted and wished the advancing squadron good luck from the trenches. The squadron was exceptionally well trained for takeoff and landing, and within moments the entire formation of six or eight machines would be airborne and returning to land with equal ease and speed.
At the end of the Battle of the Somme, the 1st "Battle Squadron" was equipped with G-type machines and sent to Bulgaria to take part in the campaign against Romania. After these operations, he worked on the Macedonian front until May 1917, and then returned to France to take part in the great events that were expected in that theater of war.
This period marked a turning point in the history of all bomber squadrons. The design of our bombers did not keep up with the anti-aircraft guns and fighting machines of the opposition, and finally the low rate of climb and the lack of the required speed made it impossible for a bomber squadron to operate for a long time. , so we were forced. to confine our attacks to the hours of darkness. Only occasionally, when particularly important operations were taking place, would a squadron be sent on a Warlight during the day, but lack of training in formation flying and tactics meant that such attacks resulted in more casualties than success.


The target to be bombed was usually chosen the day before the attack, to allow pilots and observers a chance to study aerial photographs of the target and record its aerial appearance in their memories. What follows is a typical example of squadron operational orders for such an attack; The team leaves tomorrow at 7:00 am. M. to attack the airfield in X, flights start in order 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, meeting point over city N. at 7:45. The leader flies flight number 5 and his machine displays black and white pennants on the wing tips.
Flight #2 (single engine C) will give the squadron a close escort and prevent any attacks.
The target is approached from the north and only left when all machines have dropped their bombs.
All 6 machines carry a total load of 500 kg. mainly 12 and 50 kg bombs, short fuse.
'N., commander - squadron.'
Preparations for such an endeavor required a great deal of work: engines had to be overhauled and adjusted, tanks filled with gasoline, and pumps placed on their racks the day before the attack. Before departure, the machines had to be removed from their hangars, the engines started and each machine placed in its starting order.
Flight officers typically prepared for the flight a few minutes before the scheduled time, giving their engines, machine guns, and bombs a final dry run. , at 7 a.m. sharp. the first machine would leave the ground, the rest would follow a few seconds apart. It was an unusually beautiful sight to watch the squadron take off and soar into the sky, especially when the beauty of the landscape made the spectacle even more impressive. The memory of the departure of Combat Squadron No. 1* in Macedonia is something that can never be forgotten. If you were among the first to take off you could see the many others, large and small, leaving the airfield in the Vardar valley and laboriously gaining altitude like a flock of alien birds of prey looming over this beautiful land. with its green valleys, deep blue waters and snow-capped mountain ranges stretching far below.
The climbing abilities of the individual machines are very different. The leader had to take this fact into account and could not give the go-ahead until the last plane had reached the height of his companions. The squadron then proceeded to its destination, the Führer's machine in the center of the front formation.
Thirty machines, deadly birds clutching hundreds of bombs in their claws, crewed by 100 German airmen, all brought together only by a sense of duty and patriotic devotion, now embark on their perilous adventure. Perhaps one or two of these young soldiers remember their home and their blue-eyed lover lifted to heaven in prayer for their safety. But away with such thoughts: They only serve to weaken and discourage! Our leader grips his control stick tighter, glances at the rev counter and altimeter, and watches for enemy planes. So far nothing can be seen except for high white smoke plumes indicating the proximity of enemy lines.
What an abundance of German determination, German fulfillment of duty and German spirit this squadron symbolizes as it heads towards the enemy thousands of meters above the ground!
The 'Archie' bursts are getting more numerous and even closer: the smokeballs are already surrounding the leading machines. The whole season is strangely excited. Like the wind blowing through a cornfield, shaking it back and forth, the machines now pan left to right as if synchronized with the projectile blasts. Each machine follows a zigzag course to give the gunners a harder target, but always strives to get back on the leader's machine. Suddenly machine gun fire rang out and a biplane sped past us, bursting into flames from end to end only to shatter to pieces thousands of feet down the mountainside. There wasn't time to know if it was an enemy or a friend, and those who couldn't see clearly are worried and wracked with uncertainty.
Anti-aircraft fire intensifies, and one machine rocks and turns wildly as a shell explodes nearby. After dropping its bombs on an enemy position, the disabled machine turns around and, damaged as it is, struggles to reach its own airfield.
About 30 miles above enemy lines, the anti-aircraft fire stops and the enemy machines are no longer in sight: the squadron reestablishes its formation and all remains silent. We now know that Olympus was to be visible, and indeed far ahead its mighty ancient head looms clearly above the clouds. Many pilots who went straight from school to war cannot help but think of their former teacher, who was once inspired by the legendary splendor of this mountain, upon which the gods of the ancient Greeks were enthroned and against which the sky leaned. People. World.
Furious anti-aircraft fire is experienced again, but we achieve our objective and each machine takes its designated position. On the opposite side, the observer sits in his gondola and looks intently through the bomb night looking for the point at which to drop his bombs. Far below there is a sudden and violent explosion, followed quickly by a great plume of smoke rising from the ground many thousands of feet in the air. Nice shot: a gas tank! Other goals are achieved: Many aircraft hangars are in flames and smoke. High in the sky, brave pilots twist and turn with determination amid blasts of grenades and shrapnel. Your duty and defiance of death will be rewarded with visible results. Again and again they approach the target to drop their bombs more accurately. Many machines, convulsed by blasts of air from explosive shells, groan and squeak, shrapnel bursting through their wings. But no one gets crippled and everyone escapes this hell.
After all the bombs have been dropped, the squadron resumes its position for the return flight, as it still needs to maintain a good tight formation to better defend itself against a surprise attack. Enemy war machines strive to slow us down and isolate us on the journey home. A spirited battle ensues, but with no damage on our side.
After everyone has landed at their airfield, two officers demand the destruction of an enemy biplane. Everyone smiles again because everyone saw the machine fall but could not identify their nationality. And yet, unfortunately! Our success did not come without casualties, as the victorious gunner, who shot down the enemy machine, was badly wounded.
Since a wounded man can die from blood loss at high altitude, the pilot felt obliged to descend immediately to save the life of his comrade, so he landed near a hospital.
The attack had excellent results. A Bulgarian division at the front reported the explosion and fire of one of our bombs, a conflagration that was visible as a cloud of smoke the next day. Furthermore, the destruction of the enemy aircraft was observed and greeted by the infantry with applause and applause from the 'Germanskis'.
In May 1917, the 1st Battle Squadron No. 1 had to bid farewell to Macedonia in order to return to the Western Front and take part in the major offensives that were to take place there.
Bomb squadrons were organized as follows; Before No. 1 'Battle Squadron' was sent to Bulgaria from the Western Front in the summer of 1916, three squadrons were detached to serve as the nucleus for No. 3 'Battle Squadron', whose number of flights was later increased. At five o'clock. This squadron was assembled in Ghent and equipped with G-type machines specially designed for transporting heavy loads and traveling at high speed. His main goal was to escape to England. On June 13, 1917, the first successful bombing of the English capital was carried out. In 1917 Squadrons 4, 5 and 6 were organized but the last two were disbanded after brief existence. With the exception of one dedicated bomb squadron, the S 32, all of these units were used exclusively for night bombing raids. Its pilots were the first to practice flying and dropping bombs at night and were specially trained for the task. The great success of this weapon in the summer of 1916 in destroying the ammunition depots at Audruicq will be described later.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (21)

Cowardly. 21. The docks of Thessaloniki on June 8, 1917: taken from an altitude of 13,000 feet.

The fact that bomb squadrons were now equipped with G-type machines, combined with the increased efficiency of enemy defenses due to their better and more numerous anti-aircraft batteries and fighting machines, made it necessary to conduct bombing raids under cover of darkness for the 'Bombardment Squadron' No. 4 began night flight operations in late 1916. The increasing importance of night bombing led to a reorganization and reinforcement of "battle squadrons", which were incorporated into the "bomb squadron" category in late 1917. Numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8 emerged. Number 4 "Bombardment Squadron" played a successful role in the Italian campaign.
In addition to the G-type twins, bomb squadrons were later equipped with huge aircraft, first fitted with one “wing” and later with two. These machines were equipped with four or five engines of 260 hp each. ; Her wingspan was over 130 feet and her net payload was up to 40 tons. The weight carried was eight or ten men, enough fuel for five to eight hours of flight, and a bomb load of one to two tons. Because of their long range, giant aircraft were originally used against distant targets of strategic importance. For example, they successfully invaded London, Dover, Abbeville, Calais, Rouen and Boulogne. They were first used on the Eastern Front in September 1916 and a year later they made their appearance on the Western Front.
Bomb squadrons and huge aircraft units were directly under the command of G.H.Q.
However, the targets were selected by the general staff of the army corps in which they worked and depended on the situation at hand. Before any large-scale operation, it was important that enemy preparations and the advance of enemy troops be hampered by attacks on key railway junctions, ammunition depots, concentration camps, etc. The lines. During the battle itself, the squadrons were mainly used to provide tactical support to our own troops to attack targets closer to the lines, such as train stations, camps, small ammunition depots, headquarters, etc.; delaying the arrival of enemy reserves and wearing down the combat troops themselves.
It was never considered to attack targets that were not of military importance. The numerous rumors of the deliberate bombing of hospitals can only stem from the malice of theorists, either among the enemy or among our own people; they certainly never arose from the experiences of man flying at night himself. Even on nights with a full moon, the red crosses of a hospital cannot be seen from the plane. It should also be borne in mind that bombs spread widely during their fall, and therefore it often happens that objects can be hit several hundred meters from the target itself.
Training pilots to fly large machines at night was a tedious business and unfortunately cost us many lives.
For the first time, the nature and importance of night blindness was recognized. Pilots flying brightly in daylight proved quite unsuitable for night flights as their eyes were not adapted to the dark. They also lost their sense of balance in mid-air and were unable to accurately measure their distance from the ground upon landing. The saying "practice makes perfect" also came true here, because an excellent level of performance was achieved through systematic training and a gradual increase in the level of difficulty of the night pilot tests. Finally, little consideration was given to the weather, with the exception of fog and mist. The flights were easily performed on dark nights, without the help of the moon or stars, and often in rain or snow.
The more experience the night pilot gained, the more successful his work was.
'Battle Squad' 1 was the first to organize and execute a full squadron strength bombing raid. The first target attacked in this way was Dunkirk, the main rubbish dump and base of the British Army. 'Battle Squadron' 1 alone dropped a total of 125 tons of bombs on this target in its Tarious attacks, which corresponds to eight truckloads. Bomb squadrons dropped an average of 100 tons of bombs per month during the final year of the war, or about the contents of seven railroad cars, with each truck being estimated at about 15 tons. Because the 100 hp machine from the first year of the war, which, even if it was used exclusively for bombing, only had a 110-Ib. bomb load, and because the 150 and 200 H.P. Also the following types could not carry a payload of more than 220 pounds. It was left to Type Gs and giant planes to prove the need and value of higher net lift. A Friedrichshafen guy or an A.E.G. could carry a ton; a huge plane with up to two tons of bombs crossing the lines.
The efficiency of the night flight squadron was not only a question of personnel training, but was also related to various other factors such as organization, technical personnel, landing lights, etc. The experience gained in these factors also made possible results that were initially impossible to achieve, with a very important example being the most efficient duo in improving methods of deploying landing lights.
Nocturnal flight navigation was carried out primarily with the help of compass and stars, signal lights and rockets, and, as far as can be seen, the Earth itself. Special use was made of rocket batteries, which emitted flares at fixed intervals, which in good conditions could be seen 50 or 60 miles away. Even more important than during the day is not to get lost at night, because an emergency landing in the dark is always a serious danger to the flyer.


The following mission orders for a night bombing raid are typical:
1. The squad will attack the factory in J. at dusk.
2. Flights depart in the order 1, 3, 2. Machines depart one at a time at five-minute intervals; the first plane of Flight No. 1 takes off at 18:30.
3. The missile batteries at X. and Y. fire the direction signals, those at X fire four shots at three-minute intervals; Y. fires a shot every two minutes, three seconds rest, then a second shot.
4. The runway lighting and crash site are shown in the attached sketch.
5. The approach direction is north; turn right south of the traffic light.
6. Landing lights are indicated at the local airport with a green light on the aircraft. Special signals previously arranged by the squadron.
Carries 7,110 pounds and 220 pounds of delayed-action bombs.
8. The squadron should make all preparations for a second flight,
N,, squadron commander,
It was not possible to fly in formation at night due to the difficulty in distinguishing between the machines and the resulting risk of collision.
We accompany a night aircraft on its flight. Half an hour before the scheduled departure time, all of the aircraft's personnel, consisting of pilots, observers, gunners and mechanics, wait next to their aircraft to make final preparations. Both the 260 H.P. The engines were started a second time, the pumps examined and secured, and the instrument and machine gun lights tested. Everything is ready. The registration officer appears and, after inspecting the aircraft, signals the pilot to take off with his flashlight. The engines roar as the pilot accelerates; Heavy and groaning under the burden it must carry, the huge black bird begins to move. pick up speed; we fly over the airfield; a slight bump, we're in the air. The land below disappears in the dark of night; the moon, that unfaithful friend, leaves us and sinks below the horizon. Only the stars illuminate us on our ghostly flight through the depths of the night. As if feeling extra friendly to us tonight, they twinkle and shine so brightly we hardly need the moon. And then let's think of the evil spotlight, which will be even brighter and more dangerous!
The engines vibrate with their deep organ tone. Long columns of exhaust flames mark our path across the sky. The pilot switches on his lighting equipment and takes a look at the instruments; Everything is OK. The observer sits at the front of the gondola, looks at the compass and map, and uses his hand to indicate the path to follow. The pilot follows his instructions and turns the machine in the indicated direction; the constellations through which he now flies protect him from error.
We are approaching the lines. The floodlights move nervously back and forth in increasing numbers. A broad light barrier hovers in front of us, showing that the enemy is still well stocked with materiel. We must overcome this barrier. Several headlight beams catch our machine and hold it. Suddenly everything around us is as clear as day.
The exploding shells slowly approach until their explosions almost drown out the roar of the engines.
Only with a sudden twist and a speed boost can we escape the dangerous light. The pilot's experience and skill carry us safely and thank God we are once again shrouded in darkness! I turn around and see another machine having headlight problems and "Archie"; probably some young, inexperienced pilot, I think.
We are approaching our goal. The machines in front of us awakened the hornet's nest and started the defense. Ring after ring of reflectors surround the target, large, small and some huge, capable of reaching any height we can. Continuous oscillation takes place at all high points above the target. Strings of colored lights rise from the ground and call it Onion Barrage! A machine flew directly over the target and dropped its bombs. A fire leaps, grows bigger and bigger; we can see the blast furnaces of the steel mills in their light. Now it's our turn to dive into this blazing hell of light and flying metal. The lighted blast furnaces give us a good mark. We haven't been spotted yet; The headlight is still busy with the machine ahead. We fly high. The spotter stands in his gondola, looks through the bomb sight and signals to the pilot. Now! He pulls the lever to release the bomb, and bomb after bomb escapes the machine's clutches.
The first explosion alerts the defenses to the new enemy. All reflectors are sudden. Focus on the area above the target. They try to grab us with their powerful arms and knock us down. We tried to get to safety by suddenly increasing our speed, but to no avail. A large ray manages to catch and hold us back. Immediately, all other spotlights turn on us. Can't escape his embrace. The anti-aircraft guns are glowing and a moment later something happens: there is a terrible collision between the two planes on the left. Then we think that all is lost: but no, not yet! It's just some flying shrapnel that hit the left propeller and broke it. The pilot turns off the engine on that side, now we just have to continue with power on the other side. We're so far off target now that the searchlights and anti-aircraft guns are abandoning us and turning their attention to our successor.
A single motor is not enough to keep the plane level and little by little we lose altitude. Still, we managed to cross the lines and get through their searchlight fire without further damage, which is at least one consolation: we escaped the enemy. But what will happen if we negotiate our hard landing? Only 1,600 feet high; The earth beneath us is black. Details such as houses, trees, small valleys are indistinguishable and only the borders of big cities, forests and water areas are visible. An emergency landing must now lead to at least one accident, maybe worse. Memories of the many airmen burned to death in similar crash landings grow irresistible in our minds as the rear gunner continuously fires the indicated flares. Suddenly, the sky sympathizes with our distress, and to our left, the three familiar landing flares of an emergency landing strip light up. The distance is still a bit long in relation to our height, but the calmness and skill of the pilot overcome this difficulty. We land right between the white lights. Back to Mother Earth once more, thanks to our luck and our brave pilot.
The machine is pushed aside so that it doesn't disturb anyone else and we drive back to our airfield. There we found a lot of unrest for us, and we also learned that a second machine was missing. Returnees and several other squadron members have gathered around the floodlights on the airfield and share their experiences. The last plane to take off hasn't returned yet. In the west we suddenly see a green star appearing in the air. It's a plane about to land. The landing lights come on and the plane glides gently past us, a beacon illuminating its landing gear, and silently descends between the lights.
Suddenly we hear the sound of a strange engine, an enemy plane! All airport lights go out and everyone searches for cover; whoever does not reach it throws himself on the ground. Bombs are already exploding and some are falling on the airfield. The sound of the engine disappears in the distance and we leave our shelter to look for bomb holes. There are several of these in the middle of the airfield, 10 or 12 feet deep. A man in the searchlight group was injured by flying fragments. The position of the landing lights has been changed so that there are no bomb holes in the landing path of any machine. The last two bombers launched have returned, but two are still missing. Some of the airmen report that one machine caught fire in a lowered searchlight and a second descended in a steep glide over the target. At this time a telephone message comes from an anti-aircraft battery: t 8 o'clock in the evening. One of our bombers was shot down by flames on Römerstraße. It must be ours alone: ​​an icy silence falls over the group gathered around the spotlight! . . .
The weather is still fine and the weather station report predicting cloudiness has not materialized. It's four hours before sunrise. The group silently breaks up and all the men prepare for another escape. The words of the great philosopher Kant apply here: "The sense of duty within us and the stars of heaven above us".
The next morning, the following laconic message is sent to G.ILQ. :—
During the night of October 18-19, the squadron attacked the specified target (the factory in J) in several consecutive flights, dropping a total of 14 tons of bombs. Several good hits were scored and a large fire was started. One of our machines was shot down by anti-aircraft guns at X. in Römerstrasse, a second never came back. This machine was probably forced to land near the target. The squadron's airfield was bombed with seven heavy bombs. A man was injured by flying shrapnel. (Basement, cellar.)


From the very beginning of man's flight, the idea of ​​night flight has truly been "in the air". On short sunset and moonlight flights, the issue was occasionally flirted with, but no one was willing to bring it up. seriously. That was in 1911. The numerical superiority and technical prowess of French military aviation was well known throughout the world, yet the Prussian War Ministry was reluctant to take the necessary measures to improve the situation. In early September 1911, however, the General Staff presented a plan through Colonel Ludendorff that provided for the creation of ten service air units and six home defense units. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff informed the War Office of this plan: We will not reach France by this route. He has secured an advantage over us that we cannot overcome.
This report led to the creation and development of the Luftwaffe, corresponding to the uncomfortable numerical superiority of our likely enemy. To achieve this, it was necessary to gain experience and training in the previously unexplored science of night flight. It was evident that air raids under cover of darkness, even in the absence of an accurate estimate of their likely material results, would no doubt arouse serious concern from our adversary, along with a healthy respect for the efficiency and powers of our airmen. In theory, too, one was inclined to say that one could not count on effective defense against aircraft at night.
In the months of February and April 1913, the formation of night flight formations was expanded and preliminary tests were carried out in Metz. Our first attempts went without major glitches, and once again it turned out that specters and prejudices are quickly dispelled if you face them seriously, although the experience was not actually popular in aviation circles. It was not until the founding of the National Aeronautical Association and the increasing competition among pilots for the possible flight duration that inevitably led to night flights again in 1914, albeit only for a few years.
The bitter necessity of war proved us right in calculating the urgent need to fly at night. In the winter of 1914/15 I commanded my squadron in Ostend as commander of the Luftwaffe's bomb squad. Although we only had 100 hp. Engines for the 160 HP With engines from the English and French and armed with small arms, which were completely inadequate against the machine guns of our opponents, we managed in September 1914 and January 1915 to carry out four major day operations against Dunkirk, Nieuport, Furaess and La Pana. After that, the enemy's air defenses became so strong that it was impossible to carry out further work with a reasonable chance of success.
However, in order for us to efficiently carry out the work assigned to us, attempts have been made to launch our attacks under cover of darkness. The first of these grandiose operations took place on the night of January 28-29, 1915. We attacked Dunkirk with a squadron of fourteen machines, and despite all the disparaging reports that circulated about the operation, our efforts were successful. This is all the more remarkable as it succeeded without any casualties or property damage. Advances began, admittedly slowly, to increase the flying men's efficiency at this work. By the end of the summer of 1915, the accumulated experience allowed us to establish correct rules for operating night aviators. As a rule, there was no need to carry weapons, and in addition this practice reduced the burden of bombs to be carried. Silent gliding allowed us to get very close to the target without being detected.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (22)

Cowardly. 22. Heavy bombardment of Nicnport. Watch out for shattered projectiles.

Although the number of nights during which successful operations could be conducted was limited, it soon became apparent that night flying was suited to tasks other than just dropping bombs. For example, particularly good results have been achieved by locating batteries at night based on their bursts. Here, too, the signal lamps indispensable for rail traffic and the flying sparks from locomotives and steamers offered an easy way to observe the movements of trains and ships. The sea coast, fires, rivers, canals, lakes, bridges, large forests, railways and dry roads provided an easy way to navigate at night. The enemy's searchlights, although used for a diametrically opposite purpose, helped more than anything to locate the target to be attacked.
The winter of 1915-16 marked no advance in the science of night flight. Unfortunately, the higher command has not fully recognized its value and has not given it enough attention. Several senior officers expressed their opinion: "There is no incentive to fly at night and it is not necessary". Perhaps this opinion was largely inspired by fears that our adversaries would resort to the same practice, thereby robbing the General Staff of its already meager rest and sleep time.
It was not until the spring of 1916 that the untiring efforts of the general officer of the Luftwaffe succeeded in getting the importance of night flying the recognition it deserved.
During the nights of February 19-20, 1916, the combined squadrons of the 6th Army carried out night raids on Hazebrouck, Doullens and Amiens. Eighteen aircraft took part in the final attack, which at that moment returned to base unharmed after dropping three quarters of a ton of bombs. This endeavor also confirmed the validity of the principles underlying our earlier experiments and led to advances in organization and technique. The devastating results that even one of these night raids can best achieveattemptThe following example, which has already been described in the press. Thanks to the photographic work of Squadron No. 6 was a very important railway position and junction on the St Omer-Calais. This position was 36 miles behind enemy lines and was considered the British Army's most important ammunition depot. A daylight attack had no chance of success because of the strong resistance to be expected. They would have had to drop bombs from high altitudes with little chance of hitting the right target, and the pilots would have been disturbed and distracted by the presence of enemy machines.
Consequently, it was decided that the attack should take place on the night of July 20, 1916, in which only four machines from No. 40 Squadron took part, each carrying a 45-pounder gun. and ten 30-pounds. Termite bombs, forty-three 25-lbs. Delayed action bombs and ten incendiary bombs totaling 1700 lbs.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (23)

Cowardly. 23. The ammunition depot at Audruieq before it was bombed.

The results of the bombing can be judged by comparing the two photos we publish on pages 188 and 193, which show the target before and after the attack. At least half of the entire target was completely destroyed. Craters in the ground showed that a large quantity of ammunition had exploded. A captured letter, addressed "Blendecques, July 22, 1916," states that the explosion claimed about 1,200 lives. A similar attack was carried out by 7 Squadron almost two years later, on the night of May 20, 1918. The munitions station at Blargies was bombed by a G-type machine, hitting the target twice, first dropping thirteen 25-pound bombs. . bombs and two 110-pound bombs. Bombs that blew up several barracks and ammunition trains. Since the target was clearly visible from the resulting fire, several other machines from the same squadron attacked and completed the work of destruction. Once again the enemy attacks, which were now fivefold in intensity, were thwarted by the work of the night squadrons. During the first quarter of 1917, four of the seven existing "Kampfstaffeln" were assigned to escort duties and the remaining bomb squadrons were assigned Nos. I, 2 and 4, the latter specializing in night flying. Night flight pilots used the photos taken as a guide to determine their whereabouts during the night. These photos, along with a well thought out system of directional lights, compass and stars, allowed them to maintain their correct course when flying to and from the lines.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (24)

Cowardly. 24. The Audruicq ammunition depot after the bombing raid on the night of July 20, 1916.

The experience of these squadrons was also of great use to our own anti-aircraft batteries and searchlight units. Between January and March 1917 a large number of machines specially built for night flying were brought to the western front. By late 1916, night bombing raids by friends and foes were roughly equal. Many attempts to engage squadrons in dogfights on their flight to and from the lines were unsuccessful.
On the night of February 10, 1917, the pilot and machine observer of the 12th squadron for the first time managed to attack an enemy aircraft with decisive results. This feat arose from a systematic study of the habits of the enemy's night-flying machines at their airfield at Malzeville. The signs displayed made it easy to see when the machines started. Our machine waited over the deserted airfield for the return of the enemy, who first appeared among the German anti-aircraft shells. Soon after, our men noticed the red and green lights of a French twin-engine biplane. They quickly turned on the enemy and opened fire at point-blank range. After twenty-five shots from the synchronized machine gun, the enemy machine caught fire and fell to the ground. This feat was confirmed by an artillery unit. Shortly thereafter, the lights of a second French plane were observed and our men were able to attack from behind again. Shortly after opening fire, the enemy machine abruptly crashed and disappeared into darkness. According to reports from French prisoners, this machine was also destroyed.
The incidents described above opened up whole new perspectives for successfully combating enemy aircraft flying at night, especially if they could be attacked shortly after take-off, laden with bombs and full of fuel. and consequently clumsy in their movements. Of course, the probability of similar actions by the enemy was taken into account, especially with regard to the rules of night flight navigation. Another dogfight took place on the night of April 7, 1917 over Donai and on April 13, 1917 over the enemy airfield at Cramoiselle. On this last occasion several machines were shot down and we found a telescopic sight specially designed for night use.
Also, in April 1917, a machine managed to descend to a few feet above the ground over a French airfield at night and launch a 130-lb. Delayed action bomb near the hangars, dealing significant damage.
All the events described were investigated in the summer of 1917 as part of a systematic investigation into the possibilities of night air combat. The results of this research cannot be discussed here; are not the subject of this work. The relative value of day and night bombardment was increased after No. 3 'Battle Squadron' attacked England seven times between May and July 1917, challenging its island title. On 13 June and 7 July, London itself was targeted, with the final attack being made at 12 noon. The September 3-4 attacks on Sheerness, Margate, Chatham and London took place under cover of darkness. After these companies announced the squadron; "In order to increase the effectiveness of enemy defenses, machines must shortly fly at an altitude of at least 17,000 feet, or attacks must be carried out exclusively by night squadrons. Thereafter, all subsequent attacks on London were carried out at night. A new night flyer job was found every month. On the night of September 2, 1917, St. Omer, which was 30 miles behind the lines, was successfully bombarded by a long-range gun and observation of this shot was taken by the 6th Army's 235A Squadron, taking eight direct hits and was able to confirm a resulting fire. Enemy defenses were very active and strong, right down to the gun itself, which was constantly being attacked by planes, making its work difficult, while our machine, which had to stay over the target for a long time, was under constant attack. harassed by numerous anti-aircraft guns and searchlights.
We can assume that this bombardment was remarkably successful, since the wireless messages we received from the same army on September 29, 1917 corroborated our claims. In addition, it was noted that the number of enemy machines engaged in artillery work at night had increased on the British and French fronts. The artillery observation at night, also for medium-caliber guns, was carried out several times in front of our 1st Army with excellent success. In this work, accuracy could only be guaranteed if the targets were such that they were easily visible at night, such as poorly hidden villages, forests and battery positions. Success depended primarily on the aviator's ability to distinguish between the explosions of our own shells and the flashes of enemy guns.
The importance of the possibility of successful night artillery bombardment by aircraft command can be appreciated from the fact that we ourselves, as well as the enemy, were put into practice moving troops, ammunition and rations and carrying out our construction work at night in the hope of these operations to hide from the eyes of the aviators.
The stages of development just described brought night flight in the summer and winter of 1917 to such an extent that both sides engaged in almost uninterrupted nocturnal activity, chiefly with quarters, railroads, and industrial centers. Since their tactical situations favored such a policy, the enemy carried out a promiscuous bombardment of several targets, while on the other hand, limited in our material supply, we organized concentrated attacks within certain time and space limits. Different opinions can be held as to the relative merits of these two methods, but no one can dispute the increasing importance of the effect of night bombing on the general course of operations.
Our existing No. 1, 2 and 4 Bombardment Squadrons were reorganized very quickly between November 1917 and March 1918 and the sadly disbanded units (3, 5, 6, 7 and 8) have now been reconstituted. .
During this period, the raids in Paris on January 30 and 31, March 8 and 9, and 11 and 12, 1918 were of particular importance. Numbers 1, 2, 5 and 7 were under the overall command of Commander No. 1 'Bombardment Squadron'. The experience gained from these flights enabled us to assign different destinations to certain aircraft and to formulate a fixed schedule for departure times and return flights.
The general nature of orders for a company of this type was as follows:
(1) On behalf of G.H.Q. Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 7 Squadrons, under my command, will attack Paris in retaliation for enemy attacks on open German towns.
(2) In good weather, the planes take off at 4 p.m. M. Later that.
(3) Starting Order: NOS Relays. 2, 7, 1 and 5. No squadron should take longer than 30 minutes to leave the ground.
(4) General objectives for all squadrons: the northern district of Paris between the Gare du Nord and the Seine, with particular attention to factories and train stations.
POIs. In order to inflict maximum damage on enemy industrial centers, targets of exceptional importance are designated for special attention. It is at the squadron commander's discretion to separate three machines to serve the target entrusted to him, or reserve about a ton of the combined weight of bombs carried by his entire squadron.
(a) Target for Squadron 2: The aircraft and munitions factories in the southwest of Paris (there are about ten aircraft factories and several munitions factories).
(b) Destination for Squad 7: the all-important explosives and ammunition factory in Sevran. This factory occupies an area approximately 1100 yards by 650 yards.
(c) Target for Squadron 5; Same as number 2.
(d) Target for Squad 1: the munitions factories and power plants in the northern district of Paris.
(5) Order and direction of flight;-
Season 2 starts at their airfield and is guided by the compass. It will approach the target and its POI from the south and depart from the southeast.
Squadron 7 will depart from Squadron 2's airfield and fly the compass, approach the target from the south and depart from the southeast; The focus of your specialty is left to your leader's discretion.
Squadron 1 will leave its airfield and fly past the compass. It will approach its destination from the north and depart from the north.
Squadron 5 will leave Tupigny airfield and fly with a compass. He will approach his destinations from the north and depart from the north,
(6) Landing orders: Squadron 2 lands at its home base. Squadron 7 will land at its home base or, if appropriate, at Tupigny. Squadron 1 lands at your airfield; Squadron 5 will land at Tupigny if it does not reach the home base.
(7) Squadrons 7 and 5 assemble by 4:00 p.m. on the specified day and starting point.
(8) The filing of messages is prohibited.
(9) Squadron 1 issues embarkation and disembarkation orders.
(10) Documents other than payslips and identification documents may not be carried and no notes may be made on maps. Lucifer of the wind are carried away.
(11) Before flying, every man should familiarize himself with regulations regarding the need to retain all military information.
(12) All men should make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the position, type, etc., of all directional lights, searchlights, flashlights, and mock aerodromes behind the fronts of the 7th, 18th, and 2nd Armies.
(13) In view of the extraordinary importance of this company, everything is done to achieve the set goals. (signed) Cellar.
The cooperation with a squadron of giant aircraft (No. 501), provided for in the original operating instructions, was discontinued due to the unsafe weather at that squadron's airfield. It is a remarkable fact that the attack on Paris in March took place on a moonless night.
Meanwhile, our enemies have not remained idle, and have vigorously developed all branches of night flight as well as creative thought, though in fact, contrary to our own habit, they did not confine themselves to honorable methods, but specialized in the use of cunning insidious means of warfare.
In the afternoon of 15 February 1918 an enemy aircraft appeared over 'Bombardment Squadron' No. 2 Airfield at Aincourt and indicated the squadron's Morse landing signal. Since the squadron was ready to take off at this point, the ground crew concluded that it was a machine in distress and lit the landing lights. They were immediately machine-gunned and six bombs dropped. A squadron flight commander who happened to be at the airfield at the time was killed when a bomb went off and several mechanics were shot. The enemy made a second attempt to deceive us that same night, and also called the landing lights of the airfield. However, we managed to thwart this. The increasing number of night flying machines on all fronts of the army in April 1918 required the standardization of driving rules and landing lights on the western front. During this time, the 3.7 cm rocket cannon became indispensable for firing the fire, which, due to their number and the time intervals, gave the pilots the necessary information about their position and the course to be taken. Another method, using multicolored lights, has been used successfully to warn aviators of approaching severe weather.
Before the summer offensive of 1918, which was to decide the fate of the war, the entire army could look forward to extensive experience in the science of night flight. Notable successes accompanied our efforts to combat enemy aircraft through thoughtful preparation and through the cooperation of the various defensive weapons. The results of all our experience have been condensed into a detailed set of rules for conducting Night Duels.
In July 1918 the weight of the bombs dropped increased to an unprecedented level. On the two nights of July 18 and 21, 1918, 170 tons of explosives were dropped on the western front. Taking into account the capacity of 15 tons per truck, this corresponds to the content of eleven wagons, all of which are transported by plane. Since the means at our disposal are small in relation to those of the enemy, this record could only be achieved by machines and planes that made several flights in one night. So, for example, on the night of August 21, 1918 No. 4 Squadron left the ground six times.
The inability to conceal preparations for full-scale operations from aircraft forced both sides to conduct all preparatory troop movements under cover of darkness. As a result, the high command was denied all information about movement and traffic behind enemy lines, as well as any preliminary reconnaissance of the actual battlefield, and hence the need to improve night artillery observation of the kind once described . An important factor that went a long way towards solving this problem was the discovery of the possibility of taking aerial photographs at night. In the summer of 1918 this difficulty was overcome by the use of parachute flares, and this method was so perfected that in September 1918 the Air Force Photographic Section established special squadrons for night photography.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (25)

Cowardly. 25. "Mosaic" photo of Paris (St. Denis) showing the site of a bomb blast.

Our review of night flying will not be complete without examining the workings of giant airplanes designed with only factors influencing night flying in mind. While all other types of aircraft played a certain role in day-to-day operations, this was not the case with the giant aircraft. Its speed, climb power, and maneuverability could not be sufficiently developed for useful daytime work due to its heavy weight and consequent inability to evade attack. The idea of ​​​​evening their odds and somehow overcoming this difficulty with a large number of machine guns would have resulted in an increase in weight that could only have been borne at the expense of their bombs or gasoline. It was their large radius of action and the number of bombs they carried that initially secured the existence of the giant aircraft in competition with the Type G machine and for these reasons were soon branded only as an instrument for the night war. .
Tests of these machines were first carried out in the Russian theater of war in 1916 and in the spring of 1917, and excellent results were obtained in their action against the Riga-Petrograd railway and the western front of the island of Oesel, where they entered fierce competition with squadrons already involved in attacks on England. Unfortunately, in the summer of 1918, the limits that regulated the use of giant aircraft and distinguished them from all other types were no longer clearly observed. His work should be limited to attacks on targets that are not accessible to any other type of machine. , but occasionally they were called to work of strategic importance for political reasons. At no point were they asked to perform tasks of a tactical nature.
For example, on August 10, 1918, R 43 was sent to attack Doullens and St. Louis. Pol, 15 miles behind the lines, although Staples and Boulogne were attacked by a squadron of G-machines that same night. The R 43 never returned. On the night of August 11, 1918, the R 52 was sent to attack a small town called Bovais, an extremely difficult place to find 30 miles behind French lines. The plane was shot down on the return flight, and its commander and four crew members burned to death.
A development curve as steep as that of night flight cannot be free from corresponding depressions. At the end of May 1918, three machines from each flight were used for this task due to the still existing call for bombing raids during the day. Human nature, like most lower animals, sees an enemy in the person of the Queen of the Night. It is perhaps no coincidence that none of our machine types have been named "owls", although the dove, albatross, condor and several other bird species are represented. Despite everything, night flying will gain in importance in times of peaceful aviation. The fact that the air is more suitable for flying at night than during the day, calmer and with greater lift, is a great advantage, and practicing night flight is also favored by the need to save every second. Time to complete daily work. We saw some of that need reflected in the invention of the automobile, the telephone, and the airplane. Let's hope that the achievements of war, which have cost us the blood of our best manhood, will not be in vain, but will help humanity come closer to total mastery of the air. (Winner.)


Infantry contact machines - scouts and fighters - "trench attack" machines,


When describing the work of the infantry contact machines, we are referring to perhaps the noblest and most selfless achievements of the fledgling Luftwaffe in World War I. At the beginning of the war, in peacetime, the Luftwaffe was dedicated solely to its proper purpose and was used solely for reconnaissance work by the high commands. With the rapid increase in air activity and the need to directly support the infantry in their increasing close combat, this particular need arose and was met by infantry contact machines. Not only the conditions of the war made this work necessary, but the aviators themselves were able to fulfill a long-cherished wish.
As is characteristic of every war, and must always be the case, there was a kind of jealous competition between the various branches of the armed forces. The closer troops are to the enemy and the more pressure they are under, the more likely they are to rely on rear support and reinforcements. Confined in the narrow confines of front-line trenches, where visibility is restricted between stands and parapets, the infantryman's mind soon develops a desire for cooperation and support. The old infantry certainly respected the artillery, since they could not do without its help, and both the infantry and the artillery considered themselves superior to the cavalry and the air force, which continued to do their dangerous work and whose real help the infantry did not render have. Idea,
From the beginning, but especially after the advent of trench warfare, it was the infantry that suffered most. They were called upon to bear the heaviest penalties and to expose themselves to the greatest danger. They needed a lot of help in their difficult task. The airmen, all young and fresh from the ranks of the infantry, could sympathize wholeheartedly with their last comrades. They knew how much they suffered and how heroically they fought. Many a man, who had done his duty in the air and seen those thin lines below, from which our infantry, despite the cold and rain, had advanced to attack ten times more, thought of their own warm quarters. Rejoin the battles of your old friends.
Only in the summer of 1916 did our attack on Verdun, which had started so brilliantly, come to a bloody end in the many areas between the forts, which had been devastated due to a lack of reserves, and which were all destroyed. The Battle of the Somme spent infantry operations of a kind for which previous methods of guidance and support had proved inadequate. From the moment the infantry left their lines to attack, they nearly lost touch with higher command and their own support. Unstoppable, the enemy left behind such a strong barrage of fire that it was impossible to maintain contact with them. Even if the determined runners managed to fight their way through the almost impassable battlefield, they would have little news to report, nor would they be able to pinpoint the exact position of the combat troops. Our own preparatory fire and the enemy's defensive shelling rendered the landscape almost unrecognizable and completely changed the appearance on the map we expected - entire villages sometimes disappeared without a trace - so, oddly enough, the infantry often did not. . . . he even knew his own position in the first hours of his attack.
It often happened that at the very moment when the fate of the battle was at stake, the attacking troops had to decide on their own responsibility whether they wanted to hold onto the ground they had won or not, when so much depended on them. the help that could be given. Disorganized by the pressure of fighting, weakened by casualties, they had to find as little cover as possible in shell holes or the remains of trenches and resist the counterattack the French were about to launch from an artillery-resistant region. Fire. and with fresh and indefatigable troops.
It was a dire situation for the High Command, who knew what the brave were suffering but could not help them. How was it possible to send reserves if nothing was known about the course of the fighting? How was it possible to accurately direct artillery fire and spread a broadside to protect troops in battle when they had no information about the position of the front line? An unfortunate feature of these operations was the lack of adequate artillery support, and casualties were sometimes inflicted by our own fire. The same condition existed when we were forced to go on the defensive when the general war situation forced us to stop our attacks. Again, our troops suffered from the same thing.
The old-fashioned means of communication tested under these conditions, such as carrier pigeons, war dogs, etc., failed completely; the flying man was the only messenger left. The high command and the infantry themselves, desperately wanting surveillance of French territory, at the same time suggested that the flying units try it. The first primitive command to this scheme was as follows: "Fly low, see the situation with your own eyes, come back and report." It was as easy to say as it was nearly impossible to do. From any height that allowed a reasonable field of view, e.g. B. 800 to 1,200 feet, was nothing to see. There were no trenches because French artillery fire had not allowed time for their construction, and even those begun early were destroyed. Our troops' muddy uniforms were almost indistinguishable from their cannonball background.
From extremely low altitudes it was possible to distinguish individuals or small groups of men, but in very few cases was it possible to form a general opinion of the situation from small pieces of information gathered in this way. The high commands became urgent and impatient in their demands, because the situation was terribly trying on their nerves; The result was a large number of casualties. If the enemy allowed our planes to fly low, the machine would soon come under concentrated and ground sniper fire, especially machine gun fire, unfortunately all too often with disastrous consequences.
Great credit goes to the Air Force for having done this work independently. They were driven by an intense desire to help. The Luftwaffe itself suggested to the troops resting outside the lines that they take strips of cloth in bright colors and clearly visible, which should be uncovered at the request of the aircraft and which would be clearly visible from above. The signal to display these banners would have to be given by a specific machine equipped with specific streamers attached to the wings or tail flying low over the battlefield. The first experiences with this method were extremely successful. From a considerable height, the front line of infantry could be distinguished against the background of howitzers. The observer dropped specific maps or aerial photographs, marked with abbreviated symbols, on the station or headquarters receiving the message, allowing the command to form a general opinion of the situation, whether it was an offensive - or defensive operation, and the application enabled the right media to be in the right place at the right time.
This provided the beginning and the general line along which progress was made. But even this method did not work very well at first, and the necessary experience could only be gained after hard work and work for both the infantry and the Luftwaffe. The combat troops, exhausted from the pressure of battle, distrusted the plan and only showed the signals given reluctantly. Naturally, since their worst opponent was the enemy artillery, they feared that their eyes, the enemy's planes, would discover their position if they showed the signals. Other victims were the result of this misunderstanding. But the joint work between the infantry and the Luftwaffe had already sown the seeds of mutual sympathy and trust. A burning desire to help, on the one hand, and a growing realization of the feasibility of this new method of warfare, on the other, gradually created a sense of genuine camaraderie between the two forces. The result of the hard-fought victories at Verdun, in the Battle of the Somme and in the battles for the Chemin des Dames became clear to the entire army in operations in Flanders in the autumn of 1917. Here was that brilliant feat, unselfish perseverance, and glorious manliness, reaching their greatest heights, weaving an immortal and undying crown of glory for our German soldiers in the horrible hours and days when our commander, that man of iron, wrote in his memoirs: * My head was full of plans for new ventures in the East and in Italy, but my heart was with our comrades in Flanders.” It was on this front that the infantry contact machine was discovered as an indispensable weapon of modern warfare. Joint contact patrol and "ground attack" roles earned them the collective designation "fighting machines".
During the last massive offensives in the spring of 1918, the last effort of our entire army, whole squadrons of these "fighting machines" drove infantry into battle, crushed enemy resistance, destroyed artillery positions and showed our infantry the way. Victory in the truest sense of the word. The achievements of our Luftwaffe at that time are inseparable from the invincible and victorious spirit that animated our troops in those last glorious days, when the heroic German legions fought all over the world,
It is clear that the message drop, the primitive means of communication already described, was not sufficient to meet the needs of the operations, which grew over time. Instead of this method, which was not only inconvenient but also interrupted the observer's duty to closely monitor the course of battle, we developed the wireless installation. Stations were set up not only near the artillery and high command, but also immediately behind the front trenches, the task of which was to collect the messages from the contact machines and forward them to specific destinations. It soon became possible for the aircraft to carry receivers and transmitters of its own, allowing it to receive requests and commands from the ground while doing its job over enemy territory. As the infantry learned about the flying officers' contact machine cooperation powers during their rest periods and appreciated their value, the divisional staffs now provided an Air Force liaison officer. The new development trend led to the complete mastery of artillery of other calibers, such as trench mortars, mortars, etc. .
In the spring of 1917, the number of contact patrol units for a division operating in the main theater of war was included in the number of "work planes" (i.e., reconnaissance and artillery machines), and six or nine (and more later twelve) machines were assigned to these roles. In addition, each Army Reserve Corps provided its own contact patrol service recruited from infantry contact officer training centers. A special branch of this work developed in the late summer of 1917, which also included the "fighter planes", will be dealt with separately in a later section.
At the end of 1917, the advisability of continuing contact patrol work was seriously discussed, since heavy losses were suffered in this work from highly efficient enemy air defense. The men had to pilot a slightly modified Type C machine which, being largely unprotected, left them completely exposed to enemy machine gun fire from the ground. Forced by the demands of their job to fly up and down the same strip of ground at a very low altitude, they presented a more vulnerable target. In this hour of need, the aviation industry came to the rescue with armored aircraft, the so-called "Trench Attack" machines, whose aircraft, foil and fuselage were constructed entirely of metal, while the pilot and observer cockpits were heavily armored with steel nickel-chromium, that even armor-piercing bullets at close range caused only slight dents. Machines of this type were known to return to their airfields with markings of more than thirty shots, while their occupants escaped unharmed. This type of machine thus enabled the contact patrol service to carry out its work satisfactorily and without major losses.


We have already described how air combat and the struggle for air supremacy arose as a direct consequence of trench warfare; how it came to be that airplanes themselves were used as offensive weapons, and how, under conditions of intense competition with our enemies, aircraft design and artillery science developed to meet the demands so incessantly placed on them.
The single-seat Scout was the type specially adapted for aerial combat. His job was to clear the air so the other machines could do their job and subdue the enemy reconnaissance machines. The science of aerial combat originated in dogfights between individual machines. Captain Boelcke was the first to achieve some success, which he did on the western front
1915, with the help of the men he had trained in "pursuit tactics". The fact that both sides had equally powerful machines and both were animated by the same bravery and skill, although in the end the numerical superiority remained with our opponents, led to small groups of three or four in combat during 1916, and later to squadrons of twelve or eighteen machines used as a unit. With the organization of the Kampfgeschwader as the first tactical unit, air tactics emerged, that is, the scientific use of the third dimension of space by various machines to approach and attack the enemy. These maneuvers involved flying at an altitude of 15,000 or 18,000 feet.
In 1917 an entire squadron took part in air combat on the English front under Frhr's masterful leadership. von Richthofen, this fighter squadron consisted of several formations of combat machines, the total number of machines in the three or four formations being between forty and fifty. Squadrons of this description were under the sole command of the squadron commander, whose job it was also to lead his squadron in the air. The fighting between individual squadrons and occasionally between several squadrons together culminated on February 21, 1918 in that bitter dogfight that Frhr fought out. von Richthofen's squadron at Le Cateau. This battle lasted over thirty minutes and involved up to sixty or seventy machines, thirteen enemy machines and only one of ours was destroyed.
The main function of the fighting machines was to destroy the enemy's observation force either by plane or balloon, especially when using the artillery of both sides. Every time we managed to stop enemy reconnaissance machines, their artillery was practically blinded. An equally important point was the need to have an air command during infantry offensives in the places where fighting was most intense, in order to be able to closely follow the development of the attack. When the telephone lines were cut as a result of the preliminary bombardment, infantry contact machines became the only reliable means of communication between the fighting troops and higher command. If the enemy managed to disperse our contact patrols, there would be no connection with the rear of our lines, and if the enemy's fighting machines managed to drive off our artillery observation machines, which aimed our cannon fire against the enemy's bombardment. , it was impossible for us to send reservations without a terrible loss of life and time. When the machines of the escort squadrons, whose task it was to protect our reconnaissance and observation machines from attacks, could no longer successfully do this job, it became necessary to significantly increase the strength of the fighter squadrons. It was of paramount importance that we have air guidance over the battlefield if we were to be successful in offensive or defensive operations. Enemy observation balloons also played a role in this. Even when the enemy planes* were driven off the lines, the observation balloons allowed them to watch the progress of the battle and enabled their higher command to thwart our plans using the information received. It was also necessary, therefore, to make their sightings as slight and fleeting as possible, by pushing them down or away from the lines; or otherwise limit the heights to which they could ascend.
Of course, the enemy also tried to get an idea of ​​our position, movements, plans and lines of communication, and for this purpose they sent reconnaissance and photo cameras to great heights to enable them to break through our counter-patrols and see the battle. Zone. It was the duty of our fighting machines to make that impossible. As both sides sought to gain control of the air on major offensives by rallying all available units, large-scale squadron battles were the natural result.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (26)

Cowardly. 26. Fokker D 7. One of the efficient single seat combat machines developed during the war.

In the last phase of the war, the decisive aerial combat was not limited to daylight alone. We have made special efforts to deal with enemy bombers threatening our rear areas and our German territory* by organizing a system of cooperation between fighting machines, anti-aircraft batteries and searchlights. To do this, the front-line fighter pilots worked together with the homeland defense reconnaissance squadrons. These squadrons, organized in a manner similar to duty combat squadrons and acting on the basis of information from Air Defense Intelligence, often attack any enemy squadron or individual aircraft that manages to breach our frontline defenses.
The work of our combat machines is better known to the general public than any other kind. Our combat pilots in combat were like ancient knights, and the names of our fallen heroes are always honored with the gratitude, love and admiration of the entire German people and with the laurels crowned with immortality. It is only natural that the work of hundreds of other pilots who bravely went about their daily duty but did not have the same opportunities for individual skill did not deserve the same widespread recognition as that of fighter pilots. All other forms of aerial activity lacked that romantic tension, that individuality which seemed to revive the chivalrous exploits of ancient heroes and which, though perhaps unconsciously, was doubly welcomed by the German temperament and is still valued for its refreshing character to the soul. different from our everyday life, which actually has little in common with romance and chivalry. (Neumann.)


Convoy squadrons, originally set up to protect our "work planes," were the forerunners of trench machine guns. Depending on the importance of the flight and the level of enemy air activity, two or more escort aircraft were assigned to the work planes. These escort machines stayed in close proximity to their partner and focused their attention on repelling enemy attacks. On particularly active sections of the line, they were usually dispatched in formation and, in pairs, would lead a vigilant defensive patrol at a preset altitude and quickly engage any inquisitive enemy that attempted to break through. As numerous offensive patrols also flew over the front and the enemy adopted the same system, the air was always full of aircraft drones, whether with black crosses or tricolor markings. The manner in which formations broke up in the course of general hand-to-hand combat and air combat, breaking up into a series of simultaneous duels, led to those "air battles" so often reported in army communiqués during the British offensive. in Flanders in the spring of 1917.
Escort squadrons were given the task of protecting our reconnaissance machines and conducting real observations near enemy trenches; They were also obliged to locate all movements on the lines of communication*, the building of light trains and, above all, in the case of major offensives on foot, the positions of the batteries, and to contact, together with the infantry machines, to find out the exact location of our first line.
Low clouds made strategic reconnaissance impossible in September 1918. It was imperative, however, to get a glimpse of the enemy's rear areas, as the danger of an English breakthrough was increasing by the day. lines at their point of attack at Cambrai. Individual reconnaissance machines were constantly shot down due to the low altitude. On the outward flight, they could only be protected by fighting machines, since the single-seaters were defenseless against attacks from behind on the return flight.
The escort squadrons were now ready for the task. Wounded in close formation and despite heavy ground fire, they fought their way through a brilliant series of reconnaissance patrols. Indeed, many of them never returned, but the enemy also suffered heavy casualties.
The success that accompanied their efforts on this occasion laid the foundation for the work in which escort squadrons were later mainly used: attacks on ground targets. As a result of this new work, they were renamed to the glorious name "Sturmgeschwader" (i.e. trench machine gun machines). In the course of trench warfare, it turned out that even when our attacking infantry managed to drive the enemy out of his trenches, and the moment their attack was successful, the failure of our attack caused the attack to lose its main moral effect . . . Artillery to provide adequate preliminary protection against enemy counterattacks. This deficiency was remedied remarkably successfully by trench attack pilots, flying at an altitude of only 150 to 200 feet ahead of the attack troops and attacking the enemy in their trenches with machine gun fire and hand grenades. Again and again they returned, renewing their attack with unparalleled power.
In this sense, the attack on Kemmel Hill will be remembered forever. In the first gray light of dawn the battle squadron flew furiously to attack like a flock of gigantic nocturnal birds; they descended lower and lower until they were only a few feet above the heads of the men in our trenches, and as the infantry flew overhead with a booming "Hurrah," the planes overwhelmed the enemy resistance with furious fire. . . Our frightened opponents put up very little resistance; the cleverest among them raised their hands and were captured by our victorious infantry.
However, the subjugation of enemy infantry did not end the battle, since it was also necessary to deal with their rear guard: their artillery, support trenches, ammunition depots, advance reserves, their ammunition columns, trucks, trains, etc. . This was a rich field for working with trench machine guns. Luminous batteries became welcome targets; They came under fire and soon the garrisons stopped firing.
Enemy reserves were in hollows and behind forests; It was the duty of the plane shelling the trenches to find out its whereabouts. What disorder and what demoralization have they caused, attacking with bombs and hand grenades and reaping their bloody harvest with their machine guns! I can still see in my mind's eye that American battery at Verdun that was set up behind the grove: the wounded horses reared up, the rest fled into the countryside, and the whole unit scattered.
Scattered in close proximity to the front lines were several very dangerous machine gun nests, their positions often given away by the plumes of smoke from their lit matchballs. The keen eyes of the pilots searched even further away for suitable targets: ammunition. Landfills, hidden in forests and difficult to detect, light trains, barracks, etc. Whenever columns charged the battlefield and assembled on the narrow side of forest roads or on a bridge, a well-placed air strike could delay the arrival of enemy reinforcements by several hours and decide the outcome of the battle.
However, if the enemy's attack forced us to go on the defensive and maybe even retreat, then even in this situation our trench bombers were the faithful supports of the brave infantry and often held back the attacking enemy. from us. our troops in danger.
Although they were sometimes not obliged to take part in the fighting on the ground, their activity was not restricted in any way. They then successfully attacked the observation balloons, particularly on all sections of the front where the number of balloons raised suspicions that the enemy was planning an attack. Also, the enemy air forces suffered numerous losses from the bold attacks of these machines, which even advanced to their airfields, some of the lines of which were very tired, although the enemy - generally the English - managed to effectively overwhelm us this work. In July 1918 large squadrons of seventy or eighty machines appeared, and while two-thirds of them remained at various altitudes to act as escort, the rest systematically attacked our airfields one after the other. So, for example, near Lille and Cortoyle, in two days they managed to completely destroy three formations of combat machines with bombs and machine gun fire.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (27)

Cowardly. 27. Halberstadt CL 4, a compact and lightweight excavator.

In addition to their daily work, the trench guns worked tirelessly at night, shooting down enemy attackers on their flight home, especially on bright moonlit nights, and damaging shelters, stations, and other targets that were behind them. . Of course, they couldn't achieve the same critical results day and night. However, like our bombers in their operations far behind enemy lines, single trench gun aircraft carried the war into enemy territory at night with great success.


On September 6, 1917, vigorous English attacks against our lines forced us to evacuate Peronne, supported by a large number of ox-tanks and heavy artillery fire. From the gray light of dawn until late at night, our trench-bombing machines were in the air striving to relieve our fighting infantry, wearing out on the ground just long enough for the machines to be ready for the next flight. . Then one morning an infantry contact patrol pilot arrived with the startling news that an enemy force, consisting of all branches of the service, was approaching Peronne from the south in a long column along the west bank of the Somme. , at the point where the Bray and São Cristo bridges crossed the river.
It looks like an opportunity from heaven for the pilots attacking the trenches, and minutes later twenty-four of our squadron take off on that beautiful September day. The preset assembly height is soon reached: Then the people from Halberstadt will head straight for the lines and soon Cambrai will be among us. We can easily see the front lines, which are shrouded in a veil of smoke and dust. Without hesitation, all the machines plunge into this inferno, and it seems that these gigantic birds are vying with each other in their daring. Projectile explosions e.g. shrapnel is clearly visible against the matte background; thick clouds of black smoke are drifting across the country. The iron song of the engine drowns out all fears and calms the nerves.
Only 1200 feet high; A rocket is fired as a signal and the squad splits into two lines in a row. Two or three minutes later we're over the enemy. Nerves are on edge and we try to penetrate the thick clouds of smoke with eager eyes. We raise our eyes to the sky where large clouds are appearing that seem to herald the arrival of bad weather. Peronne, that devastated city, burns ahead of us on the left; soon the glittering ribbon of the Somme appears through the fog, and a few seconds later we are at our destination. A quick glance at the map shows us that we have arrived at the right place; on the right is Bray and on the left is San Cristo. We see objects like thin ropes stretched across bridges. A cloud of white smoke looms not far away, the first fragmentation grenade greets our arrival; no damage occurs. At a signal from the guide machine, we all go down a steep slide over the bridges!
A thousand feet, 800 feet, 500 feet, then the heart beats until it seems to explode and every pulse in the body beats. Down on the bridge itself and along the banks on either side are thick columns of men, horses, and carts. A storm of machine bullets rains down on them. At first no result is noticed; it's almost as if we're shooting at an inanimate target; and then... men, horses, and trucks pull away. Their only thought now is to save themselves by pulling off the road and we see them running wildly in all directions. However, the confusion is greatest on the bridges themselves. The teams break free and jump into the river, men and beasts and all; It seems the crowd is possessed by evil geniuses.
Our bombs and hand grenades hiss mercilessly in the chaos, and I see more than a drop in the middle of the bridge. We are only 200 feet high and every detail can be seen. Again we charged again, and involuntarily looked toward the villages on the east bank of the river, where, crowded against a garden wall, stood a bow of twenty or thirty horsemen. In all likelihood, this will be the General Staff. The machine guns are already ringing; the result is great confusion, collisions and total defeat.
Suddenly two Sopwith scouts attack our machines from the left flank; After a brief skirmish, I see one of them doomed and the other hastily fleeing. The machine guns swept the columns below twice more, until almost all the shells were fired. After returning to our airfield to replenish our ammunition, we attacked again; again we meet with the same success.
We had paralyzed a whole English division; our infantry gained time to consolidate their new positions in peace. Our achievement was honored by an army declaration in unforgettable words (Hermann).


The German Luftwaffe on the Western Front - Verdun, 1916 - The Battle of the Somme, 1916 - On the Defensive, 1917 - The Great Offensive, 1918.

VERDUN, 1916

Ufa! When G HQ decided to attack the Verdun Fortress, they also decided that this entire stretch of the front should be carefully reconnoitered. The trenches at the front and all the rear areas, which included the woods on the north-eastern front and the wooded region east of Varennes, were most closely examined. During that year, photographic reconnaissance became easier and more efficient, as it could uncover targets hidden even in the depths of the forest, and also allowed careful examination of ditches, stakes, and obstacles. The lengths of the graben system were compared to existing records and an estimate of their resistivity was obtained; while in the rear areas all camps, lines of communication and airfields were explored as far as Bar-le-Duc.
In early February, reconnaissance machines became involved in the conflict. The elaboration of a photographic map of the area to be attacked was carried out by a special unit, supported by the work of four squadrons, until then limited to the Verdun front. At the beginning of the operations, three fighter squadrons were deployed to conduct raids on camps and hills behind enemy lines.
The attack itself began on February 21, 1916, in inclement weather and after a fortnight's period of almost unrelenting rain. The effect of our shelling on the forest positions could only be observed from a very low altitude.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (28)

Cowardly. 28. Fort Douauroont, Verdun. Before the German bombing.

Long-range heavy artillery pieces were deployed at Fort Douaumont and controlled by aerial observation, the results of their work being confirmed by photographs. Fighting machines were deployed to harass all traffic on the roads leading to Verdun. Initially, the single-seat scouts could not do much because of low clouds, and during the attack on Verdun there was never any air formation or squadron combat, as the French, unlike the English, avoided dogfights. The work of the artillery observation machines was the most important. Every day new enemy batteries were discovered and attacked by our artillery. Unfortunately, the infantry contact machines proved of little help as the infantry still did not have enough confidence in their services. It used to take several hours for information about the situation in our front line trenches to reach our artillery, and our behavior was hampered. For example, our own guns fired at the Douaumont forts for hours after they were captured.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (29)

Cowardly. 29. Port of Douaumont, Verdun. After the German bombing raid.

The attack on the west bank of the Haas followed the same general lines as the attack on the east bank. These were mostly some key positions and artillery spotting became especially useful to deal with them.
When the Somme offensive broke out in July 1916, the Luftwaffe on the Verdun front had to be significantly weakened in order to be able to help in the current operational scenario.
The main task of those who remained on the Verdun front was to keep a close eye on all enemy troop concentrations in readiness for the counter-attacks launched against the now weakened front. Thus, by constantly observing their preparations, we were able to see and discover the main direction of the French offensives in September and November very early on.
In times of greatest need, airplanes were used primarily as a means of communication, delivering rations, ammunition, packages, etc. to front-line soldiers. Our combat machines were able to successfully attack various positions behind the enemy front lines. For example, a bridge near Verdun was destroyed by bombs. The light from many fires on the horizon often showed where our planes had blown up ammunition depots. The bombing of enemy reinforcement bases in Vitry-le-Francois, Bevigny and Bar-le-Duc was supported by aircraft, which, however, were soon forced to stop their work because of the increase in enemy strength. defense
Although the Luftwaffe may not have played the same crucial role at Verdun as in later operations, this was due to the fact that the French airmen opposed them and that they were too few in numbers to be used as soldiers. a unit in combat.
In any case, it must be remembered that during the Verdun offensive, the Luftwaffe turned from a purely reconnaissance corps into combat duty. When fighting was intense, at least half the machine guns were used in the air than on the ground. Our airmen conducted all reconnaissance required of them (Haehnelt.)


The Luftwaffe's role during the Battle of the Somme deserves particular criticism. This battle was wonderful training in all aspects of aviation and influenced the entire development of our Air Force, both organizationally and creatively as well as in the training of personnel, until the end of the war. In the course of the operations, air policy became increasingly important due to the numerous energetic attacks by so-called specialists before and at the beginning of the battle.
A strong echo of these allegations was found in the Reichstag debates. Our war-tested aviators were hard pressed at the front at this time and therefore had to forgo giving an answer to these treacherous parliamentarians in the interests of service. . Airmen did their thankless work as best they could but received no reward, thanks to officials whose "expert" knowledge was acquired not in a pilot's or observer's cabin but at a desk. Eventually, both the army and the general public were led to view the performance of the Luftwaffe in the spring and summer of 1916 from a very distorted perspective that now needs to be corrected.
Following the general structure of this book, I drop all statistics, graphs, maps, tables and the like, which usually go unread and carry little weight, and base my argument on the following considerations:
1. The report on the work of the First Army at the Battle of the Somme, issued by the Headquarters of the First Army on January 30, 1917, and
2. My own experiences at that time and place.
The account begins: “The Battle of the Somme did not surprise the Second Army, which was operating on the same front. As early as February 1916 our airmen observed numerous huts under construction on both sides of the Aisne in this region facing the north flank of the army front. Shortly thereafter, the English divisions on the northern Somme front were reinforced but, according to infantry patrols, they were usually withdrawn from the front after a few weeks. By the end of April their numbers had risen to twelve north of the Somme, and they faced only four German divisions.
Unfortunately, the information gleaned from tactical and strategic reconnaissance between Starch and the beginning of the battle is not included in this report, although one of the main arguments of our traitors at home was: 4 Even before the offensive was opened, the Air Force made its Didn't fulfill duty and didn't give us information about the situation behind enemy lines.
In March 1916 our airmen reported the movement of large parts of the French lines south at Arras and the erection of a large number of tents north of the Somme, operations all protected by heavy artillery fire to limit our observation. For example, on April 23, a Bavarian squadron reported two new enemy airfields east of Villers-Brettoneux and a large training ground near Corbe. of four and could therefore accommodate around fifty aircraft. In addition, numerous hangars and sheds were built between the Ancre and the Somme.
The presence of infantry training camps and railway buildings in the Vecque-mont neighborhood was established through photographic exploration. This information also showed us that the camps north of the Somme were intended for the British and those south of the Somme for the French. In May, squadrons 33, 32 and 59 received similar information. In view of these facts, there could no longer be any doubt as to the region from which the attack would be launched and its general direction.
During the first two weeks of June, signs of new communications trenches running north-forward well behind the lines and around "Hammer Wood" began to appear. of the 14th Army Reserve Corps that, combined with extremely active local enemy air activity, there was no doubt that an attack would be launched from that direction. The answer was that nothing was happening on that part of the line and that we should just wait for an attack further north, near Serre and Hebuterne. His reference to the likelihood of an attack on the weak Fricourt ledge also went unheeded.
On June 17, an aircraft from the same squadron showed beyond any doubt that the number of battery positions, ditches, trenches and assembly points had greatly increased, particularly to the south and east of Hammer Wood. General Staff and Headquarters of the 2nd Army Corps. On June 19, the information obtained on these flights, namely the fact that there were numerous trenches south of Maricourt, was confirmed by later reconnaissance. On July 17th I happened to be with 1st Squadron Bavaria and took the opportunity to personally read the report sent out at 10:30 p.m. on June 22 to the Commanding General of the Army's 14th Reserve Corps on the results of a reconnaissance flight. This report states: “The enemy, if he does so, will attack with Maricourt as his right wing, and not only from Gommecourt. Because of the tactical advantage it affords him, he doesn't want to give up attacking Friday's court lead.
The 32nd Squadron found from Gommecourt footage that the enemy had made most of their preparations for an attack by building earthen ramparts in this quarter. In addition, the 27th Squadron reported that the enemy was advancing rapidly south of the Somme to the "Roman Road" and digging trenches for his attack.
It is natural that the infantry could not value all these silent activities at their fair value, a fact that led them to underestimate the work of the Luftwaffe during combat itself. Our airmen not only had to contend with the overwhelming numerical superiority of the enemy, but also with a much more serious difficulty: the prejudice of infantry and other arms. The infantry had no training in the science of defense against low-flying aircraft, nor did they believe in their ability to shoot down these machines if they decided to do so. As a result, they were gripped by a fear almost tantamount to panic, fear fueled by the incessant activity and hostility of enemy aircraft.
Although our infantry had a healthy respect for enemy airmen's machine gun attacks, for our own machines this work was considered of secondary importance, and this opinion is expressed in a First Army communique. however, in the same statement we are told that the infantry were initially quite defenseless against bombing or machine gun fire from above. Already in April the G.O.C. The Guard Corps banned all bombing raids from that moment on. The consequences of this prohibition can be gauged from the fact that although the enemy was free to attack us in this way, he was not obliged to defend himself, while we had to use a large part of our strength to do so. I believe that in our enemy's stores and warehouses of ammunition and personnel, we could have found targets, the destruction of which would certainly have delayed the development of his attack, and in any case hampered his offensive operations aircraft. . . In official reports from higher command I read paragraphs like the following:
"Constantly enemy planes fly over our trenches from as little as 150 feet while the observer shoots our men dead or, lying in one of the planes, points his handkerchief at the enemy artillery."
"An enemy aircraft, noticing a small white terrier emerging from a shelter, concluded the probable presence of an officer inside and immediately aimed enemy artillery at it."
“An enemy plane passed our positions last night. We could clearly hear the conversation between the pilot and the observer."
The annoyance of the infantry was expressed in comments such as “May God punish England, our artillery and our air force!” or a question passed from man to man as loudly as they dared: “Has anyone seen a German airman here? "However, none of these claims have been confirmed upon thorough investigation.
As a result of this mood, the Army Corps issued numerous orders. which further angered the Air Force and led to unofficial and undisciplined responses.
On July 22, despite resistance, cameras were sent to engage a supposedly enemy aircraft, which turned out to be one of our own Albatrosses. Our meager deterrents were used almost day and night for fear of air raids, though all they did was waste gasoline, wore out engines, and kept the small staff so busy they couldn't do more serious work. .
Unfortunately, the Battle of the Somme began at a time when there was little improvement in the design of our aircraft. The undisputed air supremacy which we enjoyed at the beginning of 1916 thanks to the Fokker monoplane in March and April passed completely to the enemy machines Nieuport, Vickers and Sopwith. Monthly aircraft production was not even enough to constantly supply each squadron with the same type. For example, Squad 23 consisted of five different types.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (30)

Cowardly. 30. Massive artillery positions before the British attack on Flanders in 1917

Despite these disadvantages, I found the Air Force always interested in flying, full of offensive spirit, and with an absolute belief that it would eventually work out. When the skills of Boelcke and his followers, all of whom were flying the new Haiberstadt D 3 fighter, became apparent, there was a backlash and at the end of August the 1st Army Corps was able to surrender to the G.H.Q. : 'We have had reports from various front lines that our aircraft are having more success and that the infantry is gradually regaining confidence in our air force.'
Having described the balancing of opposing forces and the beginning of a gradual buildup of forces on both sides, this review of the Battle of the Somme might well come to a close had duty to our fallen airmen not led me to a few Words to say, words in response to envious onslaughts that suggest our Luftwaffe has been particularly “over-decorated” with the “Ordre Pour le Mérite.” The Air Force was the only service whose honors could only be won in the face of the enemy, and one can still study the list of conditions that had to be met before one of the three Air Force honors could be bestowed: no Kaiser, no king . , prince or general could use these bands without real wartime flight experience. These three awards are the only honors, aside from the Life Saving Medal, that prove that the recipient, whether pilot, observer officer or gunner, has faced death without batting an eyelid. The wound bandage itself doesn't necessarily mark its wearer as a hero, for an enemy bomb in the night could lock them up in the comfort of any base hospital or bed at home.
Throughout the course of the war, no flying officer won the Order Pour le Merite at an office desk. Numerous victorious duels, usually twenty or more, were necessary qualifications, and each of these duels had to be meticulously confirmed. What distinction of other service is there, the bearer of which alone can claim between twenty and eighty acts of daring and bravery? And even when luck favored its wearer, there was always a good reason to use it. Of the seventy-two knights of the august Ordro Pour le Merite, thirty-two were buried in war and none of them rest on their laurels. May your noble example live longer in the memory of the German people than the memory of your honor being dragged through the mud of the Battle of the Somme. (Winner.)


In the winter of 1916, due to the general war situation, it became necessary to prepare for the expected defensive operations. The first of these preparations was a thorough and accurate reconnaissance of the many ramifications of the system of trenches and rear spaces along all lines, in order that the enemy's plans and direction of attack might be discerned in time and completed for the general preparations for defence. placed along the entire front. It seemed likely that the French would try to break through in Alsace to improve their political situation with local success; on the other hand, they could compromise all our material by advancing towards the industrial centers of the Saarland, or, if they managed to reach the Longuyon-Montmödy railway line, seriously threaten reinforcements on the German front with an attack. Attack from Verdun. Both here and in Champagne, the enemy's preparations for an offensive were greatly simplified by the large-scale operations conducted previously. In addition, there was the possibility of a combined French and English offensive on the Aisne front. So the whole situation was very uncertain.
All aerial surveys were carried out with the same main objective: to closely observe rail traffic, namely in terms of stations and the respective accumulation of rolling stock and rolling stock. By observing the construction of huts behind the lines, an estimate of the strength of enemy forces in a given district could be made, although errors were possible due to the difficulty of distinguishing between fictitious positions and actually occupied huts. In addition, enemy ammunition depots etc. were intensively searched. The enemy, like us, was forced to concentrate its resources, and wherever it wanted to attack, it had to accumulate materials.
We could not count on a particular expansion of this trench system for his offensive, since he had given us excellent indications of his plans in this regard in 1915 with the construction of the 'Joffre' trenches. However, it was quite different with artillery positions. Here they managed to make a systematic change of the entire front in order to deceive us. The individual battery positions provided by a single gun were used to aid in deception. But even in this regard, it was possible to get an overview of the situation, since the observed traffic near such battery positions was small, and besides, there were usually no ammunition depots nearby. Another feature of the enemy's attack preparations was the laying of rails for the use of rail guns. By building these railroads, the direction of fire of these long-range guns could be gauged and the general staff's plan of attack constantly discovered.
During this time it was equally important to protect our own observations and we had to constantly monitor our own defensive preparations to keep them secret from the enemy. In January 1917, near Wychaerte, between Bapaume and Arras, at Roye, on the Aisne front and in the Nesle valley, the first signs of enemy preparation for an offensive appeared. The "Siegfried" operations, which took place between February and March 1917, were advances by the enemy for an attack in the Somme region around Bapaume, and this plan of theirs, together with the attack at Roye, was thus eliminated. The preparations for this offensive on the Aisne and Champagne fronts in March left no doubt as to the Entente's intention to opt for this section of the line. This also seemed likely from a strategic point of view: it was very likely that they would try to cut our lead by attacking the English from the north and the French from the south at the Aisne. champagne front.
By March we had no more doubts about the main direction of the attack as the Luftwaffe began to concentrate and reorganize on these fronts.
The main function of the artillery observation machines was to relieve our infantry and subdue the enemy artillery. This work was carried out with great determination and success. The nearby wireless installations behind the lines proved to be of great help and support in combating moving targets. First of all, it was necessary to escort all the planes individually, since the general situation in the air was unfavorable for us. In order for the artillery scout to do its job properly, it had to be assisted by someone to keep an eye out for enemy aircraft and protect it from surprises. This cooperation between the escort aircraft and the artillery aircraft was ensured by the fact that the escort and artillery squadrons were combined into one unit and were based on the same airfields.
Infantry contact machines were called upon to play an active role in the early days of the offensive. Part of our front line trenches had been lost and our troops were spread out with guns, unconsolidated and dodging carefully defined trenches as the enemy knew their precise position and concentrated their artillery fire on them.
In each group, certain machines were assigned to control the fire of our long-range guns. It is important that the same observer always carries out this work, because the best possible results can only be obtained through specialization.
The fighting machines at the beginning of the offensive were attached to different groups and their operations came under the control of corps commanders. However, it soon became clear that this method affected the Air Force unit as a whole and leadership. to a division of the forces at our disposal. In general, there were never enough machines where they were needed, and consequently, over time, fighter pilots organized themselves into groups that operated where fighting was most intense. With these means it became possible to deploy defensive units, and the enemy air force no longer broke through our defensive patrols with the help of their numerical superiority. In fact, enemy numerical superiority was achieved to some extent by this method.
Likewise, it was deemed necessary to group staff and operations under the control of a central authority.
Only in this way could the forces available to us be optimally used during the long struggle. It must be remembered that fighting machines passed from one great battle to another. An inactive section of the line was something they were unaware of, and it was also impossible to allocate any part of the combat duty to the reserve.
The work of the fighter squadrons was supported by the officers in charge of the missile batteries in different sections of the front, who monitored the wireless installations and sent messages to the group commanders, constantly updating them on the progress of the battle. The tracking of enemy squadrons is made much easier by the fact that war maps have been divided into large squares and in this way the position and direction of flight of an enemy machine can be located on an air machine at any time.
Bomb squadrons were commanded by army groups and deployed against enemy depots, camps and other transport hubs. They achieved notable success in raiding lodges, particularly in the western quarter of Reims.
The enemy's air activity outnumbered us, but at no stage of the battle did he gain a tactical advantage over us. Also, dogfights were not fought as decisively as on the English front, as the French, while brave, were not as enthusiastic. Long battles, such as were common on the English front, were the exception on the French front.
After the wave of fighting subsided, our main objective was to protect the weakened German forces from the eyes of the enemy and to provide all our positions with the necessary protection against observation from above. All objects that were not effectively camouflaged were photographed and the photographs were sent to the infantry for information.
After the failure of the French attacks on the Aisne-Champagne front, they decided to stop the offensive. However, on the English front, fighting broke out with renewed intensity, and most of the flying units were sent to the new scene of fighting. (Haehnelt.)


While it was necessary for our defensive operations in 1917 to deploy the Luftwaffe on as broad a basis as possible to meet the many and varied demands placed on it by the many places where the enemy might attempt to break through, was it now necessary for our offensive operations to concentrate the Luftwaffe in order to be numerically superior from the outset. In order to prepare and guide all flying units in the tactics of offensive operations, a memorandum was issued in the winter of 1917, which will serve as the basis for this section. The deployment took place so promptly that the entire Air Force was organized in a focused and targeted manner from the start.
Even as we prepared our defensive operations in 1917 we had in mind the likelihood of a future offensive. The construction of airfields, each equipped with an equal number of hangars along the entire western front, was carried out until our forces were easily distributed along the entire length of the front. It became imperative to protect the concentration of our flying units, which could easily have been betrayed by the construction of airfields. In addition, the troop movements could not be warned too early, so that the enemy spy system would not receive information about our attack plans.
Large depots were set up on the western front to supply spare parts, and similar depots were set up on several other fronts to mislead the enemy.
In order for observers to be fully aware of all possible areas of operation, squadrons were formed on the various fronts from February to give them the opportunity to experience the battlefield. Our own advance was conducted in such a way that those squadrons which were some distance behind our lines and thus outside the enemy's reconnaissance radius were the first to move. Some necessary reconnaissance flights were conducted from these rear areas, but any concentration of aircraft at the front was strictly forbidden until the day of the attack. Where it was necessary to bring units closer to the front, all the material was stored in sheds, dugouts, etc.
For reasons of secrecy, it was important that the enemy's reconnaissance machines were kept clear of the area through which we intended to penetrate. As a result, scouts constantly patrolled these sectors to chase away enemy planes attempting to pass. The newly arrived squadrons were not allowed to fly over the lines, so that the enemy would not find out about our concentration from increased losses.
The enemy tried to carry out the reconnaissance they wanted by deploying exceptionally powerful squadrons. The result was a very intense dogfight. Our fighting machines were concentrated under the command of Richthofen. Small groups of our fighting machines, rarely involved in dogfights, want to conserve their strength. For example, on February 21, the first major air battle took place, in which a total of sixty or seventy aircraft took part. The English fought stubbornly and the fighting lasted over half an hour, thirteen enemy planes were shot down while we lost only one.
These reconnaissance machines, already operating over our intended attack area, had an excellent opportunity to study the aerial photos taken by several units and get accurate information about the future battlefield. Trench Gun Squads, not yet grouped together, concentrated behind the lines and practiced attacking ground targets with machine guns and bombs.
The instructions on the methods to be adopted by the other branches of the service were carefully prepared through operating instructions that were explanatory and illustrated with photographs. These orders were further distributed to regiments and aerial photographs were fixed to companies and platoons. Just forty-eight hours before the offensive began, the entire Luftwaffe was ready to launch, with orders to await orders to attack. Heavy clouds hung over the 17th, 2nd and 18th Armies' fronts on the day of the actual offensive, making it impossible for the trench machines to support the infantry attack or for the reconnaissance machines to carry out their work until about 11:00. In the morning, when the clouds cleared and a very clear report on the course of the battle could be given to the High Command. Only at night was it possible for the trench machine guns to engage the artillery in order to overwhelm them and make their retreat more difficult. This work was extraordinarily successful, and a lot of heavy artillery fell into our hands.
The following day, the Luftwaffe was tasked with recognizing and registering the reserves that were transferred to the deployment site. Radio stations located nearby behind the lines helped with the work of attacking these targets with heavy fire.
Having broken through the first front line, we are moving forward quickly. It was necessary to keep as close contact as possible with the infantry, the planes had to necessarily follow them, and only then was it possible to transmit orders and messages to the expedition's knights and runners, because of the speed advanced, they were not able to to accomplish the task, hard work was imposed on them.
In order to preserve the individuality of the various flying units, they were transferred to the airfields in the devastated area in groups with truck convoys. The airfields were first detected by cameras and then divided between the groups, so that each group was independent in its own sector. Special airfields were provided for combat machines, and on the third day of the attack we used enemy airfields closest to the line. Virtually all material found at these airfields was destroyed by fire.
The success of No. 1 Illumination Squadron is primarily due to the initiative of its commander, Frhr. From Richthofen. Its airfield was always so far forward that it was within range of enemy artillery, and its great success must be attributed to the fact that it always tried to stay on the enemy's heels, whatever the weather. In the cold spring months he camped with all his men and mechanics under tarpaulins taped to their machines. As a result, the Air Force achieved unprecedented efficiency. Many machines were badly damaged and many men were injured by crash-landing between shell holes in the devastated region. On the other hand, thanks to the activity of our combat machines, losses from enemy actions were very small.
We have already discussed the work of recognition engines. As the advance faltered, they were again asked to begin the work normally associated with trench warfare. Trench machine guns worked tirelessly from all heights and in all sectors of the battlefront, focusing most of their attention on enemy reinforcements. They specialized in attacking the narrow roads and bridges of the Somme, and the results of their work could be seen in the region evacuated after the enemy left. In cooperation with the artillery, they often caused great confusion at these points. Infantry contact machines worked the lines continuously throughout the offensive.
Although the cost of materials and personnel during the battle was very high, the units managed to remain in full strength until the end thanks to the aircraft supply depots provided.
An intermediate tank was pushed from each army aircraft park into the sector worked by the squadrons to be supplied. This method was of particular importance in maintaining the supply of gasoline, a large amount of which was consumed. Tankers proved insufficient and huge iron containers were built with material from Belgian factories, allowing supplies of up to 100 tons to be shipped at a time.
Bomb squadrons were mainly under the command of Army Groups. During the night after the first advance and in the following nights, railway approaches and level crossings behind the lines were attacked, later reserve camps and ammunition depots were selected as targets. In this work, “Bombardment Squadron” No. 7 achieved remarkable success. Despite uninterrupted nightly activity, this squadron refused to rest and practiced daytime bombing raids with C-type machines and bombarded all camps and warehouses near the battlefield. On their outward and return journeys they attacked enemy lines of communication with machine guns.
Fighting on this new front was very fierce and air warfare intensified as the French and British concentrated on the new front. Thus the tide of battle ebbed and flowed by August 8th. That day, a foggy morning, the enemy unleashed a heavy barrage on the Somme front. As soon as we realized the extent of this morning attack, the squadrons of all fronts concentrated on this section of the lines so quickly that by the time the fog lifted, an adequate air force had been assembled. The decisive day for the entire war turned out to be the most successful in the entire history of our airmen. In the afternoon of that day, eighty-three enemy machines downed were counted behind our lines. Our airmen raised the level of all German armed forces by their help and bravery in battle (Haehnelt).


WHEN the 14th German army assembled in the Sava valley around Ljubljana and Krainburg at the end of September 1917 and the army commander verified his information about the area and our enemy, it became clear that existing Austrian maps of the Julian Alps and the mountain regions of Tolmein, Karfreit and Civigale were unreliable. In reality, nothing existed but a 1 in 200,000 scale map, good enough to be used as a source of information about the plains when needed, but not good enough for the extent of the hill country.
The General Staff was therefore faced with a difficulty right from the start, which was bound to lead to at least considerable delays. Accurate knowledge of the terrain is an essential prerequisite for any advancement, especially artillery, and this precise knowledge must be acquired without wasting time. Due to the lateness of the year, the likelihood of heavy snowfalls in the mountains, and especially the fact that the enemy was planning an attack on the Doberdo plateau, haste was needed. The aim of our planned offensive was to contain the attack in question and to relieve our allies in Trieste. It was clear, however, that ordering divisions to attack without intimate knowledge of the peculiarities of this mountainous country was a particularly risky course of action.
German Luftwaffe squadrons assigned to German troops in this district helped the General Staff get out of its dilemma in no time. A few days were enough for our fighter pilots with their daring and their experience on the western front. to expel all Italian planes from the air, mainly because the Italians have so far only faced the Austrian Air Force, which at the time relied on inferior machines. This assured our reconnaissance machines air supremacy over the battlefields and they were able to do their work unhindered. In a short time they completed a photographic survey of the areas on either side of the lines, and provided the General Staff with a complete picture of the enemy's rail system, the distribution of his forces, and the disposition and strength of his flying units. . Reconnaissance of enemy airfields proved particularly useful later, when our advance was successful, as it provided our squadrons with bases to garrison immediately, and consequently readiness for emergencies, such as searching for possible landing sites in that region, which although relatively flat, but poor flying terrain due to extensive farming, was avoided.
Thanks to the improved map, it was possible to select in advance the positions that the artillery should take when advancing, to assign targets to each battery, and to monitor the batteries themselves from the air. Advantages in the air against an already partially better-engined enemy and under very difficult conditions, which included flying 40 miles or more forward from Carniola base over impassable mountains, and with no possibility of stopovers or emergency landing sites. In addition, both luck and weather conditions were not particularly favorable; only occasionally were there good days before the attack began, and early on we suffered many misfortunes and lost many men and materiel to enemy activity and air casualties.
Our plans for the offensive implied that the Air Force had a mission of critical importance once the advance began. The penetration of the Italian line north of Tolmein succeeded after two years of hard fighting against an enemy familiar with all possibilities of mountain warfare. Although against far superior odds, he succeeded after just a short fight. The advance then took place at almost ideal speed and without delay. The province of Udino was opened up by our divisions with incredible ease as they advanced inexorably, although in fact they met little resistance as the individual targets of our attack fell one after the other in a well thought out encirclement move. Our forces advanced to attack on October 23, 1917; by the 28th they had reached Tagliamento, and behind them, on every road, lay vast quantities of material that had fallen into our hands, representing the entire stocks of several enemy armies.
The advance limits allotted to our small forces were greatly exceeded. The fact that the enemy, pushed back into the mountains, offered almost no resistance, but ceded a large area to us, led our general staff to believe that the Italians intended to keep them in Tagliamento. It did not seem convenient to harass the enemy with the forces at our disposal, and our gains were already considered more than sufficient. So our airmen determined that the enemy's intention was to stop behind the Piave. Previously, between November 2nd and 6th, our airmen had been busy observing the almost unbelievable confusion among the enemy and had thus provided the General Staff with much valuable information. The information thus obtained allowed us to consolidate our position in this vast province between the Tagliamento and the Piave.
When winter came, it brought trench warfare on the Piave, with all its characteristic works associated with trench warfare, and did not differ much from those on the other fronts. Indeed, it was difficult for our forces, however small on the ground and in the air, to defend themselves over such a large area. The enemy was soon reinforced by rapidly advancing French and English forces. The old game we had played on the western front was resumed; one against ten. Despite all the difficulties, we have achieved notable successes. On December 26, all machines assigned to the army carried out a combined attack in broad daylight into the heart of the enemy country, attacking Trevignano airfield from very low altitude and partially destroying it. The violence of the enemy air defenses did not prevent us from showing the Black Cross as far as Verona. Finally it should be noted that in early December 1917 excellent work was done by No. 4 'Bombardment Squadron' attached to the Army. Particularly good results were obtained when part of this squadron set out with tireless zeal seven times in a single night to celebrate the Emperor's birthday. Padua, Mestre and Treviso were his main destinations, and the clarity of the bright southern nights greatly aided his work. In Padua and in Venice, the grandchildren of the present generation will yet hear the story of those “barbarians” from the north who, like the stormy winds from the north, took hold of their black pinions and spread terror and destruction into the air. Silence of the night along the sleeping plains at the foot of the Alps. (Dickhoff and Homburg).


Too many cooks spoil the broth'; Example: Turkey. The Turkish army was reorganized by the German military mission, the Turkish navy by the British, while the Turkish air force was under French command! Such was the situation just before the outbreak of the Great War, and one must not overlook the zeal with which England and France used Turkey's defeats in the Balkan War to attack German influence in the Middle East. When this failed and Turkey entered the war on our side two weeks after it broke out, England and France made efforts to paralyze those two main factors in the defense of the Dardanelles, namely the Turkish Navy and the Air Force. The technical staff of the Goeben and Breslau found that there was almost no usable machinery on board the Turkish ships. The cunning English had allegedly distributed vital machines to the various factories in Constantinople for repair purposes, so that even after weeks of work material was still missing.
Worse still was the Air Force, over which the French had exercised such friendly supervision. When, in January 1915, I first visited this huge and fantastically beautiful airfield north of San Stefano, I found among the mass of useless junk in the form of airplanes only two machines with which bold Turkish pilots dared to fly five minutes*. over the airfield in calm weather. These two machines, one SO H.P. Gnome Deperdussin and a 40 H.P. Bleriot, were the pride of the Turkish Air Force. None of them could be called a "flying machine" let alone a "service machine"; and the pride of the Turks in such imposing contraptions, though it is sometimes true that they flew without breaking down, shows how skillfully the French exploited that weakest part of the Turkish character, complacency. for their own purposes.
Captain S., sent to Constantinople in February 1915 to reorganize the Turkish Air Force, was faced with a task. The most important thing was to accelerate Germany's planes as quickly as possible. With the direct route through Serbia closed and Romania hostilely "neutral" - so much so that it refused to allow Christmas packages for the crews of the Goeben and Breslau through its territory - only one method remained, and that was to fly the machines from southern Hungary to Lom Palanka on the Danube in Bulgaria and by train to Constantinople.
In March 1915 an attempt was made to bring six machines to Constantinople this way. Three of them reached San Stefano, but of course too late to take part in the defense against the great Dardanelles attack of March 18; but at least they arrived. Then Bulgaria suddenly remembered its "neutrality" and therefore confiscated the remaining three planes as they were on their way from Lom Palanka to Sofia. Now it was a matter of daring to flee from Herculesbad to Adrianople, and the escape was successful. apart from a few exceptions, excellent proof of the performance of our aircraft at the time. Obviously, it was not possible to carry spares or supplies on these flights, as all available "upgrades" had to be applied in order to carry the required amount of fuel.
The first German machine appeared in April 1915 in the Dardanelles. The conditions under which our men had to fight were the worst imaginable. Aside from having the honor of facing ten times as many enemy machines, an honor later accorded to our men in all other Turkish theaters of war, they often had to fly 60 miles or more over the sea in an earth machine. , since the islands of Imbros and Tenedos represented the most important targets of our reconnaissance. In addition, the long-awaited coordination between the air squadrons and the general staff was almost impossible due to communication difficulties, since it took four hours on horseback from the airfield to the general staff headquarters and the small Turkish service telephone could be trusted. The Turks observed with great bitterness that a German machine, when attacked, turned as if to flee. We had a lot of trouble getting them to understand that the Type B aircraft must first move away from an attack in order to have a good firing range.
This unfortunate impression in the Turkish mind was finally shattered in February 1916 by the arrival of three Fokkers who shot down six of the enemy's planes in a week. The bold Type B aircraft were once again in command of the air and could harass the British with cameras and bombs. The ships presented a very tempting but extremely difficult target to hit. Its zigzag course made this almost impossible, and yet we twice managed to hit the transport ships square in the face, at Smyrna and in the Gulf of Saros. Night bombing raids were also very popular, especially at the large English airfield on the island of Tenedos,
On one of those occasions, two of our airmen ran into serious trouble. The pilot had descended to 120 feet above the ground, the spotter had given his blessing for the bombs, and when satisfied with the feeling of having done a good job for the return flight, the pilot frantically screamed that the engine controls were stuck . . . There they were only 120 feet above the enemy airfield at night, an extremely awkward situation! With incredible coolness and agility, the observer climbed out of the plane to find that the throttle control rod had come loose and the throttle itself had closed automatically by its spring. So he left it open himself and had to spend the entire return flight, which lasted almost an hour, on the plane. The plane landed safely.
When the British evacuated Gallipoli, the Dardanelles theater of war became less important; Most of the machines that could now easily reach us from Germany were sent to other theaters of war. {Börmann.)


The road from Homburg to Baghdad was open and it fell to us to take advantage of the defeat of Serbia and the relief of the Dardanelles. Thus the idea of ​​undertaking the campaign against the Suez Canal was taken up again, but on a larger scale than in 1915. To this end, a German squadron was sent to take part in the campaign, thus being the first to fly men in fulfilling their Duties in the heart of the desert. Their preparations began in January 1916 with true German thoroughness. It would clearly be an experiment, and the squadron's technical equipment would have to be adapted to tropical conditions.
The fourteen C 1 Rumpler machines with a Mercedes 150 H.F. and enlarged radiators, were just as excellent as the technical equipment and spare parts supplied. I like to think now of the convenient boxes that Daimler delivered its replacement engines in and which could be transported on camels, as opposed to the methods used by other companies towards the end of the campaign, which packed our spares in huge boxes that could hardly be transported. . . bo handled with cranes. The squadron had mechanical transport to move their supplies, but they were denied their own cars because the "experts" stated they could not be used in the desert, logic I still don't fully understand. Another expert explained that in the desert you can only fly at night or at most at dawn!
The issue of resupply was of crucial importance. The land route was the only way to supply the Sinai front. From Constantinople the distance to Beersheba by train was about 900 miles, and Beersheba was the base for the Canal Campaign.
The authorities in Constantinople seemed unaware of the difficulties of transportation, nor did they take the necessary precautions to deal with it, as predictability in the dressing rooms was very limited. Material was accumulating in Bozanti, Gelebek Mamoure, Islahije and Bayak in a most worrying manner, causing much congestion and confusion. During the rainy season, flooding caused eight to ten days of delays in our transportation system. Lack of rolling stock, locomotive inefficiency, and difficult procurement of fuel due to shortages of firewood and coal also created numerous problems.
These weren't the only difficulties. Until now we had waged war in the enemy's country, and had become accustomed to commanding. However, we were on friendly territory here! Obviously there is no point in giving orders unless unconditional obedience can be demanded. However, it was very rare for transport officials to be able to do this. In addition, we had to take into account the oriental character and the slight corruption of the Turkish spirit. They also lacked an understanding of the value of time. — Yavash, Yavash! (slow) represents an ideal life for the Oriental. All haste, all haste, they consider rude and hateful to their souls. They are naturally thick-skinned and undoubtedly the climate has a lot to do with this way of life. Finally, there were a large number of Germans who easily fell into this contemplative and philosophical way of thinking and living.
The English were in a much better position. They crossed the Sinai desert from the Suez Canal and undertook the construction of a railway that would connect to the ancient civilized land of Egypt. This railroad was accompanied throughout its length by a water supply conducted by a cast-iron pipe about 12 inches in diameter. Pumping stations and regulating cocks were distributed along the route. The sea offered them an alternative route to Alexandria and Port Said. The English could make better use of this route, since our submarines are hampered in their activity by shallows near the coast.
Before the start of the Canal campaign, General von Kress carried out a very thorough reconnaissance with powerful forces. At Easter 191G he advanced on Katia; He overwhelmed the English camp and captured about 20 officers and 1,200 men. Two machines took part in this expedition, both belonging to No. 300 Squadron, which was advancing a detachment to Beersheba.
During this adventure, El-Arish, which was some 90 miles from the English Channel, was used as an intermediate airstrip and later the entire squadron was stationed there, while General von Kress also made it his headquarters. . The flying men began to appreciate the immense difficulties in carrying out their work in the desert. From Beersheba, all supplies, from petrol to the smallest spare part, had to be transported on camels, which were forced to take the old caravan route due to the lack of wells. When our airfield was under construction, the English airmen carried out a very energetic and daring attack. At eleven o'clock in the morning they dropped their bombs and, having descended 30 meters from the ground, attacked us with machine gun fire. However, they did little damage.
The Channel Expedition began in late July before our expeditionary force was complete in number. We hoped this would relieve the Western Front of the Battle of the Somme. The English, however, were no longer satisfied with defending the Channel, but advanced about 15 miles towards our positions in our main line of advance. They were not surprised by our attacks and they mounted some really excellent counterattacks, forcing the Turkish troops to retreat to positions west and south-west of El-Arish. The attack that the Senussi were supposed to make against the Egyptians to the west did not take place. The resulting unrest among the Arabs necessitated that most of our expeditionary force be deployed in that area, leaving only a weak contingent to counter anticipated English raids in the desert. The plans of the British were illustrated by the fact that they began building a railway from the English Channel through the Sinai Desert.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (31)

Cowardly. The Suez Canal where it empties into the Bitter Lakes. In the lower left corner you can see the tent of an English camp.

Our reconnaissance was now mainly concerned with the course of this railway and the observation of the huge camps along the canal. Due to a lack of fuel, it was only possible to fly day to day. To increase his offensive power, Lt. Henkel, an observer gunner, added a front-firing machine gun mounted near the engine for the pilot. This is how the first British plane was shot down.
Since the airfield was only 7 miles from the coast, we had to reckon with being bombed from the sea. This was actually planned for the early morning of September 17, 1916. During the night of the 15th/16th we were bombed and on the 17th, just before sunrise, the alarm was sounded again. Due to false reports from the Royal Flying Corps about the supposed results of their recent nighttime bombing raids, the English seaplanes came so close to shore that they could be heard from their landing station. In a short time our pilots were in their planes in their night clothes or at least in very light clothing. One Sopwith was shot down by the flames, another was forced to land and the rest fled. We continued our success with hours of non-stop bombing and machine gun attack against the monitors and carriers, who eventually retreated north at full speed, leaving our rumblers unable to follow. This was another success that gave us even more courage.
The rainy season was coming, so we took the opportunity to move from 151-Arish to Beersheba. This move was not known to the British for several days. The squadron reached Hafir southwest of Beersheba in three night's marches with 300 heavily laden camels. In November 1916, a long flight to Cairo was operated from this airfield, totaling over 480 miles. This flight was completed, but not without a stopover, as our plane had to make a detour on its return because of anti-aircraft defenses in the English Channel, I took it for granted that a feat of this sort would be required to attack them 180 miles behind their lines it would come as a great surprise to the British, and they would indeed doubt the reports that reached Cairo Airport.
Leaving Beersheba at 7am. on November 13, Lt., Falcon and Lt. Schulte-heiss landed on EI-Arish, refueled in an escort aircraft, and continued the rest of his long voyage. At four o'clock in the afternoon they recaptured Beersheba, having landed at El-Arish as before. They successfully bombed the Cairo railway station, collecting valuable photographic information and observing the transport on the canal. They also took an interesting photo of the Giza Pyramids. El-Arish's escape was a direct line. The return flight went south of Suez. Not a single English machine was seen. We later learned from the prisoners that when the British pilots in the English Channel were told that a German plane was flying over Cairo, they naturally assumed they were wrong and stayed in their barracks!
Meanwhile, the British systematically pushed ahead with the construction of their railways. They built at least 700 meters of line a day and doubled that distance for a short time. They laid down a kind of timetable according to which the railway had to reach certain points of military importance on certain days. That railroad was the key to our plans, so to speak, but we could not follow the British as they advanced. A cavalry division constantly guarded and patrolled the districts about 5 miles from the start of the railway which on December 20, 1916 had reached the district opposite El-Arish which we evacuated.
I had long since become accustomed to the idea of ​​evacuating Beersheba, as the General Staff tended more and more to confine itself to the defense of Palestine. Material that was not needed at the time was transferred to a kind of aircraft depot in Damascus. A detachment was also sent there to put down a Druze uprising in Horan. It turned out that his mere appearance in the air was enough to do this. Two routes could be chosen for the retreat beyond Beersheba: eastward across the Dead Sea to the district east of the Jordan River, or northward across the plains of Palestine. There was talk of an airfield near Amman, but personally I thought the northern route would be chosen. On this route it was found that there was a suitable airfield at Ramleh on the Damascus railway and beside the Jaffa-Jerusalem road; This airfield was occupied in early March.
After a local setback near Khan-Junis in January 1917, and since it was fully understood at Turkish headquarters that the English objective was Palestine, it was decided that we would begin defense on that section of the front between Gaza and Beersheba, In Communications were very poor in this district, but from Beersheba, which was rightly regarded as the key to the position, a well-developed road led through Hebron to Jerusalem. There were only a few wells left and a great deal of zeal was sought for sites for new wells and construction began. While the country was passable to all means of transport during the dry season, the situation changed completely during the rainy season. The wadis became raging torrents, and it was difficult to wade through sticky mud on either side of the road. It was seldom possible for horses, and never mechanical means of transport, to move under these conditions.
At the beginning of March the chief of the English railways approached Khan-Junis. Meanwhile, there was a change in the eastern team. The old "Desert Lions" had returned to Germany, and new airmen, experienced in combat on the Eastern and Western Fronts, took their place. In addition, we managed to transport eight new Rumpler C 1 machines with permanently synchronized machine guns from Constantinople to Damascus in just three weeks.
In order to secure the construction of their railroad, the British had to take Gaza. On the morning of March 20, 1917, when they mobilized their cavalry to surround the city and advance their infantry into Gaza, fierce fighting broke out in the south. The cactus thicket, beyond which one could not see, proved a very serious obstacle to the success of the first infantry attack. Reconnaissance from the air was impossible for the enemy because of the presence of German airmen. By the afternoon of the first day of fighting, the enemy had broken through in several places, but resistance had not yet been broken. The next day two hastily assembled Turkish divisions gave us respite. The English did not wait for the attack, but withdrew. Four weeks later, they made another attempt of the same kind, but again without success.
According to His Excellency Djemal Pasha's statement, the Air Force saved the day during the First Battle of Gaza and the service it rendered during the Second Battle of Gaza was certainly no less. The movements of the English were immediately informed by our machines about their positions, the position of their flanks was observed and our general staff was constantly informed of the course of events. Since the commander, General von Kress, had no modern means of communication at his disposal apart from three radio stations, and since the first battle for Gaza had been fought in open warfare, it was necessary that all orders and reports were available to be sent. be transported by our aircraft. Therefore, when the general wanted to change the disposition of his troops, he carried with him in his chariot a tablecloth that could be spread out on the ground. As soon as this cloth was on display, a rumble promptly landed in its vicinity. In this way, the General Staff managed to keep the troops under control. During the afternoon, sectors of the Luftwaffe received orders to bombard enemy cavalry, which had concentrated at various points on the plain and were not offering them any cover. Some of the prisoners we've captured have told us about the damage these raids have caused.
By this time the English had given up the campaign plan they had been pursuing up to that point.
At the very edge of the desert, trench warfare arose and gave our pilots a field of activity that could not be broader or more promising. Long-range reconnaissance was often carried out on flights lasting more than six hours, to the Channel itself. The reinforcements that the British were constantly bringing in, partly by sea and partly by rail, made it necessary to conduct bombing raids from very low altitudes. Prisoners told us that rail traffic had long been restricted to night hours due to our violent attacks on trains.
It was known that a water main ran along the railway. Lieutenants Felmy and Falke had long had him in their sights.
When the second battle for Gaza began, these two officers landed 90 miles behind British lines, blew up the pipeline and returned home with a large piece of cast iron pipe as a souvenir. The English were forced to withdraw from the battle they had lost without the comfort of water.
This first successful experiment had to be repeated, and four weeks later the water main broke again. This time, however, they wanted to include the railroad itself, the telegraph system, and the electric power cables in the destruction. The second feat was just as dangerous as the first was easy. Their machine landed some distance from the side of the position they intended to fly at the site of a patch of salt water that had dried out in the sun. The engine of the machine was still running. The pilot happened to hang his fur coat on the observer's seat. The two men themselves were busy assembling their supplies of explosives and turning their full attention to the west, where a cavalry patrol was galloping toward them. Suddenly there was a shot! A second patrol appeared unnoticed from behind the sand dunes and was between them and their machine! In no time the safety devices were removed, and then a race for life began. In fact, the couple made it to the machine without getting hit. The English patrol considered the fur coat a dangerous object and took heart when they put a bullet through it. ; Once on the plane, the aviators dominated the situation.
From then on, daily reconnaissance and artillery checks took up the entire time of our airmen. For a long time the average odds against us were 5 to 1, but in February and early March 1917 it was 12 to 1 due to personnel changes and transport failures. In 1916 and late September 1917 not one machine was lost while sixteen English machines were shot down or destroyed forced to land proves that our airmen overcame all difficulties, that the technical staff was all that could be desired, in short, that everyone did their duty.
As has been erroneously reported, there was no rest camp for aviators in the Holy Land. On the days of greatest need, from mid-March to mid-April 1917, our pilots were able to complete more than 210 flight hours over enemy lines. Though few in number, they managed to retain their sense of superiority. One comment that sheds some light on the situation comes from an Australian flight officer who was shot down. When he saw our table gathered in the refectory of the Spanish monastery of Ramleh, he asked in astonishment: "But where are the others?" a lot of work.
On reconnaissance flights, the photographic information had to be constantly supplemented by actual eye observation, a job to which observers in 1916 and 1917 were not accustomed. In addition, conditions made it necessary for our machines to land in the immediate vicinity of the General Staff, who eagerly awaited their reports. First, however, the great desert heat destroyed most of our photo plates, since the gelatine layer melted more than once in the warm water.
The start of trench warfare and systematic artillery control made photographic reconnaissance even more necessary, since maps of the region we worked on, namely a map at a scale of 1:800,000 and another very inaccurate map at 1:250,000, were completely useless for trench warfare purposes. Oberleutnant Jancke had the happy idea of ​​producing a map composed of photo mosaics at a scale of about 1:100,000, which should serve as the basis for the construction of a really accurate map. This work was successfully completed after weeks of hard work, despite the primitive means at our disposal.
Under the leadership of their new commander, General Allenby, whose influence was becoming more evident, the British increasingly adapted to the conditions of desert warfare. Their luxurious tents, which used to distinguish the camps along the canal and which did not allow assessing the strength of the forces occupying them, disappeared. They were heading for a sort of bivouac shelter, made up of shallow ditches covered with tarps to protect them from the sun. It took a long time before it was also possible, with the help of our aerial photos, to arrive at a correct estimate of the number of soldiers recorded in this way. However, the exact strength of cavalry could be estimated within a squadron as horse lines could not be hidden, and later we could also estimate infantry strength within a battalion. The artillery and machine gun units were much more difficult to deal with, but the tanks gave themselves away by their peculiar wide tracks in the desert sand. During the autumn offensive of 1917, Gaza alone was shelled by heavy batteries from forty different positions on the land side. In addition, they experienced the consequences of artillery fire from the naval forces. The unfortunate coastal directions, i.e. north and south, allowed the enemy to encircle our positions, which lay roughly to the east and west of the sea. On the other hand, if they were too far from shore, it was easier for the British to land.
The southern sun, so hot in this theater of war to a degree unfamiliar to Europeans, and the lack of water severely limited the mobility and usefulness of our forces. In this hot climate there is a dry season from April to early November when the rainy season begins. During the dry season, an ideal climate is created almost continuously for the flying man; the sky is blue every day. Perhaps the early morning hours can reveal occasional fog and haze along the coast, but that's about it. With long-distance reconnaissance, one was usually quite safe from unpleasant surprises in the form of thunderstorms or large cloud formations. On the other hand, the rainy season often brought heavy downpours for days, which were usually accompanied by violent thunderstorms in which it was not possible to fly. However, the good weather sections during the rainy season reminded us of one of our most beautiful spring days at home.
The intense temperature of the air and the vortices near the ground made themselves felt. If someone left the ground at noon, the machine would shake and shake significantly, but at about 2,500 feet the atmosphere was relatively calm. Of course, these atmospheric disturbances were more pronounced in the mountainous areas, but still they were little uncomfortable for an experienced pilot, although it would not be advisable for beginners to fly during these hours of the day.
“In hot regions there is no twilight; as soon as the sun goes down, it gets dark quickly and in the morning it gets lighter just as quickly. In the moonlight, the runway did not need to be lit, although the simulated airfield was always well lit. On such clear nights, the planes often used secret runways nearby; The airfield itself was empty, a precaution also adopted by the British.
At first we suffered a lot from the heat. The rapid changes in temperature, cold nights and hot days caused chills of all kinds because of the primitive shelters they offered us, and a cold almost always ended in dysentery. A large number of men were infected with malaria during the journey, but in the same desert, far from all water, there were no germs. The pressure on the employees was so great that they usually had to be sent home after nine months. It was amazing how old veterans who had been on the sidelines for two years or more suddenly fell ill after such a long time, but the medical precautions allowed their medical records to be rated "good" except for a few bad periods.
Because of the effect of desert isolation, the men's mental experiences were also important. We also experience this “loneliness” that His Excellency von Ludendorff speaks of in his war memoirs. It is typical for such a case, however, that most of these old “desert lions” keep feeling the longing for these sunny countries in their bones. (Felmy.)


At the end of the Dardanelles campaign in February 1916, all but a sufficient number were sent to Iraq to conduct the necessary reconnaissance to protect the coast of Asia Minor from a landing by enemy forces.
The situation was briefly as follows: The Turkish 6th Army was ordered to hold Baghdad. General Townshend, with about 13,000 men, had been surrounded by eighteen Turkish army corps while advancing on Baghdad at Kut-el-Amara. The English reserves rushing to their aid were stopped at Fellahieje by thirteen Turkish corps. The Turks were in the minority and their team left a lot to be desired. Had the British managed to make a successful sortie of Kut, the position of the Turkish 6th Army would have been extremely dangerous. In order to get out of this situation, the Turkish high command found it advisable to withdraw from the Kut-el-Amara district without a fight and to regroup its scattered units in a position where they could defend Baghdad.
At this critical time, the long-awaited German squadron appeared with a Fokker fighter. The airmen enthusiastically threw themselves into the new work, and the morale of the ground troops improved enormously. Until then, they had to watch idly as the English planes flew over Kut every day and unloaded sacks of provisions. Now the situation was reversed: day and night the monoplane “Parasol” flew over Kut and dropped bomb after bomb on the troops huddled below, who had previously been safe from bombardment because the Turks lacked ammunition. In a short time I managed to shoot down three English machines in a few days, and after that not a single plane with supplies appeared over Kut.
In the meantime we had built a kind of aircraft depot in Baghdad with the meager means we had at the time. A large number of propellers were used due to the intense heat that led to the rupture. Wo even managed to cut and paste propellers to our own design. Everything that could be used for industrial purposes in Baghdad was used to build airplanes; In fact, an entire machine was built, and it flew remarkably well. We have also successfully conducted experiments related to petroleum distillation. One of our greatest difficulties was making bombs, but by using nested cast-iron tubes filled with high explosives and detonated by a cartridge, we managed to make an efficient substitute.
The besieged division, composed mostly of Indian troops, suffered from the morale of the daily bombardments. The Indians were more and more urging their surrender, and soon the appearance of large fires in Kut informed us that the enemy was destroying their material and decided to surrender. General Townshend then surrendered his sword to the Turkish commander,
This victory was worthily associated with the successful outcome of the Dardanelles campaign. The aviators who used to fly over Kut can be proud of knowing that this achievement was possible thanks to their activity for the first time. It was not long before the 13th Army Corps could rest. Although the Russians could no longer prevent the fall of Kuts, they now threatened Baghdad from the east by advancing through Persia. The only seven machines that arrived in Baghdad in serviceable condition were being prepared for this new task. . The rest of us had to be content with the old planes, our only new purchase was an aircraft belonging to the English R.E. Face. The British greeted their first Warlight with admiration and appreciation, and tossed a packet of aircraft spares along with this note: 4 Congratulations to the newly arrived bird on its success. Here are some replacement parts that will no doubt be needed soon. A very special exchange of letters took place at that time, which relieved the monotony of the desert war in a most welcome way. The limit was reached one day when the English airmen suggested that we all disembark at a neutral point to meet for a cup of tea and exchange new papers and records. However, we could not agree with them in this view of war. Anyone who knows the English knows that despite such events, they always fought in the air with the utmost determination and zeal. No doubt our machine guns and bombs provided them with plenty of antidotes to boredom.
The British were preparing for their new offensive in late summer 1916. Photographic explorations showed that in addition to building railways, they had also set up new camps at bases on the Tigris. Steam traffic increased and new machine types emerged. With the material then available to us, it was useless to think of resisting this new onslaught. One request for more planes and wartime items followed; but the road to Constantinople was long. The handful of Germans tried in vain to hasten the arrival of the groceries. All these demands were rendered useless by the already lamented peculiarity of the Turkish temperament. If it is Allah's will that we are victorious, then victory will be ours even without new planes; but if Allah decreed otherwise, then nothing can help us. Kismet! Everything is fate!
And indeed, fate caught up with us. The English attacked in November when the cold season began. Against their state-of-the-art machines, we could only compare our worn-out old planes, which were exposed to all weathers without the tarpaulin. The planes were warped; He vaguely remembered that there had once been such a thing as an altimeter and a tachometer. The wheels had no tires; its edges were tied with rags. With these machines our pilots fought an unequal quarrel and defied death. The first casualty was our poker, falling under the onslaught of four English machines. Our own plane, self-built and armed with a Russian machine gun for land use, flew behind enemy lines daily with many tricks and tricks, not daring to be attacked. Damage caused during the day had to be repaired at night in the moonlight. For three months the unequal struggle went on; The Turks held out for three months. Hearing our own engines whirr overhead, they fought like lions. And finally, at the end of January 1917, the British broke through our lines.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (32)

Cowardly. 32. English camp in Tigre.

The army retreated in a wild, indescribable merging of times. The airmen had to stop a rearguard action. Every piece of their transport was lost along with all the rest of the material, so the machines that ran out of petrol had to be burned. And the retreat was still ongoing. In order to ease the pressure of the English pursuers, our airmen blew up bridges, drove locomotives, in short, carried out all the necessary technical work. There was still no rest; Baghdad itself was conquered. The rest of the Turkish army eventually assembled in Mosul and the German airmen, with their proverbial meticulousness, began rebuilding. In fact, it was a Herculean task.
In the meantime I was in Germany myself to expedite the delivery of new supplies. I returned to Iraq in April 1917 with nine new scouts. To confuse the British with the unexpected appearance of a new type, I covered the 300 miles from the top of the Baghdad Line to the front in one day. But even that speed was useless. On the same day, an English plane appeared at high altitude and dropped a tin of cigarettes with the inscription: "British airmen send their Greetings to Captain S. and are pleasure to welcome him back to Mesopotamia." We look forward to giving you a warm welcome in the air. We've included a tin of English cigarettes and will send you a Baghdad melon if it's in season. See you later. Our congratulations to the other German airmen. The British secret service Royal Flying Corps has once again done a great job. However, without any particular surprise, I managed to hunt down several Englishmen who had promised to give me a warm welcome on the air.
The British did not advance far beyond Baghdad. His main objective had been to restore his reputation, badly damaged by the fall of Kut, by conquering Baghdad. Consequently, in the summer of 1917, the Turks were given rest and time to rest.
In the fighting that followed, the question of whether to keep the Bedouin Arabs became increasingly important. They seriously threatened our lines of communication because not all of Islam had spoken out for us against its "oppressors", the British, and the so-called Holy War existed only in the imagination. In reality, the Arabs' hatred of either the Turks or the British was fairly balanced, seeing both as invaders sapping the country's resources. Although the Turks* maintained a kind of benevolent neutrality by imposing a monthly levy of 500 to 1,000 pounds of gold on the most influential tribal leaders, the tribes evaded attack only because they had nothing left to lose. On the other hand, the Bedouins were always very fond of us German airmen, especially after I managed to shoot down an English plane near the camp of the great Shammara tribe. Many German airmen, forced to land behind English lines, were escorted to safety with real Arab cunning.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (33)

Cowardly. 33. Ruins of Samarra built by Caliph Al-Mulasim son of Harun in Rashid. The English infantry detachments are clearly visible.

As in Baghdad in 1917, the British offensive began in the autumn of 1918, only this time progress was rapid. Those who stopped cultivating their fields lost vast numbers of horses, camels, mules, and donkeys to the vigorous system of "requisitions," leading to a catastrophic disorganization of our transportation system. In vain the German airmen fought with the courage of despair; in vain they flew over the lines in the face of eight or ten times as many enemy machines, for which petrol and other necessary articles, as well as their mechanical transport, were supplied day and night.
At the last moment, our squadron was separated from the enemy, and when the retreat to Aleppo was called off, after endless difficulties, it reached Samsun on the Black Sea via Mardin, Malatia, Sivas and Amasia.
All was lost now. This was particularly tragic for us, who now finally saw ourselves condemned to the defensive and had to be content as material "with the remnants of the western front, which, despite all our self-sacrifice, was impossible for us. To achieve ultimate success, this required the highest from the German warriors Qualities of duty and self-forgetfulness. Many who came from a European theater of war to enlist for service in Turkey soon turned their backs on that wretched country. Some remained loyal to the crescent, loyal unto death. Many brave German hearts lay now under the hot sands of the desert. To you, the heroes of Iraq, these lines are dedicated. (Schuz.)

CHAPTER VII. Seaplanes

Seaplanes over the North Sea: A torpedo attack: the little wolf.


MAINLY, it was the job of seaplanes to work in tandem with naval forces. They were to serve as eyes for the naval commander, to provide a protective screen around our own bases to promptly report the arrival of enemy aircraft, and to protect our own forces in action against any surprise attack. However, in addition to protecting themselves from attack, they had to prevent enemy machines and aircraft from scouting our ports and observing the movements of our ships, especially our minesweepers. Submarines should be guided to suitable targets, protected from enemy aircraft near our shores, and assisted by pilots in our ports in bad weather.
Other duties were; Bombing or shelling ships or land targets, clearing enemy sail tracks and controlling artillery fire when our shores have been shelled. From what has already been said it is easy to see that the North Sea and the English Channel were the main areas of seaplane activity and that the North Sea, being the area where the High Seas Fleet carried out most of its work, required the strictest vigilance.
At the beginning of the war there were only two seaplane stations in the North Sea: Heligoland with sis machines and few men, and one station was established at List on the island of Sylt; Apart from that, apart from an empty shed in Wilhelmshaven, nothing has been prepared for accommodation. Senior naval officers had no way of assessing the likely usefulness of the seaplane, and in maritime circles laughed at the aviators' reliance on their weapons.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (34)

Cowardly. 34. British submarine, C 25, attacked by German seaplanes. The water is surrounded by bomb explosions.

Heligoland, the base furthest from the sea, was to seek out and announce the enemy fleet, whose advance was expected at any moment after England's declaration of war. The first order received "Explore the sea to the maximum limit possible with your machine" left a lot of room to work. In the early days, therefore, people and machines were used without measure; Any flight officer expected to be the first to report, "There they are!"
They never arrived. Gradually, the machines failed, and the pilots went to the Baltic Sea to get spare parts. Those who remained flew with redoubled determination. In order to advance further to the west and north, petrol stations were set up in Borkum and List and, in good weather, every last drop of petrol was flown. Still nothing to see. Gradually he realized that the English fleet had no intention of engaging in open naval combat. Not wanting to meet us in a fair fight, he preferred to blockade us far from the German coast, beginning the dishonorable process of strangulation. us from hunger.
Only the occasional use of light cruisers, destroyers and submarines and the very rare appearance of a fleet of battleships disturbed the peace of the North Sea. The enemy ships, with their unexpectedly high speed, were immediately spotted. , you had to be extremely vigilant and fly in all weathers. We also had to cover our own exits to protect our miners, who earlier reached the English coast, from surprises and to keep the roads clear for our submarines. Thus began a systematic reconnaissance and protection service; Seaplane stations were hastily established and staff and material reinforced. New stations were built in Eorkum and Norderney, while those already built in Helgoland, List and Wilhelmshaven were expanded. The work turned out to be extremely difficult because, with the exception of Wilhelmshaven, all the train stations were on islands and all the building materials had to be transported there by ship.
We constantly worked on such efficiency that reconnaissance no longer had to be carried out in individual sections and at different times, but could be carried out continuously from morning to night throughout the district. During the long summer days, this was serious business. Our machines used to fly in almost any weather, when the enemy could attack. But despite constant performance of duty, because of the great distances and the difficulty of obtaining the necessary number of men and machines, we only managed to complete the flight service in the last year of the war, although at that time the surveillance carried out was incessant, the reconnaissance was really satisfactory . The tasks of the North Sea pilot were not only difficult, but also thankless. The "silent heroism of the North Sea pilots" has become proverbial in our Navy. The machines used to fly hour after hour, in autumn and winter, often under the threat of fog and storms, without even seeing the enemy. Some aviators still have no encounters to report after 400 flight hours; Many of them never returned from the sea. Often enough a machine was blown into the water by an engine failure, and the occupants were doomed to wander for days without provisions until a passing ship picked them up. Sometimes, when the sea was rough, the wrecked machine would capsize and its crew would be stuck on the floats for days. It wasn't easy for the airmen to keep their spirits up. Both pilots and observers, especially those on the round, often left the North Sea for other theaters of war where they could take part in dogfights and bombing raids. And yet the work had to be done; Day after day the North Sea had to be patrolled, and all individual endeavors coalesced into an unenviable recognition of the achievements of German airmen at the front, which could not be imitated. Thus the days of encounters with the enemy, who, moreover, tended to retreat as soon as they were sighted, were days of joy.
And even if the enemy had to fight, the airmen had to deny themselves the pleasure of attacking, because it was far more important that they pass on their information. This process was complicated and time-consuming in the early days of the war. As a rule, the machine should return home and report from there by radio or telegram to the commander of the naval forces; seldom had the ability to communicate directly with our ships at sea through signaling or messaging. The first step was taken when wireless devices were mounted on airplanes, initially only in the form of transmitters. The observer needed experience and a lot of luck to get his message across quickly and accurately. It wasn't until the wireless receiver was installed on airplanes that we had the satisfaction of knowing when those messages were being understood.
The North Sea observer had to know something about almost everything. He had to be able to navigate properly with just a compass and map for six straight hours; find his way back across the sea to a small island with no traces of direction and despite shifting air currents, knowing that any mistake could prevent him from reaching his base before nightfall and could mean death or hospitalization for him. He had to know enemy ship types and naval warfare tactics. He must be very familiar with the seaplane's wireless equipment; You had to know how to drop bombs and use Macliine guns, and you also had to be a talented sailor to deal with the difficulties of a seaplane when it had to land in bad weather. The North Sea pilot's job was not only dangerous and monotonous, but also responsible, since victory or defeat in a sea battle could depend on a single report.
In the first two years of the war, the machines were sent individually. As long as they didn't have a wireless device, they were eliminated if they didn't come back from work. As a rule, the conditions of war made it impossible to search for them and their rescue had to be left to chance. When wireless devices were mounted on airplanes, it was possible for the machine to be forced to land. due to engine failure to give the distress signal and position as they slipped into the water. His position was then known, and any of our nearby ships could be dispatched to assist him. But even so, they were difficult to find on the vast surface of the ocean, and despite the missiles they fired, the search was not always successful; However, it was a consolation for the airman to have the possibility of being rescued.
Later, when we had enough machines, measurements were taken in pairs. So could they help each other and at least, if the weather was reasonably clear, get the plane running if she couldn't land and rescue the occupants of the plane in distress? He could return home with an accurate estimate of the wreck's position and send help. The use of machines flying in pairs also had the advantage that one of the machines could send reports if for some reason the wireless connection could not be used. Of course it also happened, and unfortunately not infrequently, that both machines disappeared and although the distress signals could be heard, nothing was found. In such cases, it must be assumed that one machine crashed and the other crashed to save the two men who were in distress and destroyed by the tidal wave. However, the method of dispatching the machines in pairs gave the airmen a sense of security and thereby increased their efficiency, especially in inclement weather.
The areas of the four North Sea seaplane stations were strictly demarcated and divided into sectors that were flown over according to previously prepared plans. List's station monitored the Danish coastal regions; Borkum, on the Dutch coast; Helgoland and Norderney were forced to secure the open sea up to the middle of the North Sea. So the last two had the most fruitless and at the same time the most difficult work. As a rule, the enemy attacked from the west or north near the coast and thus penetrated the sectors of Borkum and List, which were also frequented by freighters and trawlers, and were able to save the machine. and their occupants in the event of forced disembarkation. On the other hand, not only enemy warships but also neutral freighters and fishing boats were rarely seen in the middle sector.
The nature and importance of the work of the seaplanes over the North Sea can best be understood using the example of the last year of the war. At that time, the most important factor in conducting naval operations was submarine warfare. The seaplanes were therefore to ensure, in addition to protecting the other naval forces, that the submarines could surface and return safely. The English laid a wide mine belt around the bay and tried to make the whole area impassable. Consequently, our minesweepers had to continuously clear paths through the minefields for U-boats to safely embark and disembark. It also followed that minesweepers were forced to go very far, sometimes even into neutral Dutch waters. Behind them were usually forces of destroyers, cruisers, and ships-of-the-line. They were defenseless save for small-caliber guns and hampered by their lack of speed, forcing them to make a hasty retreat as soon as enemy ships came in sight.
It was therefore the task of the seaplane not only to scout as far as possible and to warn the minesweepers of approaching ships in time so that they could retreat safely, but also to contain the particularly dangerous enemy machines. active and interested in observing our minesweeping operations and discovering our road positions. Except in cases of urgency, demining was never carried out without prior aerial reconnaissance or escorted aircraft.
Aircraft carriers were sometimes sent to escort minesweeping flotillas, and on these occasions the machines they carried did the escort work. An advantage of this method was that the long flight to the scene could be omitted and thus could be used almost all the time that the machine could stay in the air; a disadvantage was the difficulty in locating the transport ship when visibility deteriorated. In such cases it was almost inevitable that the aircraft would have to be landed for lack of fuel, and indeed, after many days, damaged aircraft were brought to and collected from Dogger Bank in Norway. its inmates are still alive.
The British were particularly curious as to which cities we searched for mines, which routes were open to our submarines, and how ships entered and exited. Seaplanes have been scolded for this information. The distances to be flown were large, as was the region to be observed, on the other hand, in good weather, aviators could often overlook a large area of ​​sea. England ruled the sea and consequently could usually search and rescue landed machines and even put machines on destroyers or torpedo boats in favorable weather conditions, reducing the distance they had to reach by air. We could always be sure that whenever our minesweepers were observed at work, the area they cleared would be reinfested with mines within days of nesting.
It was also the job of the North Sea Air Service to keep any enemy seaplanes at bay. For this formations of fighting machines were necessary, since the English planes mostly appeared in groups of three and you therefore had to oppose them at least three or better five planes. The work of keeping an eye on such a large expanse of sea was colossal, and the number of machines at our disposal was limited. At the end of the war there were only twelve units with five machines each for the entire North Sea. It would have been desirable to increase their number, but this was impossible because of the limited extent of our seaplane bases and the lack of aircraft engines, of which the Army Navy permitted only a certain number per month. The pressure of work was enormous every time the enemy managed to thwart all of our demining operations after evading their aerial observation into the attention of our combat machines. The work of these combat machines was not easy and as unsuccessful as that of the reconnaissance machines. Although it was rare to come into conflict with the enemy in 100 flight hours, the danger of flying over the sea was doubled by the fact that the machines were not seaworthy, since they were designed for commercial purposes. Parts end up in the sea even in normal North Sea weather. In order to keep losses as low as possible, seaworthy reconnaissance aircraft were usually sent with each fighter force to pick up the occupants of a combat aircraft in the event of an emergency landing and bring them home or at least keep them out of the water for a while. a long time. enough for help to arrive. However, this escort machine limited the work of the fighters, since their higher speed forced them to significantly reduce the power to accompany them. During a dogfight, the successor machine was on the spot, observed, photographed and announced the result over the radio. In this way, it was sometimes possible not only to call reinforcements from the home station to the battlefield, but also to bring machines nearby.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (35)

Cowardly. 35. Hansa-Brandenburg: single-bottom combat seaplane. A monoplane with a 150 hp Benz engine.

On November 9, 1910, the torpedo pilots finally got the long-awaited weather.
There is a lot of activity in the hangars. The final preparations are being made, although the machines have been ready for launch for the past few weeks. The torpedoes are tested again and carefully hung under the hulls, then the machines are lowered into the water one by one with a large crane.
At 2 p.m. Three torpedo transports and their escort fighters begin. Their orders are: 'Attack the freighters at the Thames Estuary.' They're soon out of sight, staying well below the clouds to avoid the attention of enemy machines for as long as possible. As can be seen most clearly at the Thames Estuary, the course changes to port, following the leader, towards the Downs, over which a thick layer of fog still hangs. At 15:45 the sunken lightship is passed.
A few minutes later, a merchant ship emerges from the fog, then another, then a third, and finally a whole convoy. In order to be able to see the ships well, the machines fly in zigzags. The convoy is protected from submarines by trawlers and a torpedo boat. The enemy is unaware of our presence
15:49 The formation is within range of the last steamer. Three torpedoes land in quick succession. The engines take off while the torpedo boats eagerly follow the tracks of their missiles, which quickly disappear on the surface of the water. Suddenly a water column and a few seconds later another jump over the ship's side. He slowly leans to the side and three minutes later he's gone.
Completely surprised, torpedo boats, trawlers and merchant ships opened fire with useless projectiles and shrapnel at the machines, which disappeared in the fog. At 4:55 a.m., all planes landed safely at their home base. The association leader reports: "A ship of about 2000 tons that was sunk by two torpedoes." (Minor)


Wolfchen was the name of the seaplane that accompanied Captain Nerger on his world-famous cruise on the Wolf. This seaplane was a Friedrichshafen design, it was equipped with a 150 hp. engine and came with a wireless installation and a bomb launcher. From November 1916 to February 1918, Wolf and Wolfchen were at sea, and the seaplane made a major contribution to the success of the voyage. In 56 flights he showed the Iron Cross on all seas: Pacific, Atlantic, South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

The German Air Force in World War I by Georg Paul Neumann (36)

Cowardly. 36. 'Wolfchen' on board the boat.

The repairs that had to be carried out during this long voyage were very numerous, but with the help of the spare parts carried on board and partly using the material taken from the captured steamboats, the machine was always kept in working order. , service and ready to take a breath if necessary. It often had to be completely disassembled and just as often reassembled. These operations were extremely difficult due to lack of space, but could not be avoided due to fears that the aircraft on her deck would recognize the ship as an auxiliary cruiser. In addition, especially in the tropics, the machine had to be protected as much as possible from damage that could be caused by exposure.

Here are some excerpts from Wolfchen's protocol:


On May 24, during a reconnaissance flight, Kew Zealand was sighted 60 nautical miles west.
June 2, 1917.—Orders. Stop the merchant ship spotted north of Raoul Island and bring it to the S.M.S. Wolf.
The ship suddenly appeared while the S.M.8. Wolf was near the island, repairing their engines and cleaning out their bunkers. Wolfchen started at 3:30 p.m. M. and fly north. Once on the ship, we spiral down to 200 feet from the deck and drop the following message in English: "Go south to the German cruiser and do not use the radio". If you disobey orders, you will be bombarded with bombs.
The second time we flew over the ship, we dropped a bomb just twenty yards from her bow. He immediately changed course and steered towards the S.M.S. Wolf escorted by Wolfchen. After our threat, he didn't dare use the radio.
It was the New Zealand ship Wairuna (3,900 tons) bound for Auckland and San Itraneisco. The ship and its cargo were worth many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
June 16, 1917.—Orders. Grab the four-masted schooner spotted to the west and take it to the S.M.S. Wolf.
. Wolfchen started at 3:50 p.m. M. and flew west. We spiraled down from the ship from a height of 600 feet to 250 feet. Our first two attempts to leave a message on the platform failed. Due to the drift of the ship, both fell slightly to leeward. On our third approach, a bomb was dropped from 250 feet near the bow. The ship immediately towed: "She lowered her mainsail and displayed the American flag. Wölfchen ordered the ship to SE and indicated that she would be bombed if she did not follow. She immediately turned to the given direction f and the engine circled overhead head, brought them to SMS Wolf.
It was the four-masted American schooner Winslow (567 tons) with a cargo of coal, food, petrol and wood. from San Francisco. Unfortunately, gasoline was useless for flying.
Due to bad weather, Wolfchen was dismantled and stored in the night of June 11th.

Indian Ocean,

September 25, 1917.—Orders. Investigate spotted smoke patch and report ship, course and distance.
It was the Japanese ship Hitachi Maru (6700 tons). Wolfchen has another request to support S.M.S. Wolf to stop and bomb the ship if it commits any hostile acts.
In the first shot of S.M.3. Wolf, the steamer, turned sharply to starboard, obviously intending to flee. Then a bomb was dropped 30 or 40 meters in front of her bow and at about the same time S.M.S. Wolf opened fire, BO the seaplane was tricked into thinking the ship was resisting. So we flew on and dropped another bomb from 700 feet which landed in the water off the port side. The force of the explosion threw two men overboard. At this point the ship was en route to S3I.S. Wolf ceased fire and the Wolfchen stopped throwing bombs and instead flew over and around the ship until the prize crew came aboard.
We landed next to the ship and found that the screw nuts on the propellers had come loose and the motors could no longer be turned properly against the cranks due to the knocking on the propeller shaft. After communicating with the ship via signal, we were boarded our plane back to the S.M.S. Wolf in the motor boat. (Prostitute.)


The citizen of Berlin or Breslau hardly knows the meaning of the words "inland air defense", although the inhabitants of the Rhine and the southern counties of Germany understand them better. From Cologne to Friedrichshafen on the Baltic Sea, many cities, some large like Cologne, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Stuttgart and others smaller like Bonn, Koblenz, Trier, Offenburg, etc., experienced the moral impact of the bombing. they suffered heavy loss of life and damage to houses and thus learned something from the excellently organized domestic anti-aircraft defense which developed from 1916 onwards.
The first bombing raids took place in the winter of 1914-1915. The target of the attackers was the open city of Freiburg in December 1914 and the gunpowder factory in Rottwell in March 1916. Shortly thereafter followed a veritable series of attacks on the industrial centers around Diedenhofen and Luxembourg, and finally in 1918 those brutal attacks on the cities on the Rhine and in southern Germany, of which there were enough reports in the press. The innermost thrust was an aimless and unsuccessful attack on the region around Dortmund and a similar attack on Munich. There were even threats of an attack on Berlin.
Our air defense system was inaugurated in 1916 and was operational in the Saar valley from Saarbrücken to Dillingen and was also used around Diedenhofen and Luxembourg to protect chemical plants, gunpowder and explosives. in Leverkusen and Schlebusch. 160cm balloons. The capacity and kites were sent to altitudes of 6,000 and 9,000 feet, respectively, on a cable controlled by an electrically powered winch. Other threads hung loose from the balloon and kite and were invisible to the aviator because of the aviator's speed. Should a machine fly onto one of these cables, disaster and death would be the inevitable consequences.
The wires supporting the balloons and kites were strong enough to withstand winds of 8 meters per second. From the reports of enemy airmen in 1917 we learned that this protective measure made it very difficult for them to carry out their work, which was the reason for the partial cessation of air raids. On January 24, 1918 in Diedenhofen (Grimme) the first shooting down of a machine while approaching cables at a balloon station was registered.


On August 8th, in the gray light of dawn, dense fog covered the Somme and the Avre. Just before midnight, the British and French began operations with heavy artillery fire. Shell after shell rained down on us, sometimes heavy, sometimes light or medium caliber, a truly murderous firefight. Nothing could be seen from 100 paces away.
Behind the front line, light artillery awaiting action on motor boats.
Telephone traffic has long been suspended and most runners can't get through the dam; even if they make it, they look in vain for their weapons, because the only way to survive the murderous hail of fire is by constantly changing positions.
Suddenly we hear the deep roar of an engine: tanks! Lots of tanks coming towards us! They must have easily passed our infantry positions at the front in the dense fog. It's about quick action. In feverish haste, the cannon crew aim their weapons at the nearest monster. A short command (150 yards is the range) and the projectile accelerates on its mission. Very short! views are expressed; again we shoot; and this time the projectiles land falling on the body of the colossus. A curtain of flames leaps; The fuel tank is perforated and burns brightly. There the monster lies motionless. The crew is shot down as they jump off by our infantry, which has gathered near the battery.
Slowly, very slowly, we surrender to the overwhelming odds and attack the enemy vigorously whenever they seem too close. Tank after tank is left sunken, crippled and immobile, blown to pieces by German explosive charges. Batteries of mobile engines dart here and there, relieving the beleaguered infantry and giving them safe passage.
In a wooded area where infantry had gathered in tight columns to attack, shells from an anti-aircraft battery crossed the region just 500 meters away, scattering the enemy before they advanced fifty paces. Here a single battery destroyed seven tanks in the course of the morning; there a battery might break off a boldly planned cavalry charge. The infantry, fully appreciating their courage, rely on the protection of the batteries from the attack of enemy tanks and hordes. The number of casualties inflicted by anti-aircraft batteries in the air is also great; seventeen machines fell into their cannons alone on August 8, 1916. A truly glorious day for "Archie" on the Somme and the Avre! (Grunov).


Weather stations report weather conditions in northern France, Belgium and the Rhineland as follows: “Cold; clear, moonlight, light east wind over the area / internal air defense has the probability of an air attack. The balloons and kites soar to altitudes of 5,500 and 6,600 feet, respectively. At midnight, reports arrived from Koblenz, Bonn and Cologne that a squadron of unknown nationality, consisting of at least five aircraft, had flown past Trier at high altitude over the Moselle, but had not dropped any bombs on Trier. you yourself; After searchlights went into action but failed to find the enemy (probably due to the latter's altitude), Koblenz, Bonn and Cologne are anxiously awaiting to learn which of them to attack. . The whole Rhine area is shrouded in darkness; only one region cannot be obscured, and that is the bright stretch of water where the Moselle and Rhine glitter in the blazing moonlight. It's useless to hope that they'll miss the mark, especially when it's Koblenz, as it lies at the intersection of these two "flying roads".
The anti-aircraft staff officer sounded the alarm. Batteries, searchlights, machine guns, they are all operated by their full crew. Only the battle squadrons remain dormant, making it impossible for them to attack the invaders until dawn. Now a message comes from the listening station in Koblenz: "The engines can be heard at high altitude." And immediately afterwards countless anti-aircraft guns thunder and ignite their bombardment over the city. Machine guns are silent. The searchlights come on, but since they can't find the enemy, they go out again. Then comes the first pause in the salvo of shots so we can hear it again; A message had already come from the listening post: "The engine noise is fading on the Rhine." So the attack is not against Koblenz, hence the high altitude at which the squadron flies, and soon the city and the neighboring districts are calm again; the population breathes a sigh of relief and leaves the cellars and shelters they are looking for, despite the order: "don't worry about the air raids".
The situation is similar in Bonn, so that the last doubts about today's destination Cologne have been dispelled. A little later, the infernal noise of shells hitting Cologne's air defenses mixed with the thunderous explosions of heavy bombs. Five searchlights caught the enemy machines in their light beams; Some of the batteries fire as in target practice; No matter how twisted and dipped, the spotlight always brings the enemy back. Now it's the turn of the machine guns to do their part; they chatter and their flaming balls leap into the night. Twenty minutes have passed and there is complete silence again. The hum of the engines dies away in the distance, the anti-aircraft batteries and machine gunners calculate their ammunition expenditure, the searchlights go out, the barrage of balloons and kites over the explosives factories in Leverkusen and Schlebusch remains in the air. Feeling of satisfaction that the enemy did not dare to attack the factory this time, as on all previous occasions since its appearance.
The aim was apparently the important bridge south of Cologne, which was not damaged. It is true that 28 bombs fell inside and around, but the only damage is the destruction of a house, two dead and four seriously and slightly injured. On the other hand, the enemy lost two machines, one of which was completely destroyed with its two occupants.
Although Cologne, Frankfurt and Mainz were attacked at almost the same time, the night in southern Germany was remarkably calm, and anticipation and nervousness were unnecessary. Several fighter squadrons were already ready to take off before daybreak (actually every minute was precious) and at exactly 3:15 a.m. the news came that a squadron was approaching Stuttgart. This squad was never meant to reach its destination. Thanks to the excellent work of the Luftwaffe intelligence service, two fighter squadrons managed to break through the Stuttgart and Trenchera squadrons in order to fly over the latter and, supported by the directed fire of the anti-aircraft batteries, fire projectiles whose explosion is visible from a certain distance and serves , to indicate to our airmen the direction of the enemy who decided to attack. The result was a real air battle. Shortly thereafter, the enemy turned to flee after three planes were thrown over the barriers. The French lost four more during the chase and eventually escaped with just two thanks to the appearance of some cloud banks. The various active-duty branches of the Air Force have never had to work as closely together as those on Homeland Security. Airmen, batteries, airplanes, searchlights, gunners, intelligence and weather services all worked together in extensive cooperation, and all these departments were united in the course of their successful work, as the founder of national defense intended. The German Luftwaffe protected the homes of Germany.


The dream of a German air force was shattered. From now on it will only survive as a memory and in a heroic story. For the same reason we can consider with an open mind:
(a) the greater military development of our last enemies and
(b) the peaceful conquest of the aerial ocean, together with the problems and objects affecting friend and foe alike.
The last military battle on land, unique in its sheer magnitude, was in any case the last on European soil. It is absurd to think that military dominance as it existed five years ago could be reborn for any of the Central Powers, including Russia, since they have all been shattered. For reasons of national psychology, it is understandable that France, badly wounded but victorious, should be determined not to relax for long the conditions imposed on the Central Powers.
The only surviving powerful power on the continent is separated only by land borders from Germany. Out of this insatiable and unfounded fear of the return of the neighboring armed forces, the greatest development of the air force will certainly take place in France, in contrast to England and America. The third arm will be in the foreground of the picture at the expense of the army and navy.
Immediately before defenseless air borders, an almost uninterrupted line of airfields for fighter planes will stretch from the sea to the Alps, culturally completely unproductive. Farther back, in a second zone, the bomb squadrons and infantry contact machines will be organized in groups, ready to overcome the complicated and protracted system of troop and artillery advances by their power of rapid and concentrated destruction. In addition, there will be so-called "work planes", which will include the branches of arms constantly associated with the army, that is, the photo and artillery observation devices, together with the observation balloon units, which France will make great efforts to avoid any prospects of a future war on the European continent, although the possibility of such a war is only in your imagination.
The situation will be quite different when France competes with its present allies in a non-European struggle for supremacy at sea, in the air, and in colony questions.
World history began with the battle for the Mediterranean. America's entry into the war was the signal to fight in the Atlantic, which inevitably and logically led to a stalemate between the belligerent countries. After the first oceanic patrols in airplanes and airships, the solution to this problem was no longer sought only in the use of dreadnoughts and submarines, although France had not previously carried out such patrols. Ships and planes engaged in combat.
"The world is my realm" is the motto defending our merchant marine against our last opponents. You will expand and add to it; 'My property is not only the world, but also the space above it.'
England knows how closely possessing one of the most powerful navies is related to commercial and colonial prosperity. You will have noticed from that day on that under the engagement of our Air Force it is no longer an island, that possession of the English Channel, the Dardanelles or the Straits of Gibraltar can only be maintained by simultaneous control of the air. which lies in the supremacy of the world on these vital points. Moreover, a system of air communication spanning the entire globe, a system like that designed by England, can only be developed under the protection of a strong air force, the United States and Japan must follow the same line of ideas.
But precisely when it comes to realizing their goals of economic exploitation of the air, they keep silent about the recognition of warlike demands. It is not a dove of peace, but the bird of war that has laid its egg in the nest of yet allied and associated governments. What will develop from this egg will clearly reveal its martial origins. The phoenix that will rise from the ashes of our naval and military aviation services will have a very different character. Armor is an obstacle for a swimmer. The airplanes and airships, designed exclusively for commercial purposes and without secondary purposes, will far outperform machines loaded with armor or designed for the attachment of offensive weapons.
A consideration of the future of air warfare would be incomplete without a look at the art of air defense, which grew from nothing to a near-perfect state during the war. Unlike aircraft and planes with their light weapons, anti-aircraft artillery will experience a sharp deterioration as it will not be possible to practice in wartime conditions when using live shells against effectively male-controlled machines. No sophisticated substitute or clever systems could provide the practice that warfare afforded. Of course, the gradual loss of experienced anti-aircraft gunners will lead to greater confidence in the attack and destructive power of flying squadrons.
All nations facing the fear of inevitable future hostilities by sharing the spoils won in a plundering peace face this question: "Is it better to build commercial and industrial facilities underground or to develop them?" Luftwaffe that this becomes unnecessary? '
Whatever the decision, the energies expended by other nations on offensive or defensive measures will be freed from this bondage in Germany and can be put to the service of true civilization. A day of resurrection will therefore come for our flight. Our former enemies made sure that didn't happen anytime soon. Fourteen paragraphs of the peace treaty form the tight mesh of the net that was thrown over the young eagle's head. Only Article 201 is quoted verbatim here, to commemorate the enemy's recognition of German ingenuity and productivity:
"During a period of six months after the entry into force of this contract, the manufacture and import of aircraft, aircraft parts, aircraft engines and aircraft engine parts are prohibited throughout German territory."
At the time of publishing this article, the quarantine period imposed on our smelly air activity will be almost over. The project linked to this six-month embargo, whose aim is obviously to exclude us from the foreign market. , and in order to leave Allied air traffic unhindered by the competition from Germany, it must and will fail. Together with Austria, we represent a continental hub geographically, while France and even more so England can never represent runways for European air traffic, only arrival and departure terminals. This helps us to define the term "air transport" in general.
It seems more than arguable to me that the air traffic of the future will be as it is imagined by the general public, whose ideas are closely linked to purely earthly considerations. The masses associate the term “traffic” primarily with the idea of ​​a “railway,” let alone steam transport. From an exaggerated development of this notion arises the erroneous notion that the airplane will replace the express train or the transatlantic, just as the locomotive will replace the stagecoach horse. There is no reason to be afraid for another fifty years.
Airplanes and planes will overcome the inherent shortcomings of other modes of transportation; they will remedy the deficiencies and fill in the gaps, just as in air warfare equipment the captive balloon has, and is likely to retain, all its value as a means of observation along with the airplane.
Above all, however, airplanes open up new possibilities, the development of which goes beyond the limits of cycling.
The aircraft is not in direct competition with fast night trains such as the Berlin-Frankfurt-Express. It still can't challenge a reliable mode of transport in any weather. Countries with a dense rail network do not have to expect any fundamental changes in their transport organization in the next ten years, although letters and parcels will have to be sent by air. During the war, wireless telegraphy and telephony, microtelephony, telex, and high-speed telegraphy reached such capacity and reliability that much of the work that initially seemed reserved for airplanes could be done for them.
And now, having so negatively outlined the possible future uses of airplanes, we can profitably consider problems the solution of which depends entirely on airplanes. One such problem is the development of vast tracts of land 800 miles or more* in length that have inadequate rail systems or water shortages. Consequently, we can say that the best prospects for future development lie in those areas to which the geographical term “trans” applies: ie Trans-Siberia, Transoceanic, Trans-African. Such a perspective suggests that transoceanic flights, so rare and phenomenal today, will be converted into a regular service in the future. What is a record today will be a very average performance tomorrow. Now let's look at the future in light of what we've gained. The flight world record is over 24 hours without a stopover; the speed record is almost 180 miles per hour. So it will be possible to reach Bombay, New York or Irkutsk from Berlin in one continuous flight. The flight of our L, 59 demonstrates to all thinkers the results achieved in air advances through the problems posed by the war.
A few words about the future prospects of the aircraft.
I consider the airship merely the forerunner of the airplane. The latter will overcome its inferiority in flight endurance and payload to the airship over time. For the immediate future, however, the importance of the airship will again become very great. But its traditions, its impressive dimensions and its ability to keep itself in the air all day long with three or four passengers should not forget that its ground carrying capacity increases in proportion to its size and that the latter has a limit in practice of one. Ground wind gusts increase the risks inherent in climbing and landing even small aircraft. Temperature changes, solar radiation and atmospheric tremors can all be dangerous. The barn size and basic equipment are also becoming uneconomical. After all, internal combustion engines' proximity to a flammable gas is unlikely to encourage intended passengers until we can seriously rely on the helium fill.
The giant aircraft that will one day replace the airplane was in a purely experimental stage at a time when the airplane was already quite advanced. Therefore, any comparison between them today may give a false impression. Therefore, it is believed that we are at the end of one period in terms of aircraft design, while another is beginning with the construction of giant aircraft. Perhaps the airship is still superior to the airplane for crossing the ocean. The airship will also be the first to make a non-stop flight around the world. It will still play its role in the conquest of space, but only the plane can, must, and will achieve the victory that will be won over the problem of time.
Now let's go back and consider the possible uses that airplanes could serve in the immediate future and the various commercial, scientific and research problems to which the airplane or airplanes can contribute, in whole or in part, to a solution.
Both airships and airplanes will completely revolutionize the science of surveying and perform surveying work from the air. The extent to which they can be used for this work can be estimated from the fact that only one seventh of the entire earth's surface has been surveyed so far. The planes are used for the creation of city plans and maps for tourists, cyclists, drivers or planes, as well as for preliminary work related to railway, canal and colonial plans. They will provide accurate information about riverbeds and stretches of coastline that are constantly changing the nature of their banks and plains due to periodic changes in currents.
Also for advertising purposes, the plane will be useful not only for taking photos, but also for publishing advertising brochures.
But the aviators will expand their activity beyond the very broad limits that we have already outlined. Aircraft can be very useful for deep-sea fishing to observe and report the approach and course of large schools of fish. Monitoring the networks and even providing fast transport to the consumer. On the other hand, there are mussel beds to search and guard and send out expeditions to exterminate devastating whales and seals. We must not forget about the possibility of establishing the connection between the sunken ships and the mainland through planes flying over the breakers (they drop lifelines, transport equipment, etc. and provide them with food).
Airmen will also be useful allies for police on the ground. For example, they can photograph traffic junctions at different times of the day to compile statistics, or break up forbidden gatherings without bloodshed by continuously flying low over the crowd. The sound of the propeller would drown out any language.
But even now, the aircraft's commercial potential has not yet been exhausted. They contain so many different ideas that it is difficult to put them all together in a complete catalogue. For example, the possibility of using aircraft for special transport tasks such as transporting fresh flowers or even making payments to striking troops or riot zones can be mentioned; for monitoring long transcontinental telegraph cables against wanton damage or destruction by storms; of particular importance for the transport of cinema films and as a means of fighting forest and meadow fires, where the damage caused is often unnecessarily large due to a lack of knowledge about the origin and course of the fire. In connection with this work, airplanes can take photos or throw fire extinguishers. Again, planes could be used to patrol large areas of the country, particularly cattle herds in Australia and South America.
The flight is used to save business time on trips that would otherwise have to be made by donkeys or camels, and to visit many far-flung places, particularly in the east where good weather and excellent travel opportunities continue. Egypt, Palestine and India lend themselves to this type of work. In addition, airplanes could easily locate and destroy dangerous ice packs in rivers and canals, or use flamethrowers to melt snowdrifts in railroad ditches and flooded roads.3 They could run telephone lines short distances when urgently needed. without delay (e.g. from the site of a railway accident to the nearest telegraph station) and could replace mountain railways. , cable cars and racks wherever it was possible to land on the summit.
I have already discussed the future prospects of the aircraft, designed to help in the conquest of space. Victory over the problem of time, so closely related to the problem of space, will belong to the airplane. Such a victory cannot be won by juggling theoretical or philosophical ideas, but by trying hard to finally walk around the world in 24 hours. The machine will rise from Doberitz at dawn and steer towards the morning star at a speed of 600 miles per hour. No matter where the pilot may look back, be it Ireland, Newfoundland, Vancouver, Vladivostok or Moscow, everywhere he will see the image of the Day of Awakening, everywhere the time will be the same. Perhaps even this event can be achieved through the use of idle machines, controlled by radio or to which the requisite energy is transmitted by radio, as I propose that eventually this will be done by airmail, which will be accomplished by airplanes. controlled only by electric waves and without men.
It is no coincidence that the era that will mark the end of humanity's struggle against the forces of nature is now beginning as nations begin to recognize the value of world peace. The first transoceanic in the month following the end of the war marked the next 25 years as a time of rebuilding international goodwill. In five years of research, our German Luftwaffe has paved the way for space conquest, and it is the same force, indestructible as energy itself, that will do the job (Siegert).


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