At the beginning of the warplanes were still very undeveloped. They were described as a “useless and expensive fad” by the British chief of general staff. Russia had 300 planes, Germany 240, France 150 and Britain 60. The British planes were then used in the Royal Flying Corpse, which stemmed from the royal navel squadron. The main use of the plan was for reconaisance. All that was required for this was an aircraft that could go slow enough so that a map could be sketched or some notes on enemy positions could be taken.
The French led the way in reconaicence by bolting a camera onto a plane in 1915; this gave the intelligence sector a far better idea of the positions of the enemy. As there was no quick way for the artillery spotters to report the accuracy of the artillery. This resulted in the pilots using flares and klaxons to report the accuracy of the artillery. The British then invented the wireless in … One man called Lietenent Louis Strange pioneered the idea of dropping bombs; he used his first in august 1914.
He would drop crude oil on German units, and believed firmly in fitting planes them with machine guns. The anti-aircraft guns were brought into the war in… the aircraft countered this by fitting a machine on the rear of the plane. When the steel propeler was fitted to the British planes they began to shoot down enemy planes and so dig fighting was born. The German Fokker developed an interrupter system so that the gun would fire thought the propellers as the engine and gun was inter linked.
The war in the air was only really significant over the western front. The supremacy of the air was very localised i. e. 16sq miles controlled by Germans and the next 17sq miles controlled by British. The control of the air was very back and forth. The Germans controlled the skies in “bloody April” 1917, then by the middle of 1917 the British won back control by introducing the sopworth camel and the SE5. It was after this that allied supremacy gradually increased and with the introduction of America into the war the Germans were being decimated.
Bombing was principally armed at the front line, however there were German daylight raids on Britain, which were suspended when the R. F. C began to patrol. The most effective bombing were carried out by airships, the most famous was known as the Zeppelin. They could fly at high altitudes and were difficult to detect as they flew at night. Aircraft soon were capable of reaching these heights and zeppelins became targets for insencery rockets.
All these raid on Britain totalled 100 and even though they did not kill many civilians in comparison to other areas, it reduced their moral, damaged the production of munitions and food and drew some of the vital fire power back from the western front. Barrage balloons were set up to stop planes and airships, this was more of a scare to the German pilots as they rarely hit them, as there weren’t very many of them. Observation balloon were widely used and their observers were the only personal to be issued with parachutes Naval aviation also developed resulting in planes being able to launch from ships.