In the last year of the war the Naval Authorities ordained that aeroplanes should be used instead of airships for the purpose of observation patrols over the North Sea, as airships were unable to fly westwards during the day at a height favourable to observation on account of the enemy's defensive patrols and the danger of incendiary ammunition to lighter-than-air craft. brilliant pitch of efficiency was attained. A cavalry division was always guarding and patrol ling the districts about J5 miles ahead of the railhead, which had reached the district we had evacuated in front , of El-Arish on December 20, 1916. The Aurora Borealis shimmered away to the north, throwing great pencils of light up to the zenith, and making the horizon as bright as day. Looking up, I saw the parachute tight and fully opened above me. Their zigzag course made it almost impossible, and yet we succeeded twice, at Smyrna and in the Gulf of Saros, in obtaining direct hits on transport steamers. After all have landed on their home aerodrome two officers claim the destruction of an enemy biplane. 1 ‘Battle Squadron’ was sent from the Western Front to Bulgaria in the summer of 1916, three flights were detached to serve as a nucleus for the formation of No. [22] The award to Immelmann may have caused the decoration to acquire its popular nickname, the "Blue Max". Thus the tide of battle ebbed and flowed until August 8th, On this day, a misty morning, the enemy put down intense barrage fire upon the Somme Front, As soon as we realised the extent of this early morning attack, squadrons from all fronts were concentrated so rapidly upon this section of the lines, that by the time the mists had risen, a sufficient aerial force had been assembled- The day that was to be a critical one in the course of the whole war, proved the most , successful in the whole of our airmen's history. : in other words, upon targets lying some distance behind the lines. The information BO acquired would then be used to formulate the flying policy of the following day. This point must always be kept in mind, not only while the ship is being built, but also when it is in flight. 13. Fig. in making the air service so comprehensive, that* although fevcn then the watch that was kept was not incessant, the reconnaissance was really satisfactory. The observer sits ahead in the nacelle, watching his compass and his map, and pointing out the course to be followed with his hand. The fact that the enemy did not engage in battle, in spite of the fact that they, as we discovered later, were at sea in full strength that day, but rather beat a retreat home at full speed, is in my opinion to be attributed to the fact that, in spite of unstinted expenditure of ammunition, they were unable to ward off our reconnoitring airships, which gave the German leader so much greater security and certainty in his position, and enabled him to make use of every tactical advantage-Also during the many attacks that the English made on the Eight, experience proved to us that as soon as the airships appeared the English forces retired and abandoned their undertaking, since the great advantage of a surprise had then disappeared. (6) Order of landing: telephone with both the batteries with which he is aerodrome on one green light being fired from the aeroplane. Balloons of 160 cm. Shortly after the beginning of the war, the officer observer, who hitherto had done work similar to that of a cavalry scout, had to undertake the study of camouflage in all its branches. to work. Frequently, therefore, even when favourable weather obtained at a lower level, our ships could not reach their objective- It was also due to this cause that the Air Force suffered its grievous loss in October 1917, when four airships were driven by a northerly gale into French territory and were lost. In Flanders, where our fighting machines were face to face with the enemy, flying boats were assisted by two-seater seaplanes armed with a rear gun, and by single-seater seaplanes modelled on the scout lines. Next we went to our second target, a battery em-placed on the southern outskirts of Bresle, and proceeded to bombard them. [2] The Imperial German Air Service (Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches) and other branches concerned with air matters such as anti-aircraft, home defence and air intelligence were unified in the Luftstreitkräfte on 8 October 1916. The compartments were manufactured by the ‘Ballonhullen-Gesellschaft,’ one of the branches of the Zeppelin works, and by the Balloon Fabric Co., Riedinger-Augsburg. ATTACKING THE SOMME BRIDGES AT BRAY Of the latter sixteen were stationed in Flanders. that were put in the way of its application to the aeroplane. It soon became possible for the aeroplane itself to carry a receiving as well as a transmitting set, with which it could receive questions and orders from the ground while engaged in its work over the enemy's territory. At four o'clock in the afternoon they regained Beersheba, after having landed at EI-Arish as before. The rigid type—as distinct from the semi-rigid and non-rigid types—was especially favoured, and had already achieved a high standard of excellence in the Zeppelin and ‘Schtitte-Lanz’ airships. These A letter that was captured, bearing the address ‘Blendecques, July 22nd, 1916’ stated that the explosion caused approximately 1200 casualties. Finally, there were a large number of Germans who only too readily fell into this contemplative and philosophical way of thought and living. The hangars at Holtenau were like a museum. The undoubted mastery of the air which, owing to the Fokker monoplane, we held at the beginning of 1916 in March and April, passed entirely over to the enemy's Nieuport, Vickers, and Sopwith machines. One must not forget either that administrative work at home required considerable business, organising, and judicial ability. Observation Patrol Machines—Only 100 H.P, recon-naissanco machines were available for the early operations of the war. The English naturally do not want to give away prematurely the positions of their defence batteries and the towns which they protect. Reliability was therefore of more importance than great power. Army communiques during the English offensive in Flanders in the spring of 1917. The balloon observer who succumbs to this sickness is unsuited for his work. are safely landed at their base. Sometimes, when the sea was rough, the wrecked machine would capsize, and its crew have drifted for days lashed to the floats- It was not easy for the airmen to keep their spirits up. The artillery observation machine had to satisfy this want, first of all by discovering concealed targets, and then by making it possible to bombard them successfully with only a small expenditure of ammunition. I then received the following message from the ground: ‘The balloon will be advanced as far as our old front the trenches.' appeared as a compromise between the original C type and the G or day-bombing machines. Thus there began a systematic service of reconnaissance and protection; seaplane stations were hastily erected, and personnel and materiel strengthened. machine flies towards the target and gives the order For this purpose, of course, climbing power and speed were the principal considerations, and up to the very end the aircraft industry always rose to the occasion. Graham Sumner. When the fighting was at its When the German Army on the Western Front was compelled to take up the defensive in the beginning of October 1914, the new methods of trench warfare at first exercised but little influence on the duties of the flying man. May their noble example live longer in the minds of the German people than the memory of the manner in which their honour was dragged through the mire of the battle of the Somme. At least half of the total objective was utterly destroyed. The escorting squadrons were given the tasks of protecting our reconnaissance machines and carrying out actual observations in the neighbourhood of the enemy's trench lines; they were also required to report all movement on the lines of communication* the construction of light railways, and above all, whenever there were big offensives on foot, they were required to spot battery positions and, in conjunction with the infantry contact machines, to discover the exact locality of our front line. Lieutenant Jancke conceived the happy thought of producing a map consisting of mosaic photographs to the scale of approximately 1 : 100,000, which should be used as the basis for constructing a really accurate map. It was found, therefore, that even when raids were carried out by several squadrons together, the light 20 or 40 lb. ‘Tauibo' (A-type). Fig. On the other hand, the two-seater fighting machines which attacked infantry directly with machine guns, bombs, and hand grenades, had to be as fast as possible and very quick on the controls. In order to safeguard the further construction of their railway the English had to take Gaza, On the morning of March 20, 1917, when they bad de- ployed their cavalry to envelop the town and wished to press forward upon Gaza with their infantry, there resulted some sharp fighting to the south. From this base they undertook their first attacks on Dunkirk and other objectives behind the Fourth Army front. Flag images indicative of country of origin. [8] The Luftstreitkräfte organization changed substantially as the war progressed, to accommodate new types of aircraft, doctrine, tactics and the needs of the ground troops, in particularly the artillery. But even then it was difficult to find them on the vast surface of the ocean, and, in spite of the rockets which they fired, the search was not always success-* ful; it was, however, some comfort for the airman to have a chance of being rescued. There was some talk of an aerodrome near Aman, but personally I inclined to the belief that the northern route would be selected. In a moment the searchlights of tho warships in the Thames estuary have caught us and hold us fast. 1. engines were installed, and a special photographic machine was designed. . Whenever heavy fighting was in progress he worked with some experienced observer, provided that it was not necessary for the balloon to ascend much above 3000 feet. The convoy is protected against submarines by trawlers and a torpedo boat. On one of these occasions two of our airmen got into very serious difficulties. 3. There we find much anxiety about us, and learn also that a second machine is missing. He had to be able to think strategically aa well as tactically, as otherwise his activity was useless, both to the higher command and to the troops. We must be right over London, Impenetrable shadows envelop the gigantic city, only pierced here and there by minute pinpricks of light. The objective of the raiders in December 1914 was the open town of Freiburg, and in March 1916 the powder factory at Rottwell. Our young Air Force seems to have been cursed almost throughout its whole Life by the spirit of bad luck, but here I shall confine myself to a rough sketch of the extent and force of that amazing development in the flying service which was occasioned by the wan The German Army took the field in 1914 with 49 flying units, including those on home defence. On looking at the altimeter we find that we have broken the airship height record. The machine landed safely. At first the raids encountered so little resistance, owing to the weakness of the aerial defences, that individual Zeppelins delivered attacks from a height of under 3000 feet. It was the Commander's duty to keep a sharp watch upon the district which had been allotted to him, and to report by wireless to the authorities any item of information which might be of value in our naval warfare. 6. 11. The formation Driving obliquely out through the Sinai Desert from the Suez Canal, they had undertaken the construction of a railway which was to effect junction with the old cultivated territory of Egypt. The enemy has managed to overtake us, and is attacking us from below. were observed, and again our men succeeded in attacking from the rear. At the beginning of operations three fighting squadrons were provided to carry out attacks on the camps and dumps behind the enemies' lines. Thereafter all further attacks on London were made by night-Each month some new work was found for the night flyers. During operations with the Grand Fleet or a Battle Cruiser Squadron, it is of the greatest importance to the pilot to have some sort of base when he is engaged on an observation patrol outside the region Unfortunately the infantry contact machines proved to be of little value, for the infantry did not as yet place sufficient trust in their service. Those reconnaissance machines, which were already operating over the region which we proposed to attack, had an excellent opportunity of studying the aerial photographs taken by various units, and of obtaining exact information concerning the future battle-field. This feat was confirmed by an artillery unit. In addition to this, the net lift regulated the quantity of bombs and the armament which could be earned. In September 1914, G.H.Q, organised the ‘Ostend Carrier Pigeon Squadrons,’ whose sole duty was the carrying out of bomb raids. It might be just as dangerous for all the bombs or ballast to be released from one point as it is for two adjacent gas compartments to lose their gas. Towards the end of April their number north of the Somme had increased to twelve, and facing them there were only four German divisions,' It is obvious that the dropping of messages, a primitive means of communication already described, did not suffice to meet the requirements of operations which became ever greater in scale as time went on. :— greatly hindered them in carrying out their work, The raid was attended by excellent results, A Bulgarian division at the front reported the explosion and fire caused by one of our bombs, a conflagration which was visible as a cloud of smoke even on the following day. Nerves are strained to the uttermost, and with eager eyes we seek to pierce the thick clouds of smoke. With this power the speed of the machine was about 95 M.P.H., and its net lift approximately 45,000 lbs- A strong armament consisting of about four machine guns could therefore be carried, and the crew included two gunners in addition to the pilot and observer. This lack of sheds was a serious drawback to the naval airship service. In a moment the bright body of the ship lies in the beams. After a long and careful scrutiny, lest they should have to deal with some trap, the L, 23 landed on the water in the neighbourhood of the ship which, although unchallenged, had heaved to, and discovered that she was bound for West Hartle-pool with a cargo of pit-props. At 2 P.M. three torpedo-carrying machines and their fighting escort start. At first the single-seater scouts were unable to accomplish much owing to the low-lying clouds, and during the whole of the Verdun attack there were never any formation or squadron fights in the air, for the French, contrary to the English, avoided aerial combats. The untechnical critics responsible for these unceasing demands never realised that every airship is a compromise between conflicting qualities, and that frequently, beyond certain limits, one quality can only be improved at the expense of another. The bigger it was the more difficult and hazardous became the handling of the vessel on the ground, and the processes of housing and bringing it out of its sheds. For example, our own guns were firing on the forts at Douaumont for hours after they had been taken. Telephonic communication has for a long time been A few words on the future prospects of the airship. This method was by far the quickest, but suffered from the disadvantage that the enemy could ‘listen in,’ and could cause confusion by counter messages. We enclose a tin of English cigarettes and will send him a Bagdad melon when they are in season. Far behind many patches of flame on the ground bore testimony The Kaiserliche Marine's Marine-Fliegerabteilung maritime aviation service used manufacturers' designations rather than the systematic Luftstreitkräfte system described above. We then tried to build aeroplanes which were able to fly long distances over the sea and carry a heavy torpedo and We, therefore, grapple with the storm as we have just done with our enemies. Even this system had its drawbacks, for it frequently happened that an explosive mixture was formed outside the ship which took some time to become diffused and harmless. Again and again they approach the objective in order to drop their bombs with greater accuracy. The principal work of those left on the Verdun Front consisted of keeping the closest watch on all concentrations of the enemy's troops so as to be prepared for those counter-attacks which were being delivered against the now weakened front. Only occasional sorties by light cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, and the very rare appearance of a flotilla of warships, disturbed the peace of the North Sea- In order that the enemy's ships, with their unexpectedly high turn of speed, should be discovered immediately, it was necessary to be exceedingly watchful and to fly in any weather. From extremely low heights it was possible to pick out individuals or small bodies of men, but in very few cases could one form a general opinion of the situation from small items of information gleaned The escort squadrons now rose to the occasion. All the following instruments had to be fitted into the narrow space of a cockpit: wireless transmitting and receiving set, amplifier, etc. It was obvious that a greater number of airships was urgently required. Fig. Every man received some special training, either ae a navigator or in a technical capacity. The demand for gas was ever increasing with the number of ships and the great heights at which they worked. As has already been said, it was at first only a creation of necessity, and consisted of officers and men who had no practical experience, and who had to cany out their work without suitable appliances. The primitive Sikorsky machine was to a certain extent the precursor of the first German giant aeroplane, the experimental SSW R, which was built by the Siemens-Schuckertwerken in the winter of 1914. and the Navy. A short conference with the battery commander, and five minutes later this defect was remedied. The nature and importance of the work carried out by seaplanes over the North Sea can best be understood by taking the last year of the war as an example. English reserves, which were being hurried up to his assistance, were held off at Fellahieje by thirteen Turkish Army Corps, The Turks were in the minority, and their equipment left much to be desired. [23] In total 76 airmen were awarded the Pour le Mérite. Three torpedoes drop in quick succession. 17. Aerodromes were first reconnoitred by a photographic machine, and were then divided up among the groups, so that each group would be self-contained within its own sector. Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Luftstreitkräfte&oldid=990959067, Military units and formations established in 1916, Military units and formations disestablished in 1920, Articles needing additional references from September 2017, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 November 2020, at 14:13. During the night following the first advance, and in the following nights, railheads and railway junctions behind the lines were attacked, while later on reserve camps and ammunition dumps were selected as targets. coasts, and thus began the dishonourable process of The enemy's aerial forces also suffered heavy casualties from the daring attacks of these machines, which even penetrated as far as their aerodromes, some of which lay far behind the lines, although, indeed, the enemy—as a rule the English— were able to surpass us in this work. Several different engines could be used as a source of electrical power, and, in addition, various electrical machines and accumulators were carried. The following example will give a practical illustration of the manner in which the artillery observer carried out his work. Small differences between the machines destined for different branches of reconnaissance and observation work soon appeared and gradually led to subdivisions of the C type. In March 1916 our airmen reported the movement towards the south of large bodies of troops from the French lines near Arras, and the erection of a large number of tents to the north of the Somme, all of which operations were protected by heavy artillery fire in order to restrain our observation. Nothing could be seen 100 paces away. At eleven o'clock in the morning they dropped their bombs, and, having descended to within 100 feet of the ground, attacked us with machine-gun fire. 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