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Thu Aug 30, 2018, 07:03 PM

Airplanes in WWI. I know they were pretty new then,

But how did they contribute to the war effort?
Other than trying to shoot the enemy planes out of the sky, what did they do? Did they shoot men in the trenches?

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Reply Airplanes in WWI. I know they were pretty new then, (Original post)
raccoon Aug 2018 OP
Arkansas Granny Aug 2018 #1
LuvLoogie Aug 2018 #2
dameatball Aug 2018 #3
Doc_Technical Aug 2018 #4
LSFL Aug 2018 #5
eppur_se_muova Aug 2018 #6

Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2018, 07:06 PM

1. I believe I've heard that they were used for surveillance.

Knowing where the enemy is and troop numbers can be very valuable info.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2018, 07:06 PM

2. reconnaissance, mainly

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2018, 07:11 PM

3. They strafed enemy convoys and dropped rather small bombs as well.

The roads sucked for both sides in WWI, so merely knocking out a few trucks and some horse drawn wagons in a muddy area could halt an advance for a few hours.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2018, 07:41 PM

4. During the last years of the war,

all the major countries involved had twin engine bombers.
There were some raids on strategic targets and terror raids on civilians.

Russia had a four engine bomber designed by Igor Sikorsky, who
later went on to developed a successful helicopter.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2018, 09:07 PM

5. Psychological impact probably outweighed the threat

They added an extra dimension of threat. Even if they were ineffectual, they must have been a distraction for ground forces. One more thing.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Fri Aug 31, 2018, 10:17 AM

6. Don't forget that German Zeppelins bombed several cities, including London ....

and the Brits eventually learned how to shoot them down with incendiary bullets fired from airplanes.

As several others have noted, their first real use was reconnaisance. Then one of the pilots fired a gun at an enemy pilot, and things took off after that.

Supply convoys, including trains, were probably more vulnerable to strafing than were trenches. Hitting artillery emplacements before an attempted advance would have been an obvious move as well.

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