Bulgarian Air Force
The Bulgarian Air Force is one of the three branches of the Military of Bulgaria, the other two being the Bulgarian Navy and Bulgarian land forces. Its mission is to guard and protect the sovereignty of Bulgarian airspace, to provide aerial support, the Bulgarian Air Force is one of the oldest air forces in Europe and the world. In recent times it has been taking part in numerous NATO missions. The current commanding officer of the Bulgarian Air Force is Major General Constantin Popov, the Bulgarian Air Force dates back to the end of the 19th century. In 1892 at the Plovdiv International Fair two lieutenants of the Bulgarian Army flew in the ‘La France’ balloon of the Frenchman Godard, inspired by the flight, they succeeded to convince the General Staff that the Bulgarian Army should build a balloon force. On 20 April 1906 Vazduhoplavatelno Otdelenie was created to operate observation balloons for the army, after graduation Lt. Zlatarov was appointed its first commander. After operating small balloons, in 1911 a bigger Godard balloon was bought, in 1910 a Russian aircraft engineer, Boris Maslennikov, was invited to Bulgaria, where he presented his airplane, a modification of the French Farman III.
Following his demonstration, assisted by Vasil Zlatarov over the hippodrome in Sofia, in early 1912 thirteen army officers were sent abroad for training as pilots and orders were placed for five French and German airplanes. The officers sent to France completed their training first and returned to Bulgaria in July 1912, the same year Bulgaria received its first airplane – Bleriot XXI with which on 13 August 1912 Simeon Petrov flew to become the first Bulgarian to pilot an airplane over Bulgaria. After the front lines had stabilized, an Aeroplane Platoon was established at a new airfield close to the fighting, that month the Bulgarian Aviation Corps was expanded to three Aeroplane Platoons. Foreign volunteers began flying operational sorties alongside Bulgarian pilots and carried out reconnaissance, during the war at least three aircraft were shot down. Considerable help was received from the Russians in terms of aircraft, due to low aircraft serviceability and frequent accidents, the number of missions flown was relatively low.
Despite that, the Bulgarian airmen and their helpers were able to gather enough intelligence for the Army General Staff to use in the capture of the city. During the First Balkan War Bulgarian aviation undertook 70 combat sorties, including 11 bombing raids, all in all, during both wars, there were over 230 aircraft sorties, including non-combat. The aircraft used were Blériot XI and XXI, Sommer, Albatros FIII, Farman VII, the Kingdom of Bulgaria entered World War I as an ally of the Central Powers on October 4,1915. The Aeroplane Section of the Bulgarian Army was deployed to Kumanovo Airfield in support of advancing Bulgarian forces, until they had completed 11 combat sorties from an airfield in Sofia. As the frontline advanced, the unit re-deployed to airfields near Belitsa and Xanthi, newly acquired German LVG aircraft were hastily pressed into action. Two more airfields were constructed near Udovo and Levunovo, the Allies began flying reconnaissance and bomber sorties against Bulgarian units on the Southern Balkan Front
United States Army Air Service
The Air Service, United States Army was the military aviation service of the United States between 1918 and 1926 and a forerunner of the United States Air Force. It was established as an independent but temporary branch of the U. S and its life was extended for another year in July 1919, during which time Congress passed the legislation necessary to make it a permanent establishment. The National Defense Act of 1920 assigned the Air Service the status of combatant arm of the line of the United States Army with a general in command. By the end of the war, the Air Service used 45 squadrons to cover 137 kilometers of front from Pont-à-Mousson to Sedan,71 pursuit pilots were credited with shooting down five or more German aircraft while in American service. Overall the Air Service destroyed 756 enemy aircraft and 76 balloons in combat,17 balloon companies operated at the front, making 1,642 combat ascensions. 289 airplanes and 48 balloons were lost in battle, the Air Service was the first form of the air force to have an independent organizational structure and identity.
Although officers concurrently held rank in various branches, after May 1918 their branch designation in official correspondence while on aviation assignment changed from ASSC to AS, after July 1,1920, its personnel became members of the Air Service branch, receiving new commissions. Airmen such as Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell supported the concept, the Armys senior leadership from World War I, the United States Navy, and the majority of the nations political leadership favored integration of all military aviation into the Army and Navy. Aided by a wave of pacifism following the war that drastically cut military budgets, opponents of an independent air force prevailed, the Air Service was renamed the Army Air Corps in 1926 as a compromise in the continuing struggle. The declaration of war against Germany on April 6,1917, putting the United States in World War I, came too quickly to solve emerging engineering and production problems. The reorganization of the Aviation Section had been inadequate in resolving problems in training, leaving the United States totally unprepared to fight an air war in Europe, the Aviation Section consisted of 131 officers,1087 enlisted men, and approximately 280 airplanes.
The Board dispatched Major Raynal C, by the time the bill passed, the term Air Service was in widespread if unofficial usage to collectively describe all aspects of Army aviation. Even so, the Aircraft Board in practice had little control over procurement contracts, nor did the Equipment Division of the Signal Corps exercise such control. Though individual areas within the industry responded well, the industry as a whole failed. Efforts to mass produce European aircraft under license largely failed because the aircraft, at the same time the Aeronautical Division of the OCSO was renamed the Air Division with continued responsibility for training and operations but with no influence on acquisition or doctrine. In the end the process in aircraft procurement was badly fragmented. Borglum had exchanged letters with President Wilson, a friend, from which he assumed an appointment to investigate had been authorized. Both the U. S. Senate and the Department of Justice began investigations into possible fraudulent dealings, Kenly brought back from France to be its head, to separate supervision of aviation from the duties of the Chief Signal Officer
Aerial reconnaissance in World War I
During 1914-18, driven primarily by the introduction of heavier-than-air aircraft, aerial reconnaissance developed from an almost zero baseline to a vast, complex science. Equipment, tactics and terminology that would survive with modifications to this day had their origins in this period. The first use of an airplane in war was a reconnaissance flight performed on 23 October 1911 by Captain Carlo Maria Piazza in a Blériot XI during the Italo-Turkish War in Tripolitania, military aerial photography began that December. The experience in World War I would begin on very similar terms, with French Bleriot, Reconnaissance was widely perceived as the only practical use of airplanes. Tethered balloons could ascend to as high as a mile, but were easy to shoot down, they were unstable observation platforms in any wind, leading to attempts to stabilize them with kite-tails or drogues attached to the basket. Dirigibles like the huge new German Zeppelins were considered the best reconnaissance platforms, handheld cameras were widely used but with disappointing results.
Good photographs required both skilled flying and an operator who could devote time to handle the camera and the unwieldy and heavy glass plates it required. In time, longer length lenses were used and gear grew lighter and bigger. Driven high, aircrews began to use oxygen and heated clothing items, the critical discipline of communicating results led to rampant improvisation. At first it was not uncommon for aircraft to land next to command posts so the pilot could personally pass on urgent information, for artillery spotting, time was of the essence, and the French tried air-dropped messaging, colored flares, and pre-arranged aircraft maneuvers to convey information. Germany had a lead and adopted the first aerial camera. Just two weeks into the war, reporters noted of airplanes, “They have ranged constantly over the enemy’s positions, so that the French have always known what the Germans have been doing. This has so disconcerted the latter that they are now making efforts to frighten the French air scouts away.
”By 17 August 1914 and repeatedly thereafter, France was by far the aeronautical leader at the time, and the French Army had incorporated cameras in airplanes from the beginning. France began the war with several squadrons of Blériot observation planes, the French Army developed procedures for getting prints into the hands of field commanders quickly. In Britain, lagging far behind in aviation, the reconnaissance pioneer F. C. V, laws established the first heavier-than-air photography unit at Farnborough in 1913, using a Farman fitted with a Watson camera. In stark contrast with the French, early British reconnaissance was conducted on an amateur basis. The United States played an important role in the last months of the war, using French aircraft, major Bagley brought his recently invented tri-lens camera to France, where it was used to make one vertical and two oblique images from airplanes. These images were used to overprint enemy trenches and gun emplacements over existing maps for precision targeting, an example of this camera is held at the Smithsonian Institution, This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F.
Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Strategic bombing during World War I
Strategic bombing during World War I was principally carried out by the United Kingdom and France for the Entente Powers and Germany for the Central Powers. All the nations at war eventually engaged in bombing, excepting Rome and Washington. A multi-national air force to strike at Germany was planned but never materialized, the aerial bombing of cities, intended to destroy the enemys morale, was introduced by the Germans in the opening days of the war. Early strategic bombing led to the development of specialized bomber aircraft. Initially bombs were dropped by hand and aimed by the naked eye, the introduction of air raid warnings and shelters can be dated to World War I, as can the design of anti-aircraft artillery and the development of methods for coordinated aerial defence. Many of the advocates of strategic bombing during the period, such as Italys Giulio Douhet, Americas Billy Mitchell. The improvements in technology during and after the war convinced many that the bomber will always get through.
The first strategic bombing in history was the first instance of bombs being dropped on a city from the air, on 6 August 1914 a German Zeppelin bombed the Belgian city of Liège. Within the first month of the war, Germany had formed the Ostend Carrier Pigeon Detachment, during the First Battle of the Marne, a German pilot flying aerial reconnaissance missions over Paris in a Taube regularly dropped bombs on the city. The first raid dropped five bombs and a note demanding the immediate surrender of Paris. Before the stabilisation of the Western Front, the German aircraft dropped fifty bombs on Paris and this campaign was approved on 7 January 1915 by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who forbade attacks on London, fearing that his relatives in the British royal family might be injured. These restrictions were lifted in May, after British attacks on German cities, the first attacks on England were on 9 January, and struck the Yarmouth area and Kings Lynn. In Britain, fear of the Zeppelin as a weapon of war preceded its actual use, the Imperial German Navy, whose airships were primarily used for reconnaissance over the North Sea, continued to bomb the United Kingdom until 1918.
In all, fifty-one raids on Great Britain were carried out, the most intense year of the airship bombing of England was 1916. Germany employed 125 airships during the war, losing more than half and sustaining a 40% attrition rate of their crews, in May 1917 the Germans began using heavy bombers against England using Gotha G. IV and supplementing these with Riesenflugzeuge, mostly from the Zeppelin-Staaken firm. The targets of these raids were industrial and port facilities and government buildings, although the German strategic bombing campaign against Britain was the most extensive of the war, it was largely ineffective, in terms of actual damage done. Only 300 tons of bombs were dropped, resulting in damage of £2,962,111 damage,1,414 dead and 3,416 injured. In the autumn of 1917, over 300,000 Londoners had taken shelter from the bombing, the Royal Naval Air Service undertook the first Entente strategic bombing missions on 22 September 1914 and 8 October, when it bombed the Zeppelin bases in Cologne and Düsseldorf
Royal Naval Air Service
In 1908, the British government had recognised that the use of aircraft for military and naval purposes should be investigated. To this end the Prime Minister, H. H. Asquith, approved the formation of an Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, both committees were composed of politicians, army officers and Royal Navy officers. After much discussion on the Committee of Imperial Defence the suggestion was approved on 7 May 1909, the airship, named Mayfly, never flew and broke in half on 24 September 1911. The First Sea Lord, Sir Arthur Wilson, recommended that rigid airship construction be abandoned, on June 21st,1910, Lt. George Cyril Colmore became the first qualified pilot in the Royal Navy. After completing training, which Colmore paid for out of his own pocket, in November 1910, the Royal Aero Club, thanks to one of its members, Francis McClean, offered the Royal Navy two aircraft with which to train its first pilots. The Club offered its members as instructors and the use of its airfield at Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, the airfield became the Naval Flying School, Eastchurch.
Two hundred applications were received, and four were accepted, Lieutenant C. R. Samson, Lieutenant A. M. Longmore, Lieutenant A. Gregory and Captain E. L. Gerrard, RMLI. After prolonged discussion on the Committee of Imperial Defence, the Royal Flying Corps was constituted by Royal Warrant on 13 April 1912 and it absorbed the nascent naval air detachment and the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. It consisted of two wings with the Military Wing making up the Army element and Naval Wing, under Commander C. R. Samson, the naval wing, by the terms of its inception was permitted to carry out experimentation at its flying school at Eastchurch. In the summer of 1912, in recognition of the air branchs expansion, sueters remit as outlined in September 1912 stated that he was responsible to the Admiralty for all matters connected with the Naval Air Service. In the same month as the Air Department was set up, in 1913 a seaplane base on the Isle of Grain and an airship base at Kingsnorth were approved for construction.
On 16 April ten officers of the Navy Service graduated from the Central Flying School, as of 7 June 44 officers and 105 other ranks had been trained at the Central Flying School and at Eastchurch, and 35 officers and men had been trained in airship work. Three non-rigid airships built for the army, the Willows, Astra-Torres, on 1 July 1914, the Admiralty made the Royal Naval Air Service, forming the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps, part of the Military Branch of the Royal Navy. By the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Navy maintained twelve airship stations around the coast of Britain from Longside, Aberdeenshire in the northeast to Anglesey in the west. On 1 August 1915 the Royal Naval Air Service officially came under the control of the Royal Navy, inter-service rivalry even affected aircraft procurement. This situation continued, although most of Sopwiths post-1915 products were not designed specifically as naval aircraft, on 23 June 1917, after the Second Battle of Gaza, RNAS aircraft attacked Tulkarm in the Judean Hills.
On 1 April 1918, the RNAS was merged with the RFC to form the Royal Air Force, at the time of the merger, the Navys air service had 55,066 officers and men,2,949 aircraft,103 airships and 126 coastal stations. The RNAS squadrons were absorbed into the new structure, individual squadrons receiving new squadron numbers by effectively adding 200 to the number so No.1 Squadron RNAS became No.201 Squadron RAF
The tactical and training differences between the two sides ensured the British suffered a casualty rate nearly four times as great as their opponents. The losses were so disastrous that it threatened to undermine the morale of entire squadrons, the RFC contributed to the success, limited as it finally proved, of the British Army during the five-week campaign. The Royal Flying Corps supported British operations by offering close air support, aerial reconnaissance, the RFCs commanding officer, Hugh Trenchard believed in the offensive use of air power and pushed for operations over German-controlled territory. It was expected the numbers of aircraft assembled over the frontlines in the spring of 1917 would fulfil this purpose. However, the aircraft were, for the most part, inferior to German fighter aircraft, British pilot training was not only poorly organised and inconsistent, it had to be drastically abbreviated in order to keep squadrons suffering heavy casualties up to strength. German pilot training was, at time, more thorough.
These units were led by experienced pilots, some of them survivors of the Fokker Scourge period. And had been working up with the first mass-produced twin-gunned German fighters, the one sided nature of the casualty lists during Bloody April was partly a result of German numerical inferiority. Moreover, they could choose when and how to engage in combat, the Battle of Arras began on 9 April 1917. The Allies launched a joint ground offensive, with the British attacking near Arras in Artois, northern France, in support of the British army, the RFC deployed 25 squadrons, totalling 365 aircraft, about one-third of which were fighters. There were initially only five German Jastas in the region, the Allies fighter squadrons were equipped with obsolete pushers such as the Airco DH.2 and F. E.8 – and other outclassed types such as the Nieuport 17 and Sopwith Pup. Only the SPAD S. VII and Sopwith Triplane could compete on more or less equal terms with the Albatros, the new generation of Allied fighters were not yet ready for service, although No.56 Squadron RFC with the S. E.
The new R. E.8 two-seaters, which were eventually to prove less vulnerable than the B. E. 2e, during April 1917, the British lost 245 aircraft,211 aircrew killed or missing and 108 as prisoners of war. The German Air Services recorded the loss of 66 aircraft during the same period, as a comparison, in the five months of the Battle of the Somme of 1916 the RFC had suffered 576 casualties. Under Richthofens leadership, Jasta 11 scored 89 victories during April, in casualties suffered, the month marked the nadir of the RFCs fortunes. However, despite the losses inflicted, the German Air Service failed to stop the RFC carrying out its prime objectives, in particular the artillery spotting aircraft rendered valuable reconnaissance to the British artillery, who were able to maintain their superiority throughout the battle. In spite of their ascendancy in air combat, the German fighter squadrons continued to be used defensively, thus the Jastas established air superiority, but certainly not the air supremacy sometimes claimed.
Within a couple of months the new technologically advanced generation of fighter had entered service in numbers, as the British fighter squadrons became once more able to adequately protect the slower reconnaissance and artillery observation machines, RFC losses fell and German losses rose
Flight over Vienna
The Flight over Vienna was an air raid during World War I undertaken by Italian poet and nationalist Gabriele DAnnunzio on 9 August 1918. The action was planned the year before but technical problems, such as the capacity of the planes. The first trial was attempted on the 2 August 1918, the second trial, on 8 August 1918, was cancelled due to strong wind, while the last one, on 9 August, was successful. They flew over Vienna and dropped 50,000 leaflets on a three-colored card and they were written by DAnnunzio himself and were not translated into German. It turns towards us with an iron certainty, the hour of that Germany that thrashes you, and humiliates you, and infects you is now forever passed. As our faith was the strongest, behold how our will prevails, the victorious combatants of Piave, the victorious combatants of Marna feel it, they know it, with an ecstasy that multiplies the impetus. But if the impetus were not enough, the number would be, the Atlantic is a path already closing, and its an heroic path, as demonstrated by the new chasers who coloured the Ourcq with German blood.
The rumble of the young Italian wing does not sound like the one of the funereal bronze, nevertheless the joyful boldness suspends between Saint Stephen and the Graben an irrevocable sentence, o Viennese. Previously, critics of DAnnunzio had said, He writes, because DAnnunzios Italian text was considered ineffectual and not translatable into German, Ferdinando Martini quipped, He acts, but he cant write. They dropped 350,000 leaflets written by Ugo Ojetti, as follows and we are flying over Vienna, we could drop tons of bombs. All we are dropping on you is a greeting of three colors, the three colors of liberty and we Italians do not make war on children, on old people, on women. We are making war on government, the enemy of national liberties, on your blind, cruel government that can give you neither peace nor bread. You are famous for being intelligent, but why have you put on the Prussian uniform. By now, you see, the world has turned against you. You want to continue the war, the decisive victory promised to you by the Prussian generals.
Their decisive victory is like the bread of Ukraine, You die waiting for it, PEOPLE OF VIENNA, think of your own fates
Westphalia is a region in northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of 7,802 sq mi and 7.9 million inhabitants, the region is almost identical with the Province of Westphalia which was a part of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1918 and the Free State of Prussia from 1918 to 1946. In 1946, Westphalia merged with the Northern Rhineland, another part of Prussia. In 1947, the state with its two parts was joined by a third one, Lippe, a former principality and free state. All of the 17 districts and 9 independent cities of Westphalia, the Westphalian language, a variant of the German language, spreads north of Westphalias borders into southwest Lower Saxony. Being a part of the North German Plain, most of Westphalias north is flat, in the south the German Central Uplands emerge. Westphalia is divided into the following landscapes, other important rivers are the Ems and the Lippe. The Langenberg and the Kahler Asten in the Sauerlands part of the Rothaar Mountains are Westphalias, Westphalia is divided into three governmental districts.
These are subdivided into districts and independent cities. All districts and independent cities of the districts of Arnsberg. The District of Lippe as successor of the Free State of Lippe in the Governmental District of Detmold is rather considered to be a historic region. The traditional symbol of Westphalia is the Westphalian Steed, a horse on a red field. It is derived from the Saxon Steed in the coat of arms of the medieval Duchy of Saxony which most of todays Westphalia was part of. In official contexts the coat of arms of Westphalia is being used by the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association which represents these two historic parts of North Rhine-Westphalia. The coat of arms of Lower Saxony uses a different version of the Saxon Steed since the state covers parts of the Old Saxons duchy. The colors of Westphalia are white and red, the flag of the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association uses these colors with the Westphalian coat of arms in its center. The flag of North Rhine-Westphalia is a combination of the Northern Rhinelands colors green/white, the flag of the Prussian Province of Westphalia already displayed the colors white and red.
The flag of Lower Saxony shows the colors of Germany and the Saxon Steed, composed in Iserlohn in 1886 by Emil Rittershaus, the Westfalenlied is an unofficial anthem of Westphalia
Leutnant Hartmuth Baldamus was a World War I flying ace credited with 18 aerial victories. Hartmuth Baldamus was born in Dresden on 10 August 1891, Baldamus was in German aviation from the start of the First World War. Ranked as a Gefreiter, he flew for FFA20 beginning 29 March 1915, on 20 September 1915, he was commissioned a Leutnant. By the end of 1915, Baldamus had been awarded the Albert Order and he scored his first aerial victory on 15 March 1916, he scored his fifth confirmed victory on 29 July 1916, though details of some of his earlier wins are missing. Having performed the unusual feat of becoming an ace before being assigned to a fighter squadron. He moved on to Jasta 9 in early November 1916, on 2 December he closed out 1916 with nine victories. The requirement for winning the Pour le Merite had been set at eight victories for the very earliest German aces, now, as Baldamus seemed to qualify, the requirement was raised out of his reach. However, he did receive the prestigious Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order on 8 January 1917, Baldamus resumed scoring on 23 January 1917, and steadily more single victories, reaching 17 on 12 April 1917.
Two days later, at 1140 hours, Hartmut Baldamus slammed into a collision with the French Nieuport of Caporal Simon. Baldamus crashed to his death near Sainte-Marie-à-Py, above the Lines, The Aces and Fighter Units of the German Air Service, Naval Air Service and Flanders Marine Corps, 1914–1918. Norman Franks, Frank W. Bailey, Russell Guest
Australian Flying Corps
The Australian Flying Corps was the branch of the Australian Army responsible for operating aircraft during World War I, and the forerunner of the Royal Australian Air Force. The AFC was established in 1912, though it was not until 1914 that it began flight training, in 1911, at the Imperial Conference held in London it was decided that aviation should be developed by the various national armed forces of the British Empire. Australia became the first member of the Empire to follow this policy, by the end of 1911, the Army was advertising for pilots and mechanics. During 1912 pilots and mechanics were appointed, aircraft were ordered, the site of a school had been chosen. On 7 March 1913, the government officially announced formation of the Central Flying School, units were formed for service overseas with the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. They saw action, initially, in the Mesopotamian Campaign, the AFC saw action in Palestine and France. In addition, a wing was established in the United Kingdom.
The corps remained part of the Australian Army until 1921, when it was re-established as the independent RAAF. On 3 July 1912, the first flying machines were ordered, soon afterward, two pilots were appointed, Henry Petre and Eric Harrison. On 22 September 1912, the Minister of Defence, Senator George Pearce, Petre rejected a suggestion by Captain Oswald Watt that a Central Flying School be established in Canberra, near the Royal Military College, because it was too high above sea level. Petre instead recommended several sites in Victoria and one of these was chosen, at Point Cook, two days later, on 24 October 1912, the government authorised the raising of a single squadron. On 7 March 1913, the government officially announced formation of the Central Flying School, according to the Australian War Memorial, the name Australian Flying Corps does not appear to have been promulgated officially but seems to have been derived from the term Australian Aviation Corps. The first mention of an Australian Flying Corps appears in Military Orders of 1914, Flying training did not begin immediately, and it was not until 1914, that the first class of pilots were accepted.
No.1 Flight of the Australian Flying Corps was raised in the 3rd Military District on 14 July 1914, following the outbreak of World War I and the expansion of the Army, aviation became a separate branch commanded by Reynolds. However, during the war, AFC operational units were attached and subordinate to Australian ground forces and/or British ground, Reynolds role was mostly administrative rather than one that involved operational command. After the outbreak of war in 1914, the Australian Flying Corps sent one aircraft, a B. E.2, to assist in capturing the German colonies in northern New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. However, German forces in the Pacific surrendered quickly, before the plane was even unpacked from its shipping crate, losses were high and by December, after flying supplies to the besieged garrison at Kut, the MHF was disbanded. In January 1916, No.1 Squadron was raised at Point Cook in response to a British request for Australia to raise a squadron to serve as part of the RFC