Four Years that were the biggest technology accelerator for any machine in history.

The "all wars," first saw the appearance of the aircraft as an actor on the battlefield, and the passage of a fragile craft to mass industry. In the foreground, the plane hardly occupied more space in the staffs of all countries that previously experienced ball. Means of transport to pass over enemy troops safe (remember the famous Gambetta getaway fleeing besieged Paris by the Germans in 1870), but also as a means to observe enemy movements with remarkable acuity, reserved role until then the light cavalry brigades. His faults were the lack of direct communication with its clean lines, some slow and governability of smaller.

Balkan War in 1912 Bleriot pioneers from 1895 were seen as only as eccentrics daredevils, and were far from attract armies attention. Yet already, Ader had proposed his "plane", and collected at most a dubious attention. Blériot, Garros, and others, would show that the device was reliable, to a certain extent. This was Blériot in 1910 that provides the first contingents of experimental reconnaissance aircraft, a solution that pallait the major defects of the ball. The French army was thus a pioneer in this field. The airship was also approached for the role, but it was expensive and relatively slow.

The Balkan War in 1910 (image above against left) would be the first experimental field of military aviation. We largua it, if we are to believe some sources, the first bomb, grenade standard infantry, dropped at low altitude. We also used as an observation device, and they proved somewhat effective in this role. But the reliability of the engines was still often in default, as well as their laughable autonomy. Manufacturers do not intérressaient to aircraft engines. The synergies between engine for automotive and aviation will therefore be in favor of the upheavals What value will the Great War.

In 1914, the countries involved in the conflict therefore possess a military aviation embryo, attached to the Army. It is not in fact an independent weapon, but a means of information of the staff of enemy movements on the battlefield. France, a pioneer in the field, had the largest numbers by far: 216 units in 27 squadrons. It was only aircraft unarmed reconnaissance.

As such, in France, the military wings dates from 1911, and a law of March 24, 1911 dedicated military aviation as one of the five components of the Army (Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers). This could include aviation in fact as many balloons as kites. But as Clément Ader had foreseen with Jules Verne any clairvoyance, this "fifth weapon" began to appear as offensive element in its own right in 1914, when a first fight took place on October 5 between a French aviator and a German. We then used the weapons of -pistolet- board réduite- scope and -encombrant rifle. Cartains did not hesitate to make use of various objects, including the most was undoubtedly the hook ... which was in delicate wooden architecture and paintings of consequential damages !.

bleriot IXDès then the gun naturally became a weapon of choice. The first hung above the main wing: To fire, the pilot had to stand up on his seat, even block the stick between his knees and shot over the wing, as well as the machine gun placed to avoid the scope of the propeller. As a new type of subdivision of this army appears, the hunter, the gun back on the hood for more efficiency. A mechanism then makes the synchronous with the pitch of the helix, in particular using a drip-drop of carefully regulated oil.

In 1915, this air gun is officially divided into shelling, hunting, transport and schooling. The French production was so famous worldwide, and Clerget engine, Hispano-Suiza, The Rhone massively built or licensed by the allies builders ... and enemies. The dreaded Fokker DR1 Bright Red Von Richthofen is provided. The Nieuport, together with these engines the spearhead of the Allied air forces, the Nieuport 11 becoming the standard fighter used by both the French and the Italians Brritanniques. But the Rotary engine, turning itself with its propeller and engine ancestor star, for it simplicity and robustness naturally intends it to mass production, but in return its power is limited to about 250 hp. It is too little for hunters emerged in 1916, when the Germans employ large contingents of devices with in-line engines, which they are not restrained and much faster.

It is the time of the terrible "flying circus" with an almost total eclipse for Allied aircraft, particularly in April, the situation will recover only in May-June 1917 with flagship devices: The SPAD VII French is definitely a device that can finally restore the balance thanks to its in-line engine Hispano-Suiza. The Sopwith Camel Columbia is also formidable, albeit slower, but more manageable, it follows a long line of aircraft inspired by the Nieuport 17. In front, the Germans align the Albatros D III, Pfalz D II, among others, but the industrial production figures are largely in favor of the allies: The Spad will be produced at a rate of 6,000 copies, and 5500 Camel against Albatros DV 1600 and 2500 Fokker DVII. The Germans compensated by a larger number of firms.

Fokker DR.IMais if hunting captivated by the heroic tales of the sky that were the knights Guynemer Nungesser, Fonck, for France, Richthofen and Udet for Germany, Mannock and Bishop for Great Britain and Canada , Rickenbacker, Lufbery and Luke Jr. for the US, and Scaroni Baracca for Italy, Brumowski for Austria-Hungary or Kazakov for Russia or Coppens for Belgium, more obscure drivers were daily au above the forehead for vital missions that either reconnaissance or bombing. In France, the GV Caudron becomes the primary viewing device alongside Breguet 14 bombing.

We still do not talk about heavy bombers, but with the increasing number of engines it was possible for a unit of more than five tons to rise, with a radius of action considerably higher than the hunters. The German Gotha bombers will then leave for Londoners, as well as military Zeppelins, unpleasant taste of the "blitz" they will suffer twenty years later ...

In 1918, it is France that has the largest air force in the world. In four years, it has produced 40,000 units and more than 100,000 engines, much of its allies. The American expeditionary force was it not fully equipped French aircraft in 1918 ?. This aura, French companies will benefit until 1939, providing many devices in various nations. For cemprendre then what happened to this force in June 1940, reference should be made to Chapter 1939-45.

The sections of this period: 

French Aviation WWI

Columbia Aviation of the Great War

1914-18 German Aviation

Italian Aviation WWI

Austro-Hungarian aviation of the Great War

Russian aircraft of World War

Fledgling air forces (American aircraft, Japan, China, Turkey, Balkans)


Still, in 1918, the fledgling civil aviation has a huge pool of devices that will enable the emergence of numerous domestic and regional routes as well as the first transcontinental airlines. Technological advances demanded by the necessities of war had propelled the entire aviation into a new era ... 

Placeholder text for WW1 planes