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War in the air.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WAR IN THE AIR INTRODUCTION In 1914 war broke out between all the major powers of Europe. Tension had been building up for a long time for many reasons. I have chosen to do my project on "War in the Air", because I was interested by how much air technology advanced as a direct result of the demands of war. I have divided up my project into three sections: 1. Air technology in 1914. 2. Use of aircraft in the early part of the war. 3. (a) How the use of aircraft changed the war, (b) New development's that allowed aircraft to take on new roles. During my research I went to the local library, I also went to the main library in Cambridge and used the school library and resources to see what books and information were available on this subject. I searched the internet for relevant sites, and I contacted Duxford Air Museum and the RAF Hendon Museum. AIR TECHNOLOGY IN 1914 It is clear that in 1914 Germany was far better equipped that the Allies. Despite hindsight being easy, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Britain was very slow to recognise the potential importance of the aeroplane to warfare. The use of 'lighter-than-air' machines such as balloons and kites had been used in warfare to a limited degree since the beginning of the 18th Century. It was not long after the Wright brothers successfully developed the first 'heavier-than-air' machine that some countries recognised the potential of aircraft in war. Even after Bleriot's flight across the Channel in 1909, the British Military establishment was slow to recognise their potential. The Royal Flying Corps was not set-up until May 1912. However, other governments were far quicker to see the potential. The U.S. was buying aircraft as early as 1908 and Italy was using them in combat as early as 1911. ...read more.

Middle

Later, in 1915 in Germany a monoplane was fitted with an updated version of this. Unfortunately it was destroyed in an accident and never rebuilt. Back in France, Raymond Saulnier could not get enough funding from the government to progress his idea so he went for a cheaper alternative, and put metal deflectors on his propellers. Therefore, if a bullet did hit it, it would not matter. In 1915 he was forced to land behind enemy lines after being shot from the ground. Before he could burn the plane the Germans arrested him and his plane was examined. They took the idea of the deflectors to a Dutch designer, who had been turned down by the British and French, Anthony Fokker. They told him to copy this idea, but he found that eventually the propeller would fall off, because of being hit by the bullets. So he said that he would develop the synchronised machine gun idea. He did this and fitted it to one of his own planes. The Fokker MSK monoplane. This was a revolutionary development in the advancement of air-combat. The aircraft was now a fighting machine. First Fighters At the start of the war the pilot, or in a two-seater the observer would climb in with a gun and shoot the other planes with this. Fokker showed the way by developing the MSK. This was not a particularly good performer, but it had the two synchronised machine guns that were superior to all the other aeroplanes at the time. By far the most common British plane was the B.E. family, this was able to fly steadily on its own. This became a major disadvantage now that the M5K would just line up and shoot it down. In the second half of 1915 the British and to a lesser extent the French were driven from the skies. An official report says that this was the closest we came to losing the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

1914 1917 Name of Aircraft B.E.2 Airco DH4 Country G.B. G.B. Type Reconnaissance Bomber No. Built 3,535 6,295 Engine Renault V8, 70 HP Rolls Royce Eagle VII 12 cylinder, liquid cooled, in line V 375 HP Max speed(Kph) 116 230 Ceiling(M) 3050 7163 Endurance 3hrs 15 min 6hrs 45 min Weapons None 2-4 machine guns bombs Aircraft in the 1st World War began to show the dramatic impact they were to have in later conflicts. The development of weapons for aeroplanes was also greatly improved as there was more need to destroy each other's planes. This was the first time planes had been used to attack other planes in a major way. Aircraft obviously played a big part in the war, they were brilliant scouts, good at dropping bombs on the enemy, destroying other aeroplanes and directing artillery fire. As you can see from the table above the machines improved dramatically over only a short amount of time. The advances made were irreplaceable and I am shore that they would not be on the same level now of technology. Whilst carrying out this project I have been struck by the great speed at which engineers and designers within the air industry had to advance. If it had been peacetime I do not believe we would have seen anything like the advances that took place. I also noticed how the actual use of aircraft completely changed from simple air-balloons carrying out pure reconnaissance to aircraft like the Fokker D.VII attacking not only soldiers and other aircraft but also enemy homelands. Whilst carrying out this project I have been struck by the great speed at which engineers and designers within the air industry had to advance. If it had been peacetime I do not believe we would have seen anything like the advances that took place. I also noticed how the actual use of aircraft completely changed from simple air-balloons carrying out pure reconnaissance to aircraft like the Fokker D.VII attacking not only soldiers and other aircraft but also enemy homelands. ...read more.

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