• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain the importance of the war in the air to the final outcome of WWI

Extracts from this document...


Explain the importance of the war in the air to the final outcome of the war. Within the First World War, the war in the air certainly played a role. Aircraft technology, unlike land and sea, was considerably primitive at the start of the war - only ten years old at the most. Therefore, it was the first major effort in which planes were tested out for their strengths and weaknesses. However, there were methods that could be put into effect to bring in aircraft in the initial stages and this brought about major technological advances in the field of aviation later on in the war. There is no doubt that these breakthroughs led to more significant innovations in the period leading up to the Second World War and beyond. We will look at just how important these events in air technology were to deciding the outcome of the war. At the start of the war, aircraft were used. Planes were around, albeit extremely basic and highly dangerous and unreliable. They were made of wood and canvas, all held together by metal wiring. The wings were one above the other, either biplanes (two wings) or triplanes (three wings) with a simple rotating propeller on the front. Top speeds were no more than sixty miles per hour. ...read more.


When the Germans were in full retreat, such efforts from planes helped also. However, this was far from being decisive in making any breakthrough on the Western Front. The Germans used reconnaissance too. Two developments helped this - good cameras fitted to planes and radio that provided air to ground communication. Neither side had the advantage in this case, so it soon became clear for both sides to try and deprive their enemy the vital information it was gaining due to reconnaissance. It started off with simply throwing bricks, grenades or rope in a hope that enemy planes' propellers or pilots would suffer. This later went on to handheld guns being used. When planes had guns successfully mounted to them in 1915, the era of air combat had begun. Dogfights were common above the Western Front. Again, neither side could gain an advantage over the other. Major limitations were put upon the mounting of machine guns, due to the awkward position of the propeller. Placing the gun in the most natural place, between the pilot and propeller, could not be done, as bullets would go straight into the propeller blades. Solutions such as the Frenchman Roland Garros' metal deflectors, mounting the gun above the propeller and mounting it at the back of the plane were quite good remedies, but were all scrapped. ...read more.


Flak cannons were used - effectively anti-aircraft artillery fired into the air, exploding in clouds of smoke and shrapnel - hindering enemy aircraft and causing damage also. This was another reason raids could not be carried out and aircraft could not be used to their full potential at the time. Throughout the war, air production increased on all sides incredibly dramatically, showing the importance that aviation could have had to the war and did have in the Second World War. Although there were definitely many technological advances in just four years - taking aircraft from string bags to complex machines - it played more of a subordinate role to the rest of the war. There were no major air battles in the war - just simple dogfights, various small bombing campaigns and reconnaissance. If anything, it played a small role at sea and on land by reconnaissance, where aircraft could spot enemy ships and aspects of trenches, respectively. World War I pointed the way to better, more decisive developments in the air in the 1920s, 1930s and into the Second World War. Tactics such as strategic bombing, close air support in blitzkrieg and proper fighter planes were more significant in the Second World War rather than the first, simply because each side countered the others' developments and aviation was still in its infancy, albeit the steps made during the war. In conclusion, air warfare was not particularly important in winning the First World War. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Explain the importance of the war at sea to the final outcome of WWI

    However, Germany realised the importance of Britain's navy to its empire and Britain itself. As an island nation, their navy was depended upon to guarantee the transportation of goods and supplies around the globe with the maximum efficiency and minimal delays.

  2. History Sourcework- Field Marshal Haig Final

    the only side that Lloyd George recognised, limiting its utility by ignoring his strengths. In conclusion, this source has the strength of being written by someone who had a close relationship with Haig, but due to the bad relationship that the two had, it is a very one sided account.

  1. As demonstrated by these five historians, the theories on the primary cause of WWI ...

    Serbia nationalism was supported by Russia. When Russia mobilized to help Serbia after the Austrians declared war, Germany declared war and ultimately dragged the rest of Europe into war. Fay disagrees with most historians in that Germany did not hold control of Austria.

  2. WW1-planning for war, major battles. War at sea and in the air.

    * By September they were within 20 miles of Paris. But then Schlieffen Plan went wrong: * The Belgians defied Germany and put up more of a force than expected. Although they were defeated, they took many more men than the Schlieffen plan had expected and therefore weakened the German army.

  1. Questions on World War One.

    His policies were not the only contributory factors of the 1914 world war, but to a great extent they were responsible for it. They were the main force that led to a complicated diplomatic situation in Europe and ultimately a war.

  2. Were the fronts of sea and air as important as the Western Front in ...

    Neither side could produce the devastating blow that could have won the war, thus most offensives failed miserably. It was not until the latter half of the war that the stalemate was finally broken. By the middle of 1917, the Eastern Front no longer existed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work