Segments in this Video

Air Strike Legacy (03:18)


Modern air forces use strategic bombing; aerial domination is now essential to winning wars. Aircraft such as the Fairchild A-10 are designed to engage in combat zones.

Ground Support (08:28)

At the beginning of World War I, aircraft was used only for reconnaissance; battles occurred on land, and in trenches. Planes communicated artillery fire landings; in 1915, the British developed an aiming template to accurately reach targets. Contact Patrols observed and transmitted infantry progress.

Ground Strafing (02:28)

By the end of World War I, fighter ground attacks were employed for both offense and defense purposes; machine guns and small bombs were deployed at close range. A specialization of the technique using tanks was developed; it was the predecessor to Nazi blitzkrieg tactics.

Air Interdiction (05:48)

Aircraft were employed to target support zones, resulting in camouflaging of supplies and administrative bases. The Day Bomber was developed and used in 1917; bombing was accomplished from low heights by manually sighting targets. Bomb Sights were calculated by factoring speed and trajectory; long range fighters began formation defenses.

Domination by Air Power (04:39)

United States Army Colonel Billy Mitchell created a massive and diverse air force carrying out reconnaissance and attack. His offensive was successful, and he continued aerial strikes throughout the war. In 1915, The British engaged with Turkey; during the Battle of Megiddo, they destroyed escape routes, trapping and bombing Turkish forces.

Zeppelin Offensives (07:54)

In 1914, Winston Churchill ordered attacks on German airship hangars. In 1915, Kaiser Wilhelm II sanctioned attacks on English and French military, then on London; anti-aircraft weaponry and searchlights were employed in defense. Airship raids continued almost to the end of World War I, until bombers were better developed, and easily out maneuvered them.

German Air Raids (07:19)

In 1914, the Ilya Muromets was the only long range bomber; the Caproni was the first plane designed as a bomber. Germans produced the Zeppelin Staaken R, Gotha G, and Friedrichshafen; in Spring 1917, they attacked London, killing many residents. General Jan Smutz overhauled defenses around the city; civilian alert systems, Night Fighters and searchlights hindered effectiveness of following offensives.

Changing Tactics (04:51)

Smutz issued a policy suggesting strategic air bombing as the main offense against the Germans; General Hugh Trenchard deployed the 41st Wing Flying Core in summer 1917. Ten DH-4 bombers attacked Germany on December 24th, 1917. In April 1918, The Royal Air Force became an official arm of the British military.

Surrender (05:08)

By 1917, strategic air bombing was employed to destroy German industrial areas; the Handley Page was developed with long range, and large bomb capacity. In June 1918, allied squadrons went on a mission to advance on Berlin and disrupt civilian populations. The conflict ended in November 1918; air strike tactics developed during the period changed war strategies permanently.

Credits: Strike From The Air (00:43)

Credits: Strike From The Air

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Century Of Flight: Strike From The Air

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In this episode of Century of Flight, we see the development of air strikes and bombers during World War I, and how it permanently changed how wars are fought and won. The first planes and airships were used as reconnaissance, but ground strafing and interdiction strategies were soon formulated, followed by advancement of bomber planes. Follow German Zeppelins on their attacks on London, and the Allied Force's Christmas Eve offensive that helped end the war.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185471

ISBN: 978-1-64623-946-7

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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