"FLYING CORPS.- Aviation, as a. military service, took new organized forms during the World War, and its development in this respect is dealt with in the following pages; the art of flying itself is treated under Aeronautics. At the present time, the general name of" Air Force "has come into official use to cover the different forms of organized military and naval aviation, but earlier in the World War the usual term was" Flying Corps."The development of the British air forces will be treated here first.
Military Aviation. -The first official appearance of any form of aircraft as part of the British army (for the navy, see later) was in 1878, when a Royal Engineers balloon equipment store was established at Woolwich Arsenal. In the following years, besides practice in manoeuvres (both field and siege), experimental work was carried on at Woolwich, and later at Chatham, in the direction of getting a better gas, a more suitable fabric for the envelope, and more adequate means of filling the balloons than existed at the time. The question of transport for balloons was also carefully gone into. As a result of this decision a small factory, depot and school of instruction were started at Chatham in 1883. In 1884 it was decided to include a balloon detachment among the R.E. units mobilized for service in Bechuanaland and in the following year a similar detachment was sent on service in the Soudan. In 1890 the balloon section was recognized as an individual unit of the R.E.; the factory and the school were moved to Aldershot, the depot remaining at Chatham. At this time its strength was 33 all ranks.
Up to the beginning of the S. African War of 1899-1902 the organization of the balloon section remained the same. On the outbreak of that war it was decided to send balloons to S. Africa, and three sections in all went out.
In 1902 the first British airship," Nulli Secundus,"was commenced at the balloon factory, which also continued research into man-lifting kites, photography, signalling between ground and balloons, petrol motors, elongated balloons and mechanical hauling apparatus. In 1905 the balloon factory was moved to S. Farnborough, and experiments were carried out at Gibraltar with a view to seeing to what extent balloons could be utilized in spotting submarines and mines.
The growing importance of aeronautics was signalized in Oct. 1908 by the appointment of an appropriate standing sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence. This committee reported in Jan. 1909 in favour of a small expenditure being authorized for building a rigid airship for the navy, and ex perimenting on non-dirigibles for the army, but recommended discontinuance by the balloon establishment of its experiments with aeroplanes for progress in which it would be better to rely on private enterprise. In April 1909 the" Advisory Committee for Aeronautics "was appointed under the presidency of Lord Rayleigh to advise on questions relating to the science of aeronautics, to arrange when necessary for experimental work at the National Physical Laboratory and generally to advance the practical application of the science.
In Oct. 1909 the balloon factory and balloon school at S. Farnborough, which had hitherto been under one control, were separated, a commandant of the school and superintendent of the factory being appointed. The next step of any importance was the formation in 1911 of the Air Battalion R.E. This Air Battalion absorbed the existing elements of the balloon section, and consisted of a headquarters and two companies, No. 1 (airship and kite) and No. 2 (aeroplane), the latter being the first heavierthan-air unit to form part of the British army. The expansion of the Air Battalion on mobilization was provided for by the selection of officers of the regular army to form the Air Battalion Reserve.
At this time there were less than 12 efficient aeroplanes and two small airships for both naval and military requirements, while France had 250 aeroplanes and several airships, and Germany had 20 to 30 military aeroplanes and about 20 airships. Towards the end of 1911, therefore, it was realized that the rapid development of aeronautics abroad rendered necessary further study of the possibilities of aviation in its relation to Imperial Defence, and on Nov. 18 1911 the Prime Minister requested an air sub-committee of the Committee of the Imperial Defence to consider the question. This sub-committee delegated to a technical sub-committee the task of drawing up a scheme. Its main recommendations, accepted by the air sub-committee and finally by the Committee of Imperial Defence and the Government, were as follows: (a) That the British air service should be regarded as one, and called the" Flying Corps."This corps to provide the personnel necessary for naval and military wings, for the Central Flying School and for a Flying Corps Reserve. (b) That the Central Flying School should be established on Salisbury Plain at the joint expense of the Admiralty and the War Office, but administered by the latter. (c) That after graduating as pilots at the Central Flying School officers should go for further instruction to the Naval Flying School at Eastchurch, or to a military squadron as the case might be, or else pass into the reserve of the Flying Corps.
The technical sub-committee also recommended that the technical requirements for both wings of the Flying Corps should be provided by the army aircraft factory, which should henceforth be known as the" Aircraft Factory."This aircraft factory, which was the direct descendant of the balloon factory, and out of which was eventually evolved the Royal Aircraft Establishment, should be charged with the higher training of mechanics for the Flying Corps, the repair of engines and machines, research and experiment.
Further, it was recommended that in order to secure close collaboration between the naval and military wings, the Central Flying School, the aircraft factory and the Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, a permanent air sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence should be constituted under the chairmanship of the Under-Secretary of State for War, and having as its members the senior officers of the corps and the factory, with War Office and Admiralty representatives.
With regard to the supply of personnel for the Flying Corps, the technical sub-committee recommended that its officers should be exclusively graduates of the Central Flying School, the supply being from either the navy or the army or by direct entry from civil life. After graduating, officers should serve continuously for four years in the Flying Corps with the naval wing, military wing, on the permanent staff of the Central Flying School or the Flying Corps Reserve. The Flying Corps Reserve to consist of personnel only, and to be divided into two classes: - (a) those who were required to keep themselves in flying practice; (b) others not under this obligation. The first were to receive a retaining fee.
It was estimated that the navy would require 40 officers trained as pilots per annum. As regards the military wing, the seven aeroplane squadrons considered necessary for the Expeditionary Force would require a total of 182 officer pilots and 182 N.C.O. pilots. Assuming four years of active flying work as the limit for the average individual and adding 25% for casualties, failures, etc., the number eventually to be passed through the Central Flying School per annum would be about 164. In addition it was recom mended that 15 civilians should be trained annually as pilots and passed into the Reserve.
With regard to the naval wing of the R.F.C., the technical subcommittee recommended that after being at the Central Flying School officers should then pass on to Eastchurch for further training in the special forms of naval aeronautics. It was, incidentally, further recommended that in view of the great cost involved it was not considered advisable to build rigid airships.
As regards the military wing of the Flying Corps, it was recommended that it should comprise all branches of military aeronautics, including aeroplanes, airships and kites, and should accordingly absorb the existing Air Battalion of the R.E. For an expeditionary force of six divisions and one cavalry division it was estimated that one headquarters, seven aeroplane squadrons of 12 machines each, one airship and kite squadron and one line-of-communication workshop would be required. The organization of a squadron was to be headquarters (seven officers, 17 other ranks), and three flights of four machines each (each flight consisting of four officers and 46 other ranks).
On May 13 1912 the R.F.C. was inaugurated. The programme adopted for its development, apart from a few alterations in detail, was on the lines recommended by the technical sub-committee. The first two squadrons to be formed of the military wing were Nos. 1 and 3. The former was No. 1 (Airship) Co. of the Air Battalion. It had on charge two airships," Beta "and" Gamma,"the" Delta," Zeta "and" Eta "being added subsequently, as well as man-lifting kites and free balloons for training. No. 3 Squadron was formed from No. 2 (Aeroplane) Co. of the Air Battalion. Later in 1912 Nos. 2 and 4 companies were formed,' and in June the Central Flying School opened at Upavon. Wing headquarters and the line-of-communication R.F.C. workshop (later known as the Flying Depot and then as the Aircraft Park) were located at S. Farnborough. The naval airship service, which had been constituted in connexion with naval airships experiments in 1909 and disbanded in 1912, was re-raised and attached to No. 1 Airship Squadron.
Considerable progress was made in 1913 both in organization and otherwise, and at the end of the year 92 officers were serving with the military wing, 25 officers in the reserve and 22 in the special reserve. Other ranks totalled 999. The approximate strength of the naval wing was 125 officers, including warrant officers, and 500 men. The annual report of the Central Flying School showed that 28 naval and 69 military officers had passed out, and 14 N.C.O.'s. had obtained 2nd-class pilot certificates. Experiments with machine-glans mounted on aeroplanes were made during 1913 by the military wing, and the aeroplane inspection department was formed at S. Farnborough.
A sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, appointed in 1913 to consider the control of aircraft in peace and war, recommended that the Aerial Navigation Act of 1911 should be amended so as to give power to requisition aircraft in time of war, and that the commandant of the Central Flying School should keep a register of privately owned aircraft. The Aerial Navigation Act of Feb. 1913 amended the previous Act in accordance with these recommendations. was also laid down that one of the conditions in qualifying for the Royal Aero Club certificate should be an obligation to serve in any branch of the R.F.C. in time of war.
In Sept. 1913 a directorate of military aeronautics was formed at the War Office. It was to be an entirely self-contained department, and its head had direct access to the Secretary of State. It was charged with the general administration of the Army Air Service, and was made responsible for all work in connexion with the personnel and equipment of the Central Flying School, the military wing and the Royal Aircraft Factory.
In Jan. 1914 it was decided that in war each squadron should have 12 active and three reserve aeroplanes, and the flying depot 21 reserve machines. In peace, squadrons were to have 21 aeroplanes and the flying depot 28. The airship material of No. I Squadron was handed over to the Admiralty, who became responsible for all lighter-than-air craft, and the squadron was re-formed as an aeroplane squadron.
1 No. 5 was formed in 1913 and Nos. 6 and 7 in the first half of 1914.
Development during the World War. - The directorate of military aeronautics had, prior to the outbreak of war in Aug. 1914, drawn up a mobilization scheme providing for the dispatch overseas of 4 squadrons and the retention in England of 2 squadrons. The register of civilian pilots and privately owned machines had also been drawn up. All the existing squadrons were short of pilots, though nearly up to establishment in N.C.O.'s and men. The Central Flying School had been formed on a scale calculated gradually to build up the establishment of the naval and military wings that had been laid down, and was not capable of meeting at short notice the requirements that arose out of the emergency. Even the mobilization of four squadrons, therefore, was rather more than the existing resources of machines and pilots justified, and it became necessary to draw upon the Reserve and the Central Flying School.
On Aug. 3, when mobilization commenced, Maj.-Gen. David Handerson, director of military aeronautics at the War Office, was appointed general officer commanding the R.F.C., with the Expeditionary Force, and Maj. W. S. Brancker took over the War Office work as assistant director.
On Aug. 13 and 15, Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5 Squadrons (less one flight of No. 4 left behind for Home Defence), flew from Dover to Amiens, followed by R.F.C. headquarters, the mechanics and transport of the squadrons, and the Aircraft Park, proceeding by boat and train. The Park was established at Amiens.' The three main problems confronting the military aeronautics directorate at the War Office, after the departure of the Expeditionary Force, were (a) the training of pilots, (b) provision of skilled other ranks, (c) manufacture of aeroplanes and engines.
With regard to (c), coordination between the military aeronautics directorate and the Air Department of the Admiralty had hitherto been regulated by the air committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence; but on the outbreak of war the other preoccupations of its members led to a complete cessation of its functions and no controlling influence remained to balance the claims of the two wings.
With regard to (a) and (b), the existing organization provided for no expansions on the scale to be expected in the near future, and, with the exception of the Central Flying School, which had already been seriously depleted in both personnel and equipment, Farnborough was the only station in commission. No. 1 (Reserve) Aeroplane Squadron was formed at Farnborough and undertook the training of pilots. The number of mechanics was short, and skilled civilians were enlisted direct into the R.F.C. At the end of Sept. 1914 some pilots were sent home from France in order to reinforce the instructional resources at home, the demand for the replacement of wastage and for forming new squadrons promising to become heavy in the near future. The policy of expansion adopted was for the formation of as many reserve squadrons as the personnel permitted, and for each reserve squadron, in addition to training pilots ab initio, to be responsible for producing the nucleus of a service squadron.
By Oct. 1914 the scheme for the organization of the new armies had been drawn up by the War Office, and since experience in the field had made one artillery observation squadron per division a basis for estimating requirements, with, in addition, two or three fighting and reconnaissance squadrons per corps, it thus early became apparent that eventually at least 60 service squadrons would be required by the B.E.F. The question of long-distance bombing raids into Germany was not overlooked, but the urgency of the army's needs for cooperating units was such that their provision was for the time of primary importance and detailed consideration of an aerial offensive was postponed.
With the gradual increase in the number of units both at home and in the field, the need for decentralization became apparent, and led to the adoption of the" Wing "as an intermediate organization between the squadron and headquarters. Further, it was found in France that the tactical employment of aircraft suffered through their being controlled directly by G.H.Q. instead of being allotted permanently to subordinate commands. Accordingly, in Nov. 1914 wings were formed, and this reorganization of the R.F.C. (headquarters and squadrons) in the field synchronized with that of the higher army commands, the 1st Wing being allotted to the I. Army, and the 2nd Wing to the II. Army. It was laid down at the time that wings would be allotted to certain areas and would cooperate with units in that area. Special missions and strategical reconnaissances would be ordered by R.F.C. headquarters.
At home in the meantime the formation of No. 1 and No. 7 Squadrons (temporarily held up in order that all efforts might be concentrated on preparing No. 6 Squadron for overseas) was being On Oct. 7 eight machines of No. 6 Squadron flew to Bruges to take part in the operations of the 7th Division. By the 16th of the month, however, this squadron had withdrawn S. and had come under the orders of R.F.C. headquarters.
proceeded with, the two squadrons being moved a little later to Netheravon, where a school had been started as an annex to the Central Flying School. The formation of other squadrons and reserve squadrons soon followed.
In France, during the opening months of 1915, the scope of R.F.C. activities rapidly extended, and the demands made on it for bombing, photography, message-dropping and artillery observation increased. Accordingly, a 3rd Wing was formed (March 1) and the number of squadrons in each wing was increased to three, a decision that led to the formation, in France, of No. 16 Squadron and the dispatch from England of Nos. 1, 7 and 8 Squadrons (March - April 1915). These increases necessitated a corresponding extension to the Aircraft Park. In Jan. 1915, an establishment of 50 squadrons was sanctioned. At the end of July a programme of development was drafted providing for the raising of 30 service squadrons and 10 reserve squadrons by Jan. I 1916, and another 30 service squadrons with five reserve squadrons Dec. I 1916. This development programme was based essentially upon what were considered the army's requirements in aircraft, the scale adopted being one squadron per corps for artillery observation and photography, one squadron for each army and one squadron for G.H.Q.
By this time aerial fighting had become general, and aircraft were armed so as to enable reconnaissance and artillery observation machines to protect themselves. After some experience it became evident that pure fighting machines would be required and that upon their ascendency over the enemy would depend command of the air and consequently the freedom from hostile interference so necessary for artillery machines to function efficiently. The machine that proved itself to have the last word in aerial combat was the fast, easily manoeuvred fighting scout, which though designed for scouting ultimately developed into the modern fighting machine.
It was not, however, until early in 1916 that the policy of having scout squadrons was generally adopted, 2 the practice up to then having been to allot a few scouts to each squadron. Thus it was that at the time of the drafting of the 1915 programme the two-seater machine largely predominated.
In Aug. 1915, it was decided that the increase in the number of wings (the 6th Wing being now formed, and the 7th and 8th following in Nov.) demanded the institution of a higher intermediate formation, and in Sept. the brigade organization was adopted under this. Each brigade, commanded by a brigadier-general, was to consist of three wings and one Aircraft Park - the R.F.C. then in the field forming the 1st Brigade. The 2nd Brigade comprised the 4th, 5th and 6th Wings and the independent stations of Montrose and Brooklands. Under the Administrative Wing were placed the units at Farnborough and Northolt. A school of aerial gunnery was also opened at Dover (subsequently moved to Hythe) and the Aircraft Park organization was recast.
A school and officers' depot (subsequently known as the School of Military Aeronautics) was started in Nov. at Reading where officers joining the R.F.C. could be put through a course in engines, rigging, artillery cooperation, map reading, signalling, etc., before j oining a reserve squadron for instruction in flying. A wireless telegraphy school was also formed at Brooklands.
Towards the end of 1915 it was decided to increase the strength of the R.F.C. in France so as to have one brigade or two wings with each army, and in addition to have one or two wings with G.H.Q. One of the wings in each brigade to be entrusted with close reconnaissance, photography and artillery work with corps and divisions, the strength of the wing being calculated at one squadron per corps, whilst the other wing would be available as required by the army commander for bombing, reconnaissance and patrol operation. This involved an establishment for the R.F.C. of 70 service squadrons and 20 reserve squadrons, which besides training pilots functioned as draft-producing units.
At the end of Jan. 1916, the brigade organization took definite shape in France, with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd units as" corps wings "and the loth, 11th and 12th Wings as" army wings."The question of home defence against aerial attack now became of primary importance. Up to Jan. 1916, a certain number of aeroplanes and pilots had been allotted to Home Defence, but on the War Office taking over the responsibility for anti-aircraft defence from the Admiralty in Feb. 1916, a definite Home Defence organization was adopted. At first some 25 B.E.C.2. aeroplanes were allotted to the defence of London, but were scattered about in small detachments and placed under officers commanding various reserve squadrons. As this was found unsatisfactory, all the detachments were placed under a single officer, whose headquarters were at Hounslow. As further development became necessary certain squadrons were converted into Home Defence Squadrons. In April a new Home Defence Squadron was constituted out of various detachments employed on Home Defence duties, and in June the Home Defence wing was formed to include all Home Defence units. This wing was attached to G.H.Q. Great Britain for operations. The two brigades at home were merged into one, this brigade being known as the 6th Brigade and later as the Training Brigade. It was No. 24 Squadron with De Haviland Scouts was the first of this type to go overseas on Feb. 6 1916.
also decided to raise the number of aeroplanes in each squadron from 12 to 18. This increase was to a large extent due to improvements in wireless telegraphy which enabled a larger number of machines to work on a given front. Subsequently, Fighter Reconnaissance (Army) Squadrons were raised to 24 machines per squadron.
It may be interesting here to examine the factors that tended to influence the policy that governed development as the war went on. It was out of events in France that these governing factors arose, and the requirements formulated by R.F.C. headquarters set the standard which those at home strove to reach. The scale that was adopted in the summer of 1915 provided for one squadron per corps for artillery observation, close reconnaissance, and photography; one squadron for each army headquarters and one squadron (to be later increased to two) for G.H.Q. for extended reconnaissance and special missions. The War Office accordingly committed itself at the time to providing 27 squadrons by the end of March 1916, but events in the field led to a request that this number should be increased by two artillery observation, one long-distance reconnaissance squadron and two fighting squadrons (one of single-seater machines and one of two-seaters). In June 1916, a revised schedule of anticipated requirements for the spring of 1917 was prepared, based upon the increase of the B.E.F. to five armies of four corps each and the growing importance of aerial fighting. This scheme, which provided for 66 squadrons (including 23 artillery and 20 fighter squadrons, with five night-flying squadrons and later To longdistance bombers, as well as two medium-distance bombers and four fighter squadrons under G.H.Q.), marked the growing importance of the fighter, a conception of an offensive into the enemy's country by means of long-distance bombers, and a break-away from the idea that close cooperation with other fighting forces was the beginning and the end of aerial operations.
By the middle of Nov., however, aerial fighting had increased still more, and the vital importance of the constant struggle for air supremacy had been so often emphasized that 20 fighting squadrons supplementary to the above programme were asked for. This meant a proportion of two fighting to one artillery squadron, in place of the parity in numbers of the two types previously accepted as a basis. So vital a question did the supply of fighters appear at the time that it was urged that, failing the 20, at least io extra squadrons should be provided, even at the expense of delaying the bombing and night squadrons. The situation in France in June 1917 showed that there was a total of 52 squadrons of different types. In addition to raising new squadrons, existing squadrons had to be equipped with more modern machines. It was, therefore, impossible for the War Office to promise that more than 73 squadrons would be in France by the end of 1917, including the five R.N.A.S. units.
In June 1917, the Air Board drew up a scheme providing for the expansion of the R.F.C. to 200 service squadrons and 200 training squadrons. Further evidence of the growing realization of the value of the aerial offensive is afforded by the fact that this proposal embodied (in addition to fighter squadrons) the raising of, at first, 40 bombing squadrons (DH9 and larger machines) to be organized into wings of five squadrons each, the wings to be grouped into four brigades. G.H.Q. France were accordingly asked to be ready for 40 squadrons in addition to 86 already expected to be ready by Aug. 1918. In Nov. 1917, the 1918 programme was drafted as follows: - 40 squad. single-seater fighter.
15 squad. single-seater fighter for ground fighting.
15 squad. two-seater fighter reconnaissance.
1 squad. long-distance 2-seater for reconnaissance and photography. To squad. short-distance day-bombers.
10 squad. short-distance night-bombers.
21 squad. for corps work.
1 squad. long-distance machine carrying Q.F. gun.
In addition, for the Bombing Brigades: - 25 squad. day-bombers.
20 squad. night-bombers.
20 squad. twoor three-seater long-distance fighters.
i squad. long-distance machine with Q.F. gun.
This programme for 179 squadrons involved the supply of 2,400 machines for armies and 1,028 for the bombing brigades. Finally, in Feb. 1918, 240 squadrons (in addition to training units) was accepted as the goal to be reached, 179 being for France and Italy, 40 for other theatres, and 21 in reserve.
Meanwhile, at the end of 1916 the home organization included: - The Administrative Wing, Farnborough; (2) the Training Brigade of 9 wings, totalling 21 service squadrons and 43 reserve squadrons; (3) the Home Defence Wing, comprising ii service squadrons and one depot squadron for the training of night pilots; (4) the Kite Balloon Training Wing, including a training depot, an inspection branch and two schools of instruction. The following training centres and schools had been formed, in addition to numerous reserve squadrons: - (1) Recruit Training Centre, Halton Camp; (2) School for Wireless Operators, S. Farnborough; (3) Balloon Training Wing, Roehampton; (4) No. i Balloon School, Larkhill; (5) No,. I School of Military Aeronautics, Reading (including Equipment Officers' School and the School of Technical Training for other ranks); (6) No. 2 School of Military Aeronautics, Oxford; (7) Cadet Wing, Denham; (8) School of Aerial Gunnery, Hythe; (9) Central Flying School, Upavon; (r o) Wireless and Observers' School, Brooklands; (II) Scottish School of Fitters, Edinburgh.
In Nov. 1916, with a view to meeting the deficiency in the supply of skilled men, arrangements were made to place about 400 men continuously under instruction at various polytechnic institutes throughout the country. During 1917 further expansion of the Home Defence service took place. A Northern Home Defence Wing was formed with headquarters at York and the Home Defence Wing became the Home Defence Group, which, as other wings were formed, subsequently became the 6th Brigade, and by 1918 had become responsible for the aerial defence of England and the South of Scotland, cooperation of coastal batteries, and the training of night-fighting pilots and night-bombing pilots for France. Other developments at home during 1917 included the formation of aircraft depots which were transferred from the Army Ordnance Department to the R.F.C., principally for the supply of spares. Acceptance parks were also formed the duties of which were to receive aircraft from the manufacturers, to erect, test and finally issue them to units or dispatch them overseas. The creation of a Department of Production under the Ministry of Munitions placed on a more satisfactory basis the supply of equipment for the R.F.C. The number of training units had increased to such an extent that it was found necessary to form them into groups (southern, northern, eastern, western). These groups became, shortly, brigades (the old training brigade then becoming the division), and the standard training unit, the reser v e squadron, was renamed" training squadron."For theatres of war other than France, separate arrangements were made from time to time for providing for the requirements in Egypt, E. Africa, Mesopotamia, Salonika, and Palestine.
Naval Aviation. - The British Admiralty's first practical steps in aeronautics were taken in June 1908, when as a result of the Committee of Imperial Defence recommendations, it was decided to build a rigid airship. This ship, known as No. 1 naval airship (the" Mayfly "), was completed in May 1911, but was wrecked in the following September. This experience discouraged further attempts until Feb. 1911, when two civilian pilots offered their services free, with two machines, for the instruction of four naval officers as aeroplane pilots. Four naval officers were accordingly selected out of some 200 volunteers to undergo a six-months' course of instruction on the Royal Aero Club ground at Eastchurch. At the end of the year, land adjacent to the Royal Aero Club ground at Eastchurch was purchased by the Admiralty, and a naval flying school was formed there, four officers having in the meantime qualified as pilots. Thereafter, pupils were trained continuously at the school both before and during the World War. Apart from being used for training purposes, Eastchurch was the scene during 1911 and 1912 of many interesting experiments in the application of aircraft to naval uses. On the formation of the R.F.C., it was decided to form an Air Department at the Admiralty, this Department actually coming into being in Sept. 1912. By June 1913, the total number of aeroplanes and seaplanes in possession of the Naval Air Service were 37, and by October, 61 were in commission with three airships.
In Aug. 1913, the Admiralty decided to establish air stations at various points along the coast. An" Inspecting Captain of Aircraft "was placed in general charge, under instructions from the Director of the Air Department of the Admiralty. He was also responsible to the commander-in-chief home fleets regarding all matters concerning aircraft with ships afloat.
In June 1914, the increasing importance of the naval wing R.F.C. led to a reorganization of the service, and the R.N.A.S. came into being. It comprised the Air Department, Admiralty; the Central Air Office, Sheerness; the Royal Naval Flying School, Eastchurch; the Royal Naval Air Stations and all seaplanes, aeroplanes, airships, seaplane ships, balloons, kites and other types of aircraft that might from time to time be employed for naval purposes. Regulations were drawn up for the entry of officers as probationary flight sub-lieutenants direct from civil life and special designations were instituted for the various commissioned ranks in the flying branch.
With regard to airships, which by this time had passed entirely under Admiralty control, in the early part of 1913 German activity with rigid airships of the Zeppelin type led to a reconsideration of the question as to whether similar aircraft should be constructed for the British navy, and it was decided to arrange for the construction of two rigid and six non-rigid airships. In June 1913 orders were accordingly placed for one Parseval in Germany, two Parsevals with Vickers, one Forlanini in Italy and two others of this type with Messrs. Armstrong. A contract for one rigid airship was signed with Messrs. Vickers in March 1914. But on the outbreak of the World War delivery of the airships building in Germany and in Italy became impossible, and the British firms could not complete the airships they had begun. Work ceased on the rigid airship in the early stages of construction, but was resumed during the war, and on completion this airship became known as Naval Airship R9.
It had been decided at the end of 1913 that the Admiralty should take over all airships and airship equipment from the army. Accordingly, on Jan. 1 1914 the naval and military airship sections were amalgamated at Farnborough, and the -navy took over control of all airship administration.
At the outbreak of the World War the stations on the organized east coast system of aerial patrol were as follows: - Eastchurch, Isle of Grain with advanced bases at Westgate and Clacton, Felixstowe, Yarmouth, Immingham, Calshot, Dundee, Cromarty and Fort Grange. There was also the airship station at Kingsnorth. Patrols were organized between the Humber and the Thames estuary, and a cross-Channel seaplane and airship patrol was started between the Isle of Grain and Ostend, a temporary base for seaplanes being established there. The Channel seaplane patrol was discontinued when the enemy advanced to Ostend. An additional base was established at Skegness, and for a short time, until Aug. 12, the naval machines at Eastchurch were reinforced by machines from No. 4 Squadron R.F.C. The Admiralty acquired as seaplane-carriers the" Engadine,"the" Riveria "and the" Empress,"structural alterations being necessary before the ships could be used for the purpose. The necessity for aircraft to cooperate with the Grand Fleet led to the establishment of a base for seaplanes and aeroplanes at Scapa Flow, a seaplanecarrier, the" Campania,"being later commissioned to convey machines with the fleet when it proceeded to sea.
The first Naval Air Service aeroplane unit to proceed overseas was formed at Eastchurch, and went to Ostend on Aug. 27 1914 to cooperate with the naval division at Antwerp. In order to protect the United Kingdom against German airshipraids, an aircraft and seaplane base was established at Dunkirk.
In the meantime the organization of the R.N.A.S. at home underwent rapid development, both in the matter of the training of pilots and the construction and design of machines. On Sept. 3 1914, the R.N.A.S. assumed responsibility for the defence of the United Kingdom against hostile aircraft attacks, and a special anti-aircraft section was formed in the Air Department. The coast patrols were continued both by seaplanes and by airships, an additional station for these patrols being opened at Dover.
In 1915 squadrons and wings were formed and sent overseas to Dunkirk and the Dardanelles. A detachment of three seaplanes proceeded to E. Africa and subsequently to Mesopotamia. Towards the end of Feb. 1915 the naval squadron at Dunkirk was relieved by No. 1 Naval Squadron, which had been forming at Gosport, and proceeded to the Dardanelles as No. 3 Wing. Later the 2nd Wing from Eastchurch also proceeded to the Dardanelles where, moreover, were sent the seaplane-carriers" Ark Royal "and" Ben-my-chree."In the early part of Sept. 1915 the R.N.A.S. units at Dunkirk and Dover were amalgamated into the 1st Wing under the command of the senior Air Service officer at Dover. During the year a small unit of seaplanes cooperated with the fleet in the operations against the" Konigsberg "on the E. coast of Africa.
Increased activity of enemy submarines led in Feb. 1915 to the building of a small airship known as the S.S. type (Submarine Searcher). Whilst this small airship proved successful within its restricted radius of action, an airship with a longer effective range was found to be necessary and the" Coastal "type was designed. Some 30 of these ships were eventually ordered. This development necessitated the establishment of various airship bases around the coast. In Nov. 1915, a scheme for the establishment of a large central school exclusively for the R.N.A.S., but similar to the Central Flying School, was proposed, and resulted in the establishment of training stations at Cranwell and Frieston early in 1916. In that year also a school for training both R.N.A.S. and R.F.C. personnel was opened in France. The policy of offensive patrols started by the R.N.A.S. units at Dunkirk during the latter part of 1915 was developed throughout 1916 and they worked in close cooperation with the R.F.C. on the western front.
At the end of Feb. 1916 a squadron of Sopwith i 2-strutter machines was formed with the intention of bombing factories in the Essen and Dusseldorf districts, the raids being carried out from England. Instead of this, however, the squadron was eventually used for long-distance bombing from French territory and was designated the 3rd Wing R.N.A.S.' A considerable number of raids were carried out by this wing, which was based near Belfort. During 1916, too, the activities of the R.N.A.S. in the Mediterranean and in E. Africa were increasingly prominent; and at home additional stations were formed round the coast, mainly for anti-submarine and antiZeppelin patrol. In the course of the year valuable cooperation was given to the army by squadrons of the R.N.A.S. operating on the French front, in Palestine, at Salonika, and elsewhere. The year 1917 marked the definite realization of the bombing policy already adopted by the R.N.A.S. Handley Pages and DH4 machines began to be delivered in the spring of 1917, and special bombing squadrons were organized at Dunkirk. Considerable development took place, too, in the employment by the R.N.A.S. of" lighter-thanair "craft in anti-submarines operations and in escorting convoys.
When the war started, the airships available for the R.N.A.S. were the former army airships," Beta," Gamma," Delta "and" Eta,"and the Naval Airships 2, 3 and 4, the total personnel employed in airship work being 23 officers and warrant officers and 171 ratings. During 1915, as already noted, new types of airship, known as" Submarine Searchers "and" Coastals "were added; and at the end of 1916 the strength of the naval airship service had risen to 192 officers and 1,540 ratings.
During 1917 standard designs for the different classes of airships were adopted. The" Submarine Searcher "had evolved into a type called the S.S. Zero, and an improved" Coastal "(designated CStar) was adopted. New ships of the rigid type were also being built, two of which (R27 and R29) were completed in the spring of 1918. The next ships to be completed were the R31, constructed mainly of wood after the Schi tte-Lanz design, and a sister ship, the R32, followed by R33 and R34. At the time of the Armistice there were five rigid and 98 non-rigid airships of different classes in commission. The personnel totalled 580 officers and 6,580 ratings.
Administrative System.-As already indicated, the British army and navy, at the opening of the World War, had separate administrative organizations for their air services. It was not till the creation of the Air Ministry in 1917-8 that the two were amalgamated. At the War Office, before that, the directorate of military aeronautics was divided into its own technical branches; and its organization developed under further technical subdivisions, as the duties to be dealt with increased in complexity and volume. Similarly, the organization of the Admiralty Air Department was subdivided in administrative sections.
It was inevitable that, even with the best will in the world, the two departments would enter into competition with one another for personnel and material; and as the war progressed this question became acute. Early in Feb. 1916, the Prime Minister appointed a Joint War Air Committee," to coordinate, design and supply material for the naval and military Air Services. In addition to the chairman, Lord Derby, the committee included representatives of the War Office and the Admiralty, with Lord Montagu of Beaulieu as independent advisory member. This committee was authorized to refer any question disputed between the Admiralty and the War Office to the Government. After two months, however, this committee collapsed, following on Lord Montagu's resignation. Since the chairman was not himself a member of the Government he lacked the necessary authority to arbitrate between two great departments of State, each of which had its own organization, esprit de corps and aspirations; moreover, no clearly defined division of functions was adopted between the War Office and the Admiralty.
The next attempt at reorganization was the formation of the first Air Board in May 1916, with Lord Curzon as president, the other members being Lord Sydenham, Rear-Adml. Tudor, RearAdml. Vaughan Lee, Lt.-Gen. Sir David Henderson, Brig.-Gen. Brancker, and Maj. J. L. Baird, M.P. It was to be free to discuss policy and make recommendations to the War Office and Admiralty, but had no authority with regard to policy. It could, however, recommend types of machines for the army and navy Air Services. If either the War Office or the Admiralty declined to follow the Board's advice, the Board were empowered to refer the matter to the War Committee of the Cabinet. It was further charged with the organization and coordination of supply and material, and with the prevention of competition between the two fighting departments. It was provided that the Board should discuss air problems with representatives of the army and navy and such bodies as the Naval Board of Inventions and Research, the Inventions Branch of the Ministry of Munitions, the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, National Physical Laboratory, etc. It was laid down also that the Board should be provided with a secretariat.
I The original 3rd Wing had been disbanded on the withdrawal of the Dardanelles expedition.
On the formation of M. Lloyd George's War Cabinet in Dec. 1916, Lord Curzon resigned the position of president and Lord Cowdray took his place in Jan. 1917. This second Air Board came into being under the New Ministries and Secretaries Act of 1916; and under this Act the president of the Air Board was specifically "deemed to be a Minister," and the Air Board a "Ministry." An Order in Council of Feb. 17 1917 laid down that the Board, in addition to the president, should consist of (a) the Parliamentary Secretary, (b) the appropriate member of the Board of Admiralty; (c) the appropriate member of the Army Council; (d) the two controllers of aeronautical supplies and of petrol engines in the Ministry of Munitions; and such additional members as might be appointed by the president.
For carrying out its duties the Air Board comprised a secretariat, a technical department, and a directorate of requisitions and statistics. Towards the end of 1917 the staff of the technical department was composed largely of officers drawn from the naval and military Air Services. Its duty was to consider and advise the Board as to the design of aeroplanes, seaplanes, engines and accessories, and, with this object, to carry out the necessary experiments and trials, and to keep in close touch with the scientific bodies and committees which were concerned with aeronautical research.
When the Admiralty and the War Office communicated to the Air Board the numbers of aeroplanes, seaplanes, and accessories required by the two Services for a given period, and when the Air Board had determined to what extent these requirements could be complied with and had come to a decision regarding design, requisitions were passed to the Controller of Aeronautical Supplies, whose department (a section of the Ministry of Munitions) was also housed in the Air Board Office. The Air Board also dealt with similar requisitions by Allied Governments (other than those in connexion with lighter-than-air craft and wireless telegraphy).
The director of requisitions and statistics kept analytical records of requirements, etc., and of the progress made in construction. A Central Air Intelligence Division was also established.
Aeronautical inventions were referred for consideration to an Inventions Committee, which was in touch with the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and the National Physical Laboratory. The department of the Controller of Aeronautical Supplies (Ministry of Munitions) placed contracts in accordance with the designs approved by the Air Board and carried out inspection during manufacture. The Controller of Aeronautical Supplies also had the Royal Aircraft Factory under his administration.
In addition to the departments of the Air Board and of the Controller of Aeronautical Supplies, there were also housed in the Air Board Office the H.Q. administration of the R.N.A.S. under the Fifth Sea Lord and Director of Air Services, and that of the R.F.C. under the Director-General of Military Aeronautics.
With sundry expansions in internal organization this Air Board continued to function until the new Air Ministry was created at the end of 1917, absorbing the existing Air Board organization as well as the military aeronautics directorate and the Admiralty Air Department (although a "division" with a similar designation was still retained at the Admiralty).
The Air Ministry came into being under the Air Force Constitution Act (1917), which provided definitely for the amalgamation of the two flying services under the title of the Royal Air Force. In accordance with this Act the Air Ministry was constituted as a department of State, the final authority being vested in an Air Council which was formed in Jan. 1918 as follows: The Secretary of State (president), chief of the air staff, deputy chief of the air staff, master-general of personnel, controller-general of equipment, director-general of aircraft production, administrator of works and buildings, parliamentary under-secretary.
IV. THE Royal Air FoRcE. - The Royal Air Force itself did not come into being until April 11918. At that time the R.F.C. at home consisted mainly of (a) the Training Division, (b) the 6th Brigade (Home Defence), (c) the Balloon Wing, and (d) miscellaneous establishments. The R.N.A.S. units were organized into a number of groups directly under the Admiralty.
On the formation of the R.A.F. the United Kingdom was divided into five areas, comprising all units of the new service (with the exception of a few directly under the Air Ministry). Each area was further subdivided into groups. The Training Division and its brigades were done away with, the former's functions being assumed by the training directorate of the Air Ministry. The technical administration of airship stations remained under the control of the superintendent of airships at the Admiralty, naval operation groups were under the naval commander-in-chief concerned for operations, but their maintenance and administration was the concern of the appropriate area headquarters. Units of the R.A.F. serving with the Grand Fleet were entirely controlled by the commander-in-chief.
At the same time it was decided to form an Independent Air Force. In Oct. 1917 it had already been decided to return to the policy that had been visualized when, in 1916, the dispatch of the 3rd Wing R.N.A.S. to Belfort was being contemplated. Squadrons No. 55, 216 and loo, were then sent to the Nancy area, and they carried out bombing operations against German towns during the closing months of the year and the spring of 1918. By April 1918 the 8th Brigade, as the force was designated, had been reinforced by No. 99 Squadron; and when now it was reestablished as the Independent Air Force six more squadrons (104, 97, 215, 115, Ito and 45) were added.
In planning the post-war organization of the R.A.F., it was assumed that in the immediate future nothing in the nature of a general mobilization need be contemplated, that efforts should be concentrated on providing for existing needs, and on founding a highly trained and efficient force, inherently capable of expansion should the necessity arise. The purpose was, accordingly, to limit the number of service squadrons to what was considered essential to meet existing responsibilities, to devote the remaining resources to perfecting the training of officers and men, and to construct a sound framework on which to build the R.A.F. of the future. In forming the framework it was felt that the main portion of the R.A.F. would consist of an independent force, together with the personnel required to carry out aeronautical research. In addition, there would be a small part of it specially trained for work with the navy, and a small part specially trained for work with the army. It seemed possible that the main portion, the Independent Air Force, would grow larger and larger, and become the predominating factor.
The training for officers and men is briefly as follows: - The channels of entry for permanently commissioned officers are through the Cadet College at Cranwell, from the universities, and from the ranks. The Cadet College is the main channel. The course lasts two years, during which the cadets are thoroughly grounded in theory and practice and learn to fly the approved training machine. On leaving the College, the cadets are commissioned and posted to a squadron. Apart from courses that every officer will normally pass through, such as gunnery and air pilotage, officers will be required, after five years' service, to select the particular technical subject they will make their special study during their subsequent career, e.g. navigation, wireless, engines.
The career of an officer commissioned from the universities or from the ranks will be identical with that of those from the Cadet College, except that they will be taught to fly at training wings before joining the squadron. Short-service and seconded officers will be taught to. fly at training wings, and will attend a course of aerial gunnery and probably one of air pilotage.
With regard to the other ranks - the most difficult problem - it was decided to enlist the bulk of those belonging to long apprenticeship trades as boys, who will undergo a course of three years' training before being passed into the ranks. The boys, on successfully passing their final examination, will be graded as leading aircraftsmen, and a certain number will be specially selected for a further course of training, at the end of which they will either be granted commissions or promoted to N.C.O.'s. Those granted commissions will join the Cadet College. The mechanics, of whom more than half will belong to short apprenticeship trades, are enlisted as men and receive 12 months' training before being posted to units. Nontechnical men are given a short course of recruit training at the R.A.F. depot at Uxbridge.
The R.A.F. estimates for 1920-I provided for an establishment of 29,730 officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, aircraftsmen and boys (exclusive of those serving in India).
V. THE Future Of Air-Fighting. - It is now universally recognized that in future wars the operations of naval and land forces will be largely influenced by the degree of assistance that can be rendered by aircraft. It is equally clearly understood that such assistance can only be rendered to the full extent of the resources available if air supremacy has been definitely established and can be successfully maintained. It is realized that, as is the case with sea command, air supremacy is an issue that can only be settled by combat (assuming a certain degree of equality and of readiness to fight in the opposing air forces). It is therefore by the air fighting and consequently by the air fighter that subsequent operations, whether on sea or on land or in the air, will be influenced.
Whether the last word in air fighting would always rest with the small, swift, easily manoeuvred machine was in 1921 still an open question. It is possible that we shall see, in the future, armament replacing speed as the determining factor in aerial tactics, and that aerial battleships will be evolved capable not only of fighting but of carrying the war into the enemy's country and crippling his power of resistance in the early stages of the struggle. It is in recognition of this principle that the French Military Air Service has been divided into formations the functions of which are purely ancillary to the army, and into formations whose functions it is first to establish air supremacy and secondly, when its attainment makes it possible, to develop the essentially offensive form of aerial war, the longdistance bombing raid. Accordingly, in addition to coSperating formations, the French maintain what is analogous to the British Independent Air Force, a force composed entirely of fighters and bombers.
There is no doubt that ultimate air power must depend largely upon the place of aviation in the economic life of the community, but this does not mean that air power is focussed entirely in a flourishing civil industry. The suddenness and effectiveness that lies in aerial action must not lead to a striking force being held in constant readiness to act whenever war appears imminent. The manner of employment of this force, and the efficiency it displays, may have a vital bearing upon the subsequent course of the war, and no country would risk doing altogether without some form of standing military air force.
There is also every indication that civil and military aircraft will tend to develop along divergent lines, and that the civil machine will never be a factor in air supremacy excepting as an auxiliary. The most important factor in the civil machine is productive economy, whereas the designer of service craft strives for destructive performance; and individual aircraft can hardly be equally efficient for both purposes. (A. W. H. E. W.) VI. German Air FoRcEs. - Before the World War, the German military air service, in splitting off from its parent body, the Pioneers, had been made administratively part of the Communication Troops. From Oct. 1912 the Flying Troops had formed a separate entity within the Communication service. Nevertheless, when it took the field in Aug. 1914, and for some months thereafter, they were still nominally under the inspector-general of Communication Troops, an arrangement which worked badly in practice besides tending to prevent the growth of esprit de corps in the flying service. It was not till Aug. 25 1915 that it was freed from this control.
But already on March II 1915 all German formations serving at the front had been placed under a "Chef des Feldflugwesens," and a month later this officer (Col. Thomsen) was made the official superior of all other army services as well, his functions including control of all motor transport included in the air establishment.
About the same time a staff officer for aviation was appointed to the H.Q. of each army, but it was not until Nov. 1916 that this officer was renamed "Kommandeur" and placed in executive command of the air forces within his province.
Somewhat earlier than this, on Oct. 8 1916, Gen. von Hoeppner had been appointed "Kommandierender General" of the military air forces, with Thomsen as his chief of the staff. As in the German army system a "Kommandierender" (i.e. Commander of an Army Corps and its Region) enjoyed wide powers, both under the laws and under the regulations, and as the office of chief-of-staff likewise carried with it known and definite powers, the status of the air force was for the first time thereby assured. Moreover, the commanding general, not being under any army or group of armies H.Q., had direct access to G.H.Q. From this point, the organic development of the air force went on straightforwardly. But it is interesting to note that even in the German system, with all its sense of order and organization, conservatism sufficed to delay the consummation till nearly two and a half years after the outbreak of war.' In spite of army proposals however, no single command was ever created in German military and naval air forces, which remained wholly separate to the end. One retarding influence was the particularism of the various German states. The Wurttemberg Government, for instance, gave formal orders to its own aviation depot unit not to supply flying officers to any but Wurttemberg units.
The working organization in the field as finally developed was as follows: - The commanding general had his own H.Q., and reported direct to the chief of the general staff of the army. His immediate air service subordinates were the "Kofis (Kommandeur der Luftstriebkraften)," one to each army, with as above mentioned, occasional groupings of the forces of several armies under one "Koji." Under his orders, flights of aircraft were commanded by group 1 Shortly after the creation of the "Commanding General," some grouping of air forces within the group of armies was effected by making the "Air Force Commanders" of one of its armies responsible for coordination of effort, and to a certain extent for distributing forces as well.
commanders (instituted 1917) who gave instructions to the flight commanders and through whom their liaisons with the military command, and especially the artillery, passed.
At each corps H.Q. a staff officer looked after both operations and liaison. In the earlier years of aviation, the confidence of the German authorities and public in the lighter-than-air ship retarded the growth of aviation. But in 1912 the dangers of further neglecting the aeroplane were realized, and an active propaganda resulted in a national subscription for the manufacture of aeroplanes and the training of pilots. In the autumn of the same year an army flying school was provisionally established and this became permanent in the spring of 1913. At the moment of mobilization 254 pilots and 271 observers were available.
The following summary of the development of German aviation units during the war, while necessarily brief, will serve to show how the needs revealed by war experience were successively met by changes of organization.
In the beginning, German aviation units like others were for general service, the same machines (two-seater fighters) serving all purposes, reconnaissance, spotting, bombing and fighting.
In the middle of 1915 came the first specialization of functions - the separating out of air-fighting elements. These units (two-seater fighters) were originally known as "battle squadrons" and had the role of barring the German front line against Allied aircraft as well as such bombing as was then done. But the necessities of aerial combat very soon produced a further subdivision on this side, "Fokker" flights (of single-seaters, equivalent to British "scouts") undertaking the offensive air battle and the residue the protection barrage and the bombing. Presently they too subdivided into protective flights and bombing flights (the latter being grouped later in squadrons).
When the fighting elements separated off from the reconnaissance elements, the latter (organized in flights only and allotted as required to groups) were limited to their proper functions, and a further specialization presently came about by which artillery flights were separated from reconnaissance flights. In these artillery flights the personnel was largely, if not entirely, drawn from the artillery, but their special character did not prevent them from being used occasionally for photographic work. Many, though not all, artillery flights were. equipped with wireless telegraphy apparatus.
The high-fighting "Fokker abteilung," always increasing in numbers as it became more and more evident that the British policy of offensive protection was the true one, developed into the "pursuit flight" (Jagdstaffel). Occasionally, a number of these pursuit flights were grouped into a semi-permanent squadron under a leader of note, e.g. Richthofen; a squadron of this kind was colloquially and very aptly called a "circus," both on account of the acrobatic powers of its members and the fact that it moved up and down the front as its services were required to obtain local control of the air.' The old "Kampfgeschwader," charged with protective barrage and with bombing, was also subdivided into two parts - the so-called protective flight, whose duty was local escort for friendly, and local barrage against enemy reconnaissance machines, and the pure bomber, for whom more and more powerful machines were evolved and whose radius of action was constantly increased.' Lastly, the protective flight, whose defensive function was discredited, became a battle flight (Schlachtstaffel). The practice of low-flying for direct intervention in a ground battle had been growing steadily since the battle of the Somme, and in the German and Allied offensives of 1918 it attained a maximum. In contrast to the British custom of training and trusting flights of the reconnaissance type (called contact patrols) to carry out this dangerous duty, the Germans treated it as an essentially combatant function, and used for it a branch of the aviation service which had always belonged to the fighting as distinct from the reconnaissance side. In the last phase some of the battle flights had armoured machines.
On the combatant side therefore, German aviation was finally classified into three branches: pursuit flights (high-fighting for command of the air, with 18 machines per flight); bombing squadrons (long-distance bombing, with about 24 machines per squadron); battle flights (low-fighting in connexion with ground operations, i.e. bombing and machine-gunning of troops and transport, with six to twelve machines per flight, average about eight). One other type of fighting unit was created for air defence at home. It was known as the "Kampfeinsitzerstaffel" (single-seater battle flight), and restricted to local defence of munition areas, etc.
From statistics given in Neumann's Die deutschen Luftstreitkreifte, it appears that, apart from reserve machines, the Germans employed for various purposes during the war 220 machines in 1914, 480 in 1915, about 1,100 in 1916, about I,30o in 1917, and about 3,500 2 After Richthofen's death his squadron was officially designated by his name and the number 1 as a permanent organization. Two other squadrons were formed in the summer of 1918.
The original bombing squadron was a group set aside in 1915 for the ultimate purpose of bombing England from Calais, when that port should have been occupied by the Germans. The rapidity of air evolution in the war is well shown by the fact that within a year of that date, London was bombed by an aeroplane based on Ghent.
in 1918. Interesting and significant figures are given by the same author as to numbers and losses in personnel, and expenditure of materiel. In actual flying personnel at the front, the highest total present at one time (in 1918) was about 5,500, with a like number under training at home. The total deaths of flying personnel or candidates in the war numbered 6,840, of whom about two-thirds died at the front. The number of wounded and injured (7,350) is little more than that of the dead. Approximately 2,128 planes were lost under known circumstances (about 1,900 of these on the western front). In addition about I,000 missing were presumed as lost. In all, 47,637 machines and 40,449 motors were taken on charge from contract. The monthly expenditure of fuel at the end of the war was 7,000,000 kgm., and the total for the whole war about 232,000,000 kgm. Rather over a million bombs were dropped, of which 860,000 were of the 12-kgm. type and 710 of the monster i,000-kgm. type.
The organization of German naval aviation before the war was considerably in arrears as compared with that of army flying. The predominance of the airship was the main cause of this, but other causes contributed, especially, it is said, the lack of interest in seaplane design on the part of manufacturers, whose establishments (except that of Friedrichshafen) were far from water. The first seaplane competition, organized by a few enthusiasts, was to have been held on Aug. 1 1914. Only some 20 naval officers had been trained as pilots in the single existing seaplane station.
These conditions continued to hamper progress for some time after the outbreak of war, as the army impounded all the motor manufacturing resources for its own needs. Nevertheless, seaplanes were established on the Flanders coast by Dec. 1914, and thereafter the organization of the seaplane service expanded till there were finally 32 stations in the different theatres of war and on the German coast. For naval work, the organic unit was the station; the equipment, of course, varying according to the work expected of each station.
At the same time, a number of aeroplane flights organized as such, were created by the navy for land service, of which nine or ten served in the eastern and south-eastern theatres. The other fifteen, in Flanders, belonged to the Marine Corps, a mixed organization responsible for the land defence of the Yser front, the coast defence of the Belgian coast and the submarine operations based on that coast. The commander of Flying Troops of that corps had under him a correspondingly mixed air force.
Naval aviation generally was under the control of a naval aviation chief, who was independent of the army air authorities. Airship Organization. - In spite of the popular enthusiasm evoked by the work of Count Zeppelin and other airship constructors before the war, the naval and military authorities were not, before the war, very ready to commit themselves to a strong and permanent air organization. The army airship organization dated only from 1906-7 and the naval from 1910 - I. The army acquired ZI in 1906 and Z2 in 1909, and after the wreck of the latter, a pause occurred in which commitments were avoided pending further competitive experiments between the Zeppelin, Parseval and Gross types. In 1912, however, the decision went in favour of the Zeppelin and the SchiitteLanz, and airship battalions were formed to fly and to maintain airships.
At the outbreak of war the army possessed seven ships (six Zeppelin and one S-L) of the rigid type, and two others, and took over three more from private ownership. Organization, nominally by battalions, was in reality dependent on the number and station of ships. This rapidly increased. But from the first there was a strong current of opinion adverse to the airship in land warfare, and the authorities concerned with personnel looked with disfavour on the huge landing parties which the ships required at each station. In spite, therefore, of the occasional achievements of individual ships,' it was decided early in 1917 to discontinue the army airship service. The still useful ships were handed over with part of the air personnel to the navy, and the remainder of the personnel was allocated to the army kite balloon service.
Excluding Parseval and small airships - the manufacture of which was discontinued at the outbreak of war-37 Zeppelin and Io S-L ships were commissioned by the army from first to last, of which 17 were lost in action, 9 lost from other causes, 17 scrapped, and 4 handed over to the navy on discontinuance.
The navy, on the other hand, beginning later than the army, went on developing the airship service to the end of the war. In Aug. 1914 it possessed only one ship, obtained from the Zeppelin company to replace Government ships lost in 1913.
Inclusive of the effective ships taken over from the army in 1917 74 ships were commissioned for naval service, of which 23 were lost in action, 30 from other causes (4 by lightning), and II were scrapped.
The development of dirigible airships and of aeroplanes, in Germany as elsewhere, thrust the captive balloon In many respects the most remarkable achievement of airships in the war was the voyage of L59 in the autumn of 1917. This was a naval ship, but the service in question was overland. Starting from Yamboli in Bulgaria the attempt was made to reach von LettowVorbeck in E. Africa with medical and other small and valuable stores. This ship was recalled by wireless after passing Khartum, but returned safely, after a 7,000-km. voyage lasting 96 hours. The record for endurance, however, was held by LZ120 (ioi 2 hours).
into the background, and although 8 field and 15 fortress balloons. were mobilized in 1914, the question of their abolition was actually being considered when the unexpected coming of trench warfare opened up a new field for them. Early in 1915 the introduction of power winches (at first improvised in the field) and of the parachute added greatly to their efficiency, and by the end of that year more than 40 sections, each of 2 balloons, were in the field. But the war experience of 1916, and notably the sight of Allied sausage balloons, hanging in the air "as thick as grapes," compelled the army authorities to develop their kite balloon service at a faster rate. The organization, hitherto in single unconnected sections, was expanded to provide over 50 staffs, each of which controlled 2 to 3 sections of balloons. In the end, 184 such sections existed in the field, as well as. a certain number lent to Turkey or employed in instructional duties. In the latter part of the war the admittedly inferior balloon of German design was replaced by one of the Caquot type, a captured specimen being copied almost exactly.
In all, 1,870 kite balloons of all types were delivered from contract and about 350 power winches. In course of the war about 600 balloons were lost in action (75% to 80% by aeroplane attack), loo by weather and other causes, and 500 condemned as unserviceable.
The Meteorological Service in the German army formed part of the air forces, although its observations and reports served the artillery, chemical warfare and other branches as well. At the beginning of the war an embryonic organization already existed, with a central section at Berlin, 14 sections at airship stations and aerodromes and 2 sections organized on a mobile basis. These last at once expanded to 8 (one per army) and by the close of the war these 23 units had grown to a total of 316.
The general lines of the organization were as follows: - (I) The Berlin H.Q.; (2) Western Front H.Q. at Brussels; (3) Eastern Front H.Q. at Warsaw; (4) South-eastern Front H.Q. at Temesvar (later Sofia), and (5) Turkish H.Q. at Constantinople. Under each of these (except the last) there were in strength varying according to conditions, Hauptwetter Warten, which were concerned with focussing information from Berlin, from the naval weather service, and from the front, and also with local meteorological services for troops behind the line in occupied areas (e.g. flying schools); and Armee Wetter Warten which had the chief tactical and technical responsibility at the front, and controlled a network of minor units, some attached to particular services but most distributed on an area basis.
In Germany and at the front the commanding general of air forces was responsible for air defence. A few mobile guns only were available for anti-aircraft work in 1914, but the 75-mm. guns captured in the advance to the Marne and especially the high velocity Russian field guns taken on the eastern front, provided a considerable A.A. armament, pending the design and supply of special ordnance. By the end of the war the original 20 guns had grown to a total of over 2,000. The evolution of technical adjuncts of air defence, searchlights and direction-finding detectors (see AIR Defence), proceeded as on the Allied side.
As regards organization, after various alternative methods had been tried, the Germans separated off all "Flak" (Flugabwehr Kanone) troops from the rest of the artillery and centralized the control in each army area in the hands of a special officer, to whom all subordinate Flak commanders were alone responsible though they were authorized to advise corps commanders on the technical aspects of air defence in the corps area. In 1916 the Flak service passed with the rest under the control of the new commanding general of air forces; thenceforward all the means of air defence were coordinated under the same authority in each area, both in the field where "Commanders of air forces" (see p. 87) exercised local control, and in Germany, where a deputy of the commanding general was responsible for defence of munition areas. This organization ensured an intimate connexion between guns, aeroplanes, observation posts and lights, based on a common doctrine taught in the Flak depot at Freiburg and in Flak schools at the front.
VII. United States. - In the United States, as elsewhere, the organization of air forces before the World War was in its infancy, and although between 1914 and the entry of the United States into the war a certain amount of air research and training had been carried on, and some practical war experience gained in Mexico, yet their position as neutrals prevented the American authorities from obtaining technical data concerning the progress in aviation that was evidently being made by the belligerents.
In April 1917, therefore, when the Allies invited America to train and equip a force of 5,000 aviators for service in Europe, there was little likelihood of the demand being met. At that date the American forces possessed 55 machines of which a scientific commission had just declared 51 to be obsolete, and about 75 trained officer pilots.
The first necessities, therefore, were instructors and training machines. Of the latter, or rather of a type of the latter considered good enough for primary instruction, delivery in quantity began before the winter of 1917, and by the Armistice there were about 9,5 00 planes and 17,500 engines suitable for training.
The need of instructors was met partly by borrowing British and French officers, and partly by retaining the best pupils in the early classes to become instructors to those formed later. In the sequel, 8,600 pilots were graduated from the elementary courses and 4,000 from the advanced courses before operations ceased, and some 6,500 more were at that date in training. After graduating from the advanced course, pilots and observers joined the expeditionary forces where they underwent a final training before going into action. The total of qualified flying officers in March 1918 was 2,248 in the United States and 650 overseas; these numbers had grown in July 1918 to 4,974 in the United States and 2,692 overseas, and in Nov. 1918 to 7,118 in the United States and 4,307 overseas (of whom, however, only 1,238 were as yet at the front). Inclusive of ground personnel and students, the total personnel of the U.S. air forces was nearly 200,000 at the date of the Armistice.
In the production of service machines for these men to fly, grave difficulties arose, none the less grave because in the excitement of the time unreasonable expectations had been formed and encouraged.
After study of the problem, not only from the standpoint of qualitative efficiency in the machine but also from that of man production, the British DH4 (observation and day-bombing) and the Handley Page and Caproni night-bombers were selected as standard types for American production, being redesigned to take American motors.' For pursuit flights, only non-American machines were employed. At the end of the war, out of the 7,889 service planes on charge, about half were American-built, and of the total of 22,000 engines nearly three-quarters.
With kite balloons, these supply troubles seem hardly to have existed. From zero (or rather from an establishment of 20 borrowed balloons) in Jan. a total of 662 had been reached by Nov., of which 43 had been destroyed, 35 handed over to the British and French, leaving 574 in service.
The organization of the American air forces in the field was by squadrons, classified as pursuit, observation, day-bombing and nightbombing. The premier American squadron was one of American volunteers, the "Escadrille Lafayette," which had been serving in the French army and was transferred to the U.S. army in the winter of 1917-8. In the spring of 1918 squadrons formed and came into the field in twos and threes, but in the late summer DH4 machines became available in large numbers, and observation and day-bombing squadrons began to increase more rapidly. From a July total of 15 squadrons, the figure of 30 was reached in Sept. and 45 in the first week of Nov. (exclusive of balloon companies in each case). The machines, however, were still preponderantly of foreign make. Twenty-six squadrons and 14 balloon companies took part in the St. Mihiel battle, and 45 squadrons with 740 machines, and 23 balloon companies in the final Meuse-Argonne battles.
(C. F. A.)
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