Our vision of aviation in the First World War is dominated by images of gallant fighter pilots dueling with each other high over the Western Front. But it was the threat of the Zeppelin which spurred the British government into creating the Royal Flying Corps, and it was this ‘menace’, which no aircraft could match in the air at the beginning of the war, which led Winston Churchill and the Royal Navy to set about bombing these airships on the ground. Thus in 1914, the Royal Naval Air Service, with their IKEA-style flat pack airplanes, pioneered strategic bombing. Moreover, through its efforts to extend its striking range in order to destroy Zeppelins in their home bases, the Royal Navy developed the first true aircraft carriers. This book is the story of those largely forgotten very early bombing raids. It explains the military and historical background to the first British interest in military and naval aviation, and why it was that the Navy pursued long distance bombing, while the Army concentrated on reconnaissance. Every bomber raid, and every aircraft carrier strike operation since, owes its genesis to those early naval flyers, and there are ghosts from 1914 which haunt us still today.
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John Killen's exhaustive work is a study of German air power between 1915 and 1945, from the early days of flying when Immelmann, Boelke, Richtofen and other First World War aces fought and died to give Germany air supremacy, to the nightmare existence of the Luftwaffe as the Third Reich plunged headlong to destruction.
Here are the aircraft: the frail biplanes and triplanes of the Kaiser's war; the great Lufthansa aircraft and airships of the turbulent Thirties; the monoplanes designed to help Hitler in his conquest of Europe. Here are the generals who forged the air weapon of the Luftwaffe – the swaggering Goering, the playboy Udet, the ebullient Kesselring and the scapegoat Jeschonnek; here, too, are the pilots who tried to keep faith with their Fatherland despite overwhelming odds; Adolf Galland, Werner Molders, Joachim Marseille and Hanna Reitsch. Not least are the actions fought by the Luftwaffe from the Spanish Civil War to the Battle of Britain, through the bloody struggle for Crete and the siege of Stalingrad to the fearful twilight over Berlin.
At the end of the First World War, British power in the colonies was at an all-time low. That was until a ragtag band of visionaries, including Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence, proposed that the aeroplane, the wonder weapon of the age, could save the empire. Using the radical strategy of air control, the RAF tried to subdue vast swathes of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Wings of Empire is a compelling account of the colonial air campaigns that saw a generation of young airmen take to the skies to battle against warlords, jihadists and hostile tribes. For the first time ever, this book chronicles the full story of the RAF's most extraordinary conflict.
Twenty-one-year-old Leonhard Rempe volunteered to serve Germany in 1914. By the time World War One ended, he had seen action on both major fronts, participated in the war from the back of a horse and the cockpit of a plane, and amassed one of the more unique records of anyone in the Kaiser's army. From German Cavalry Officer to Reconnaissance Pilot is his remarkable story.
Rempe initially served as a cavalryman in the 35th (1st West Prussian) Field Artillery of the XX Armee-Korps, fighting in several bloody and significant battles against the Russians on the Eastern Front. In 1916, he exchanged his spurs for the cockpit and transferred to the Western front. Flying specially built planes for reconnaissance work was dangerous duty, but Rempe served in the open cockpits, flying at altitudes high and low to provide detailed intelligence information for the German army. He knew many of the pilots who flew in both fighter and reconnaissance planes, including Manfred von Richthoven–the Red Baron.
Continue reading “From German Cavalry Officer to Reconnaissance Pilot: The World War I History, Memories, and Photographs of Leonhard Rempe, 1914-1921”
Oswald Boelcke was Germany’s first ace in World War One with a total of forty victories. His character, inspirational leadership, organizational genius, development of air-to-air tactics and impact on aerial doctrine are all reasons why Boelcke remains an important figure in the history of air warfare. Paving the way for modern air forces across the world with his pioneering tactics, Boelcke had a dramatic effect on his contemporaries. The fact that he was the Red Baron’s mentor, instructor, squadron commander and friend demonstrates the influence he had upon the German air force. He was one of the first pilots to be awarded the famous Pour le Mérite commonly recognized as the ‘Blue Max’. All of this was achieved after overcoming medical obstacles in his childhood and later life with a willpower and determination. Boelcke even gained the admiration of his enemies. After his tragic death in a midair collision, the Royal Flying Corps dropped a wreath on his funeral, and several of his victims sent another wreath from their German prison camp. His name and legacy of leadership and inspiration live on, as seen in the Luftwaffe’s designation of the Tactical Air Force Wing 31 ‘Boelcke’. In this definitive biography RG Head explores why Oswald Boelcke deserves consideration as the most important fighter pilot of the 20th century and beyond; but also for setting the standard in military aviation flying. This book will appeal to enthusiasts of the German air force, military aviation in general and World War One in particular.