View Full Version : Oct. 23, 1911: Aero-Plane Makes Its Debut Above the Battlefield

10-23-2007, 10:30 AM
Ha, beat woofiedog to it! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Oct. 23, 1911: Aero-Plane Makes Its Debut Above the Battlefield


1911: The airplane is introduced to warfare for the first time in a reconnaissance flight over Turkish lines during the Italo-Turkish War.

Aerial reconnaissance was not new to warfare; observation balloons had been deployed over battlefields since the 18th century. But when the Italian pilot climbed into his Blériot XI -- the flying machine of choice ever since one of its number successfully crossed the English Channel in 1909 -- and flew over the Turks, the nature of warfare changed forever.

This conflict, a predecessor to the First and Second Balkan Wars and a precursor to World War I, also saw the first use of an airplane as a combat weapon. In December 1911, an Italian plane flew over the Turkish lines and its pilot dropped four hand grenades on the troops below. Within three years true aerial combat would become a reality and within a generation the airplane was the decisive battlefield weapon.

In terms of casualties, the year-long Italo-Turkish War was relatively minor -- the Turks lost about 14,000 dead to the Italians' 3,400. (Five years later the British would suffer 57,000 casualties, including nearly 20,000 dead, in a single day at the Battle of the Somme.) But the conflict was significant because it further eroded the strength of an already weakened Ottoman Empire while emboldening the Italian nationalists who dreamed of a North African empire.

The former set the stage for Turkey's complete collapse in World War I, which gave rise to the subsequent Middle East turmoil that continues to this day. The latter set the stage for Benito Mussolini and fascism.
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And the primary purpose of the aeroplane is still reconnaissance and ground attack, the things that affect the dirt we live on. Today we have multi role fighters that can carry more ordnance than a B-17 farther while fighting their way into and out of the combat zone, but their job is still recon and moving mud.

10-23-2007, 11:59 PM
LoL http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Mint find!

A little more about the Blériot XI and a few photos.

Military Use of the Blériot XI (http://www.gizmowatch.com/entry/blast-from-the-past-bleriot-xi-pre-world-war-i-reconnaissance-aero-plane/)

Bleriot XI (http://www.airminded.net/bleriot/bleriot.html)