On June 28, 1914, the world would be thrown into its first world war. The armies of the world and especially Europe had developed and modernized a great deal since any last major conflict. One of the first devices that saw action early in the war was the use of airships or zeppelins (pictured upper-left). Before the war the Germans had been using zeppelins as cargo transports and even passenger liners, however; it was quickly discovered that these giant airships made formidable bombers. Zeppelins were deployed to bomb targets in France and even spanning the English Channel to reach and bombard London. The zeppelins were able to carry a modest bombing payload and deliver bombs with decent accuracy. Early citizens were horrified at the nightly bombing raids caused by the zeppelins, but overall the giant airships had little effect and toward the end of the war vanished altogether as bombers. Their disappearance was partly due to improvements in conventional aircraft technology, anti-aircraft technology, and the airships tendency to explode with little flack resistance.
At the outbreak of the war conventional aircraft had come along way since the Wright brotherís initial invention some eleven years before. Most the nations quickly learned the value of aircraft as a reconnaissance tool. Aircraft could send back detailed information and even pictures of troop movements and field layouts (pictured lower-left). Frequently opposing nationís aircraft would pass one another in the air which would often lead to a friendly gesture or wave.
However, this friendly camaraderie between opposing pilots was short-lived. In no time planes were equipped or staffed with expert rifleman, pilots wielding chains to throw across enemy propellers, or simply the tossing of bricks at each other. Later, machineguns were installed on the aircraft, often on the top wing (pictured middle-right) or some would be installed with a rear-gunner who sat behind the pilot. In no time enemy aircraft were now combating each other in the skies. Consequently, nations then started stepping up aircraft production with a renewed interest as the skies had now become a new battlefield.