Advancements of 1917

Bomber in Flight

As the First World War raged on and no end seemed to be in sight, nations looked for different technological ways to gain an edge and swing momentum their way. Advances in aviation were seemingly progressing by the month. Industrialized countries such as France and Germany were mass producing aircraft in record numbers. Aircraft had progressed from a flimsy wooden framed box to all metal fighter planes with deadly machineguns. Massive fleets or squadrons had starting appearing over the skies of Western Europe often comprised of hundreds of fighter planes. Fighter pilots were now becoming heroes in the skies. However, the actual role or potential of the airplane had not fully been reached. Most planes were seen as little more than instruments for reconnaissance and in limited troop support operations.

Fueling a Bomber

Despite the common sentiment that aircraft were merely an instrument of support, many strategists saw much more. Some viewed the airplane as an offensive weapon, much like artillery. Manufacturers were now constructing larger aircraft whose sole purpose would be to attack defending fortifications. Much like its predecessor, the zeppelin, aircraft were now being designed to carry bombs (such as the pictures show). It was a novel idea that was not well received by most military strategists. Most used the zeppelin as a measuring tool and saw the “bomber” as little more than a weapon to instill terror as opposed to inflict actual damage. However, by the end of the war many companies were producing bombers which had some modest success on the field. By the end of the war the idea of an offensive airplane was getting more popular as the potential started to be realized. Eventually, the First World War would come to an end and the emphasis on such weapons would be put on hold.

first flight
german airship cruising fighter loading bombs ju87s b17 formation me262 x1 f86sabre