The 1914-18 Great War saw the first real use of air power. Balloons had been used for escape and for observation in earlier wars, but this was the first time that fleets of aircraft had been used for attack and defence. Highly Recommended.
NAME: Air Raids on South-West Essex in the Great War, Looking for Zeppelins at Leyton FILE: R2391 AUTHOR: Alan Simpson PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 214 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, First World War, World War I, The Great War, war in the air, bombing, terror bombing, German airships, fighters, anti-aircraft artillery ISBN: 1-47383-412-0 IMAGE: B2391.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/gtbfxe6 LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: The 1914-18 Great War saw the first real use of air power. Balloons had been used for escape and for observation in earlier wars, but this was the first time that fleets of aircraft had been used for attack and defence. Highly Recommended. WWI was used by Germany to pioneer terror attacks on civilian populations, both by using aircraft and airships in bombing raids, and in shore bombardment of civilian targets by warships. In contrast, Britain developed strategic bombing against military targets using aircraft from ships and from shore bases. This was undertaken by the Royal Naval Air Service and the RNAS also rapidly developed capabilities to attack submerged submarines, surface warships and German airships. At the start of WWII, Germany held a lead in airship development. The Zeppelin was the best known family of rigid airships, but Germany and Austria also had semi-rigid airships and non-rigid airships. The Zeppelins were giants and had already demonstrated long range operation in a wide range of weather conditions. They also had an advantage over heavier-than- air craft. They could take off in very poor visibility, rise above fog and cloud, fly to their target and drop bombs through cloud. To provide some level of accuracy, an observer could be lowered through the cloud in a small gondola, but with telephone communication to the crew. As a result, the aircraft might be both inaudible and invisible above the cloud. On completion of the bomb run, the Zeppelin could then head for home and, if landing conditions were poor, cruise around until they improved. As the airship was making a near vertical decent, and able to halt that decent at will, landings in conditions that would be unacceptable to heavier-then-air craft were practical. The Zeppelins therefore enjoyed a number of advantages over aircraft and were able to carry a much heavier bomb load than the early frail machines that depended on forward motion for lift. In the same way, the Zeppelins could initially operate above the ceiling of early biplanes. Where a biplane could reach a Zeppelin, the biplane was poorly armed to attack such a large target successfully and the airship carried a more effective defensive armament, including machine gun posts on top of the envelope. As a result, the first Zeppelin kills were achieved by naval aviators using bombs dropped from above the target airship. As the war progressed, airships did not receive much additional development, at least in terms of configuration and equipment. However, heavier-than-air machines developed rapidly. They were able to climb higher and faster with each new model, had better endurance and began to receive more effective armament. A fighter was soon armed with two machine guns firing forward and fed with an increasingly wide range of ammunition. For fighting airships, the incendiary bullet became available and was effective against the highly combustible gas used to lift the airship. Anti-aircraft guns and searchlights came into common use to protect towns and military installations. To keep the air war going in terror bombing, the Germans had to develop large heavier-than- air machines to replace the airship as it became increasingly vulnerable. Before that happened, the Zeppelin, and other German and Austrian airships had made a mark on the civilian population of Britain. The author has looked particularly at terror bombing on the Eastern suburbs of London which has received far less covered than it merited. Although the title suggests the book only covers the Zeppelin raids on Essex and the eastern parts of London, the author has produced a very readable and balanced account of German terror bombing over a period of four years, including the increasingly more common raids by large biplane bombers, such as the Gothas. The text is well-supported by monochrome images through the body of the book and with maps. By covering the periods before and after the dropping of bombs on typical raids, the author has provided fresh insight and further detail than that provided in the past by other authors. In doing so, he has provided an effective review not only of the progress and adaption of raids, but also of the increasingly effective defences mounted to defeat the German bombing campaign.