Talk:Aviation in World War I

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Ok, actually, the DH-2, along with the Nieuport 11(and 16) was one of the first planes to be capable of defeating the Fokker E series. It was MORE maneuverable than the Fokker E-Types, not less. And is credited with being one of the planes to end the Fokker Scourage. Anyone disagree?The UNeducated

Sounds good to me. I'm actually ignorant about the subject matter here. I'm a WWI aviation buff, but I'm pretty much learning as I write the article. FranksValli 03:54, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Quite frankly, a thrown brick would have been more manoeuverable than a Fokker Eindekker! It was little more than a recce/training plane, still using wing warping for turns, and seriously overladen by the full Spandau, until the later fitting of more powerful engines.
Its huge success was due 100% to the ability of the pilot to aim the gun by aiming the plane.
The DH-2 WAS very manoeuverable - for a pusher. It couldn't perform a roll or a loop, for example.
Pushers were designed for stability, and to avoid any chance of a spin, and in two seater pushers (Be2c for example) the Observer was the senior officer and sat in the front, using the excellent stability as e.g. a camera platform) chrisboote 15:19, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Just for the record, pushers were no more inherently stable than tractor designs - you just can't generalise. The main difference between a pusher and a tractor was the increased drag of the tail boom structure of the pusher. This had a bearing on their performance - but none whatsoever on their other characteristics. The DH.2, for instance, was very unstable and sensitive (terrifying many of its pilots) but was fully aerobatic. Some WWI aircraft had bother looping - this was due to insufficient horsepower, mostly. Others weren't very good at controlled rolling - this was due to overly flexible (monoplane) wings that precluded proper lateral control. Neither thing has anything to do with being a pusher!!!--Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:40, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Targets of early planes?[edit]

This will sound stupidly obvious to those in the know but ... the article says that the Fokkers were devastatingly effective... against what targets?? Presumably against allied aircraft or did they also fire on ground and naval targets? -- Russell E 20:24, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

As well as Allied planes, they fired at ground troops, supply centres, gun emplacements, barrage balloons, anything that could be considered a military target. However, the Germans split their aviation into two distinct categories, squadrons designed to 'do stuff' - all of the list above plus photo reconnaissance, artillery spotting and the like, and hunter squadrons, whose primary function was to eliminate enemy aircaft. chrisboote 15:11, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

They were mainly attacking Allied reconaissance & artillery spotting aircraft, as well as the escorts for these missions. Trekphiler 05:52, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I was also disappointed by the article's lack of information about allied aircraft. It even says the Germans lagged behind, but then only discusses Fokker in any real detail. I hope this will be corrected, because I couldn't find the information I came to this page to find. DonPMitchell (talk) 00:08, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

I am a little puzzled. Do you mean the article as a whole, or just the section on 1915? The Fokker monplane tends to get a special write-up in a general article like this because it was (in a way) the first real fighter - but most other aircraft types (both from the Allies and theCentral powers) have their own articles - which are linked from this one, and there are also special articles on several of the battles. What were the questions you wanted answered that were not? How exactlty should we change the article to cover questions such as the ones you had? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:17, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Removed table[edit]

Hi WWI wikipedians! I have merged the list of aircraft on this page with this list:

Therefore I removed the list in this page to avoid duplication and edits in different places. I have naturally linked to the lists under Aviation in World War I#Notable_Aircraft.

The other list for the Central Powers is: List of military aircraft of Central Powers in WWI.

My regards, Dennis Nilsson. Dna-Dennis talk - contribs 03:10, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


The article said:

"With limited engine power, aircraft could only afford a certain amount of weight, and therefore were made of mostly canvas and wood. Therefore, planes flown improperly, such as not cutting off the engine in a dive, would suffer structural failure due to G-forces."

I'm less than convinced weight & engine power governed construction in wood & canvas, & I know this didn't affect structual strength. I've rewritten. Trekphiler 17:08, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Somebody evidently believes engine power governs construction material & changed it back, so I fixed it again. Trekphiler 17:54, 7 December 2007 (UTC)


The article said:

"that year by the Canadian Roy Brown,"

I've seen a TV doc that traces the trajectories to an Australian AA MG team; I've rewritten to that effect. I also deleted "former Indy race car driver Eddie Rickenbacker gaining fame as America's top scoring ace with 26 enemy planes shot down." He wasn't that important, & certainly doesn't merit mention in the same breath as von Richthoven.

Also, can somebody delete Osterkamp's 6 WW2 kills? This is an article on WW1 aviation. And include WAB's VC? And, can somebody clarify (or correct) why Oz pilots are listed as "under Britain" & Canadians aren't? Both would've been RFC/RNAS, N? Trekphiler 17:41 & Trekphiler 18:45, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


Anybody want to try on an article on nose/side art? I've seen (& del) ref to Baracca's cavallino (the Ferrari page), & it occured to me we could collect that stuff: the cavallino, the Fr AF stork of 12h Gp de Chasse, the Hat in the Ring (17h Aero Sqn?), & others. N just WW1, either: WW2 bits like Memphis Belle or Glamorous Glennis, the AVG sharkmouth, Vietnam/modern Bunnyhead, whatever. Takers? Trekphiler 18:02, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

First ship sunk[edit]

I recall hearing that a ship was sunk by planes early in the war. I do not know any more details. I think it should be included in this article once more information is found. It was the first ship to be sunk by planes.

Stability of Pushers[edit]

I've reworded the line about Pushers being unstable and unmanoeuverable.

They were famously stable - some simply could NOT spin, even deliberately. chrisboote 15:22, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

The only WWI type not liable to spin, if handled inexpertly, was the DH.6 (a tractor design). The DH.2 (a pusher) was nicknamed "the spinning incinerator". Beware of generalisations! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:44, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Notable aces[edit]

I've put the table in score order, & tidied it up a little chrisboote 15:47, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I think that Rudolph Berthold is missed in the list (44 victories) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:20, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

If anyone wants to add famous bomber pilots[edit]

In 1915 Marie Marvingt became the first woman in the world to fly combat missions when she became a volunteer pilot flying bombing missions over German-held territory. She subsequently received the Croix de Guerre 1914 -1918 avec palmes (French Military Cross) for her aerial bombing of a German military base in Metz. Random Passer-by 23:51, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

A matter of no importance[edit]

The article says WW1 aviation had little influence. I've seen a documentary, with historical advice from Brerton Greenhous, that implied aircraft produced the trench war, by making secret movement impossible. "Little influence"? Trekphiler 05:55, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Evidently somebody isn't paying attention & restored the "little influence" remark. I changed it back again. Trekphiler 17:56, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
The documentary is absolutely correct, observation aircraft were key to the Allied victory in the First Battle of the Marne which basically ended mobile warfare on the Western Front. Just because they weren't carrying major bomb loads doesn't mean aircraft weren't important. LRT24 (talk) 06:36, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Cut it out[edit]

I deleted, "On February 5th Stephen W. Thompson, a member of the 1st Aero Squadron, achieved the first aerial victory by the U.S. military[1]." Unless editors intend to mention the first victory of all powers, drawing attention to the U.S. is inappropriate. Trekphiler 06:07, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I also deleted

"==Popular culture==
"The highest scoring flying ace, Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, is the main subject of popular culture. He has had many references in popular culture.
"Red Baron and Red Baron 3D were popular flight simulators based on World War I Aviation."

as insufficiently notable, this

" By the end of World War I, four American aviators were awarded the Medal of Honor: Fighter pilots Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke, along with recon pilot Harold Goettler and his observer, Erwin Beckley, a member of the Kansas Army National Guard who had volunteered for aviation duty. Beckley was the first of only three National Guard aviators to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the 20th century.[1]"

as too much emphasis on U.S. aviators, this

"It took World War II for the rest of the world to be convinced of this. Finally, in 1946, Mitchell was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, "in recognition of his outstanding pioneer service and foresight in the field of American military aviation".[2]

as irrelevant to WWI aviation (& too much emphasis on U.S. aviatiors), this

"Given the early state of development of aircraft at the time, aerial combat missions played a relatively small part in determining the outcome of the war, in particular in comparison with World War II, just two decades later, where they played a far more crucial role."

as wrong & irrelevant to WWI aviation, & this

"Furthermore, two-seaters could dive at very high speeds due to their excessive weight, allowing them to put some distance between them and enemy fighters."

as flat wrong; 2-seaters would be reluctant to dive, because they were heavier, & thus more likely to suffer structural failure pulling out. Trekphiler (talk) 18:03, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Burn, baby, burn[edit]

I rewrote, "Attacks on balloons were so frequent that observers were given parachutes" to "Because balloons were so flammable, due to the hydrogen used to inflate them, observers were given parachutes". Due to their strong AA defences, a product of their importance, balloons were tough targets. Trekphiler 06:11, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The trick wasn't so much destroying the balloon - that was fairly easy - it was avoiding getting shot to ribbons in the process. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 16:12, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
If you can't get close enough, it's a tough target. Trekphiler (talk) 17:54, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
The worst moment seems to have been as you went past the point where the balloon used to be (either shot down or successfully winched down, if you missed it). Every machine gun and AA piece in sight with your precise range. OUCH. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 18:44, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Now that is an understatement. Don't forget, the fighters were covered in dope, so they'd burn pretty nicely, too. And to think some guys specialized in balloons! Sheesh! Trekphiler (talk) 20:36, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Hey, Trekphiler, you seem to forget that anyone could have easily shot down a balloon from ABOVE. Balloons couldn't fire upwards, as doing so would shoot themselves down. That makes them VERY vulnerable if you come at them at a high enough altitude.Hawkrawkr (talk) 20:48, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

And you're forgetting it's not the balloons doing the firing: it's guns on the ground, with a completely unobstructed view. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 22:19, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I suppose you are probably right..... But one barrage of incendiary bullets from a Lewis gun would have taken a balloon down before they were likely to get shot down by AA guns. Also, a balloon is easily fitted with a machine gun or two. Not that they would have had much of a chance to use it considering how fast a battle would be. A battle like between balloons and airplanes would go something like this: 1: Airplanes arrive, commence firing 2: AA guns start shooting 3: Some airplanes get hit, balloon is either hit or winched down 4: AA guns not "removed of their crew", so to speak continues firing on retreating airplanes 5: Surviving airplanes return to airstrip. Hawkrawkr (talk) 21:21, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

This is a talk page for improving the article. If you have a specific suggestion, state it and cite your sources. Binksternet (talk) 21:34, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

I was simply proving a point, and did not realize how old this discussion was when I first joined it. And trekphiler, one more thing. Look at the Balloon Busters page ( ); people inside the gondolas of balloons did too fire machine guns at enemy planes. I typically know what I'm talking about before I say something; The things I say are usually well-founded with evidence behind them, and I wish people would look into things before they try to shoot down my remarks. (Note, this is not a personal attack; I am frustrated with a number of other users, and I am more frustrated with most of them than I am with you. Thank you for understanding)Hawkrawkr (talk) 18:00, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Lloyd Hamilton (aviator) died after shooting down a balloon. It was very dangerous, almost a suicide mission. In the strict economics of wartime, an enemy balloon was not a very good trade for a friendly fighter aircraft, but tactically the task had to be completed from time to time. Even in WWII, there were still a few observation balloons and the job did not get any easier. Lilya Litvyak was one of the rare pilots to down one; she did it by flying far out over the enemy and coming in from the wrong side, surprising the defending ground forces. Binksternet (talk) 22:52, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Cool. I wasn't denying that they were tough to bring down; I was simply saying that there were ways to make it easier, like the method you just mentioned. Thank you, for the interesting input, Hawkrawkr (talk) 17:49, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Introduction - WPMILHIST Assessment[edit]

A beautiful start, with some interesting information and nice pictures. But the intro is a bit weak I feel. Though it is more or less common knowledge, the first few phrases of the article seem a bit awkward to me and do not sufficiently convey the point that it was not their use "for reconnaissance purposes and later as fighters and even bombers" that was revolutionary, but their use at all in war. This is a big deal, and should be represented as such. In addition, just stylistically, it might be nice to weasel in there somewhere a bold-fonted title for the piece. LordAmeth 17:48, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I have now written a new intro, not great but it does give an idea of what the article is about. The old one is now "prewar developments." LRT24 (talk) 09:20, 10 April 2011 (UTC)


(Found this in the article, didn't want to outright remove it) Anynobody 05:23, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
To further discuss the airwar in World War I go to the "Jasta 76 forum." You can find it at:

Major rewrite[edit]

This article contained a lot of "howlers" - not to mention repetitious matter and poor organisation - and and was very badly in need of a rewrite - I have had a first big "swing" at the first half (up to the "Fokker scourge") - will finish the job soon.

Comments and corrections (obviously) welcome. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:35, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Now down to 1918 in the "history" bit!!--Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:01, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Finally did the 1918 "history" section (after more than four years procrastination) - at least it's improved! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:28, 5 September 2012 (UTC)


Personally I think that if we standardise spelling in this article it should NOT be to US spelling, as American involvement in WWI aviation is pretty minor - due to America's very late entry into the war, and the fact that apart from the large Curtis flying boats there were no American designed combat aircraft. It's more of an "International" subject that an "American" one, anyway, and should, I feel, use British spelling. Any thoughts?? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 16:08, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

No argument from me, but I'm betting you'll get a lot of U.S.-based editors changing your Brit spelling for not knowing any better, just like they've done on Tank... TREKphiler hit me ♠ 22:40, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Without getting into which english variant this article should be using, the Manual of Style emphasizes commonality wherever possible. I notice that in Brit English "synchronize" is correct, but non-preferred. In American English, "synchronise" is incorrect. APL (talk) 17:16, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
I won't make the change myself because I have no stake in this article, but this article was originally an -ize english variant. (Either US spelling or GB Oxford spelling, no way to know which was intended.) WP:ENGVAR says that international topics should be kept at their "original" dialect. APL (talk) 17:20, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
The Times is a major adherent of the "ise" endings but I like Oxford's explanation that words taken from ancient Greek language would have had a 'z' in them, and that English does not need to respond to the French use of 's' in that spelling. For best compatibility between American and English spellings in military articles, I think the use of Oxford spelling is called for. My two cents: pennies or pence. Binksternet (talk) 18:55, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Brieftauben Abteilung Ostende?[edit]

Can somebody include a translation? TREKphiler hit me ♠ 22:40, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I thought that was already in! (is now) --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:14, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Not a big deal. Is that "pigeon flight" official? I'd have said "carrier pigeon detachment". TREKphiler hit me ♠ 18:09 & 18:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Could be right - my German verges on the non-existent!! - My source says "flight" I think. "Detachment" makes more sense I suppose. Translations don't really have to be literal, anyway. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:09, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I've seen abteilung translated a bunch of diff ways, & to some extent, I think it depends on context. In an army, it seems to mean one thing, in a bureaucracy, another, so in a military bureaucracy, there's no telling. ;) I do think the closer we can get, the better, if only because it may be used as source material somewhere. (Also because I'm a bit fanatic about it, but lets not discuss that. :D ) TREKphiler hit me ♠ 01:07, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Let's have "detachment" then - although some keen German scholar is likely to come along and say it should really be "wing" again! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:49, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Red Baron's victories[edit]

An editor felt constrained to add "probably less" to a mention of von R's "80 victories". Submit that his credited victories are precisely 80 which is all we need say here. He may have shot down a few less, or even considerably more, but this is not the point, nor the place to nitpick over it. The question is in any case well discussed and referenced in the Manfred von Richthofen article, which is the place for it. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 05:21, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd only chaged it because there are "disputed" tags on the Brit scores below it, & they're no more or less accurate than his. How good the "documentaton" is, I'm not sure, either, since AFAIK, the standards weren't as rigorous in WW1 as WW2, & even in WW2 some claims are at best dubious. Moreover, many of the "official" claims in wartime (all countries, all wars) don't stand scrutiny, as the article in question points out; that deserves a mention, IMO. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 01:30, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
He was officially credited with 80. The bulk of these kills correspond with British losses, which would indicate that German checking procedures in WW1 were pretty good. In WW2 Nazi figures sometimes have no relation whatever to British losses which indicates Nazi propaganda could be very shonky (so what's news), however strict the "official" line was. But this is NOT relevant anyway - especially in a fairly casual mention it is best to keep to verifiable fact and official numbers (even Nazi ones) and to leave out speculation altogether.
In WW1 no British pilot was officially credited with any total - the "ace" system had no official backing (combat reports were checked - but mainly for intelligence reasons rather than "keeping tally"). This is the main reason why different published sources have different totals for some British aces (it is in this sense that Mannock's and Bishop's scores are "disputed"). Published scores (preferably official ones) are all we can go on - how many disputed or unconfirmed kills might be subtracted or added is something we can't tell after all these years.
I suppose the real reason I would rather NOT get into these questions here is that we do already have specialist articles on the subjects - and these are bedevilled with enthusiasts determined to muddy the waters with endless pointless speculation, descending at times to partisan nonsense more suitable to supporters of football teams than students of military history. Let's keep this one "clean" at least. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:09, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I won't argue against keeping out partisan nonsense, by any means. Do you object fo a fn of the Flight article saying many scores are disputed? Offhand, I don't recall if it called von Richthoven into question, & I don't have it in front of me. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 13:16, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
If an individual fighter pilot's score is to be "disputed" in the sense of calling him a liar (and it has been done!) then I think that this is simply not the place - an individual's score being "disputed" in the sense that air historians who have seriously researched the records differ (like with Mannock and Bishop) is after all pretty frivolous, and merits no more than a bare mention. On the other hand a general statement that air aces' figures tend to be inflated due to the nature of air combat certainly belongs in the article on air aces - but probably not here. Among other reasons - this applies to air warfare in general - and less, rather than more to WW1 than later conflicts where air combat was much MORE fleeting. For the record, there is no serious dispute (in any of the three senses) about Richthofen's "score" - and if there were I don't think it would have much notability in this article. After all - we don't say he "shot down 80 E.A." but that he was "credited with 80 victories". Which would remain true even if there were all kinds of "dispute" involved. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:57, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
FYI, it isn't von R's record I question (IIRC, he had a habit of recovering pieces of his vics, unless that's movie propaganda); I just have a bit of trouble with tagging two top Allied aces as seeming liars & letting go others. That said, you make a good enough argument for me to let it go. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 22:56, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
The movie has very little relationship with fact - but yes, like a lot of people at the time R. WAS obsessed with souvenirs. I don't think that the "(disputed)" notes against Mannock and Bishop were meant to insinuate that either ace knowingly over-claimed. In Mannock's case the reverse is the case, in fact. Is there a better word than "disputed"?--Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:29, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh, it's not the word I have trouble with in itself, its having it attached only to them, when the totality of claims is open to question. And, as noted (I hope...), it's not a strong objection in any case. TREKphiler hit me ♠ 06:23, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Richthofen has his own article[edit]

Please give the mention of Richthofen in the article a rest. The following facts may be confirmed at his article:

Richthofen was shot down at least twice - once by the F.E.2d ace Cunnell in July 1917, and again (fatally), probably by ground fire, in April 1918. He was CREDITED with 80 air victories at the time of his death. Consensus is that this "score" is most probably a not unrealistic estimate of the true number of allied aircraft he shot down - but thus borders on "not-notable" in this article, at least. The number of credited victories is a confirmable statistic, any supposed "real" figure must be speculation (this goes for any fighter pilot, of course). Guess which one belongs here???

Somebody appears to be confusing him with Roy Brown (Canada!!) & the Oz MG team deserving credit. Unless it's just stupidity... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:19, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I was assuming the confusion you mention, obviously.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:44, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeh, but this way, if it's somebody not knowing better, maybe they'll notice before "correcting" it again. (Or not...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 00:06, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Formation of Jastas[edit]

The point of the paragraph about the formation of the Jastas is that they re-established German air superiority after they got Albatroses - the early Focker and Halberstatdt "D" types they started out with don't need to get emphasis in this context. There is a full article on the Jastas for this sort of thing.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 20:43, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Air Aces[edit]

Thrashing about getting all stupid and emotional about "victory scores" is immature and totally inappropriate in a reference encyclopedia. Trying to determine just how close the "real" number of victories was to the "officially credited" is every bit as pointless and infinitely more difficult than would be the "exercise" of reassessing the results of a sixty year old sporting event (say, a test match, based on umpires' decisions that may or may not have been questionable). First World War victory scores are in in fact likely to be closer to reality than later wars - where air combat moved much faster and was far more fleeting, and where the hysterical propaganda of certain totalitarian regimes casts a distorting pall over everything - with the far-right (and far-left) sympathies of some commentators further muddying the waters. In any case, this sort of thing belongs in the flying aces article (if anywhere). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:01, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Aircraft and Airplanes[edit]

Or aeroplanes, if you like. Pick one. But many places in the article use aircraft when airplanes should be used. Aircraft includes balloons and diridgibles which were also used in WWI. The intro, for instance, totally neglects the fact that balloons had been employed in warfare for over 100 years prior. — Preceding unsigned comment added by LRT24 (talkcontribs) 23:21, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Apparently WP uses "fixed-wing aircraft" formally and "planes" less formally. I haven't made any changes yet because the intro needs a total rewrite (I may try later), but still, "aircraft" is NOT an acceptable NVOE compromise for airplanes/aeroplanes. This is particularly important when refering to WWI since balloons and diridgibles, which also falls into the category of "aircraft" also played significant roles. LRT24 (talk) 02:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Definitely NOT "Airplanes" or "Planes" both of which are informal, even in American. "Aeroplanes" is good (formal) (non-U.S.) English, but as it includes (as you remark) only fixed-winged aircraft it is definitely inappropriate in many contexts. What on earth can possibly be wrong with "aircraft"??? Very handy word as it is the same in both American and English - and while it doesn't actually exclude lighter-than-air devices its general use doesn't really include them either. As for whether to have this article in American or English - while it is not specifically a "British" article it is much less a specifically "American" one, the Americans got seriously involved in the war very late - on balance I think English is the more appropriate language to have it in. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:39, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I wasn't really trying to make a WP:ENGVAR arguement. Aeroplanes should probably be prefered for this article. The point is, using "aircraft" when "aeroplanes" is meant can lead to confusion and is especially bad in the [del]intro, which needs a full rewrite per WP:MOSINTRO anyway (I started to do a rewrite, but now I can't find it. Maybe I'll try later, but anyone else can certainly feel free as well)[/del][ins]"prewar developments" section, which I pasted fromthe old intro[/ins]. It had even introduced at least one factual error: "first operational use of aircraft in war took place on 23 October 1911" when balloons were used long before that (I've now changed this). In the context of WWI, "aircraft" definately includes lighter-than-air craft. The reason we don't use it this way anymore is because airplanes are so common, but in the early part of the war it certainly wasn't clear that they would become the dominant type of aircraft. Now, this doesn't mean the word "aircraft" shouldn't appear in the article, it just means we should be careful to use it correctly. LRT24 (talk) 06:13, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

It does too include lighter-than-aircraft! According to, an aircraft is "Any machine supported for flight in the air by buoyancy OR by the dynamic action of air on its surfaces". That mean that it absolutely includes the balloons and dirigibles that were also used during the war. Therefore, "aircraft" is most definitely the wrong word. Thank you, Hawkrawkr (talk) 21:04, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Both "airplane" and "aeroplane" are not to be used in text, other than in direct quotations, but "fixed-wing aircraft" is to be used where "aircraft" alone is insufficient. Btw, "airplane" is standard usage in US and Canadian English, and not considered informal, as SoM mistakenly stated. - BilCat (talk) 07:22, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the rule is that they can't be used in text (certainly they shouldn't appear in the same article), only that "fixed-wing aircraft" is an example of a compromise article title (which is very controversial BTW). I note that aviation history, for instance, uses "airplane" quite a bit. I've used "aeroplane" in some of my edits here, even though I'm American, on the basis of the fact that if anything, this article should probably have a British bias.LRT24 (talk) 09:08, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, the WPAIR guideline is that we aren't to use either "aircraft" or "aeroplane" in general usage in aviation-related articles. And while it is also controvesial, it's the current consensus, and myriad attempts to go back to the ENGVAR standard have failed, depsite my attepts to have it changed on several occasions. It's even more controversial to get some users on either side of the Atlantic to be tolerant of the usage of other variants of English. As to aviation history, "airplane" should not be used there either, but both usages often creep in, and have to be removed later. - BilCat (talk) 09:31, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Where can I find this guideline? I did it the way I did after not finding anything on the subject in WP:AVIMOS, and I assumed ENGVAR was mostly talking about the article title. Personally, I don't care that much, though I think a total ban on airplane/aeroplane for the sake of a couple letters is a bit silly. LRT24 (talk) 09:58, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
"'airplane' should not be used" Where is this discussed? Because I honestly can't think of what other word to use. (Yes, "balloon" or "dirigible", let's not be silly.) Or have I misunderstood? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 13:09, 10 April 2011 (UTC) Evidently I have... 13:15, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I'm just making it up. Ha ha. Just like I made up the many discussions at WT:AIR's archives. Take up the issue there and see what happens. - BilCat (talk) 19:57, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Lafayette Escadrille[edit]

Why is there no mention of the Lafayette Escadrille in this article, and/or a link to its Wikipedia page ( )? Their contribution in the war was quite significant and should be mentioned. Anyone else feel this way? Hawkrawkr (talk) 20:56, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

For all the hype (at the time and since) they really weren't a particularly outstanding or important squadron in any way - basically just another Escadrille de chasse. On the other hand they were certainly colourful, and of interest - we don't have enough about L'aviation militaire in general here really - could a little mention of the mercenaries (basically that's what they were! - several of them joined the squadron from the Foreign Legion) of L'escadrille Lafayette be worked into improved coverage of the contribution of the French Air Service in general?? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:17, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Ok, but perhaps there should be some reference to the Lafayette Flying Corps ( ), which is often confused with the Escadrille? They, undoubtedly, did more than the Escadrille, but due in part to misinformation in the movie Flyboys ( ) they are not nearly as well known.Hawkrawkr (talk) 20:18, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Notability of notable aces[edit]

Just what standards of notability are used to choose the notable aces for this section?

BTW, at least two listings on this table are incorrect. There were no fractional victory scores during World War I, so William Lambert's listing is incorrect. I know of no reliable listing of 51 victories for Roderic Dallas, even though I am a major contributor to his bio; in fact, I compiled the most complete list of his victories that exists.

On the other hand, Adolphe Pégoud, history's first ace, isn't listed at all, nor is Kurt Wintgens, the first ace to down an enemy plane using a synchronized gun.

Might I suggest standards for this article's "quick and dirty" listing of notable aces?

1) List the leading ace for any national air service.

2) List any notable military aviation "first" by an ace.

PERIOD. Any reader interested in further info on aces can follow the link to List of World War I flying aces. Which, incidentally, is thoroughly sourced and disagrees with some of the "facts" listed in this article's "Notable aces" section.

Georgejdorner (talk) 16:12, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Second thought:

Cross check those entries made in this table with List of World War I flying aces, etc. to avoid factual contradictions. Inaccuracy is the hobgoblin of encyclopedias.

Georgejdorner (talk) 03:00, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Just a though George, I think the table is a bit much for an overview article and should just be a summary of what an ace is and a description of the top one or two, all the details are in the linked article and dont need repeating. Lists like this can soon become unstable as good faith editors just add to it without looking at the bigger picture. MilborneOne (talk) 11:30, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Rather than let the unknowing reinvent the wheel by trying to blunder into listing all 1800+ aces of the war, I dubbed in a new table listing the leading flying ace for each of the nine national flying services of World War I. Unlike the removed text, this is pretty well cited, and agrees with other articles in WP. Anyone interested in other aces or their services may follow the little blue links. There is no necessity for adding to this table.

I also inserted a new section on pioneering feats during WWI, with an eye towards showing the growth of tactics and techniques. That section could probably grow some.

Let's see if this helps keep the article from being overrun by repetitious unsourced maundering.

Georgejdorner (talk) 03:10, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Battle of Verdun[edit]

I have radically rewritten a good faith attempt to "balance" this section between the Brits and the Germans, shoehorning in a mention of the early Fokker and Halberstadt types. But actually the main lack of balance here is our neglect of the French! The 1916 section of the article really needs a description of the "air" part of this battle - broadly the Germans started it with air superiority (due to the continuing ascendancy of the Eindeckers) but lost it during the course of the battle to the French fighter (chasseur) squadrons equipped with the Nieuport 11. At the moment, with the Somme Battle the only one mentioned, the impression is given that the major confrontation in the air was between the Brits and the Germans (which may have become largely true by 1918, but was certainly not the case in 1916). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:19, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Improper nouns[edit]

Names of kinds of military units (say "fighter squadron" - or "jagdstaffel") are NOT proper nouns, and do not get capitalised (please). Quite different from (say) "No. 46 Squadron" or "Jagdstaffel 11" - which are, being the names of particular units. Get the difference? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:54, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Jagdstaffel is a German word, and therefore takes German spelling is my take on the subject. GraemeLeggett (talk) 12:40, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
If this were German WP, I'd agree with GraemeLeggett; seeing the reasoning (which I didn't see clearly before :( ), & since it's (now) English usage, I'm with Soundofmusicals (despite being the one who started all this :( ). If we adopt GraemeLeggett's logic, every German noun would have to be properly capitalized per German usage, & getting English capitalization right here is hard enough. :) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 14:18, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I would suggest recasting the sentence to work around the issue but it's hard to imagine a better sentence form. What do reliable sources use for the general plural?
I don't see a better structure, either (except, I'd prefer "fighter squadrons (jagdstaffeln), fully a year"). The existing plurals look fine to me. (Here, I do prefer the correct German to the English "jagdstaffels.) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 22:03, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Until or unless this becomes established wiki MOS (I've checked, and it isn't) I suggest we keep to common sense and English usage rather than German for capitalisation (although I prefer "jagdstaffeln" to "jagdstaffels"). In the meantime I've changed text back to the original, until we get a consensus for a change. Note that this would require an additional clause to the MOS and multiple changes in all articles containing German words. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:46, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I have a horrible feeling I may be aguing on the wrong side here. By the MOS there seems to be no justification for capitals for "casual" use of German words - but in fact it's very widely done (been reading some old books) and it is common in many Wiki articles - including some I've written or extensively edited! I went and made the Jagdstaffeln article "consistent" and it just doesn't "look right". But if we do go for Trekphiler's original position after all and capitalise German nouns used in English text, the MOS will have to be modified to make it clear that we are following this convention - and someone will have to go through a few articles to make our practice consistent (surely the main point after all). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 21:44, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't lose sleep over it if I were you. Go with what looks right in the article each time. GraemeLeggett (talk) 22:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)


The B.E.9 and the SPAD A.2 explored the idea of installing the gunner in front of a tractor propeller. Assuming that this needs mentioning at all in this article (only one B.E.9 was ever built, and only a few of the French version of the idea, so it is not exactly notable) a copy and paste from a second rate little "sensation book" is not what is required - in the lights of 1915 it was actually quite a sensible idea - although of course doomed to failure. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:53, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

I have no doubt a lot of crackbrained schemes were tried. ;p Mention it at BE9 & SPAD, but not here; if it never even passed the trial stage... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 03:27, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
The BE9 was not notable as the solution had been found before it flew but the SPAD A.1-5 was used operationally by both the French and the Russians - it just got overtaken by better ideas, like Nieuports firing over the prop or using a synchronizer or interupter. Quite a few other aircraft were built that used pods mounted on the wings above or beside the prop - all a part of finding a solution. The real problem was that these pods (pulpits included) diminished the performace of the "fighter" to the point it couldn't catch anything. No worse an idea otherwise than the DH.2 which had the same rollover risks. There is a Windsock mini-datafile book on the SPAD S.A-2/S.A-4 by J.M. Bruce - ISBN 9780948414824, and copies in pdf format are readily found online (no doubt to the consternation of Albatros publications, the publisher).NiD.29 (talk) 18:49, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
The roll-over risk in pulpit type was very obviously far greater than in a pusher (have a look at a good picture of each and use your imagination)! A pusher engine was mounted directly behind the pilot, but in the same structure the pilot was sitting in. A D.H.2 pilot (for instance) would have been liable to be crushed by the engine in a severe crash, but most likely not in a simple roll-over. On the other hand, a "pulpit" observer had only the lightest screen between him and the propeller, in a fragile little box that would have been flattened in the lightest roll-over (ouch!!). Otherwise I think we are agreed. My main objection really was the crappy source. I mean giving a reasonable idea a go and having the sense to drop it when you see the snags is hardly a "major military blunder". --Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:51, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
We have an article here on the SPAD A.2 by the way - the Russians were the only ones to use it really - and then only because they were desperately short of aeroplanes! Soundofmusicals (talk) 04:56, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The source was a major problem but it should have been the SPAD and not the BE mentioned and the wording wasn't all that encyclopedic.NiD.29 (talk) 08:06, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I suspect the wording was straight out of the source. If someone wants to write something about the "pulpit" types I wouldn't object - but their notability is really pretty marginal, and the source needs to be something other than yet another rehash of the Grey/Billing anti-Royal Aircraft Factory diatribes. I was really only concerned that people realised why I chopped it out. -Soundofmusicals (talk) 10:07, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Picture of Roland D.VIa misidentified as Albatros D.IV[edit]

This is NOT just a matter of changing the caption - picture (of a relatively obscure type that eventually went into limited production in its D.VIb form) is probably not IDEAL for a general article like this anyway - but if it was it would be placed with the text about other late-war German fighter types. Anyway. I have deleted it from this article. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 14:31, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

The language question[edit]

Hello, all,

Somehow, this article has never settled on a standard version of the English language. However, given that American pilots only made it to the front in Spring 1918, and no American airplanes ever made it into action, it seems reasonable that American English does not suit. And although Canadians, South Africans, Scots, Irish, New Zealanders, and Australians all contributed mightily to the British air effort, numerically the Brits topped all. Therefore, I plump for a "British-English" tag at the top of this page.

Georgejdorner (talk) 17:49, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm a native American and I agree with your position that the British effort dominated the Allied air effort, making British English the default spelling variation here. Binksternet (talk) 18:43, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
Canadian here (but very idiosyncratic spelling ;p), & I agree, too. It's a European subject; Brit English should govern. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 19:14, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, the consensus here (by three North Americans yet!) is that Britspeak should prevail. I am posting the tag above.

Georgejdorner (talk) 14:35, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Western Front Focus[edit]

This page, as presently written, is really the history of aviation on the western front of WW1. It would be great if someone could contribute something about other fronts, especially Russia but also Italy-Austria, Serbia, Dardanelles, etc.. Can we plunder articles on e.g. Russian Wikipedia? David Bofinger (talk) 08:07, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

By all means - sounds an excellent idea. So far as "plundering" other Wikipedias - Wiki is not in itself a very good source of course, so one would want to check sources etc very carefully, but one could certainly use another wiki as a starting point. A good source that has some bits about other fronts is ISBN 978-1906626662 (just search on isbn should find it, save me mucking around with a bibcite). --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:33, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Hello, all,

An excellent and overdue suggestion. I should think that for completeness of coverage there should be sections within the article for aviation operations in the other four theaters (okay, theatres) of World War I:

Georgejdorner (talk) 20:03, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Prewar Developments[edit]

I was just reading this and noticed the Prewar Developments section had a few typographical errors. For example, it said, "...after the Wright brothers have the ide to...," and there is a quote that lacks quotation marks. I changed the first error to "after the Wright brothers had the idea to..." but do not have time to fix every mistake. If you are an author of this article, I recommend revising this section.

Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:30, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

The Advance of German Flight Squadron 27 in the Ukraine[edit]

I work at a large research library. We are digitizing unique historical documents and making them available as primary resources (links to digitized items with information about those items) on the Internet. These items include a wide range of photographs, manuscripts, and imprints. I am following Wikipedia's policy "to encourage librarians and others in cultural heritage institutions to place links to their primary resources (WP:CURATOR)

We recently digitized and put online a portfolio of German photographs from the Eastern Front, World War I, titled Der Vormarsch der Flieger Abteilung 27 in der Ukraine (The Advance of Flight Squadron 27 in the Ukraine). The portfolio, comprising 263 photographs mounted on 48 pages, depicts German military advances through the southern Ukraine in the spring and summer of 1918. In addition to dozens of rare aerial reconnaissance views, the portfolio shows many instances of German airplanes, hangars, and other equipment, as well as the transportation of such equipment and aircraft by railroad. The portfolio also depicts squadron members and other German officers engaged in military maneuvers, including the take-over of Rostov-on Don in May 1918.

We plan to add a link to the photographs in the External Links section of this page. We welcome any feedback you may have. Digitaldomain (talk) 22:12, 30 April 2013 (UTC) comment added by Digitaldomain (talkcontribs) 22:06, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

By all means, yes please, thank you very much and all other appropriate positive noises! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:53, 30 April 2013 (UTC) :)

Inappropriate Text[edit]

At the end of the first paragraph of the introduction, the sentence: Dion sucks every day. appears. However, if you EDIT the text, the sentence does not appear. Someone should remove this. (talk) 15:34, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

The vandalism was removed as soon as it appeared at 05:26 by an automatic bot, I suspect you are looking at a cached version which just happened to pick up the vandalism in the few seconds it existed, when you edit you see the live and updated version. MilborneOne (talk) 17:16, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

1st ground-to-air kill[edit]

During a bombing raid over Kragujevac on 30 September 1915, private Radoje Ljutovac of the Serbian Army successfully shot down one of the three aircraft.

Some copy missing, I think. What nationality were the 'three aircraft'? Valetude (talk) 21:53, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

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