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Subject > Strategy and Tactics > Airborne

Date > 1900 > 1910-1919

Air Force Roles

Type: Document

WW1 saw many innovations in strategic and night bombing, aerial combat tactics, and the support of ground troops. Non-military targeting became part of the military strategy for air warfare, a development that later influenced the course of the Second World War.

Site: National Defence

Squadron-Commander Raymond Collishaw and pilots of No.203 Squadron, Royal Air Force, July 1918

Type: Image

By the end of the First World War, Canadians made up roughly one quarter of the strength of the British Royal Air Force formed in April 1918. More than 8,000 Canadians served in the RAF and its predecessors, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). This photograph shows one famous Canadian fighter pilot, Squadron- Commander Raymond Collishaw (1893-1975), along with his British and Imperial pilots at Allonville, France, July 1918. 208 Squadron was formed in February 1914 as Number 3 Squadron, RNAS. The aircraft in the background are the famous Sopwith F.1 'Camel.' (Library and Archives Canada, PA-002792)

Site: National Defence

Fleet Air Arm

Type: Document

During WW1, an Allied fleet air arm pioneered strategic bombing and the development of aircraft carriers as part of their war against submarines and the enemy coasts.

Site: National Defence

Effectiveness of the Air Arm

Type: Document

The effectiveness of the Allied air arm was tested during the Battle of Amiens in August 1918.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Aviators

Type: Document

Many Canadians served in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service during the war. While Canada did have an infant aviation industry, the war accelerated the development and production of aircraft in Canada. Aerial supremacy over the battlefield shifted with the introduction of new technical developments in aircraft.

Site: National Defence

Strategic Bombing Strategy

Type: Document

Strategic bombing, which originated in the First World War, held the promise of being a war-winning weapon in its own right. Begun by the Germans, the British retaliated by creating a heavy bomber force which commenced operations in 1918.

Site: National Defence

German airship caught by a searchlight

Type: Image

Although the First World War was not the first time aircraft were used in war (that happened during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911), the war did mark the debut of long range bombing missions. The Germans used rigid airships (popularly known as 'Zeppelins' after their builder, German Count Zeppelin) for night bombing missions over France and Britain. This painting shows one technique used by the defenders - searchlights to illuminate the airships, and anti-aircraft guns to attempt to shoot them down. (Private collection)

Site: National Defence

British Bristol Fighter F2B and German Albatros D.III aircraft in combat

Type: Image

Many Canadians won distinction in the Royal Flying Corps during the Great War. The details of this contemporary painting are none too accurate, but it was this sort of image that caught the public imagination. The legend of the heroic fighter pilot - a 'knight of the air' - retains its power to this day. Despite the myths, however, the humble reconnaissance squadrons, who took photographs and directed artillery bombardments, probably had a greater impact on the war. (Private collection)

Site: National Defence