Important Events in Military Aeronautic History


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Page LF-002 (Revised 01/22/2006)

Year Month/Day Person Military Aviation Event
  1783         France adopted ballooning for military use.
  1794   Jun 23      Ascent by French captive balloon, L'Entreprenant during the battle of Maubeuge under the direction of Coutelle.
  1794   Jun 26      Ascent of the L'Entreprenant during the battle of Fleurus, gaining military information.
  1796   Sep 3      Balloons with Jourdan's army (French) made ascents in front of Andernach and Ehrenbreitstein, and were captured by Duke Karl'a Austrian army at Wurzburg.
  1798         The first company of French Aerostiers ordered to Egypt. Destruction of balloon materials in the battle of the Nile by the English. Napoleon abandoned military aeronautics.
  1799         The French Aerostiers sent up several Montgolfieres from forts in Cairo.
  1807         Denmark adopted ballooning for military use.
  1812         Russia adopted ballooning for military use.
  1849         Austrian bombardment of Venice with balloon torpedoes. At the suggestion of Uchatius, an artillery officer, the range of the besieging batteries being insufficient to bombard the town, Montgolfieres made of paper were used. Each could lift 70 pounds, and each carried bombs weighing 30 pounds for 33 minutes. Position was chosen on the windward side. A trial balloon was liberated for a course laid out on a chart. Then a balloon with a bomb was liberated, after timing the fuse. By this means, bombs fell in the town (one in the market place) with great moral effect.
  1859   Jun 24   Lieuts. Godard and Nadar (French)   Ascended in a captive balloon at the battle of Solferino. In the latter ascent he detected some important movements of the enemy, taking photographs while in the air.
  1861      Lowe   (US Civil War) Made a free ascent after a defeat near Manasses, and discovered position of victorious Confederates, showing the falseness of a report that their army was making a general forward movement. First attempt at heliography from a balloon.
  1862         A balloon division reconnoitered for MacClellan's army (US Civil War). Ascents and descents under heavy artillery fire in various engagements.
  1862   May 4      A balloon showed that Confederate General Magruder had left his position during the night.
  1862   May 24   General Stoneman   Ascended and from the balloon directed artillery fire. (The first instance of the kind.)
  1862   May 29      Important work by balloons at Chickahominy, and later at Fair Oaks and Richmond, where a balloon was attached to a locomotive and moved from place to place.
  1862   Aug 16      Discovery by a balloon of the fleet under Wilkes in the James River.
  1869         During siege of the Duke V Aidzu's fort at Wakamatzu, by the Japanese Imperial troops, besieged sent up a kite with a man who dropped explosives.
  1870   Sep 23      Siege of Paris. Between September 23, 1870 and January 28, 1871, 68 balloons got out of Paris. Two German balloon detachments, with balloons purchased from England, attached to the army before Strassburg. One ascent was made on September 24.
  1876         Small captive balloons were used in war by Japan.
  1884         A French balloon section of four balloons saw service in Tonkin, and were used in the battle of Hong-Hoa.
  1884   May 9      Formation of the Prussian Military Balloon Division.
  1884         Spain adopted ballooning for military use.
  1885      Major Elsdale   In command of balloons accompanied Sir 0 Warren's expedition to Soudan and Bechuanaland. A balloon detachment was sent to the Soudan under Major Templer and Lieut. Mackenzie. The hydrogen was sent from Chatham compressed in cylinders. Ascents were made during the march to Tamai. A German military critic said of this work, "Practical application of ballooning left nothing to be desired."
  1885         Italy adopted ballooning for military use.
  1886         Belgium adopted ballooning for military use.
  1886         China adopted ballooning for military use.
  1886         Holland adopted ballooning for military use.
  1887         Italian army used balloons successfully in Abyssinian operations.
  1888         Servia adopted ballooning for military use.
  1893         Roumania adopted ballooning for military use.
  1897         Switzerland adopted ballooning for military use.
  1897         Sweden adopted ballooning for military use.
  1898         United States war with Spain. Ascents at Santiago. Useful observations July 1. A captive balloon, for the first time, is destroyed by artillery.
  1899         At the beginning of the campaign against the Boers, the British used captive balloons and Baden-Powel kites.
  1900   Jan 18   Capt. Heath   Under Balloon Section I was sent to Natal. On the night of January 18 attempted to discover Boer position on the Tugela with the help of searchlights. Balloons were used during the battles of Vaalkrantz, Spion Kop and Springfontein. On February 10 a balloon was shot down by Boer artillery. Balloon Section II, under Capt. Jones and Lieuts. Grubb and Earle was ordered to join Methuen's army. Ascents were made before Magersfontein. Balloons accompanied Lord Roberts to Paardeburg, and helped to locate Cronje, and directed artillery fire during five days observations. Balloons were constantly under fire. Balloon Section III, under Lieut. Blakeney. Balloon used at Fourteen Streams.
  1900         French and English balloons used to advantage in the campaign against China.
  1900         Chinese balloons and stores fell into the hands of the Russians at the capture of Tientsin.
  1902         Morocco adopted ballooning for military use.
  1904         Japan vs. Russia. A balloon division at Port Arthur. Here a kite-balloon was used for the first time in war. A Russian naval balloon division sent to Vladivostock, and a balloon company to Manchuria. Ascents were made at the battle of Liaoyan. A Russian balloon was under fire at the battle of Mukden. Very useful work was done.
  1909         Spanish kite-balloon used in operations against the Moors.
  1911         In fighting on Mexican frontier aeroplanes were used. Spain, in Morocco campaign.
  1912/13         Balkan War. Bulgaria, Greece, Roumania, Servia, and Turkey. Italy used aeroplanes, airships and kite-balloons in Tripoli campaign.
  1914/18         WW-I Aeroplanes, kite-balloons and Blimps devolved into an important universal arm of offensive and defensive service.

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