The War in the Air - Introduction

British airships in their shed Aircraft technology was little over a decade old when Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in late June 1914 ultimately resulted in the outbreak of 'The Great War' a month later.

Initially deemed of little use to the armed services other than in a reconnaissance role, aircraft development exploded during wartime (all too often literally).  For example, France had fewer than 140 aircraft when her war against Germany began; four years later that number had ballooned to approximately 4,500.

This section of the website examines the role of the aircraft and associated technologies during the First World War, viewed from all sides.  In addition to an exploration of aircraft innovations - such as deflector and interrupter gear - the planes themselves are summarised, from fighter aircraft to bombers to Zeppelins to naval aircraft; and biographies are available for a great many of the war's air aces and commanders.

Use the sidebar to the right to access features within this section; you are recommended to start with Ari Unikoski's summary introduction to the subject (click here).

The German word "U-Boat" was derived from "Unterseeboot" (undersea boat).

- Did you know?

War in the Air