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German aeroplane - French dirigible- November 18 1915

A French airship and a German airplane battle in the sky, 1915.

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1915:

EventsEdit

JanuaryEdit

  • January 6 or 15 – The German submarine U-12 departs Zeebrugge with a Friedrichshafen FF.29 seaplane lashed to her deck in an attempt to use submarines to carry seaplanes within range of England. The seaplane is forced to take off early, reconnoiters the coast of Kent, and has to fly all the way back to Zeebrugge when bad weather makes returning to U-12 impossible. It is the only German attempt to operate an aircraft from a submarine.[3][4]
  • January 19–20 (overnight) – The first Zeppelin raid on the United Kingdom takes place, carried out by the Imperial German Navy dirigibles L 3, L-4, and L-6. L-6 turns back with engine trouble, but L-3 drops six 50-kg (110-lb) high-explosive and seven incendiary bombs on Great Yarmouth and L-4 bombs Sheringham, Snettisham, and King's Lynn. The raid kills four people and injures 16.[5][6][7]
  • January 24 – An airship plays a role in a naval battle for the first time, when the German Navy Zeppelin L 5, flying a routine patrol, arrives over the ongoing Battle of the Dogger Bank between British and German battlecruisers in the North Sea. Operating cautiously after taking fire from British light cruisers, L-5 finds it difficult to track the action through cloud cover and plays a minimal role in the engagement, passing limited information to the commanding German admiral, Franz von Hipper, in the late stages of the battle.[8]
  • January 25 – The Imperial German Navy suffers its first wartime loss of an airship when PL 19 is forced down on the Baltic Sea by icing and engine failure while attempting to return to base after bombing Libau, Russia. Two Imperial Russian Navy minesweepers capture her seven-man crew and set her ablaze, destroying her. No further airship operations will take place in the Baltic theater until mid-July.[9]

FebruaryEdit

MarchEdit

  • The Imperial Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet begins seaplane carrier raids against the Bosporus and the Ottoman Empire's European Black Sea coast. The raids, which continue until May, are history's first in which battleships play a subsidiary role while operating with aviation ships, foreshadowing the aircraft carrier-battleship task forces of World War II.[13]
  • March 3 – In the United States, an Act of Congress creates the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), a United States Government agency charged with undertaking, promoting, and institutionalizing aeronautical research. NACA will operate until October 1, 1958, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will replace it.
  • March 4 – The third German attempt to bomb the United Kingdom fails when the naval Zeppelin L-8, sent to attack alone, encounters a gale over the North Sea and is blown out of control over Nieuwpoort, Belgium, where Belgian antiaircraft gunners shoot her down.[12]
  • March 7 – The first British tactical bombing raids are made in support of ground troops in Menin and Courtai.
  • March 11 – The Royal Navy charters the cargo ship SS Manica for conversion into the first British balloon ship, HMS Manica. The Royal Navy will be the only navy during World War I to operate balloon ships, specialized ships designed to handle observation balloons as their sole function.[14]
  • March 17 – The Imperial German Army attempts its first airship raid against the United Kingdom with the Zeppelin Z XII. Unable to find targets through cloiud cover, Z XII drops no bombs, but over Calais, France, on the way home makes the first use of a manned observation car lowered by winch below the Zeppelin to allow observation while the airship remains safely above cloud cover.[15] The German Navy later also experiments with such cars and later makes them standard equipment aboard German naval airships.[16]
  • March 18 – Imperial Russian Air Service Stabskapitän Alexander Kazakov uses a grapnel to hook his aircraft to a German Albatros two-seater aircraft in mid-air, hoping to destroy the Albatros by detonating a small bomb fixed to the grapnel. When his grapnel mechanism jams as he unreels it, he instead downs the Albatros by ramming it with his undercarriage.[17]
  • March 24 – Five Royal Naval Air Service Avro 504s of No. 1 Squadron bomb the German submarine depot at Hoboken in Antwerp, Belgium, starting a fire in the shipyard that destroys two German submarines.[18]

AprilEdit

  • April 1
    • In a Morane-Saulnier L, future French ace Jean Navarre and his observer/gunner, Sub-Lieutenant Jean Robert, attack a German Aviatik B.I over Merval, France. Robert uses a carbine to damage it and wound its pilot, forcing it to land behind French lines and surrender. It is Navarre's first victory.[19]
    • Later in the day, French pilot Lieutenant Roland Garros scores the first kill achieved by firing a machine gun through a tractor propeller when he shoots down a German Albatros observation plane. With no synchronization gear yet available for his machine gun, he uses metal deflector wedges installed on the propeller of his Morane Saulnier L fighter to keep the machine gun from shooting his own propeller blades off. It is also his first kill. He will score two more victories this way, on April 15 and April 18.[20]
  • April 3 – The French pilot Adolphe Pégoud scores his fifth aerial victory, becoming history's first ace.[19]
  • April 14–15 (overnight) – Germany bombs the United Kingdom for the second time when the German Navy Zeppelin L 9 bombs the Tyneside area of England, either killing or injuring a woman and a small boy.[16]
  • April 15–16 (overnight) – The German Navy Zeppelins L 5, L 6, and L 7 – the latter carrying Peter Strasser, the commander of the German Naval Airship Division, as an observer – bomb England. Although they meet little resistance other than rifle fire, their bombs inflict little damage.[16]
  • April 16 – The United States Navy conducts the first catapult launch of an aircraft from a floating platform, launching an airplane from Navy Coal Barge No. 214 at Naval Air Station Pensacola at Pensacola, Florida.[21]
  • April 18
  • April 19 – During the Gallipoli campaign, the Royal Navy balloon ship Manica lofts her observation balloon operationally for the first time in the first operational use of a balloon ship during World War I. The observer in her balloon directs fire against Ottoman positions for the armored cruiser Bacchante. Manica's work during the campaign impresses the British Admiralty enough for it to order additional balloon ships[14]
  • April 20 – Flying a reconnaissance mission along the border with Mexico in a Martin T biplane, First Lieutenant Byron Q. Jones (pilot) and Lieutenant Thomas D. Milling (observer) become the first United States Army aviators to come under enemy fire during a flight when Mexican forces open fire on them with small arms and at least one machine gun while they are over the Rio Grande at Brownsville, Texas. Their plane is hit, but they are uninjured. It is considered the first combat air sortie in U.S. Army history.[23]
  • April 26 – Second Lieutenant William Rhodes-Moorhouse of the Royal Flying Corps's No. 2 Squadron is mortally wounded while carrying out a bombing attack on a railway junction at Kortrijk, Belgium; he dies the next day. For the action, he posthumously will become the first airman to receive the Victoria Cross.

MayEdit

  • The British War Office issues instructions specifying the aircraft and armament Royal Flying Corps squadrons are to have ready for defense of the United Kingdom against German airships. One aircraft is to be kept ready for immediate takeoff at all times, with the Martinsyde Scout preferred over other aircraft. The instruction also lists a specific mix and numbers of weapons the aircraft are to carry, including bombs, grenades, and incendiary darts.[24]
  • May 3 – On patrol over the North Sea, the German Navy Zeppelin L 9, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Mathy, encounters four British submarines on the surface and attacks them while HMS E5 fires at her and the other three dive; L 9 tries to bomb E5 as E5 dives, but does no damage. L 9 later catches HMS E4 on the surface and attacks with bombs, but E4 dives and survives as well. L 9 later sights another surfaced submarine and moves in to attack while the submarine fires at her, but the submarine dives before L 9 can attack.[25]
  • May 10–11 (overnight) – The Imperial German Army Zeppelin LZ 38 attempts to bomb Southend-on-Sea on England's Thames Estuary, but is driven off by unexpected gunfire. LZ 38's commander, Hauptmann Erich Linnarz, allegedly scrawls a threat to return on a calling card from his wallet and drops it in a weighted canister which the British find on Canvey Island.[26]
  • May 11 – An early attempt to intercept an airship with a shipborne aircraft takes place in the North Sea when the Royal Navy seaplane tender HMS Ben-my-Chree tries to launch a Royal Naval Air Service Sopwith seaplane to attack a German Zeppelin sighted low on the horizon at a range of 70 nautical miles (130 km). The attempt fails when the launching platform collapses, and the unmolested Zeppelin goes on to bomb four surfaced British submarines – without damaging them.[27]
  • May 16–17 (overnight) – Two Royal Naval Air Service Avro 504s intercept the Imperial German Navy Zeppelins LZ 38 and LZ 39, badly damaging LZ39 with four 20-lb (9-kg) bombs dropped on its envelope from above.[18]
  • May 23 – Italy enters World War I on the side of the Allies, declaring war on Austria-Hungary.
  • May 26 – Oberleutnant Kästner and Lt Georg Langhoff score the first German air-to-air victory of World War I.
  • May 31-June 1 (overnight) – The Imperial German Navy Zeppelin LZ 38 carries out the first air raid on London, killing seven people and injuring 14.

JuneEdit

JulyEdit

AugustEdit

  • August 1 -– Leutnant Max Immelmann shoots down his first aircraft with the lMG 08-armed production Fokker E.I, E.13/15, beginning his career as an ace.
  • August 2 – Building upon 1913 flying-off experiments aboard HMS Hermes, an aircraft takes off from a platform aboard a fully operational British aviation ship for the first time, when a Sopwith Baby equipped with wheeled floats takes off from HMS Campania.[37]
  • August 6–9 – Plagued by weather and communications problems, German Navy airships prove unable to provide effective reconnaissance support to a minelaying sortie by the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Meteor, which scuttles herself when she is intercepted by British light cruisers and destroyers.[38]
  • August 10–11 (overnight) – Led personally by the chief of the Naval Airship Division, Peter Strasser, five German Navy Zeppelins raid England. L 9 bombs Goole, destroying some houses and warehouses and killing 16 people. The other four attempt to bomb London, but fail to reach the city, and instead bomb Eastchurch Naval Air Station, Dover (where three men are injured), and parts of the Thames Estuary. Damaged by a British 3-inch (76.2-mm) antiaircraft gun L 12 comes down in the North Sea on the way home and is towed into Ostend, Belgium, by a German torpedo boat.[39]
  • August 12 – Flying a Short Type 184 from HMS Ben-my-Chree. Royal Naval Air Service Flight Commander Charles Edmonds becomes the first pilot to attack a ship with an air-launched torpedo, torpedoing a 5,000-gross-register-ton Turkish supply ship during the Dardanelles Campaign.[29]
  • August 12–13 (overnight) – Four German Navy airships attempt to bomb England. Two turn back short of England, while L 10 bombs Harwich, destroying two houses, and L 12 finds no targets and barely makes it home after encountering violent thunderstorms over the North Sea.[40]
  • August 17–18 (overnight) – Four German Navy airships attempt to bomb London. Two turn back with engine trouble, and L 11 mistakenly bombs open fields near Ashford and Faversham. L 10, however, becomes the first German Navy airship ever to reach London, but thinking she is over central London she mistakenly bombs Leyton, hitting the railroad station and a number of houses, killing 10 people and injuring 48.[41]
  • August 19 – Flying a Fokker M.5K/MG bearing IdFlieg serial number E.3/15, fitted with a gun synchronizer and Parabellum MG 14 machine gun, Leutnant Oswald Boelcke shoots down his first aircraft.
  • August 20 – The first sustained aerial bombing offensive is made by Italian Caproni Ca.2s against Austria-Hungary.
  • August 31 – The first French ace, Adolphe Pegoud, is killed in combat. He had scored six victories.

SeptemberEdit

  • September 3–4 (overnight) – Four Imperial German Navy airships attempt to bomb England. One of them, L 10, is struck by lightning and crashes in flames in the North Sea near Neuwerk, Germany, with the loss of her entire 20-man crew.[42]
  • September 7–8 (overnight) – Two Imperial German Army airships raid England. One, the Schütte-Lanz SL-2, bombs Millwall, Deptford, Greenwich, and Woolwich docks, but crash-lands in Germany short of her base after suffering engine failure on the way home. The other, the Zeppelin LZ 74, drops most of her 2,000-kg (4,409-lb) bombload on greenhouses in Cheshunt before dropping her lone remaining incendiary bomb onto a shop on Fenchurch Street in London.[43]
  • September 8–9 (overnight) – Four German Navy Zeppelins attempt to bomb England. Two suffer engine trouble, while L 9, attacks a benzole plant at Skinningrove, Yorkshire, but her bombs fail to penetrate the roof of the benzol house or of a neighboring TNT store, and there are no casualties. L 13, however, bombs London – including the dropping of a 300-kg (661-lb) bomb, the largest yet dropped on Britain – killing 22 people and inflicting the most damage – valued at £530,787 – in a single airship or airplane bombing raid throughout all of World War I. Her commander, Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Mathy, becomes a great hero in Germany.[44]
  • September 12 – Fearing large-scale British retaliatory raids for German airship raids against London and resentful of German Navy publicity about the achievements of naval airships in bombing the city, Chief of the German General Staff General Erich von Falkenhayn issues a statement pointing out that German Army airships are restricted to bombing London's docks and harbor works and are prohibited from attacking the central City of London.[45]
  • September 14 – Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff, Chief of the German Naval Staff, restricts German naval airships bombing London to targets along the banks of the River Thames and directs them as far as possible to avoid bombing the poorer, working-class northern quarter of the city.[46]

OctoberEdit

  • October 13–14 (overnight) – After a five-week hiatus, German airships resume raids against the United Kingdom, as five German Navy Zeppelins attempt to bomb London. L 15 bombs central London, during which Royal Flying Corps pilot John Slessor, flying a B.E.2c, intercepts her, becoming the first man to intercept an enemy aircraft over the United Kingdom, although he is unable to fire on L 15. The other four Zeppelins scatter their bombs over various towns and the countryside. The raid is one of the deadliest of World War I, killing 71 people and injuring 128.[47]
  • October 14 – Bulgaria enters World War I on the side of the Central Powers. During October, the Imperial Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet raids Varna, Bulgaria, employing a seaplane carrier-battleship force.[13]
  • October 15 – Orville Wright sells the Wright Company – which he had founded in 1909 with his late brother Wilbur Wright – to a group of New York investors.

NovemberEdit

DecemberEdit

First flightsEdit

AprilEdit

MayEdit

JuneEdit

AugustEdit

DecemberEdit

Entered serviceEdit

FebruaryEdit

AprilEdit

JuneEdit

SeptemberEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, p. 120.
  2. Maurer, Maurer, ed (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 2. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/af_combat_units_wwii.pdf. .
  3. Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, pp. 29-30.
  4. Wikipedia SM U-12 (Germany) article.
  5. Cross, Wilbur, Zeppelins of World War I, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1991, ISBN 1-56619-390-7, pp. 19-20.
  6. Frankland, Noble, Bomber Offensive: The Devastation of Europe, New York: Ballantine Books Inc., 1970, p. 10.
  7. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 70, 73-76.
  8. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 94-95.
  9. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 216-218. The 15 January 1915 date given for the incident on p. 217 appears to be a typographical error; the 25 January 1915 date given on p. 216 appears to be accurate.
  10. Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, p. 97.
  11. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 76, 95-96.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 76.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, pp. 96, 101.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, p. 73.
  15. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 76-77.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 78.
  17. Franks, Norman, Aircraft vs. Aircraft: The Illustrated Story of Fighter Pilot Combat From 1914 to the Present Day, London: Grub Street, 1998, ISBN 1-902304-04-7, p. 11.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Thetford, Owen, British Naval Aircraft Since 1912, Sixth Edition, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1991, ISBN 1-55750-076-2, p. 33.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Hollway, Don, "The Sentinel of Verdun," Aviation History, November 2012, p. 36.
  20. Hollway, Don, "The Sentinel of Verdun," Aviation History, November 2012, p. 38.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, p. 112.
  22. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 79-80.
  23. Heaton, Dan, "Gunfire Over the Rio Grande," Aviation History, May 2014, pp. 16-17.
  24. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 72-73.
  25. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 97-98.
  26. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 80-81.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 98.
  28. Clark, Basil, The History of Airships, New York: St Martin's Press, 1961, Library of Congress 64-12336, p. 146.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Sturtivant, Ray, British Naval Aviation: The Fleet Air Arm, 1917-1990, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1990, ISBN 0-87021-026-2, p. 215.
  30. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 84-92.
  31. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 104.
  32. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 93.
  33. Franks, Norman, Aircraft vs. Aircraft: The Illustrated Story of Fighter Pilot Combat From 1914 to the Present Day, London: Grub Street, 1998, ISBN 1-902304-04-7, p. 20.
  34. Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, p. 20.
  35. Swanborough, Gordon, and Peter M. Bowers, United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Second Edition, London: Putnam, 1976, ISBN 0-370-10054-9, p. 2.
  36. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 98-100.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Thetford, Owen, British Naval Aircraft Since 1912, Sixth Edition, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1991, ISBN 1-55750-076-2, p. 12.
  38. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 101-103.
  39. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 104-106.
  40. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 107-108.
  41. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 108.
  42. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 108-109.
  43. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 109.
  44. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 109-111.
  45. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 112-113.
  46. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, p. 113.
  47. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, no ISBN, pp. 113-121.
  48. Thetford, Owen, British Naval Aircraft Since 1912, Sixth Edition, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1991, ISBN 1-55750-076-2, p. 39.
  49. Chant, Chris, The World's Great Bombers, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000, ISBN 0-7607-2012-6, p. 37.
  50. Whitehouse, Arch, The Zeppelin Fighters, New York: Ace Books, 1966, p. 139.
  51. Francillon, René J., Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1979, ISBN 0-87021-313-X, p. 30.
  52. Donald, David, ed., The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, ISBN 0-7607-0592-5, p. 73.

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