Definitions

air-dropped

First air-dropped bomb

The first air-dropped bomb was dropped when Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti of the Italian Army dropped four grenades from his Blériot aircraft onto an Ottoman military encampment at the Taguira oasis in Libya on 1 November 1911.

Following Italy's bombing, a second bombing occurred in Mazatlan, Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. General Venustiano Carranza (later president of Mexico) intent on taking the city of Mazatlan, ordered a biplane to drop a crude bomb of nails and dynamite wrapped in leather on Neveria Hill adjacent to the city's downtown area. The bomb was crude, and the art of bombing was even cruder. The bomb did not land on the target but on the city streets. The bomb killed two citizens and wounded several others.

The dropping of bombs from balloons had been outlawed by the Hague Convention of 1899, but Italy argued that this ban did not extend to airplanes.

Later bombings

In 1912, during the Balkan War, Bulgarian Air Force pilot Christo Toprakchiev suggested the use of airplanes to drop "bombs" (called grenades in the Bulgarian army at this time) on Turkish positions.

Captain Simeon Petrov developed the idea and created several prototypes by adapting different types of grenades and increasing their payload.

On 16 October 1912, observer Prodan Tarakchiev dropped two of those bombs on the Turkish railway station of Karaagac (near the besieged Edirne) from an Albatros F.II airplane piloted by Radul Milkov. This was the first use of an airplane as a bomber.

After a number of tests, Petrov created the final design, with improved aerodynamics, an X-shaped tail, and an impact detonator. This version was widely used by the Bulgarian Air Force during the siege of Edrine. Later a copy of the plans was sold to Germany, and the bomb, codenamed "Chataldzha" ("Чаталджа"), remained in mass production until the end of World War I. The weight of one of these bombs was 6 kilograms. On impact it created a crater 4-5 meters wide and about 1 meter deep.

The first bomb to be dropped by a German airplane on the British Isles landed near Dover Castle on December 24, 1914.

References

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