World War I ushered in the era of aerial combat and changed the landscape of war forever. It was the first conflict to feature widespread use of aircraft for air-to-air combat, reconnaissance, bombing and transportation. Nearly every participant in the war fielded some form of an air wing. England, France and Germany were the biggest contributors to the development of combat aircraft.Continue Reading
One of the famous planes of the war is the Fokker Dr.I triplane. It rose to fame following the exploits of one of the most famous aviators, Manfred Von Richthofen, the Red Baron, who shot down 79 enemy aircraft, making him the leading ace of the World War I.
The Red Baron fell to one of the war's other famous fighters, the English-made Sopwith Camel. Unlike its German counterpart, the Camel featured two wings as opposed to three. The Camel proved to be a versatile weapon, although difficult to manage. Adopted for naval use, it had a special ground attack variant.
The Germans responded with a biplane of their own, the Fokker D.VII. The new model allowed pilots to utilize maneuver tactics previously unimaginable. It was so effective that the D.VII was specifically targeted by the armistice following the war.
Another widely recognized plane is the French-built SPAD XIII. French and American flyers both achieved ace status using the sturdy biplane. One pilot, Georges Guynemer, used the SPAD as his platform for experimentation, expanding the types and calibers of weapons capable of use on an aircraft.Learn more about World War 1