How has military aviation changed throughout history?

There are all kinds of judgments and prejudices about the Italian armed forces. Perhaps that's why it sounds a little strange that it was probably Italian military pilots who were the first to use military powered aircraft in a war.

Under the captain Carlo Piazza there was an air detachment with nine planes during the Italo-Turkish war, in the consequence of which Libya became an Italian colony. In October 1911, Piazza flew a reconnaissance mission over the Turkish lines near Benghazi.

Disregarding the fact that the Mexican government had hired two US aviation pioneers a few months earlier to scout the positions of insurgents from the air (and a little later crashed into the Rio Grande), Piazza's flight over the Libyan desert was the premiere of one new kind of warfare.

In November 1911, members of his air battalion threw explosives, a type of hand grenade, from an aircraft for the first time in war history.

Airships, airplanes and later rockets as well as unmanned guided or unguided missiles have not only revolutionized the battlefield since the First World War. In addition, starting as early as 1914, they continued to expand the boundaries of the battlefield.

The tactical, sometimes strategic, use of bombers in the First World War was the prelude to the area bombing of the Second World War, which made a decisive contribution to what the Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels conjured up as "total war" in the Berlin Sports Palace would have.

The aviators took over tasks of the cavalry

At the end of the 20th century - and actually it still is today - the entire world population was held hostage by those atomically equipped carrier weapons that can reach any point on earth.

The effects of the armed drones, the pilotless, digitally controlled aircraft, which, as it were, as the great-grandchildren of the flying machines of Capitano Piazza 100 years after Gaddafi's fall, were also used over Libya, are less terrible in their effects, but still terrifying enough.

Compared to infantry or artillery, the Air Force's history is short. It begins in earnest with the First World War. In 1912 the English founded their "Royal Flying Corps", the kingdoms of Prussia and Bavaria also set up small flight departments. Something similar happened in Russia and France.

At the beginning of the war, the larger powers had a hodgepodge of aviator units, each counting only a few hundred machines, which were primarily used for reconnaissance and communication.

The aviators had thus taken on tasks that had been reserved for the cavalry for centuries. It is no coincidence that a not inconsiderable part of the officer corps of the new force was recruited from the cavalry.

However, the Germans not only relied on the rather fragile single- or double-deckers, but also on the guided airship, which is still associated with the name of Count Zeppelin to this day. Zeppelins could not only fly much further than airplanes, they could also stay in the air for nearly 40 hours.

At the beginning of the war, Germany had just under a dozen airships. The rigid, gas-filled zeppelins were seen as ideal long-range combat machines - at least at the beginning of the war, hardly any aircraft reached the heights at which zeppelins drove through the air.

The first air raid in World War I was carried out by a zeppelin: LZ 6 (LZ stood for airship Zeppelin) dropped modified artillery shells over Liège, Belgium on August 6, 1914.

It fits in with the fact that the first air raid against Germany, flown by four English planes that had taken off in Antwerp, was directed against one of the home ports of the zeppelins: On September 22, 1914, British naval aviators bombed zeppelin hangars in Düsseldorf, later also attacked the Zeppelin base in Cologne. Even Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance was targeted by British double-deckers that had been packed in boxes and made it through half of France.