This is coolbert:
During that latter stage of the Great War [WW1] the blitzkrieg type of offensive the concept as brought to fruition by the German always incorporating into the attack three elements, those being:
* Assault by battalions of Storm Troop using infiltration tactics.
* Poison gas delivered on target by artillery shell.
* Ground strafing aircraft.
With regard to ground attack warplanes, the German also first to devise, develop and field aircraft specifically designed for and designated as "ground attack"
Those being the: J1 Albatros and the CL.IV.
Aircraft operating in the ground attack a very dangerous and difficult duty, fraught with all sorts of danger, a formation attacking en masse however found to be very effective, beyond expectations.
"Ground attack is a close relative to tactical bombing. It is aimed at disrupting enemy forces at or near the front and during the course of the battle itself . . . Ground attack is carried out from very low altitudes and is thus both extremely accurate and extremely hazardous.
" losses of the unarmoured fighters proved to be extremely high, reaching up to 30% per day when aircraft were deployed in such attacks. Most losses were due to ground fire, although low-flying aircraft also proved vulnerable to attacks from above by enemy fighters"
"the German infantry had learned how to fight back against low flying aircraft . . . the loss rate of ground attack aircraft was as high as 30 percent of aircraft deployed. Entire squadrons were wiped out in less than a week.
"Fighting back" primarily the heavy machine gun in the anti-aircraft role [AAMG], a weapon mounted on a pole allowing for three hundred sixty degree rapid traverse and coverage. Throw a wall of steel up in front of the attacking warplane and make the adversary FLY through that "wall".
The German NOT ALONE in the development of ground attack aircraft during the Great War.
The British too using the Sopwith Camel in an ad hoc role - - machine gun and drop bombs on enemy troops, BUT NOT A WARPLANE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED WITH THE GROUND ATTACK ROLE IN MIND.
Sopwith having developed during those very last months of the war A DESIGNATED GROUND ATTACK AIRCRAFT - - THE SALAMANDER!!
NOT seeing combat, arriving on the scene of the battle too late!
The Sopwith TF.2 Salamander was a British ground attack aircraft of the First World War . . . a single-engined, single-seat biplane . . . [having] an armoured forward fuselage to protect the pilot and fuel system from ground fire during low level operations.
The Salamander and those German ground attack models having armor and an ability to engage an enemy with machine guns or drop bombs.
"a conventional battery of two synchronised Vickers guns [.303] in front of the cockpit . . . The guns were staggered, with the starboard gun mounted a few inches forward of the port one to give more room for ammunition. Four light bombs could also be carried."
Several of the these planes [en masse?] operating together on the same targets having a markedly increased lethality, repeated strafing and bombing runs often devastating as was the case at Megiddo!
Aircraft able to carry for instance four eight kilogram bombs [about twenty pounds] the explosive content much beyond that of an artillery shell of the same weight!
[bombs as dropped from a warplane needing only a thin skin exterior as compared to the thick metal skin of an artillery shell.]
Those of you that have seen the movie "The Blue Max" will remember the scenes of the German aviators in the ground attack mode during the German Spring Offensives of 1918. Devastation is a mild and almost trifle description. Military units retiring in particular subject to unrelenting and unmitigated attack, pursued relentlessly and not being allowed to regroup or have a single second of respite. GROUND ATTACK!!
Devoted readers to the blog are aware of and know of instances of French specific designated ground attack aircraft from the WW1 era? Please let me know.