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1918 In Aviation

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1918 In Aviation

Years in aviation: 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921
Centuries: 19th century · 20th century · 21st century
Decades: 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s
Years: 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1918:

Contents

  • Events 1
    • January 1.1
    • February 1.2
    • March 1.3
    • April 1.4
    • May 1.5
    • June 1.6
    • July 1.7
    • August 1.8
    • September 1.9
    • October 1.10
    • November 1.11
    • December 1.12
  • First flights 2
    • January 2.1
    • February 2.2
    • March 2.3
    • April 2.4
    • May 2.5
    • June 2.6
    • July 2.7
    • August 2.8
    • September 2.9
    • October 2.10
    • November 2.11
  • Entered service 3
    • April 3.1
    • June 3.2
    • August 3.3
  • References 4

Events

January

February

  • February 5 – Second Lieutenant Stephen W. Thompson achieves the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.
  • February 8
    • The Lafayette Escadrille, the American volunteer squadron serving in the French Army, is transferred to the United States Army and redesignated the 103rd Aero Squadron.
    • The United States replaces the national insignia for its military aircraft adopted in 1917 () with a roundel with an outer red ring, then a blue ring, and a white center . The Allies had requested the change out of a fear that the star in the 1917 U.S. marking could be mistaken for a German cross. The roundel will remain in use until the United States reverts to its former markings in August 1919.[12]
  • February 20 – The German high command issues a memorandum governing the employment of German ground-attack squadrons in the upcoming spring offensive on the Western Front, Operation Michael. It lays out the role of the squadrons as "flying ahead of and carrying the infantry along with them, keeping down the fire of the enemy's infantry and barrage batteries," adding that the appearance of ground-attack aircraft over the battlefield "affords visible proof to heavily engaged troops that the Higher Command is in close touch with the front, and is employing every means to support the fighting troops." It also directs the squadrons to "dislocate traffic and inflict appreciable loss on reinforcements hastening up to the battlefield."[13]

March

April

May

June

  • From the basis of VIII Brigade, the Royal Air Force forms the Independent Force, tasked to mount a strategic bombing campaign against Germany "independently" of the ground and sea campaigns the Allies have been waging since 1914.[31]
  • A detachment of American bomber pilots is stationed in Italy to strike at Austria-Hungary.
  • The United States Marine Corps consolidates its aviation forces at the Marine Flying Field at Miami, to form the First Marine Aviation Force. Composed of four squadrons, the force will deploy to France for combat.[32]
  • Early June – The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Vectis conducts towing trials with the NS-class blimp N.S.3 to see if an airship which runs out of fuel or suffers a mechanical breakdown can be towed at speed by a ship at sea. Vectis reaches nearly 20 knots with N.S.3 in tow during successful initial trials, but N.S.3 touches down on the sea on the final run.[33]
  • June 1 – The Australian ace Lieutenant Colonel Roderic Dallas, flying an SE.5a, is shot down and killed over Liévin, France, by the German ace Leutnant Johannes Werner in a Fokker Dr.I as Werner‍ '​s sixth victory. Dallas‍ '​s victory total of 51 will make him the highest-scoring Australian ace of World War I.[34]
  • June 4 – The first flight of the first all-metal stressed-skin fighter, the Dornier-Zeppelin D.I, takes place.[35]
  • June 5 – Douglas Campbell, the first American to become an ace while flying for an American-trained unit, scores his sixth and final victory. Badly wounded during the flight, he sees no further combat.
  • June 19 – Italy's highest-scoring ace, Maggiore (Major) Francesco Baracca, is killed by Austro-Hungarian ground fire. He had claimed 34 victories.
  • June 20 – Led by Captain Fiorello LaGuardia, 18 United States Army Air Service cadets undergoing training by the Royal Italian Army's Military Aviation Corps become the first American aviators to arrive on the Italian Front. Assigned to various squadrons of the Royal Italian Army Military Aviation Corps' 4th and 14th Bombardment Groups, the take part in an Italian bombing raid against the Austro-Hungarian railway center at Falze de Piave the same day. Shot down and taken prisoner by Austria-Hungary, Lieutenant Clarence Young becomes the first of three American aircrew casualties suffered while flying with the Italians during World War I.[36]
  • June 24

July

August

  • A large petroleum barge on the Volga River in Russia is equipped with a flight deck and elevators (lifts) to carry up to nine Grigorovich M.9 flying boats and three Nieuport fighters. Named Kommuna and towed by a sidewheel paddle tug, she and her aircraft actively support operations of the Bolshevik Volga River Flotilla during the Russian Civil War.[47]
  • August 1
  • August 5–6 (overnight) – Five Imperial German Navy Zeppelins attempt to bomb the United Kingdom in the fourth and final such raid of 1918. All of their bombs fall through clouds into the North Sea, and the commander of the Naval Airship Division, Fregattenkapitän Peter Strasser, is killed in action when a Royal Air Force Airco DH.4 piloted by Major Egbert Cadbury and crewed by Captain Robert Leckie shoots down in flames the Zeppelin in which he is flying as an observer, L70, over the coast of England.[50][51] After Strasser‍ '​s death, Germany attempts no more airship raids against the United Kingdom. During their 1915-1918 bombing campaign, German airships have made 208 raids against England, dropped 5,907 bombs, killed 528 people, and injured 1,156.[52]
  • August 9 – Eight Italian Ansaldo SVA biplanes of the 87 Squadriglia "Serenimissa", led by Gabriele d'Annunzio, fly over Vienna for 30 minutes without interference from Austro-Hungarian forces, taking photographs and dropping leaflets before returning to base without loss.[53]
  • August 10
    • During a dogfight, the Fokker D.VII fighter of the German fighter ace Oberleutnant Erich Löwenhardt collides with another D.VII flown by Leutnant Alfred Wenz near Chaulnes, France. Both men bail out; Wenz survives, but Löwenhardt's parachute fails and he falls to his death from 12,000 feet (3,658 meters). Löwenhardt's score of 53 kills will make him the third-highest-scoring German ace of World War I.[10]
    • After shooting down two enemy aircraft earlier in the day, the German ace Rudolf Berthold collides with an enemy plane during a dogfight with Sopwith Camels. His Fokker D.VII crashes into a house, injuring him; although he survives, he never flies another combat mission.[54] His total of 44 kills will make him the sixth-highest-scoring German ace of World War I.[55]
  • August 11
    • After taking off in a Sopwith Camel from a barge towed behind the destroyer HMS Redoubt, Royal Air Force Flight Sub-Lieutenant Stuart Culley shoots down the Imperial German Navy Zeppelin L 53, which had been flying a scouting mission over the North Sea. It is the first successful interception of an enemy aircraft by a shipborne fighter. German airships never conduct another scouting mission. L 53‍ '​s sole survivor is a crewman who parachutes from the Zeppelin at an altitude of 19,000 feet (5,791 m), almost certainly a record at the time.[56] L 53 is the last German airship destroyed during World War I.
    • The first use of a parachute from an airplane in combat occurs when a German pilot escapes his burning Pfalz D.III after being attacked by a pilot from the Royal Air Force‍ '​s No. 19 Squadron.
  • August 14 – The French ace René Fonck shoots down three German aircraft in ten seconds in a head-on attack. All three crash within 100 meters (328 feet) of one another near Roye, France.[57]
  • August 19 – A U.S. Navy Curtiss 18-T-1 triplane sets a new world speed record of 163 mph (232.32 km/hr).[58]
  • August 22 – Lieutenant Frigyes Hefty of the Austro-Hungarian Air Corps successfully parachutes from his burning fighter after a dogfight with Italian aircraft. He is the first person to survive a combat parachute jump.[59]
  • August 27 – The first Director of the United States Army Air Service is appointed.[22]

September

  • Known as "Black September;" during the month the Allies lose 560 aircraft, of which 87 are American.
  • The Royal Air Force begins to issue parachutes to its squadrons for the first time.[17]
  • September 7 – The U.S. Marine Corps‍ '​s 1st Marine Aviation Force, building up in the Calais-Dunkirk area of France to operate as an element of the U.S. Navy‍ '​s Northern Bombing Group, takes delivery of its first bomber.[43]
  • September 12 – 627 French and 611 American fighters are brought together for the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. At the time, it is the largest force of aircraft assembled for a single operation.
  • September 14 – The British aircraft carrier Argus is completed. She is the world‍ '​s first aircraft carrier with an unobstructed flight deck from stem to stern.[14][60]
  • September 18
    • The German ace Maurice Boyau while Boyau is attacking German observation balloons. Boyau‍ '​s 35 kills will make him the fifth-highest-scoring French ace of World War I.[49]
    • A U.S. Navy Curtiss 18-T-1 triplane piloted by Roland Rholfs sets a world altitude record of 34,910 feet (10,640 m).[58]
  • September 24
  • September 27 – During a Frank Hale. Rumey parachutes from his D.VII at 1,000 feet (305 meters) but falls to his death when his parachute fails. His 45 kills will make him the fifth-highest-scoring German ace of World War I.[10]
  • September 28 – Flying an Airco DH.9 with the Royal Air Force‍ '​s No. 218 Squadron, U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Everett R. Brewer (pilot) and Gunnery Sergeant Harry B. Wershiner (observer) become the first U.S. Marine Corps personnel to shoot down an enemy plane in aerial combat. They both are badly wounded during the engagement.[62]
  • September 29
    • United States Army Air Service Second Lieutenant Frank Luke, the second-highest-scoring American ace of World War I with 18 victories, is killed in action.
    • Second Lieutenant Chapin Barr becomes the first U.S. Marine Corps pilot to die in aerial combat.[62]
    • German ground-attack aircraft of Schlachtstaffel 3 intervene to support German troops in danger of being overrun by United States Army forces in the Argonne Forest in France. A German officer on the ground reports that the German air attack causes the American troops to break off their attack and scatter "in wild flight."[63]

October

  • October 5 – The famous French pilot Lieutenant Roland Garros, who in 1915 had become the first man to shoot down another aircraft by firing a machine gun through a tractor propeller, is shot down and killed in combat near Vouziers, France. He has four victories at the time of his death.
  • October 11 – The Imperial German Navy's air command proposes that merchant ships be converted into Germany's first aircraft carriers with flight decks.[64]
  • October 12 – The Imperial German Navy‍ '​s Naval Airship Division flies its last combat mission.[65]
  • October 14
    • Baron Willy Coppens, highest scoring Belgian ace, is heavily wounded, ending his combat career. He had scored 37 victories, 34 of which were observation balloons.
    • The first all-U.S. Marine Corps air combat action in history takes place, when five Airco DH.4s and three Airco DH.9s bomb Pitthem, Belgium.[62] On the return flight, German Fokker D.VII and Pfalz D.III fighters attack the bombers.[66] Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot (pilot) and Gunnery Sergeant Robert Guy Robinson (gunner) become separated from the formation after their DH.4 loses power, then encounter 12 German fighters. Although Robinson is terribly wounded during the resulting dogfight, they hold off the Germans and Talbot lands at a Belgian hospital, where Robinson is treated. For this action, they will become the first U.S. Marine Corps aviators to receive the Medal of Honor during a ceremony on November 11, 1920.[62][67]
  • October 25 – U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot dies in a crash during a test flight 11 days after the action for which he will receive a posthumous Medal of Honor in 1920.[62]
  • October 28 – French ace Lieutenant Michel Coiffard is gravely wounded during a dogfight with German Fokker D.VII fighters. He flies back to base, where he dies of his wounds. His 34 kills will make him the sixth-highest scoring French ace of World War I.[49]
  • October 29 – The Danish airline Det Danske Luftfartselskab, trading in the English-speaking world as Danish Air Lines – the oldest airline that still exists – is founded. It will begin flight operations in August 1920.
  • October 30 – Flying a SPAD XIII fighter, Eddie Rickenbacker shoots down a German observation balloon near Remonville, France, for his 26th and final aerial victory. His 26 victories (22 aircraft and four balloons) will make him the top-scoring American ace of World War I.

November

December

First flights

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

Entered service

April

June

August

References

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  83. ^ Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, p. 291.
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