Our vision of aviation in the First World War is dominated by images of gallant fighter pilots duelling high over the Western Front. But it was the threat of the Zeppelin which spurred the British government into creating the Royal Flying Corps, and it was this ‘menace’, which no aircraft could match in the air on the outbreak of war, which led First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and the Royal Navy to set about bombing these airships on the ground. Thus in 1914, the Royal Naval Air Service, with their IKEA-style ‘flatpack’ aeroplanes, pioneered strategic bombing. Moreover, through its efforts to extend its striking range in order to destroy Zeppelins in their home bases, the Royal Navy developed the first true aircraft carriers.
This book is the story of those largely forgotten early bombing raids. It explains the military and historical background to the first British military and naval aviation, and why the Navy pursued long distance bombing, while the Army concentrated on reconnaissance. Every bomber raid, and every aircraft carrier strike since, owes its genesis to those early naval flyers.
FLATPACK BOMBERS The Royal Navy and the Zeppelin Menace
The Flatpack Bombers recounts the birth of aerial bombing and Naval aviation on the outbreak of the Great War. First conceived by Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty, the original idea was to hit Zeppelins on the ground, but they became the forerunner of all bomber raids and aircraft carrier strikes since.