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WWI, German and British Dogfight

WWI, German and British Dogfight

C021/5788

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Credit

PHOTO RESEARCHERS, INC. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHOTO RESEARCHERS, INC. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Dogfighting first emerged in World War I. Ever since heavier-than-air flight became a reality in 1903, people had been trying to figure out how to use this new technology for warfare. Once machine guns were mounted to the airplane, either on a flexible mounting or higher on the wings of early biplanes, the era of air combat began. Pilots achieved firing position while avoiding the threat of enemy guns by maneuvering behind the enemy aircraft. This is known as getting on an aircraft's six o'clock or tail, plus a wide variety of other terms, usually coined by air crews. This type of combat became known as dogfighting. Oswald Boelcke, a German fighter ace during World War I, was the first to publish the basic rules for aerial combat maneuvring in 1916, known as the Dicta Boelcke. He advised pilots to attack from the direction of the sun (toward which the defending pilot could not see), or to fly at a higher altitude than the opponent. Most of these rules are still as valuable nowadays as they were a century ago. Caption: Composite picture of a dogfight between fighter planes (film of this period was not fast enough to capture action like this).

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