History Main / PlaneSpotting

29th May '16 5:07:44 AM MAI742
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In the inter-war era, transport aircraft gained sufficient capacity to allow [[ItsRainingMen deployment and supply of troops]], and airborne infantry units were set up in Italy, the Soviet Union, Germany, Japan, France, and Poland. During UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo the assault on Crete by German paratroops was so impressive to the British and Americans that they created airborne infantry divisions of their own. Ironically, the heavy losses during the same operation caused Hitler to cancel further airborne operations by Germany.

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In the inter-war era, transport aircraft gained sufficient capacity to allow [[ItsRainingMen deployment and supply of troops]], and airborne infantry units were set up in Italy, the Soviet Union, Union as a result of the Soviet-German military academic sharing and exchange programme. Germany, Italy, Japan, France, and Poland. Poland later developed their own airborne infantry units. During UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo the assault on Crete by German paratroops was so impressive to the British and Americans (and later the US) that they created airborne infantry divisions of their own. Ironically, the heavy losses during the same operation caused Hitler to cancel forbid further airborne operations by Germany.
Germany and insist that they fight as groundbound light infantry. The inability of airborne infantry to accomplish very much in the face of even halfway decent opposition was confirmed again in the Soviet winter counter-offensive of 1941-2 and ''Dnepr Crossing'' offensive of October 1943.
29th May '16 5:03:55 AM MAI742
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At the ''operational'' level of warfare aircraft were invaluable from the outset. During the manoeuvre warfare of August-September 1914 there was no quicker way to directly deliver messages from one higher-level headquarters to another than by air. Telegraph lines simply couldn't be laid out to armies in the field, telephone lines were even more expensive and had poor range to boot, and even Germany's cutting-edge horse-drawn wireless 'radio transmitters'(at least four horses and two carts) had absolutely woeful range. Air couriers were even more essential in the east, where there were half as many telegraph lines and there was up to thrice as much distance to cover. Aircraft were also totally indispensible for identifying enemy reserves in the operational depths (20-200km behind the front lines) in the east, though in France and Italy this wasn't useful. Enemy air observation capabilities, the density of rail infrastructure, and difficulty in overcoming the tactical defenses meant there was no way to use this information to concentrate one's forces at 'unexpected points' - though it should be noted that it the enemy's own air observation which made this impossible.

Aircraft ''were'' useful for artillery spotting, but until radio equipment light enough to be carried by aircraft had been developed (around 1915), communications between ground and air were crude and tedious. As military aircraft became more efficient through use in other branches, they eventually became crucial to the army too. Ground attack planes could be used for supply interdiction, and could attack enemy infantry and supply columns, camps, machine-gun nests, and artillery batteries in coordination with army units -- these activities were later developed into Close Air Support tactics. Most notably, although infantry units could be easily spotted when camped or moving out in the open it took a trained eye to determine the strengths and positions of enemy tactical defenses and forces when they used concealment and cover. In the final months of the Great War, aicraft were invaluable to the protection which they afforded tanks: at best artillery bombardments would only eliminate up to half of the enemy's anti-tank artillery guns. By strafing all known and suspected anti-tank positions as the tanks advanced, aircraft could protect the tanks - which in turn would protect the infantry from machine guns.

to:

At the ''operational'' level of warfare aircraft were invaluable from the outset. During the manoeuvre warfare of August-September 1914 there was no quicker way to directly deliver messages from one higher-level headquarters to another than by air. Telegraph lines simply couldn't be laid out to armies in the field, telephone lines were even more expensive and had poor range to boot, and even Germany's cutting-edge horse-drawn wireless 'radio transmitters'(at least four horses and two carts) had absolutely woeful range. Air couriers were even more essential in the east, where there were half as many telegraph lines and there was up to thrice as much distance to cover. Aircraft were also totally indispensible for identifying enemy reserves in the operational depths (20-200km behind the front lines) in the east, though in France and Italy this wasn't useful. Enemy air observation capabilities, the density of rail infrastructure, and difficulty in overcoming the tactical defenses meant there was no way to use this information to concentrate one's forces at 'unexpected points' - though it should be noted that it was the enemy's own air observation capabilities which made this impossible.

such responses possible (or in the war's last months, impossible after the virtual destruction of the German Army's Air Arm).

Aircraft ''were'' useful for artillery spotting, but until radio equipment light enough to be carried by aircraft had been developed (around 1915), communications between ground and air were crude and tedious. As military aircraft became more efficient through use in other branches, they eventually became crucial to the army too. Ground attack planes could be used for supply interdiction, and could attack enemy infantry and supply columns, camps, machine-gun nests, and artillery batteries in coordination with army units -- these activities were later developed into Close Air Support tactics. Most notably, although infantry units could be easily spotted when camped or moving out in the open it took a trained eye to determine the strengths and positions of enemy tactical defenses and forces when they used concealment and cover. In the final months of the Great War, aicraft were invaluable to highly prized for the protection which they afforded tanks: at best artillery bombardments would only eliminate up to half of the enemy's anti-tank artillery guns. By strafing all known and suspected anti-tank positions as the tanks advanced, aircraft could protect the tanks - which in turn would protect the infantry from machine guns.
29th May '16 5:01:54 AM MAI742
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The infantry still didn't move very fast and units were generally very easy to spot when moving, which made air reconnaissance less important to land warfare. Until the invention of the tank, infantry didn't really present any hard targets needing special attention either, except for bunkers which were invulnerable to early aircraft-carried weaponry. Aircraft ''were'' useful for artillery spotting, but until radio equipment light enough to be carried by aircraft had been developed (around 1915), communications between ground and air were crude and tedious. As military aircraft became more efficient through use in other branches, they eventually became crucial to the army too. Ground attack planes could be used for supply interdiction, and could attack enemy formations, fortifications, and armored vehicles in coordination with army units -- these activities were later developed into Close Air Support tactics.

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The infantry still didn't move very fast and units were generally very easy to spot when moving, which made air reconnaissance less important to land warfare. Until the invention of the tank, infantry didn't really present any hard targets needing special attention either, except for bunkers which were invulnerable to early aircraft-carried weaponry. Aircraft ''were'' useful for artillery spotting, but until radio equipment light enough to be carried by aircraft had been developed (around 1915), communications between ground and air were crude and tedious. As military aircraft became more efficient through use in other branches, they eventually became crucial to the army too. Ground attack planes could be used for supply interdiction, and could attack enemy formations, fortifications, infantry and armored vehicles supply columns, camps, machine-gun nests, and artillery batteries in coordination with army units -- these activities were later developed into Close Air Support tactics.
tactics. Most notably, although infantry units could be easily spotted when camped or moving out in the open it took a trained eye to determine the strengths and positions of enemy tactical defenses and forces when they used concealment and cover. In the final months of the Great War, aicraft were invaluable to the protection which they afforded tanks: at best artillery bombardments would only eliminate up to half of the enemy's anti-tank artillery guns. By strafing all known and suspected anti-tank positions as the tanks advanced, aircraft could protect the tanks - which in turn would protect the infantry from machine guns.
29th May '16 4:55:32 AM MAI742
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Aviation has also had a growing effect warfare since the beginning of the 20th century. At every level of military action (strategic, operational, tactical) the use of friendly and enemy aircraft to observe, attack, and supply must be accounted for. In addition to their importance in these roles, relatively small aircraft have occasionally been used in [[AirstrikeImpossible extraordinary actions]] to dispropotionate effect.

to:

Aviation has also had a growing effect warfare since the beginning of the 20th century. At every level of military action (strategic, operational, tactical) the use of friendly and enemy aircraft to observe, attack, and supply must be accounted for. In addition to their importance in these roles, As with ground and naval forces, relatively small forces of aircraft have occasionally occassionally been used in [[AirstrikeImpossible extraordinary actions]] to dispropotionate disproportionate effect.
29th May '16 4:53:53 AM MAI742
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Almost as soon as the aircraft was invented, men decided it might make a nifty way of killing other men [[WarIsGlorious without getting too much blood or mud on one's uniform]]. The history of military aviation is a story of rapid technological evolution closely coupled with human excellence and bravery (and extreme violence as well), and as a result has been an abundant source of material for almost every kind of narrative media. It has also had massive effect on the development of modern warfare. On every level of military planning the ability of military aircraft to support or interdict must be taken into account. In addition to their importance in regular action, aircraft have often been used in [[AirstrikeImpossible extraordinary actions]] in which relatively small forces have acheived disproportionally great strategic advantages. This means that the outcome of warfare between roughly equal opponents in the early 21st century can be extremely unpredictable, in contrast to the situation in the beginning of the 20th century when stalemate was more or less the only possible outcome.

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Almost as soon as the aircraft was invented, men decided realised it was a nifty way of observing the enemy. Much later, they realised it might also make a nifty way of killing other men people [[WarIsGlorious without getting too much blood or mud on one's uniform]]. The history of military aviation is a story of massive investment, expense, and rapid technological evolution design change closely coupled with human excellence and bravery (and extreme violence as well), (and bravery) and as a result has been an abundant source of material for almost every kind of narrative media. It media.

Aviation
has also had massive a growing effect on warfare since the development beginning of modern warfare. On the 20th century. At every level of military planning action (strategic, operational, tactical) the ability use of military friendly and enemy aircraft to support or interdict observe, attack, and supply must be taken into account. accounted for. In addition to their importance in regular action, these roles, relatively small aircraft have often occasionally been used in [[AirstrikeImpossible extraordinary actions]] in which to dispropotionate effect.

Today the tiny numbers of aircraft and aircraft munitions available to the world's peacetime militaries, their expense, and the time required for their production mean that each individual aircraft has a
relatively high military value and effect. Taken together with the small forces have acheived disproportionally great strategic advantages. This size and similar expense and difficult of producing ground and naval forces, this means that the outcome of warfare between roughly equal opponents in the early 21st century can be extremely unpredictable, in contrast to the situation in the beginning of the 20th century when stalemate was more or modern-day non-Total War is less the only possible outcome.
certain than ever before.
29th May '16 3:49:54 AM SSJMagus
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Dedicated bombers appeared during the final stages of UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne - big, lumbering, multi-engined beasts with multiple machine-gun mounts for self-defence and many, many, many bombs in their bellies. Before that, the most heavily armed aircraft to ever exist(sporting as many as ''twenty-five guns!''), [[CoolAirship Zeppelins,]] carried obscene payloads of bombs and sometimes even [[AirborneAircraftCarrier other aircraft,]] and were used for strategic bombing. However, they were used mostly for naval patrols instead of being dedicated bombers. Between the wars, the idea that "the bomber will always get through" led Britain and France to neglect their fighter forces with near-disastrous results. With the advent of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, bombers gained a new role - they were the main delivery system for nuclear weapons and were designed to fly very low or very high to avoid detection. With the advent of ballistic missiles for nukes and guided missiles for conventional arms, the traditional bomber faded from service. They're still useful for some things - they can carry a lot of bombs a long way, so the US keeps some B-52s around in case saturation bombing is needed.

to:

Dedicated bombers appeared during the final stages of UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne - big, lumbering, multi-engined beasts with multiple machine-gun mounts for self-defence and many, many, many bombs in their bellies. Before that, the most heavily armed aircraft to ever exist(sporting as many as ''twenty-five guns!''), [[CoolAirship Zeppelins,]] carried obscene payloads of bombs and sometimes even [[AirborneAircraftCarrier other aircraft,]] and were used for strategic bombing. However, they were used mostly for naval patrols instead of being dedicated bombers. Between the wars, the idea that "the bomber will always get through" led Britain and France to neglect their fighter forces with near-disastrous results. With the advent of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, bombers gained a new role - they were the main delivery system for nuclear weapons and were designed to fly very low or very high to avoid detection. With the advent of ballistic missiles for nukes and guided missiles for conventional arms, the traditional bomber faded from service. They're still useful for some things - they can carry a lot of bombs a long way, so the US keeps some B-52s around in case saturation bombing is needed.
needed. Post-WW2, the advent of jet fighters and especially guided missiles led to defensive armament being largely abandoned, since an enemy fighter would rarely come close enough to be threatened by a bomber's machine guns and thus the defensive turrets that WW2 bombers relied on were now useless extra weight.
29th May '16 3:44:30 AM SSJMagus
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* Third generation- Improved weaponry and speed. Includes the F-4 Phantom II, the Dassault Mirage, and the [=MiG-21=].
* Fourth generation- Increasingly multi-role and improving the electronic equipment, as well as "air combat maneuvering", brought on by the lessons of Vietnam. The [=MiG-29=] and Su-27 [[ReportingNames "Flanker"]], US "Teen Series" (F-14, F-15, F-16, & F-18) are of this vintage.
* Generation 4.5- Further improvements to electronics and weaponry, but not stealth. Most of the recent fighters, such as the later "Flanker" derivatives, the Saab 39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. American and Russian air forces generally retrofitted these features to fourth generation aircraft rather than designing new ones.

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* Third generation- Improved weaponry and speed. Includes the F-4 Phantom II, the Dassault Mirage, Mirage III and F1, and the [=MiG-21=].
* Fourth generation- Increasingly multi-role and improving the electronic equipment, as well as "air combat maneuvering", brought on by the lessons of Vietnam. The [=MiG-29=] [[ReportingNames "Fulcrum"]] and Su-27 [[ReportingNames "Flanker"]], US "Teen Series" (F-14, F-15, F-16, (F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon (or [[Series/BattlestarGalactica1978 Viper]], as the pilots prefer to call it), & F-18) F/A-18 Hornet), the Panavia Tornado and the Dassault Mirage 2000 are of this vintage.
* Generation 4.5- Further improvements to electronics and weaponry, but not stealth. Most of the recent fighters, such as the later "Flanker" derivatives, the F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Saab 39 Gripen Gripen, the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon. American and Russian air forces generally retrofitted these features to fourth generation aircraft rather than designing new ones. The F/A-18E is an exception to that trend; despite everything that its name, designation and appearance would imply, it's an all new plane only loosely based on the original F/A-18.
7th Sep '15 6:36:02 PM nombretomado
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There are many types of airship, even more than there are types of airplane. Today, there are four main groups. Aerostats are the most common, airships which are moored to the ground with a tether and used for surveillance. These can be small or quite large, and often carry distinctive radomes and have inflatable fins. Blimps are non-rigid steerable balloons which use slight internal pressure to maintain their shape, and are still used, albeit more rarely than aerostats. Zeppelins, airships with external frames and internal cargo spaces, have almost died out completely in the military, but they were used extensively in the past, until Hydrogen gave Zeppelins [[{{Hindenburg}} bad rap.]] The last kind of airship has just been recently invented, the Hybrid Airship, which can be a blimp or a Zeppelin, but is heavier-than-air. This allows them to carry truly gargantuan payloads, with the added safety margins of a plane and the efficiency and scale of an airship.

to:

There are many types of airship, even more than there are types of airplane. Today, there are four main groups. Aerostats are the most common, airships which are moored to the ground with a tether and used for surveillance. These can be small or quite large, and often carry distinctive radomes and have inflatable fins. Blimps are non-rigid steerable balloons which use slight internal pressure to maintain their shape, and are still used, albeit more rarely than aerostats. Zeppelins, airships with external frames and internal cargo spaces, have almost died out completely in the military, but they were used extensively in the past, until Hydrogen gave Zeppelins [[{{Hindenburg}} [[UsefulNotes/TheHindenburg bad rap.]] The last kind of airship has just been recently invented, the Hybrid Airship, which can be a blimp or a Zeppelin, but is heavier-than-air. This allows them to carry truly gargantuan payloads, with the added safety margins of a plane and the efficiency and scale of an airship.
31st Aug '15 1:48:05 AM MAI742
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Sea warfare was a different story, of course. 'Capital ships' including battleships were sunk at Taranto and Pearl Harbor and the most important naval battles were between carrier aircraft. Without aircraft carriers Japan's merchant navy would still have been devastated, but it would have been much more costly to 'island hop' into position to execute ''Operation Downfall'' with the aid of land-based aircraft - which would ultimately have to be launched using aircraft from Okinawa due to the likely inability to hold southern Korea against Japan's Kwantung Army.

to:

Sea warfare was a different story, of course. 'Capital ships' including battleships were sunk at Taranto and Pearl Harbor and the most important naval battles were between carrier aircraft. Without aircraft carriers Japan's merchant navy would still have been devastated, but completely wiped out by submarine warfare, stalling Japan's war industries due to lack of resources. But it would have been much more costly to 'island hop' into position to execute the firebombing campaign against Japanese urban centres, especially if the US had been forced to use Republican China as its main base for doing so (this would have required re-taking Burma to reopen the land supply route). Further island hopping would also have been necessary to execute ''Operation Downfall'' with the aid of air cover from land-based aircraft - aircraft, which would ultimately probably have to be launched using aircraft from make use of Okinawa due to the likely inability to hold difficulty of taking southern Korea from and holding it against Japan's Kwantung Army.
31st Aug '15 1:43:47 AM MAI742
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Planes got faster, stronger, better-armed and more specialised but generally remained biplanes made of canvas and wood until the mid-late 1930s, when a new generation of aircraft started to emerge, spearheaded by Germany's emerging ''Luftwaffe''. Multi-engined monoplane bombers could outpace the best British and French fighters, and the Messerschmitt Bf109 fighter blew everything else away. The British responded ''just'' in time with their Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire, and held off the German attack, while the French, who were still in the process of upgrading their air force and hadn't had the time to deploy their more modern fighters, were over-run.

to:

Planes got faster, stronger, better-armed and more specialised but generally remained biplanes made of canvas and wood until the mid-late 1930s, when a new generation of aircraft started to emerge, spearheaded by Germany's emerging ''Luftwaffe''. Multi-engined monoplane bombers could outpace the best British and French fighters, and the Messerschmitt Bf109 fighter blew everything else away. The British responded ''just'' in time with their Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire, and held off but the German attack, while the French, who French were still in the process of upgrading their air force and hadn't had the time to deploy their more modern fighters, fighters when their ground forces were over-run.encircled and eliminated, forcing their surrender. Upon the invasion of the Soviet Union airpower failed to sink the Soviet Black Sea or Baltic fleets at anchor due to lack of tactical suprise and weight of AA fire from the port facilities at Sevastopol and Leningrad and from the ships themselves. Moreover airpower was unable to break the stalemate at Smolensk (July-August) or Kiev (August-September) due to an acute shortage of fuel and munitions caused by the totally insufficient rail network of the occupied territories (adequate only for a ground force half the size of that actually deployed, not including air force requirements).



This indicates what the armies of the world were just starting to realize - Air Power was now all-important. This lesson was shown again and again during the course of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, as traditional naval Battleships were sunk at Taranto and Pearl Harbor and the most important naval battles were between carrier aircraft. Many small Pacific islands which would otherwise have been bypassed in the fighting took on great importance as air bases.

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This indicates what the armies of the world were just starting to realize - Air Power was now all-important. mildly important for more than just reconnaisance purpose, though it was very far from being a war-winning weapon in its own right. This lesson was shown again and again during the course of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo as traditional naval Battleships countless Soviet and German attacks were harassed or blunted by air support, only to ultimately succeed or fail largely as a result of the actions of ground forces.

Sea warfare was a different story, of course. 'Capital ships' including battleships
were sunk at Taranto and Pearl Harbor and the most important naval battles were between carrier aircraft. Many small Pacific islands Without aircraft carriers Japan's merchant navy would still have been devastated, but it would have been much more costly to 'island hop' into position to execute ''Operation Downfall'' with the aid of land-based aircraft - which would otherwise ultimately have been bypassed in to be launched using aircraft from Okinawa due to the fighting took on great importance as air bases.likely inability to hold southern Korea against Japan's Kwantung Army.
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