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During WW1 the first bomber plane was ironically known as a ‘Dove’

Posted in Aviation, Historical articles, History, Weapons, World War 1 on Thursday, 29 August 2013

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This edited article about military aviation originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 389 published on 28 June 1969.

The first airborne bomber, picture, image, illustration

Late in the afternoon of 30 August 1914, a Rumpler Taube, or Dove, dropped a few bombs on Paris from the air, the first time in military history that this had happened, by Wilf Hardy

The first faint signs of the power that bomb-carrying aircraft were eventually to wield were shown on 30th August, 1914, a mere sixteen days after cavalry units of the German Army had crossed the Belgian frontier at the start of the First World War.

Late in the afternoon of 30th August, Leutnant Ferdinand von Hiddessen flew over Paris in a Rumpler Taube, or Dove, which was not by any means a bird of peace! He released over the side the first bombs ever dropped on a city.

They were tiny, crude, four-pound devices; and comparatively insignificant, considering the size of the city. Even so, they killed two people and injured others.

Weighted message containers were also dropped marked with brightly-coloured streamers. The messages read simply: THE GERMAN ARMY STANDS BEFORE THE GATES OF PARIS. YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SURRENDER.

The flights were continued for some weeks in the hope of softening the spirit of the Parisians, but the raids had little effect.

To the public, the tiny, spluttering raiders were a novelty, to be gazed at over an aperitif. To the then new anti-aircraft gunners, they were rare live targets.

Other types besides Taubes were flown over Paris, but as “Taube” was the only German aircraft name the public knew, and as they arrived each evening with typical Prussian punctuality, they became known universally as “the six o’clock Taube”!

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