World War 1 Planes: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about WW1 planes.

  • World War I was the first time that aircraft had been used for combat on a large scale. At first they were used mostly for reconnaissance and later for fighting and bombing.

  • There were about 70 different types of World War I planes, including fighters and bombers. Different countries used different markings so that their own soldiers wouldn’t shoot the planes down.
  • Manfred Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron, was the leading German Ace, or fighter pilot. He became a hero in Germany and was awarded dozens of medals.
  • He shot down 80 Allied planes, more than any other Ace. His plane’s engine is on display in the Imperial War Museum in London and the control stick is in Australia.
  • World War I planes often fought each other in the air, in battles known as dogfights. The Germans invented a way to fire a machine gun without it shooting at the plane’s propeller.
  • April 1917 was called Bloody April by the British Royal Flying Corps because they lost so many planes and pilots. In that one month they approximately 245 planes and 200 pilots.
  • The British Sopwith Camel was one of the most famous World War I planes. It had a top speed of 185 kmh and is credited with destroying 1,294 enemy planes.
Sopwith Camel
Sopwith Camel
  • One of the most well-known bombers of the war was the Handley Page V 1500. It was almost 20 metres long, carried up to 30 bombs and could carry 9 men.
  • World War I planes were widely used during the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme.
  • Observation balloons were widely used and were often shot down by the enemy. A Belgian pilot, Willy Coppens, shot down 35 of these balloons during the war.