Aerial warfare is the battlespace use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy installations or a concentration of enemy troops or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel. Historically, military aircraft have included lighter-than-air balloons carrying artillery observers; lighter-than-air airships for bombing cities; various sorts of reconnaissance, surveillance and early warning aircraft carrying observers, cameras and radar equipment; torpedo bombers to attack enemy shipping; and military air-sea rescue aircraft for saving downed airmen. Modern aerial warfare includes missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Surface forces are likely to respond to enemy air activity with anti-aircraft warfare.
Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day, was celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces. The formal surrender of the German forces occupying the Channel Islands did not occur until the following day, 9 May 1945. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.
Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is defined by NATO as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action". They include surface based, subsurface, and air-based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be used to protect naval, ground, and air forces in any location. However, for most countries the main effort has tended to be 'homeland defence'. NATO refers to airborne air defence as counter-air and naval air defence as anti-aircraft warfare. Missile defence is an extension of air defence as are initiatives to adapt air defence to the task of intercepting any projectile in flight.
The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
The bombing of Wieluń comprised air raids on the Polish town of Wieluń by Germany's Luftwaffe on 1 September 1939. The Luftwaffe began bombing Wieluń in the early morning on the first day of World War II. The bombing has been described by several historians as the first act of World War II, but this claim, and the precise time the town was bombed, have been disputed by other historians. Regardless of the precise time, the air raids on the town were among the first aerial bombings of the war.
The Battle of the Border refers to the battles that occurred in the first days of the German invasion of Poland in September, 1939. The series of battles ended in a German victory, as Polish forces were either destroyed or forced to retreat.
September 1: The Luftwaffe begins operation Wasserkante as part of the invasion of Poland. The first air attacks against Warsaw start.
The Bombing of Warsaw in World War II refers to the bombing campaign of Warsaw by the German Luftwaffe during the siege of Warsaw in the invasion of Poland in 1939. It also may refer to German bombing raids during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. During the course of the war approximately 84% of the city was destroyed due to German mass bombings, heavy artillery fire and a planned demolition campaign.
September 2: Single PZL.23B of the 21st Squadron of Polish Air Force bombs a factory in Ohlau. The attack represented the first Allied bombing raid to be conducted against a target in territory within the Third Reich.
The PZL.23 Karaś was a Polish light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft designed in the early 1930s by PZL in Warsaw.
Oława is a town in south-western Poland with 32,674 inhabitants (2016). It is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship. It is the seat of Oława County, and also of the smaller administrative district of Gmina Oława.
Flying officer is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. In these cases a flying officer usually ranks above pilot officer and immediately below flight lieutenant.
Flying Officer Andrew McPherson DFC (1918–1940) was a pilot with RAF Bomber Command in World War II.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
September 3: The RAF launches its first raid of the war over Germany territory. Eighteen Handley Page Hampdens and nine Vickers Wellingtons are sent to attack the German warships moored at the Wilhelmshaven naval base. However poor visibility prevents the bombers from finding any targets before nightfall so they return.
The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was part of the trio of large twin-engine bombers procured for the RAF, joining the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden was often referred to by aircrews as the "Flying Suitcase" because of its cramped crew conditions. The Hampden was powered by Bristol Pegasus radial engines but a variant known as the Handley Page Hereford had in-line Napier Daggers.
The Vickers Wellington is a British twin-engined, long-range medium bomber. It was designed during the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, led by Vickers-Armstrongs' chief designer Rex Pierson; a key feature of the aircraft is its geodetic airframe fuselage structure, which was principally designed by Barnes Wallis. Development had been started in response to Air Ministry Specification B.9/32, which was issued in the middle of 1932. This specification called for a twin-engined day bomber capable of delivering higher performance than any previous design. Other aircraft developed to the same specification include the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and the Handley Page Hampden. During the development process, performance requirements such as for the tare weight changed substantially, and the engine used was not the one originally intended.
September 27: The Luftwaffe ceases its bombing campaign against Warsaw after its Polish garrison surrenders to German forces. Approximately 1,150 sorties were flown by a wide variety of aircraft, including obsolete Junkers Ju 52/3m bombers.
November 30: The Winter War between Soviet Union and Finland starts. Three hours after Soviet forces had crossed the border and started the Winter War, Helsinki is bombed. Throughout the war, the Soviet Union has the air superiority and several cities in Finland are targeted.
December 18: The first use of radar for defence (an "experimental Freya radar") gave warning of RAF bombers near the German Bight as they made an attack on Wilhelmshaven.:20 However the German fighters were not permitted to intercept until visual confirmation was made - the bombers were attacked after they had dropped their bombs.
September 7: The Blitz bombing of Britain began with 57 nights of air raids
September 8: Three Dornier 17 bombers are downed by a single shot from a "Territorial gun crew" near Farnington.:129
9 September: A bombing raid on Tel Aviv caused 137 deaths.
19 October: Four SM.82 bombers attacked American-operated oil refineries in the British Protectorate of Bahrain, damaging the local refineries. The raid also struck Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, but causing little damage.
September 15: In a single day, the Luftwaffe loses 60 aircraft over England during the Battle of Britain:68
November 30: The second phase of The Blitz began against British industrial and port cities
January 21: As revenge for the British raids on Berlin, Germany started the Baby Blitz (planned since November 27).:396
April 8/9: The largest force to date (272 aircraft) bomb Hamburg
April 17: The Augsburg Raid is the first to attempt low-level daylight bombing for accuracy - in this case against the factory producing engines for U-boats. Half of the 12 bombers were shot down for little damage caused.
May 30: The first use of the bomber stream and the first British large scale operation, as part of Operation Millennium the first "Thousand Bomber" raid is sent against Cologne, Germany. Of the 1,047 aircraft sent, nearly 900 bombed the target area - the whole raid passing over in 90 minutes.
June 11–12: First American daylight raid over European soil, against petroleum wells, in Ploiești Romania amongst objectives in Bulgaria the first stages of American Bombing offensive 
July 4: The first American bombing mission over enemy-occupied territory in Europe used 20 Boston bombers (plus 6 RAF-crewed Bostons) to attack the Alkmaar, Hammsted, and Valkenburg airfields -- :106 only two reached the target area (two shot down, the others heavily damaged):111
August 14: First German warplane downed by the USAAF. A German Fw 200 Condor reconnaissance-bomber is shot down by two US fighter pilots, flying a P-40 Warhawk and a P-38 Lightning, off the coast of Reykjavík, Iceland. All six German airmen are killed as the plane explodes and goes into the sea.
August 17: 12 B-17s of the 97 BG (including one with Eaker aboard) escorted by RAF Spitfires bombed the Sotteville railyard 3 miles (4.8km) South of Rouen, France, in the "first combat action" of the Eighth Air Force and the first B-17 bombing of Europe.
August 19: 22 B-17's drop 34 tons of bombs on Abbeville/Drucat A/F in France causing extensive damage.
August 20: 11 of 12 B-17's bomb Amiens/Longeau Marshilling Yard, France at 1801 hours without loss.
August 21: 12 B-17's are dispatched to bomb the shipards in Rotterdam, Netherlands but is aborted due to an attack by Bf 109s and Fw 190s; 1 bomber is damaged; Lack of proper coordination with the Spitfire escorts is a major factor in the failure of the mission.
August 24: 12 B-17s bomb the shipyard of Ateliers et chantier
August 1: Flying from North Africa Operation Tidal Wave bombs the oil refineries at Ploiești. A large number of the bombers are lost for little strategic benefit. Five Medals of Honor are awarded to American aircrew.
November 1: A Combined Bomber Offensive progress report estimates that 19/19/9 German towns & cities have been virtually destroyed/severely damaged/more effectively damaged–another report claims 10% of German war potential had been destroyed
November 3: A Wilhelmshaven raid is the first Eighth Air Force blind-bombing mission to completely destroy the aiming point, the Eighth's first 500-plane mission, and the first use by the US of H2X radar
November 22/23: The largest force sent to bomb Berlin to date (764 aircraft) conducted the most effective World War II raid on Berlin
December 2: 100 Ju-88s bombed the port of Bari, hitting a secret store of US mustard gas (83 of the sailors died within a month). Autopsies indicated excess white blood cells, and the discovery led to the use of the gas to combat leukemia (the secret regarding the storage at Bari of mustard gas was subsequently declassified in 1959).:149
January 30: The first U.S. Intruder operation was conducted by P-47s and accurately preceded the bombers to strike fighters at Villaorba airfield.
February 6–27: During the Continuation War, between Soviet Union and Finland several Finnish cities were bombed. The greatest air raids once again targeted Helsinki. In this manner the USSR hoped to force Finland to break its ties with Germany and agree to a peace settlement.
February 19/20: Handley Page Halifax IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany after 14.9% of those that did not turn back were lost on a raid to Leipzig.
June 2–5: In preparation for Operation Overlord, Operation Cover bombed transportation and airfield targets in Northern France and "coastal defenses, mainly located in the Pas de Calais coastal area, to deceive the enemy as to the sector to be invaded".
June 8: The first use of the Azon guided bomb targeted the Melun bridge
July 28: The first operational use of rocket-powered point-defense interceptors occurs as Me 163Bs of I. Gruppe/JG 400 take off from Brandis to defend against a USAAF strategic bombing raid on the Merseburg/Leuna synthetic fuel production complex.
August 27: The RAF restarted daylight bombing of Germany (first since 12 August 1941) with an attack on the Homberg Fischer-Tropsch plant in Hamburg.:149
January 5: The first mission of Operation Cornflakes begins when a mail train to Linz was bombed. Fake mailbags containing anti-Nazi propaganda were then dropped on the wreckage in the hope the letters would be unwittingly delivered by the Reichspost. The OSS dropped two million Das Neue Deutschland (German: The New Germany) propaganda newspapers during this psychological warfare operation; which ended in February.:104
March 18: Against Mission 894 attacking Berlin (1,329 bombers and 733 fighters), the Luftwaffe makes its most concentrated and successful attacks to date with Me 262s.
March 22: 200 Piper L-4 Grasshoppers each carried one armed infantryman (instead of an observer) across the Rhine to establish a US 3rd Army bridgehead near Oppenheim.:2068 (light aviation became a major part of the Army Field Artillery fire detection center on June 4, 1942):104
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. The British officially recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as The Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz.
The Bristol Blenheim is a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company (Bristol) which was used extensively in the first two years and in some cases throughout the Second World War. The aircraft was developed as Type 142, a civil airliner, in response to a challenge from Lord Rothermere to produce the fastest commercial aircraft in Europe. The Type 142 first flew in April 1935, and the Air Ministry, impressed by its performance, ordered a modified design as the Type 142M for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a bomber. Deliveries of the newly named Blenheim to RAF squadrons commenced on 10 March 1937.
The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and is the German word for 'lightning'.
The Baedeker Blitz or Baedeker raids were a series of attacks by the Luftwaffe on English cities during the Second World War.
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force (NAF) of the United States Air Force's Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The command serves as Air Forces Strategic – Global Strike, one of the air components of United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). The Eighth Air Force includes the heart of America's heavy bomber force: the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber, and the B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber aircraft.
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1940:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1943:
Strategic bombing during World War II was the sustained aerial attack on railways, harbours, cities, workers' housing, and industrial districts in enemy territory during World War II. Strategic bombing is a military strategy which is distinct from both close air support of ground forces and tactical air power.
The Pathfinders were target-marking squadrons in RAF Bomber Command during World War II. They located and marked targets with flares, which a main bomber force could aim at, increasing the accuracy of their bombing. The Pathfinders were normally the first to receive new blind bombing aids like Gee, Oboe and the H2S radar.
Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany, was subject to 363 air raids during the Second World War. It was bombed by the RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and 1945, by the USAAF Eighth Air Force between 1943 and 1945, and the French Air Force between 1944 and 1945 as part of the Allied campaign of strategic bombing of Germany. It was also attacked by aircraft of the Red Air Force, especially in 1945 as Soviet forces closed on the city. British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs; the Americans dropped 23,000 tons. As the bombings continued more and more people moved out. By May 1945, 1.7 million people had fled.
Big Week or Operation Argument was a sequence of raids by the United States Army Air Forces and RAF Bomber Command from 20 to 25 February 1944, as part of the European strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany. The planners intended to attack the German aircraft industry to lure the Luftwaffe into a decisive battle where the Luftwaffe could be damaged so badly that the Allies would achieve air superiority which would ensure success of the invasion of continental Europe.
The German city of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II, all by the Royal Air Force (RAF) but for a single failed post-capture test of a guided missile by the United States Army Air Forces. A total of 34,711 long tons of bombs were dropped on the city by the RAF. 20,000 people died during the war in Cologne due to aerial bombardments.
Jagdgeschwader 26 Schlageter was a German fighter-wing of World War II. It operated mainly in Western Europe against Great Britain, France and the United States, but also saw service against the Soviet Union. It was named after Albert Leo Schlageter, a World War I veteran and Freikorps member arrested and executed by the French for sabotage in 1923.
The Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) was an Allied offensive of strategic bombing during World War II in Europe. The primary portion of the CBO was against Luftwaffe targets which was the highest priority from June 1943 to 1 April 1944. The subsequent highest priority campaigns were against V-weapon installations and petroleum, oil, and lubrication (POL) plants. Additional CBO targets included railyards and other transportation targets, particularly prior to the invasion of Normandy and, along with army equipment, in the final stages of the War in Europe.
During World War II, the city of Lübeck was the first German city to be attacked in substantial numbers by the Royal Air Force. The attack on the night of 28 March 1942 created a firestorm that caused severe damage to the historic centre, with bombs destroying three of the main churches and large parts of the built-up area. It led to the retaliatory "Baedeker" raids on historic British cities.
Adlertag was the first day of Unternehmen Adlerangriff, which was the codename of a military operation by Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe to destroy the British Royal Air Force (RAF). By June 1940, the Allies had been defeated in Western Europe and Scandinavia. Rather than come to terms with Germany, Britain rejected all overtures for a negotiated peace.
The Battle of the Ruhr of 1943 was a 5-month British campaign of strategic bombing during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany Ruhr Area, which had coke plants, steelworks, and 10 synthetic oil plants. The campaign bombed 26 major Combined Bomber Offensive targets. The targets included the Krupp armament works (Essen), the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant (Gelsenkirchen), and the Rheinmetal–Borsig plant in Düsseldorf. The latter was safely evacuated during the Battle of the Ruhr.Although not strictly part of the Ruhr area, the battle of the Ruhr included other cities such as Cologne which were within the Rhine-Ruhr region and considered part of the same "industrial complex". Some targets were not sites of heavy industrial production but part of the production and movement of materiel.
The Battle of the Heligoland Bight was the first "named" air battle of the Second World War, which began the longest air campaign of the war, the Defence of the Reich. On 3 September 1939, the United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany after the German invasion of Poland, which started the European War. The British did not assist Poland by land or sea, but over the ensuing weeks, RAF Bomber Command flew several missions against German targets. A number of these air raids were directed at Kriegsmarine warships in German ports to prevent their use in the Battle of the Atlantic. With the front lines static between September 1939 and May 1940, a period known as the "Phoney War" set in, with little fighting on land or in the air. However, at sea, German U-boat (submarine) forces were taking a considerable toll on Allied shipping. The Air Ministry decided to launch an attack on German surface ships to prevent them supporting the U-boats in the North Atlantic. On 18 December 1939, a force of three RAF bomber squadrons was sent to engage German ships in the Heligoland Bight and sink or damage as many as possible. Originally 24 Vickers Wellingtons took off. Two turned back owing to engine trouble before reaching German airspace. The German reaction was slow. Eventually they scrambled strong fighter aircraft forces to intercept. Just over 120 aircraft, 80–100 German and 22 British, were involved but only 44 German fighters made contact with the British bombers.
No. 144 Squadron RAF was a squadron of the British Royal Air Force. It was first formed in 1918 during the First World War, operating as a bomber squadron in the Middle East. It reformed in 1937, serving in the bomber and anti-shipping roles during the Second World War. A third incarnation saw the squadron serving as a strategic missile squadron during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Royal Air Force Sutton Bridge or more simply RAF Sutton Bridge is a former Royal Air Force station found next to the village of Sutton Bridge in the south-east of Lincolnshire. The airfield was to the south of the current A17, and east of the River Nene, next to Walpole in Norfolk.
1 2 Irving, David (1964). The Mare's Nest. London: William Kimber and Co. p.223. ISBN0-586-06368-4.NOTE: V-2 rocket air operations were conducted by various German Army units, but operational orders were issued by a Joint Services (OKW) command.
1 2 3 4 5 6 Galland, Adolf (1968 Ninth Printing – paperbound) . The First and the Last: The Rise and Fall of the German Fighter Forces, 1938–1945. (translated by Mervyn Savill). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN0-553-11709-2.Check date values in: |year= (help)
↑ Jablonski, Edward (1971). Volume 1 (Tragic Victories), Book II (The Big League). Airpower. p.71.
1 2 Forrester, Larry (1973) . Fly for Your Life: The Story of R. R. Stanford Tuck, D.S.O, D.F.C. and Two Bars. Sir Max Aitken (Foreword). Garden City, New York: Nelson Doubleday. ISBN0-553-11642-8.
↑ Till, Major Noel O (September 1945). Report on Investigations, WO 309/1592. No. 2 War Crimes Investigation Team. From the Till report of June 1945: "The Intelligence Officer with 83 Group RAF has admitted on two occasions; first to Lt H. F. Ansell of this Team (when it was confirmed by a Wing Commander present), and on a second occasion to the Investigating Officer when he was accompanied by Lt. H. F. Ansell, that a message was received on 2 May 1945 that these ships were loaded with KZ prisoners but that, although there was ample time to warn the pilots of the planes who attacked these ships on the following day, by some oversight the message was never passed on... From the facts and from the statement volunteered by the RAF Intelligence Officer, it appears that the primary responsibility for this great loss of life must fall on the British RAF personnel who failed to pass to the pilots the message they received concerning the presence of KZ prisoners on board these ships." See: Jacobs and Pool, 2004 and Till, 1945