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Today in History




 
Shortly after sunrise, if the wind and weather were favorable, observation balloons began slowly rising into the sky on both sides of the trenches. Tethered within the safety of their own lines, these kite balloons were protected by anti-aircraft artillery and machine guns. The men in the baskets hanging beneath the captive balloons provided important intelligence by telephone or radio to the forces on the ground.

"Balloon-busting became an art form for them. There were men who specialized in it, who developed their own tricks and who had their established methods: to swoop down unexpectedly from a single scrap of cloud, or to put the sun at their backs, et cetera." Bodenschatz, Karl. Hunting with Richthofen. London: Grub Street, 1998.
 
  Name Balloons
Destroyed
Total
Victories
1 Coppens de Houthulst, Willy Omer François Jean 35 37
2 Bourjade, Léon Jean Pierre 27 28
3 Coiffard, Michel Joseph Callixte Marie 24 34
4 Boyau, Maurice Jean Paul 21 35
5 Roeth (Röth), Friedrich Ritter von 20 28
6 Ehrlich, Jacques Louis 18 19
7 Gontermann, Heinrich 18 39
8 Beauchamp-Proctor, Andrew Frederick Weatherby 16 54
9 Luke, Frank 14 18
10 Schlegel, Karl 14 22
11 Hennrich, Oskar 13 20
12 Haegelen, Claude Marcel 12 23
13 Ambrogi, Marius Jean Paul Elzeard 11 14
14 Friedrichs, Friedrich 11 21
15 Woollett, Henry Winslow 11 35
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Next Last
 
Books
Guttman, Jon. Balloon-Busting Aces of World War 1. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2005
 
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