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.