Local

April 19, 2013

Military Intelligence – this week in history

A World War I aerial photographer sights his camera from the rear cockpit of an Army airplane.

First American reconnaissance flight over enemy territory in World War I

April 15, 1918

The Army had experimented with balloons during the American Civil War and kites during the Spanish-American War, trying to gain a bird’s eye view of the battlefield. During the 1916 Punitive Expedition, the First Aero Squadron commanded by Capt. Benjamin Foulois proved valuable in its ability to scout terrain and enemy positions, but the fledgling air corps experienced a multitude of problems with maintenance, supply, technology and pilot inexperience. They entered World War I a year later, nearly three years behind the other combatants in battlefield experience. However, developments in the airplane, combined with advances in camera technology, would come together in the Great War and Army intelligence would never be the same.

When the United States entered the war in April 1917, the Army had only 15 airplanes and 131 pilots and observers. The planes were far from combat-ready, requiring the American Congress to purchase British and French aircraft initially to fill the gap. The first American reconnaissance flight over enemy territory was made a year later on April 15, 1918, with Maj. Ralph Royce of the First Aero Squadron, at the controls. Shortly thereafter, cameras of all shapes and sizes were being carried along on surveillance missions. Aerial photographs showed enemy battery positions, machine gun emplacements, and troop dug-outs. They quickly approached a real time intelligence value, as the time between a photograph being taken and when it was developed, printed, and interpreted, was as little as 20 minutes. For the next six months, the pilots, observers, and cameramen of the U.S. Army Air Service risked their lives on a daily basis to gather critical information for the Allies.

Courier, Corporal Roland McFall, Signal Corps, receives plates from Observer, 1st Lieut. James B Harvey, Field Artillery. At the end of the photo mission, the motorcyclist waits to retrieve the glass photographic plates for speedy processing.Le Valdahon, France (25 January 1919).

The Germans created fighter planes with the express purpose of shooting down these reconnaissance planes. First Aero Squadron pilots had to maneuver to evade enemy ground fire as they had to fly low enough to take usable pictures while at the same time fixing jammed cameras, changing film, etc. The cameras were problematic as well, some of which weighed as much as 75 pounds, had to be handheld and manually operated. Creative observers improvised cockpit mounts or cut holes in the floor of the aircraft to attach the cameras, stabilizing and cushioning them with truck tires and bicycle frames. They did whatever was necessary, because the photographs were instantly in high demand. The Army reported that between July 1 and Nov. 11, 1918, 1.3 million aerial photos were taken and used for intelligence purposes.

To learn more about the history of Army Airborne Intelligence, visit the Army Intelligence Aviation Memorial Park at the corner of Irwin and Hatfield Streets on Fort Huachuca. Or take the virtual tour online at https://www.ikn.army.mil/apps/MI_HISTORY_TOUR/




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Tanja Linton

Intelligence Senior Leader Conference maps out ‘way ahead’

Tanja Linton U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley opened the Intelligence Senior Leaders Conference at the Intelligence System Integration Laboratory Dec. 10. Senior intelligence leaders...
 
 

HOLIDAY SAFETY MESSAGE

The end of the year is a great time to take a moment to reflect on our many accomplishments at Fort Huachuca and as an Army. I want to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication as we continue to build on our accomplishments and enhance America’s fighting force. Many of us will be...
 
 

What makes chaplain assistants unique

SAN ANTONIO — As the U.S. Army Installation Management Command chaplain assistant sergeant major, I am proud of all the chaplain assistants supporting our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. We are celebrating 105 years since the Army officially introduced this unique Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS. The Army officially created the position of chaplain assistant On...
 

 
Sgt. Jarred Woods, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater)

Looking for career progression? Join Civilian Expeditionary Workforce

Sgt. Jarred Woods, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Department of the Army Civilians inspect a base expeditionary targeting surveillance systems-combined tower before transferring it over to the Afghan National Army near Kabul...
 
 

Colonel Smith MS Panthers end perfect basketball season

It was an exciting, perfect season for the Smith Panthers, a boy’s basketball team at Colonel Smith Middle School. The 14-member team started the season winning 3-0 at the three season tournament. During the regular season the team kept winning, ending their games 9-0. They also won during the CAC Championship. “[That’s] 14-0 wins total,”...
 
 

Fort community donates items in big way

From left, Warren “Russ” Barnes, logistics officer, shows Deborah Bohn, budget analyst, and Sheri York, RAYTHEON site lead, how to ride one of 55 bikes the 2nd-13th Aviation Regiment collected for the Fort Huachuca toy drive this year. This week, chapel personnel distributed toys and clothing collected from many units and organizations on Fort Huachuca...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin