Wings of War: An Account of the Important Contribution of the United States to Aircraft Invention, Engineering, Development and Production during the World War

By Theodore Macfarlane Knappen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
MILITARY BALLOONS

IT is an interesting fact that the development of the airplane to its present degree of effectiveness has not held back the utilization of the stationary balloon in warfare. Concentration of attention on the airplane undoubtedly resulted in the Allies giving less attention to mobile balloons or dirigibles than they would otherwise, and previous to the use of helium gas because of its non- inflammability, as well as for other reasons, the general policy of the Allies in this respect was most wise. On the whole, the German Zeppelins were not a military success, though more because of their inflammability than for any other cause. They were of great aid to the German fleet in the North Sea, as scouts; and with the use of helium and other improvements will loom large in the future of aeronautics.

Early in the war it was found that for observation purposes anchored or kite balloons had cer

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