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Could Allied planes have flown at night at Gallipoli?


4 replies to this topic

#1 oak

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:35 AM

Pals,

"Gallipoli: The Ottoman Campaign" by Edward J. Erickson contains the following. "The night of 24/25 April [1915] was quite and moonlit. In spite of the light breeze and waves, the Turkish sentries could hear ships and, occasionally, an enemy aircraft."

While I do not be any means have an expertise in the topic, I find it difficult to believe that Allied planes could fly at night in the first half of 1915: particularly the British planes that were sent to Gallipoli. (I don't have any knowledge of French aircraft at Gallipoli: if there were any.) I would be very grateful for comments from Pals who have knowledge on this topic, please.

Kind regards,
Philip

#2 centurion

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:40 AM

But why? There would be no military value in night flying. Even on a moonlit night the ground would be difficult to see properly. British and French (of which there were some at Gallipoli) aircraft of the time could and did fly at night when there was any value in doing so but what would be the purpose over Gallipoli?

#3 horatio2

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:24 AM

The RNAS did fly at night on bombing raids. Wg Cdr Samson, who was the pioneer of night bombing in late 1914 in France, flew night bombing sorties from Tenedos over Turkish positions. On 21 June 1915 Samson launched at 0130 on a bombing mission to Constantinople which would have taken them over the city in early morning darkness. However, the mission was aborted and the crew contented themselves with bombing "every camp-fire we could see".
Samson - "Fights and Flights" Part III, Chapter III - Bombing over the Peninsula.

#4 michaeldr

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

Philip,

see 'The War in the Air,' Vol.II, by H A Jones,
p.44 “The first aeroplanes were over the coast at dawn, with orders to spot for the ships covering the landings on any Turkish batteries that were firing.”

regarding the moon & the weather, earlier on p.38 there is
“A wet moon cast its subdued light on the assembled ships, and a keen wind was ruffling the sea. Any break in the weather must mean postponement. The weather, however, withdrew its threat and the sea gradually died to perfect calm. The moon, freed of its halo, flooded the Aegean night, passed over the ships and set behind those off Gaba Tepe, outlining them in sharp silhouette. At three the moon had dipped...”

regards
Michael

#5 oak

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:51 PM

Thank you centurion, horatio2 and michaeldr,

You have certainly cleared up the issue for me.

Kind regards,
Philip