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  • Old Sweats
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Posted 23 July 2003 - 01:20 pm

When were the observation balloons first used during ww1.
Are they a British invention, and were any special units of soldiers used to go up in them.

Kilty. wink.gif

#2 Chris_Baker



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Posted 23 July 2003 - 01:36 pm

First use right from the start. The French first made an observation from balloon at Epinal on 28 August 1914.

British War Office approved first balloon in 1878.

Royal Flying Corps had specialist kite-balloon section.

Sorry for the brevity. I am sure others will add much more.

From excellent book "The Balloonatics", by Alan Morris. Published by Jarrolds in 1970.

#3 Neil Burns

Neil Burns


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Posted 23 July 2003 - 01:44 pm

If I remember correctly Balloons were used by the Union in the American Civil War which was the first military use ( I think? wink.gif ) They were also used during the Prussian seige of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war.
I believe there was an exisiting precedent of using balloons for military purposes by 1914.
Hope that helps,

#4 Greenwoodman



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Posted 23 July 2003 - 02:38 pm

They were certainly used in the Boer War. No 1 Balloon Section RE disembarked at Cape town 22 Nov 1899, and ceased ballooning 4 Aug 1900. Good article in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 1990/1991.




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Posted 23 July 2003 - 02:50 pm

And you were issued with a parachute, so it must have been appallingly dangerous ..... fixed-wing fliers had no such option.

#6 Bayne



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Posted 23 July 2003 - 04:18 pm

dry.gif On the 11 may 1915 the first Kite Ballon Section, with material and personnel provided by the Admirality, proceeded to Steenvoorde for work with the Second Army. It made its first ascent at Poperinghe on the 20th. { Offical History 1915 i p 331}