100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

First Bombing Reconnaissance Mission In Balkans

In the development of early Flight, the world’s military was reluctant to commit to any one plane design fearing they would have an air fleet that would become obsolete with any new technological advance. They preferred to send military advisers to observe early aviators. This brought about the Air Show where airplane designers could show off their new planes while an excited and interested public would pay to see this new thrilling invention. The first Air Show was in Reims, France in 1909 and the first US Air Show was in Dominguez Hill near Los Angeles, California in 1910.

In January 1911 a ordinance officer with the Coastal Artillery Lt. Myron Crissy attended the Tanforan Airshow near San Francisco, California. He had designed and built an “aerial bomb” and was looking for a pilot to help him demonstrate it. Wright Brothers pilot Philip Parmalee took him aloft and the first bomb was dropped from an airplane.

In October 1911 war broke out between Italy and the Ottoman Empire when Italy claim territory in Norther Africa. The first wartime use of a plane took place in Libya that month when Captain Carlo Piazza made the first reconnaissance flight in the history of war near Benghazi.


In November 1911 the first use of an air-dropped bomb was carried out by Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti in northern Africa when he threw grenades from his Etrich Taube monoplane. He foray was spur of the moment and injured no one.

War in the Balkans broke out in October 1912. Bulgarian Air Force pilot Christo Toprakchiev suggested the use of bombs on Ottoman positions. Captain Simeon Petrov developed the idea and created several prototypes by adapting different types of grenades and increasing their payload

On October 16, 1912 during hostilities in the Balkan War, Bulgarian pilot Radul Minkov and his observer, Prodan Toprakchiev, performed the first reconnaissance and bombing from an airplane. They threw bombs from their Albatros F-2 biplane on the railway station of Karaagac near Edirne against Ottoman forces.

Bulgarian airmen prepare for a mission to drop a bomb by hand on Edirne from their Bleriot XI aircraft during the 1912 Balkan War


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