STRATEGIC BOMBERS OF WORLD WAR I:  Europe. 1914-1918. World War I in the air saw the early introduction of strategic bombing against enemy rear area military targets, industries, and population centers.  The experiences of the air war shaped the doctrines of air power between the wars and at the same time established the perceptions of vulnerability to air attack that resulted in the development of modern civil defense.  The capabilities of the aircraft that set that stage, while powerful in comparison to experience of the day, seem very limited in comparison to the expectations they generated.

General Notes To All Tables:  Dates for these aircraft reflect their service as bombers in squadron service in all variants (not necessarily the variant for which data is provided), although they may have continued in service past these dates in other roles (for example, as transports, maritime patrol, etc.).  Dates may reflect service in other air forces beyond squadron service in the manufacturing nation's air force.  Speed unless otherwise listed is cruise speed.  Ceiling unless otherwise listed is service ceiling.  Range data is subject to great variation based on load, altitude, and speed and should be taken only as an approximate measure of maximum flight distance, not as an operational radius within which aircraft could execute attacks.

Table 62-1.  France

MODEL DATE RANGE SPEED CEILING BOMB LOAD CREW DEFENSIVE
Caudron C.23BN.2 1918-1920 5 hours 90 miles per hour maximum 14,765 feet 1,323 pounds 1 1 - 0.303 machine gun

Table 62-2.  Germany

MODEL DATE RANGE SPEED CEILING BOMB LOAD CREW DEFENSIVE
Freidrichshafen G III 1917-1918 5 hours 84 miles per hour maximum 14,765 feet 3,307 pounds 3 3 - 0.31 machine guns
Gotha G.V 1917-1918 311 miles 87 miles per hour maximum 21,325 feet 1,102 pounds 3 2 - 0.31 machine guns
Zepplin-Staaken R. VI 1917-1918 10 hours 84 miles per hour maximum 14,175 feet 4,409 pounds 7 4 - 0.31 machine guns

Table 62-3.  Italy

MODEL DATE RANGE SPEED CEILING BOMB LOAD CREW DEFENSIVE
Caproni Ca 3 1915-1930 280 miles 87 miles per hour maximum 15,750 feet 992 pounds 4 4 - 0.256 machine guns
Caproni Ca 4 1917 7 hours 87 miles per hour maximum 9,845 feet 3,913 pounds 5 4 - 0.256 machine guns

Table 62-4.  United Kingdom

MODEL DATE RANGE SPEED CEILING BOMB LOAD CREW DEFENSIVE
De Havilland DH-4 1917 300 miles 119 miles per hour 16,000 feet 460 pounds 2 3 - 0.303 machine guns
De Havilland DH-9 1917-1936 4.5 hours 110 miles per hour maximum 13,000 feet 460 pounds 2 2 - 0.303 machine guns
De Havilland DH-9A 1918 5.25 hours 123 miles per hour maximum 17,000 feet 660 pounds 2 3 - 0.303 machine guns
Handley Page 0/100 1917-1919            
Handley Page 0/400 1918-1919 8 hours 97 miles per hour maximum 8,500 feet 2000 pounds 5 5 - 0.303 machine guns
Handley Page V/1500 1918-1919 1300 miles 80 miles per hour 11,000 feet 7500 pounds 7 8 - 0.303 machine guns

Source: Boyne, Walter J., Colonel, The Influence of Air Power upon History, New York, New York, United States of America, Pelican Publishing Company, 2003.   Owers, Colin, De Havilland Aircraft of World War I, Volume 2: D.H.5 - D.H.15, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America, Flying Machines Press, 2001.  Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng, The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York, New York, United States of America, Barnes and Noble Books, 2002.

Entry 0362 - updated 3 August 2003