Monday, August 19, 2013

New week .. new chapter

Hope everyone's weekend went well.....  I spent the majority of my time finishing work on Chapter 4... which covers the period known as "RACE TO THE SEA"; the battle of 1st Ypres; & the Winter of 1914/1915 including the reorganization of the flying troops into a semi-autonomous unit commanded by THOMSEN. 

The horrible weather and late arrival of most of the aircraft and FFAs to Flanders severely handicapped the German Army's attack at Ypres throughout October and November.  If the Army had the services of all the FFAs that were present in mid November were present at the start of the battle perhaps the movement of Franco-British troops and placement of new batteries could have been reported and attacks altered accordingly.

The most important issue in the chapter is the reorganization and the subsequent changes made by Thomsen and his top aide Major Siegert.  It was during this reorganization that the first artillery flying units were created as well as the first bombing unit code named Carrier Pigeon Ostend.  Aviation Staff officers were placed at the army HQ to ensure the FFAs were being employed to their full capabilities.  A logistical system was created to ensure the process of sending newly built aircraft to the front as quickly as possible.  Orders for more modern and specialized aircraft for artillery or bombing work was placed and the new "C Types" were subsequently at the front by spring 1915.  The reorganization saved the air force from near extinction in December of 1914 and had all the flying troops working with better aircraft and carrying out missions that were better utilized by the new staff officers at the various army HQ.  Simply put the reorganization had the airforces prepared for the Franco-british offensives starting in late spring of 1915. 

The chapter covering all of this was finished over the weeekend and I am now working on CHAPTER 5: "1915" ....  The chapter will simply cover all air operations carried out throughout the year. Including the allied offensives at Neuve Chapelle which was prepared by photos made by airmen of the Royal Flying Corps.  The first German fighters and the subsequent "Fokker Scourge" are covered in detail.  The new artillery fliers system of communication with friendly batteries and the implementation of German reconaissance aircraft using cameras to prepare for attacks are also detailed throughout the chapter.  The new aircraft types and deployment/organization of the FFAs are shown with great detail.

The book is coming along great.. any questions or if anyone would like to see a chapter please message me and Id be happy to email a manuscript to a chapter that is already completed (except for the numerous photos and captions which will be added). 

hope everyone has a great week.


-Matt Bowden-

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2nd... Chapter 3 progress

Happy Friday to all... It is AUGUST 2nd....

99 years ago today, German troops seized the crucial railway hubs in Luxembourg in preparation for the Marne Campaign.  Once seized, the "period of concentration" began.  The mobilization timetable was being followed perfectly to the letter regarding the movement of troops, guns, animals, and supplies across Germany’s rail lines to the area of concentration. As Evelyn Princess BlΓΌcher stated “Germans take to war as a duck takes to water”.[i]  The deployment of all the forces were done according to Moltke’s “Revised Deployment Plan”.[ii]  In 312 hours 11,000 trains transported 119,754 officers, 2.1 million men, and 600,000 horses to the various marshaling areas in preparation for the “Attack March” orders.  1.6 million men were transported to the Western Front at a rate of 560 trains, each carrying 54 cars per day between August 2-8.[iii]  As this was happening, all German aviation units were likewise receiving their deployment orders and were traveling to their respective staging areas on Germany’s western border.  Most FFAs spent the period of concentration giving last minute training to pilots, observers and the mechanics.  The aircraft were made ready for the coming campaign.  Engines, flight surfaces and controls were all checked and made ready.  Pilots and observers oriented themselves with both the area in which they would be operating and the officers in which they would be reporting to.  Several FFAs, primarily belonging to IV V and VI Armies, flew over enemy lines and monitored troop movement and rail traffic.


Regarding the book, I am completing Chapter 3 "Battle of Frontiers August 1914".  The Chapter covers German aviation activity at Liege, Alsace, the Battles of Morhange and Sarrebourg in Lorraine, the various battles of German IV and V Armies in the Ardennes, II and III Armies at Namur/Charleroi/Dinant, Kluck's I army at Mons and Le Cateau and finally the French counter attack at Guise/St.Quentin.

Chapter 4 will cover the Allied "Great Retreat" & the Battle of the Marne. 
Chapter 5 will cover the "Race to the Sea" and the rest of 1914


The Book is going to be the first of its kind... a operational history of all Central Powers air services throughout the entire war split into fronts. ie Part 1:Western Front 1914-1918 2: Eastern Front 1914-1917 3: Italian Front 1915-1918 4:Balkans 1914-1918 5:Ottoman Turk Front 1915-1918

 After the operational histories there will be short 2-5 page histories on aircraft, aviation personalities (commanding officers/aces/pilots/observers), squadrons full of color profiles of the aircraft of the squadrons,aces,etc as well as photos and detailed information on victory claims, aerodromes, etc.

Using previously unpublished information and photos from the "history of aviation" special collections department at UT-Dallas the book will contain unique information and images never before used, making the book a must have for any world war one aviation enthusiast.

 My Chapter 1: "Birth and Development of Aviation in the Central Powers"
       Chapter 2: "Training and Mobilization of Central Powers Air Services"

 are both completed... if anyone would like a look contact me and I'd be happy to share.

-Matt Bowden- 

[i] Holger Herwig "The Marne 1914" Random House (2011) p.49.
[ii] Herwig p.50
[iii] Herwig p.48