First Air War Over Africa by Jon Guttman

6 years ago


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Presentation at the January 31st, 2015, Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the League of WWI Aviation Historians.

Of Germany’s prewar colonial empire, only the Chinese concession port of Tsingtao was more remote and cut-off by hostile powers than Germany’s holdings in Africa. Yet at the start of the war the Germans had aircraft in Kamerun, East Africa and Southwest Africa, the latter having two planes and three pilots, two of whom were civilians—and in the latter two cases, at least, they tried to make the most of them. What followed was a series of unlikely adventures over diverse terrain, from bombing raids in the desolate Namib Desert, the first of the South African Air Corps, an aerial safari hunting the German light cruiser Königsberg in its riverine jungle hideout, a Belgian campaign to control Lake Tanganyika aided by borrowed British floatplanes and a remarkable attempt to resupply the guerrilla army in German East Africa by Zeppelin.

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