Museum aan de IJzer

    When Death Came from Above

    When the First World War broke out, aviation was still in its infancy. But the war stimulated its development.

    At the beginning of the war, aircraft were mainly used for reconnaissance flights, but it was not long before the planes were fitted with all kinds of weaponry. Later, they were converted into real fighter planes, and man-to-man fights evolved into large-scale confrontations between groups of aircraft.

    The modernisation of aviation also meant the beginning of aerial bombardments. This was very primitive to begin with. Often pilots would simply throw grenades or steel arrows down onto the enemy troops. Partly thanks to further technical developments, these aircraft became real bombers that turned out to be capable of achieving other strategic goals as well.

    Besides aeroplanes, observation balloons were also sent up into the air to get a clearer picture of certain areas and to chart the position of enemy troops. Precisely because of the their strategic importance in gathering information, these observation balloons were often the target of fighter pilots. For pilots, however, attacking these balloons was a dangerous undertaking because they were defended from the ground by anti-aircraft artillery.

    In the exhibition ‘When Death Came from Above’, we show aerial warfare with many different exhibits.