Author: Jonathan Sutherland
Battle of Britain 1917: The First Heavy Bomber Raids on England
Pen and Sword Military
Size: 4 Mb
In the autumn of 1916 the Germans began to equip with the Gotha twin-engined bomber. Of a pusher layout, these aircraft could fly at 15,000 feet, well above any contemporary fighter's maximum height. With a range of 800 km (500 miles) and a bomb load of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), the Gothas were designed to carry out attacks across the channel against Britain. A group of four squadrons was established in Belgium, and they carried out their first bombing raid towards the end of May 1917. This 22 aircraft sortie, against the town of Folkestone, caused 95 deaths. In mid June a force of 18 Gothas attacked London in broad daylight. Over 90 British fighters met them, but not one Gotha was brought down. This bombing raid caused 162 deaths.