Defense of French Airmen
Who it is Said Have not Done Conspicuous Service.
The Reverse is True for the Most Valuable Aid Has Been Rendered.
The Real Mission of the Aeroplane, However,
is That of Auxiliary to the Artillery.
Knoxville Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: November 10, 1914.
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 3-18-07
Paris, Nov. 9. - Published reports that French aeroplanes are never seen above the French lines, while many hostile machines reconnoiter over the heads of the French soldiers has brought forth a defense of the French aviation service.

This report sets forth that French aviators operate not only on the German lines but considerably to their rear. Aviators exploits have been numerous and brilliant. Notebooks found on the dead Germans, the statement sets forth, prove that the French aviation service is performing its duty. One French bomb killed thirty men and fifty horses at a time when a detachment of cavalry was assembled. Many other instances of efficient deeds are given.

In conclusion the statement says this new arm has fulfilled promises made of it, but it will never replace any weapon now in use.

Air battles between important contingents of flying machines have been lacking. In a few cases two aeroplanes have battled and two instances have been reported in which three machines were engaged, but these combats were mere incidents to the real mission of the aeroplane as it has developed in active service - that of auxiliary to other arms of the service, more particularly the artillery.

This service, to the civilian, is obscure enough. It is rendered more so by the rigid censorship. The inquiry frequently is heard "where are the great airmen? Nothing has been heard from Paulham, the hero of the English tour from London to Manches, Gilbert, Brindejone des Moulinais, Garros Vedrines. They have been active, it seems, however, and bit by bit, news is gathered of their service.

Extracts from the diaries of German prisoners testify to the efficiency of the French machines. From the diary of a non-commissioned German officer, "At Correbert several men of my detachment wounded by bomb thrown by French aviator."

From the diary of a German aviator: "The seventh company of the Third regiment of the guard had eight killed and twenty-two wounded by bomb from a French aeroplane."

From a soldier's diary: "An officer showed us torn coat taken from one of the sixty soldiers wounded by bomb from French aeroplane."

From diary of an officer: "A bomb from a French airship wounded several men of the Seventy-Third infantry in region of Reims."

Information from a German prisoner: "A French aeroplane killed four horses of a battery with a bomb."

Information from a prisoner: "Near Neuville an aeroplane bomb dropped on a supply train killed four men, wounded six and killed a considerable number of horses."

It was announced semi-officially recently that as the result of maneuvers of an aeroplane the staff of one of the German armies changed its position."

In recent citations in orders of the day the following aviators are found mentioned.

"Radot, lieutenant, aviator, observer, distinguished himself by the number, precision and details of information - killed by enemy in battle of the Marne.

"Watteau, lieutenant, aeroplane scout; made many fruitful reconnaissances in rare and frequently exposed to enemy's fire.

Cohen, sergeant, aviator; killed while reconnoitering during battle of the Marne; had furnished precious information.

"Thoret, sergeant, aviator, and Thoret, sapper, and aviator; distinguished service; dropped bomb on enemy's lines daily; Thoret wounded by bullet in thigh refused to interrupt his service to have wound dressed.

Munch and de Zesec; did not hesitate to take the air, in mission doubly perilous; obliged by low and constantly exposed to fire enemy at short range.

"Lackman, Parent, Rougier, Gilbert, and Allouch; braved tempest and fog in order to secure precious information."

The perilous nature of the work of the flying corps is demonstrated by dispatch of October 2. In a single day four Germans flying machines were brought to ground by French and English marksmen. Two machines of the Taube type, pursued by French aeroplanes over Rheims were obliged to turn about after receiving injury that caused their untimate fall within the German lines. Near Montdidier a machine of the Aviank type and a Taube, flying at a height of 1,200 yards, were brought down by the French fire. A Taube flying over Gravelines, near Dunkirk, dropped several bombs, then was hit by the artillery and fell.

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