The Gotha Bomber
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Gotha Bombers in action over London
|Once the German military had occupied Belgium
in World War One it had been an objective of theirs to bomb London, launching
raids from Belgian military airfields.
The initial bombing raids were carried out using Zeppelin airships, but although these created great alarm in the U.K. the Zeppelins were highly vulnerable to attack. It became a matter of priority to develop aircraft that would replace the Zeppelins in carrying out bombing raids on London. The Gotha Bomber was developed for this purpose. It was intended to be ready for service by the end of 1916, but the first bombing raid by 14 Gothas did not take place until 13 June 1917. This, and a raid on 7 July 1917 by 22 Gotha bombers, was a daylight bombing raid.
Bombing tactics then switched to night-time bombing of London, together with isolated bombing raids on other parts of the U.K.
The Gotha Bombers created great alarm amongst the civilian population. However, it is a fact that more of the bombers were lost when landing than were brought down by anti-aircraft fire, and problem with their airworthiness rather put a brake on further development.
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