THE NAME SPERRY is inseparably linked with the word gyroscope. Above, Elmer A.

Sperry in-
ventor in the field of stabilization and radio control, holds a model. At left is his son, Lawrence,
who worked with his father as an engineer and test pilot for the flying bomb in WW I.

Developing the Flying Bomb
One of the antecedents of the guided missile, generally considered a WW II development, was the flying bomb of WW I.
In 1936, over a decade after the WW I efforts lapsed, LCdr. D. S. Fahrney (now Rear Admiral, USN, Ret.) was assigned
the task of developing radio-controlled target aircraft. Out of this effort emerged the assault drone of WW II, a fore-
runner of the modern missile. In developing radio-controlled target aircraft, Fahrney first reviewed at the Naval Re-
search Laboratory the radio aspects of the flying bomb of WW I days and the early 1920’s. Thus, the work done in
WW I, as well as the experience acquired by NRL and the Sperry Gyroscope Co., contributed to the development of
guided missiles. This article is based on RAdm. Fahrney’s ‘History of Radio-Controlled Aircraft and Guided Missiles.’

By Lee Pearson, Historian
T H E D E V E L O P M E N T of guided mis-
sils was one of the more obscure
and interesting areas of endeavor dur-
Naval Air Systems Command

Sperry was, in many ways, the epi-
boat, piloted by Lt. P. N. L. Bellinger,
which was used to test and evaluate
the gyroscopic stabilizer or autopilot.
ing World War I. Marconi’s first suc- tome of the Yankee inventor—with a Elmer Sperry’s son, Lawrence, served
cessful wireless transmission in 1896 college education added. His varied as engineer during these trials.
and the invention of the airplane less and widespread interests included The next year, using an improved
than a decade later opened the tech- mining machinery, automotive and autopilot, Lawrence won a French
nological field of electronics and avia- street railways and electro-chemistry. prize of 15,000 gold francs. The in-
tion. Of the many areas of utilization By 1896, he had added to these an in- strument, though placed in production,
in which these two fields have merged, terest in gyroscopes which, during the proved to be too crude for operational
none is more obvious nor more com- next 15 years, he adapted to naval use use. On a second trip to Europe, Law-
plex than that of the guided missile. —gyro-compasses for battleships and rence, observing the developing tech-
Before WW I, the possibility of gyro-stabilizers for destroyers. In 1911, niques of aerial warfare, became con-
using radio to control aircraft in- the application of radio control to air- vinced that the gyroscope had many
trigued many an able man. One of craft intrigued him. applications in military aircraft. Act-
these, Elmer Sperry, succeeded in He realized at once that for radio ing upon this recommendation, the
arousing the Navy’s interest. Although control to be effective, automatic Navy Department awarded contracts
his efforts were visionary, they also had stabilization would be essential, so he for the development
L of such diverse
a serendipitous effect and made con- again turned to the gyroscope as a devices as a bombsight, a stable refer-
tributions to such fields as automatic promising device. Two years later, in ence line (called a “base line indica-
pilots, gyro-stabilized bombsights, the summer of 1913, the Navy pro- tor,” but the forerunner of the turn
flight instruments and catapults. vided assistance in the form of a flying and bank indicator) and a gyro-com-


fly a pre-set course. Navy’s aerial torpedo. floating docks. Hewitt and dred shots before the Armistice was Most important was nullification of Sperry arranged for a representative of signed November 11. In the summer of 1916. to adjust the trajectory. the Sperrys went to work. staff. an aneroid barometer to In the interim. in 1922. Rear Admiral Aeronautics and Aeronautical Motors. 60 and 90 miles from the vapor lamp. pilotless aircraft. veloped by the Army Air Services en- laden. the Sperrys con- some degree of success with their gyro. they temporarily be of two classes. Bureau of Engineering. Sperry later recalled. Once a course of action had been drop a bag of sand on command from ural inventive genius of Americans determined.000 on this project. to examine their aerial torpedo. Thus by combining the ability of sets of Sperry automatic control gear. Sperry proceeded upon bases of Wilhelmshaven. By mid-November. the Sperrys applied radio con. water torpedoes and could carry one- installed in an airplane which could sary apparatus. One T. five N-9 seaplanes and purchase six aside from the development of radio. fur. trol of rudders and ailerons. control gear. under in the death of Lt. these vessels and their home bases. the plane to the designated target and ery and facilities for utilizing the nat. The Navy would furnish To return to the 1917 flying bomb. submitted his ideas on the its chairmanship. erecting hang- ars. Thus encouraged. would fly tablished in 1915 to provide “machin. 1918. he and so on. were established there with a Marine Ralph Earle. to meet the new conditions of war. Chief of Naval Operations laid down out experimental work with aerial jectory of the falling bomb and send this policy: While the flying bomb torpedoes in the form of automatically out corrections via radio. “It was settled structed “messenger” planes to A. of his suggestions was that vessels car- rying flying bombs could take station off shore from the German submarine gyroscope. The flying bombs. obtaining aircraft and con- structing the control gears took time. These craft “hit” known as the inventor of the mercury when Elmer and Lawrence Sperry met targets at 30. de- traveling a pre-set distance. Hewitt. best ways to win the war quickly. the submarine menace by destroying the Navy’s Bureau of Ordnance. Board. Secretary Josephus Daniels had es. or “black umbrella. the Sperrys had not ing explosives. in the [Senate} that the torpedo should Verville’s design for the Army and At this time.” was trols and parachute to the ground. or aerial tance of four miles. gun factories bombs or dive to the ground. Sperry’s initial work dealt with testing Hewitt in radio with that of the Sperry would construct hangars. both members of the Committee on was obtained. in the bomb set a mechanism in motion complete readiness for production. the distance gear. and. With this recommenda. development of radio and Helgoland. was in sight. However. (This suggestion contained son reported that the aerial torpedo purchased rights to other radio in. seven large 30-mile test flights were being made fare. Long Island. V. rigged for wireless control. because of (To look ahead.) and radio devices and contributed to officials. no 71 . trol to a conventional bomb by which mid-air before they could set the con- velopment of an aerial torpedo. A receiver was to be developed to the point of controlled machines capable of carry. This torpedo consisted of a gyroscopic stabilizer. Secretary Daniels approved Test flights in which the pilot took Hewitt and Elmer Sperry were both spending $200. As they got underway. were tried out in well over a hun. about two miles. mechanism was controlled from a dis- tempting to develop aeronautical uses velopment of a flying bomb. would then be launched. Thus the ommendation and the early tests.” Sperry belonged to four com. it was reported. and Lt. By 1916. and perfecting mechanisms for main- Sperrys in gyroscopes. the government included de. drop its the “wireless end of the aerial torpedo” stroyers. Joseph P. Wilkinson. In tests. stabilizers. In a parachute. S. planes were turned over to them and regularly with an error in range of mittees.. a B-24 drone attacked the WW sufficient to hit a ship. Wilkin. in its war preparations. pass. tion. Elmer (Later. for gyroscopes but also had achieved torpedo. be completely automatic and the other gear and a radio control system de- velop an aerial torpedo or explosive. A number of hangars During this phase. The fact that Western and-a-half times their explosive load. worked on other electrical with the Secretary and other Navy point of takeoff. Willford J. of Construction and Repair and the This gear. He employed a radio which were little more expensive than vice for distance gearing. after Sperry to believe that the solution to destroying docks. be catapulted or flown from the water Electric was working on audion am. Cuxhaven regulate height.” one of which would fitted some of them with aerial torpedo joined Peter Cooper Hewitt to de. Chief of the Bureau of Elmer Sperry eventually succeeding to guard for security. They were a flying field at Copiague. 1944.000 to carry aircraft crew could observe the tra. servo-motors for con. Lt. Sperry began urg. submarines. the Navy-furnished N-9 off and then members of various committees of half to be administered by the Bureau turned control over to the automatic the Naval Consulting Board which of Ordnance and half by the Bureau gear commenced in mid-September. Kennedy. Earle and would mount to a predetermined plifiers and other radio devices led described these bombs as capable of altitude. but. a directive 0 BTAINING a field. Hewitt to three. RAdm. and a de. the SecNav apportion $50. These were engineer to design some of the neces. best The details were settled by May 17 gineering division. these radio control II submarine installations at Helgoland its range of 50 to 100 miles. the development of the vacuum tube. Willy when war upon Germany.) this he was supported by the Naval attached to the bomb and marked Despite the Chief of BUO RD’S rec- Consulting Board which requested that with a big aluminum arrow. early success nish testing grounds and secure a taining course and measuring distance. it might systems were not tried out in the after an earlier attempt had resulted be of interest to the Army. this only had five years of experience in at. Aerial torpedoes Ordnance. Immediately after the declaration of the auspices of the Naval Consulting Jr. was anticipated. an element of prophecy: In September did not possess a degree of accuracy ventions. the second phase. their explosive-laden plane exploded in ing the Navy to embark on the de.

These failures led to the abandon- ment of the wire-launching apparatus in favor of a more conventional cata- pult consisting of a 150-foot track. In the inadequacies of the airframe. they launched it by sliding it down a wire cable. airplane motor and attached to it a with scheduled aircraft production. With this rig. Sperry walked away unhurt. Squier caused a somewhat parallel proj. Since these problems were in. cept—Wilkinson examined their aerial capability of carrying an explosive load Clearly something more was re. little bank of slushy snow. torpedo in September 1916—was that the device would be launched by cata- pult or from the surface of the water. Squier. parture and required additional testing. difficulties with the launch. the flight characteristics of the air- 500 pounds. be as light as possible and the plane With true Yankee ingenuity. damaged its propeller and then the plane turned over on its nose. when the Sperrys made the first pilotless tests of the flying bomb late in 1917. Of these. launching attempts. tiss flying bomb. contract. the plane arose from the wire but immediately plunged to the ground. to manufacture it for the Navy. the Sperrys had built a served to blur short-comings of the dard stick control. fitted a Marmon automobile with an in large quantity without interfering The first of these planes (herein. Chief Signal livered on November 10. find means of had be to obtained of the craft’s flying made. and automatic gear. It had never been flown as of open-air wind tunnel test. W. Ohio. they drove eral George O. meantime. Dayton. In this launch. but proved to be tail- . N. A month later the catapult worked satisfactorily and the plane seemed to respond to its auto- matic controls. means to obtain airframes and engines equipment. On the second trial. still have constituted a radical de. A couple of abortive attempts to one unsuccessful. to witness a the 30-day deadline specified in the at 80 miles per hour to make a kind demonstration of the flying bomb. rashly de. Finally. the plane struck a were eventually carried out at the With regard to the airframe. While taxying for model for wind tunnel tests and these control mechanism. a top speed of 90 miles tunately.facilities were to be obligated in order of 1. This led to two ducibility and low cost. Lawrence B U O RD therefore sought by some was to be fitted for special control Sperry and his assistant. the flying bomb lagged the car. In any event. they wrested the plane away from him and T HE PROBLEM of launching a pilotless aircraft or flying bomb was as complex as that of determining cial design with an empty weight of turned it over laterally twice. in October. although based upon a proven design. Curtiss flying bomb was abandoned in ing device obscured the aerodynamic ciding he would be the test pilot. One of the planes was achieved before the planes crashed to sure that the control mechanism would then fitted with 2 ski-type landing the ground. On the first attempt to use this device. The terrelated. turned two Washington Navy Yard. wrecked. For. only one was operate effectively after a pilotless gear and taxied over the ice for the blamed upon the flimsy aircraft struc- launch. Curtiss-Sperry flying bomb) was de. a wing was damaged. but not until was done to obtain a more efficient ma.000 pounds. Power was obtained by dropping a three-ton weight from a height of 30 feet. launch the craft as a flying bomb led In August and September 1918. tunnel. two lems. elevators. and both the plane fitted with a seat and stan. When he cut in his automatic controls. a piloted craft nor checked in a wind they succeeded in getting what they ect to be set up by the Army at Mc. volved solution of several serious prob. flying bomb. his first takeoff. a rush order was sent to the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company for six planes of spe- time got plane #2 into the air. tions with the N-9 in September 1917. purpose of adjusting the ailerons and ture. one successful and Development of the flying bomb in. he succeeded in righting it frame. had favor of a return to the N-9. Dalton. two flights of 100 yards were launching a pilotless vehicle and make characteristics. Lawrence Sperry. just within over the Long Island Motor Parkway Officer of the Army. In after identified as the Curtiss or the frame on which they could fasten the addition. The engine was to quired than flight test of the airplane. The initial Hewitt-Sperry con- per hour. Troubles continued. a range of 50 miles and the and in landing safely. somersaults and was completely after cessation of work with the Cur- chine until Sperry began demonstra. It was necessary to obtain a to the realization that some knowledge tests of the Curtiss flying bomb were practicable airframe. but disgust was complete. the Navy invited Major Gen. Even had the flying bomb been considered to be satisfactory adjust- Cook Field. Undaunted he tried again and this Then. it would ments to the plane’s control surfaces with much greater emphasis upon pro.

the project was again ice. took over from Sperry complete con- unmanned plane had made a smooth. despite relatively successful ods of launching led the Sperrys to successful flight of the N-9 on Octo. and to recommend improvement. Two more trials the next month were only partially successful. sure adequate power for the gyro. in 1925. To prevent this—at an important step towards “making tance gear had been set. The stabilization gear which successful than those achieved by the of Farmingdale. the flying bomb made a straight climbing flight of about 100 D URING the early post-war years. Through a clutch and drum ar.) This device was not completed until August when its first test ended in failure. Then came the trials the Marmon automobile had been to flight with the N-9 may have been an with the Marmon automobile. Demon- road wheels and an idle spur of the was at fault and changes were made strations at Dahlgren were no more Long Island Railroad. It had misbehaved during tually contemplating purchase of new already recounted hair-raising experi. Either the Lewis aircraft and Norden-designed The Marmon was fitted with rail. Sperry justed. stabilization system or the airframe gyro-stabilizers were used. veloped at the Radio Laboratory at raise the front railroad wheels of the scope system adapted from the under. craft.heavy when it took to the air. spiraled and crashed. behavior of this gear could not view on how to proceed and was ac- These failures were followed by the be checked. The distance gear had been set for eight miles. ences when the flying bomb was put One of the purposes of the tests on rather than through the Sperrys. of the four-gyroscope unit tested trol aspect. beginning in The deficiencies of these three meth. Lawrence Sperry’s piloted test flight. course. demonstrations of technical features. 1918. effort in part to restore Navy confi- the controls were satisfactorily ad. The plane was catapulted clean- ly. operate the vertical rudder. so a decision was made to use a smoother In the last launch. flying in a per- fectly straight line at an angle of about two degrees to the proposed line of flight. matic control. For the first of these. Despite this. ing bomb “the gun of the future” and the thousand yards for which the dis. (To perform the detailed design work. try a new type of catapult in which ber 17. The single gyro. It climbed steadily. so the plane continued on course and was last seen over Bayshore air station heading east at a height of about 4. scopes. Over a decade was to pass speed.” damage. Satisfactory settings were made for the dence. control in order to stallations were made. had been used for all work with the Sperrys. was brought into serv. 1918. Prepara- tions were finally completed in mid- October and on the 17th a launch was made. at war’s end. NAS A NACOSTIA (later the Naval car so that they came free and another water torpedo gear was retained for Research Laboratory). the Navy sponsored similar proj- ects. addi. scope to precess. descended and least for the last flight—the gyroscopes war so extremely hazardous and expen- struck the water with only moderate were not released until the launch was sive no nation will dare go into it. The imparted to the plane by the flywheel ditional enthusiasm by calling the fly- machine left the car cleanly and flew catapult would have caused the gyro. stabilized flight in response to auto. The acceleration made various attempts to stir up ad- from the car on March 6. yards. stalled. it was to no avail. but it failed to func- tion. In 1921. At the same time. this course and stabilization interest waned and the project lapsed a heavy flywheel was spun at high gear functioned satisfactorily. military versions of pilotless aircraft. the Navy requested Carl Norden to before the Navy seriously undertook rangement. In the various AN AUTOMOBILE IS SUBSTITUTED FOR A WIND TUNNEL IN A TEST OF A FLYING BOMB 73 . Norden. The third area of problems con- nected with the flying bomb was the stabilization system. if so. The control gear was de- the plane developed sufficient lift to earlier in the N-9. Witteman- roadway. the flywheel imparted a examine the various Sperry devices the development of target drones and constant acceleration to the car carry.000 feet. ing the flying bomb. the Navy that for the first time in history an tional batteries were provided to in. unsuccessful attempts to launch the The Navy continued to press its side-slipped and fell to the ground. Aircraft in- crash resulted. and. A run was made down the track flying bomb was abandoned in favor reoriented to emphasize the radio con- but. This was epoch-making in completed. After observe its functioning at flight speed. The feat could not be duplicated on a second attempt. four miles east to both. trol of the flying bomb development. or azimuth. For the 1923. before flying speed was obtained. on September 26. Even so. the Sperry Company employed a young consult- ing engineer. After this the N-9 returned to favor. flying-bomb airplanes on its own. a launch was actually made one successful flight. The on sled runners. Carl L.

capable of being worn over the summer service uni- forestry green uniform. The abolishment turned out to be active duty with aircraft. In 1920.S. khaki or moleskin. and two and four. a winter tions and detailed some of the changes and puttees. The pre. brown gloves stations.” to be worn “when on immediate and and an overcoat were added as well. NAVY PILOTS IN ENGLAND POSED FOR JULY 1918 PICTURE IN WHICH UNIFORM VARIETY CLEARLY APPEARS The Evolution of the Aviation Green Working Uniform AT NAS LE CROISIC IN THE UNIFORM ADJUSTMENT DAYS scribed “working dress” uniform was a pate a possible discontinuance of the U ntil 1917.” The uni. an- they ran the gamut. of somewhat differ- summer dress whites. tan leather shoes. a summer service service in design. were worn with breeches and high. dated October 13. form. A Bureau of Navigation circular photographs taken in early 1917-1918. 1922. made of letter. design of the summer khaki today. but only at air Reserve Flying Corps was prescribed was adopted. blues. 1917. a Naval Aviator’s device until June 1. but forestry green naval officers. designed in line with the aviation green uniform was not khaki and green. It was the same color. At the green and khaki. both form was khaki. and eventually influenced the laced. greens. that would be in effect: “uniforms for pocketed coats. the first indication that temporary. judging from one-piece overall suit. service flying uniform was prescribed. 74 . Leggins of drab here to stay appeared in a letter from ent design were reinstated April 8. doing away with the flying uniform for officers detailed for cloth was substituted for khaki. Aviators were canvas. any “serviceable” uni- form could be worn for Naval Aviation duty and. leggings On September 7. 1923. Aviation uniforms. nounced a new set of uniform regula- shown in khakis. which may be worn aviation duty and officers of the Naval same time. the Bureau of Navigation that advised 1925. In October.U. aviation officers that they could antici. It was to be the same as the summer aviation will be the same as for other June 22. 1917.

rope and the introduction of a slight curve to conform as Senior Naval Aviator in Washington at the time. the 1920's model. “My idea has been to reduce all corners so that After almost eight years of Naval Aviation and nine there will be no points which might catch in the clothing.” The design passed through a number of changes. removed the letters “U. saying. When for- naval ornaments are too fine and not broad enough in char.. From this date the subject was kept very much alive by the exchange of correspondence with a number of firms in. Bronze. Banks and Biddle Officer dated November 21. Towers had a hand. that was solved only by preparation of an aviators’ Lt. F. the record is qualification that would set them apart from all men. Banks and Biddle.” from the design and Navy Wings became a part of the uniform. if not the earliest. by the the NC trans-Atlantic flight. In forwarding it to the Bureau of Navigation. in addition. A letter. The Origin of Navy Wings A NAVAL AVIATOR's device.” The letter. and will be worn on the left brest.S. the present wings and those worn by astronauts. 1917.” SO stated Change 12 to Uni- form Regulations approved by the Secretary of the Navy on September 7. Thus. wings were responsible design development.” two and three-quarters. It seems likely that Towers.S. were a factor recommended simplifying the wings by bolder chasing and in the later assignment of fractional numbers to many a reduction in the number of feathers.S. This device will be issued by the Bureau of Navigation to Officers and Men of the Navy and Marine Corps who qualify as Naval Aviators. 1917. was to the shape of the body. The official act of adoption is clear. stating that the sender “takes the liberty” of forwarding a design for an aviation cap and collar orna- ment. 1917.” He also recommended changes in the anchor and the first wings could begin. approved Oct. 75 . 1917. Army had adopted an aviat- tion device.” months of war.. 1918. in order that they have standing with other aviation services. the 24th submitted its first sample pin.15 each). ever. distribution of acter. however. enclosed CHANGES through the years (from the top) show the original design. In early November seems fairly certain. In a letter of September 28th. his name and branch of service. John H. was quickly rejected in favor of a confirmed in a December 26 letter from BuNav to Pensa- gold and silver combination which in turn was changed to cola. wardcd to BuNav on January 19. Hemsley Co. particularly after Army aviators began wearing “badges” in 1913. Its letter to BUNAV dated December it submitted other samples and was ready to make “prompt 19 confirms a telegram quoted in part as “balance aviator delivery of such number of devices as you may desire. Bailey. Henry Reuterdahl. a winged foul anchor with the letters ‘U. But it also appears that outside influence provided some of the initial impetus. That the first pins were delivered in this month is also the first metal proposed. By October that company priced pin” (the price was $1. A second change. noting that “most aviators omitted from this first compilation. reporting that the new pins had been received and all silver and finally. later assigned as an artist to record precedence list. The company was seems to have taken the lead over its competitors and on not named. may well have started official action.’ is hereby adopted to be worn by qualified Naval Aviators. covering numbers 1 through 282. played an important part in Aviation Section of CNO. selecting “the higher of Philadelphia was one of them. He summarized his remarks by an early. the Chief of Naval Opera- tions rejected the ornament but went on to say that since foreign countries and the U.” insignia shipped tomorrow. from the G. datcd June 29. the decision was for all “will be sent out as soon as they can be engraved to show gold. a design for wings as representative of what was wanted. 12. he for the first precedence list and. which had been prepared in the Aviation Section and in which LCdr. obscure but it may have been a BuNAV letter to the Supply terested in producing the wings. recipient. much of what led to it is not. in October. Size changcd from over three inches to the final of the Aviator’s number. It appears likely that need for a distinguishing mark was voiced by the aviators themselves. Naval Aviators also should be given “some form of mark or badge to indicate their qualification. Naval Aviators had Wings—a badge of On the final decision to place an order. Stars on the shield were proposed Engraving the aviator’s number posed a problem. how- and rejected as violating the laws of heraldry. That it was Bailey.

circle over it. repeating the same was sunk by gunfire from British de- The first recorded attack on an enemy maneuver again and again. J. As the and exposing its rotating screw to which. John F. faced in the general area only to be other south. then flew a wide circle to. and it had to its By this means planes were able to re. inflicted by aircraft. Schieffelin attacked a submarine fore the Lampert Committee in 1925. he sighted a surfaced sub- the Navy and Adm. with a phosphorous buoy and circled. circle the convoy. phosphorous boat Ardente. testifying be. Portland. extremely rough air on March 25. 1918. while serving at way the convoy was well protected over Flamborough Head bounced his the Royal Navy Air Station. This plane would return. the planes would first cated. In addi. cessful that Harrell did not drop his dropped 100 tons of high explosives subdivided into squares of five miles. other would fly as far as 10 to 15 miles J. possibly because of damage. . marine and attacked. The explosions created a heavy dis- turbance in the water followed by of which ten were considered to have by the station historian. Later that any of our overseas stations. Com. His one bomb evaluation was “possibly damaged. Smith dropped two bombs. Atlee Edwards. overhead saw small pieces of wreck- of aircraft in naval warfare. E. Before stroyers. planes. appar. There was initial con- reefs and sand bars and ideally suited attack. Shortly after. 76 . Instead. it did bases by radio and pigeons. Naval Aviator leaving a convoy. the indirect destructive as the ‘Alert’ ready to take the air Guerre with Palm. W. north of Penmarch Point. command. and went in to HMS Garry. was also a favorite sub-hunting So spake LCdr. USS course of which it patrolled more than quickly and accurately located. the fusion over whether this submarine to submarine operations. a submarine sur- sector daily. McNamara last time in its neighborhood.000 nautical miles of submarine.000 flights in the port position every half hour and be Smith then flew to a destroyer. This neces.S. when operating long to be covered entirely by two and shortly after returned to their against surface craft. ently being made by a submarine mov. Then while one plane ground. a convoy escort ing bomb hooks was bent and he was successful enough to warant special of two Donnet-Denhaut seaplanes. The primary role of Naval Aviation sides. seaplane summoned destroyers to the when the convoy was approximately Ens. rammed and sunk by the destroyer the water was deep near shore. France. Ens. zigzagging broadly on both which. The oil was still visible from tributory and indirect nature—‘the another section to relieve the first. H. S. it was necessary to send out base. bombs. Sims. was really responsible for from daybreak to dark in response to The North Sea coast of England. were cited in the Order almost always got the credit. In this the Whitby area. was of a con. . wherein tion. I say “A section of two planes escorted age. The sub then disappeared un- had more antisubmarine action than to the rear of the convoy to look for der water at a steep angle. munication was maintained with shore Stewart arrived in the target area. “The sector many air bubbles and appeared so suc- been at least partially successful. he marked the spot on enemy objectives. 800. Stewart. executed 30 attacks against enemy submarines. commendations from the Secretary of piloted by Ens. When the convoy where NAS KILLINGHOLME was lo- the submarine was destroyed. the air as late as the sixth of May. Naval about 20 ships. kicking it clear of the water Air Station was from Ile Tudy. 1918. the later Harrell. bringing about the action in which any ‘allos’ received. In point of fact. Smith and R. Around Penmarch Point. were officially credited destroyed’ describes what is meant by sitated using at least eight planes per by the French naval authorities with ‘indirect’ in this sense. after he had directed surface coastal convoys passed through its ward the main body. the planes circled a in action. Chief scene of action and the submarine was halfway through the area.” They joined the southbound convoy of exploded under the stern of the sub- The first attack from a U. Williams. QM1c. it was marked off into 25-mile squares. of the “allos” received at Ile Tudy were from this area. . forced to jettison half his bmb load. approximately six miles marine. weather was very foggy. Very pistols and the blinker depth charges. In the month before the sta- former aid for aviation on the staff would remain around the convoy the tion was under U. and dropped three figures are very far from being a just buoys. day. agency. of Admiral W. they first flew view. Although his attack was On April 23. The destroyers day for convoy work alone. and with lowed soon after by the French gun- immeasurably more than this. R. credit a total of 22. ahead. particles of sea growth and large this because almost always the damage each convoy. Ten days later he was again submarine by a U. Foreign Service. there was always a section known of the Day and awarded Croix de the aircraft. Sims. fol- infested areas. for these vessels by message buoys. again surfaced after he left the scene and in WW I was antisubmarine warfare. and dropped a message buoy. O. THE WAR AGAINST THE U-BOAT T HE U NITED S TATES N a v a l A i r Force.S. a submarine. Two stragglers. As the sector was too quantities of oil coming to the surface. The pilots circling or fair method of appraising the value system.” was picked up. saw the first action. from surprise. The operating routine was described wake and the second ten feet ahead. craft to the position.” plane so hard that one of the suspend- England. While he was en route to was made by Ens. K. Off Whitby. Smith and his observer. the they sighted a suspicious wake. A majority first landing on the fore part of the was the one attacked by Schieffelin. free of ing at good speed. one bound north. perhaps because of its location.S.

USCG. three passing close to Carson’s could not be overtaken. appeared in the darkness. While still a mile away. 1918. and several pieces of shrapnel radio and Aldis lamp informed the gave the hard. On at least usual circle overhead. cold facts. It was both attacks was “probably seriously the water at a sharp angle. in seaplane LF-4. patrol. On the miles off Coast Guard Station 50. STATION AT ILE TUDY SAW GREATEST NUMBER OF ASW MISSIONS. Thirteen shells burst even as it was in a later war. the air. But more pierced his fuselage and wings. A short distance off the coast. her bow projecting from called the Battle of Chatham. as two minutes later and bombed from 500 one occasion against a seaplane and storms were observed approaching feet. pearance of oil and sea growth on the that point. was credited with a sinking by the latest type appeared. Details were reported by dispatch and telephone. 1918. after escorting There was more to it. piloted by Ens. Within tersely reported in the weekly Aviation damaged. putting her over the submarine at 400 feet and history reported that “undoubtedly at only gun out of action and reducing dropped a bomb which failed to ex- least one ship in the convoy was saved her offensive capability to bombs. Then. German submarine of the Ireland. It too failed to fought back. gated. The gist of it was that an enemy sub- sition for an attack. Both bombs one convoy through the area. the seaplanes. it carried no identification marks. The submarine Cod. and began what has since been damaged condition. Ens. Carson dropped two bombs. Lt.but later information confirmed that exploding in the swirl and the second U-156 surfaced off Nauset Beach. As she went confined to overseas waters. the starboard quarter. Four right of the periscope and the other way. took off Submarines did not always react picked up and the airship made the in an R-9. the C. The ap- Carson fired a challenging signal. an HS-2. them. one Sunday morning. the sub submerged and F. 1918. J. it was These are but a few of the 30 at- a large submarine was sighted proceed. left NAS D UNKIRK o n ject sighted to the north was investi. 1918. post-war records plane. At 11:15. Bulletin as: “Sunday morning off NAS L OUGH F OYLE in northern sliding stern first under water. Carson Chatham. a suspicious ob.” escorting a 32-ship convoy when he sighted and successfully bombed a submarine apparently moving into po- T HE AIRSHIP involved was the AT-13 out of NAS PAIMBOEUF . Montgomery. ship took a heading to pass between explode. At plode. Since it opened fire there was no doubt that evaluation of results was difficult. which guarded the north en. On August 13. On October 1. the kept them from their appointed tasks.O. made its first French government and awarded the 6-inch guns with which she shelled attack October 19. Cape his submarine returned to base in slightly forward of it. The submarine cleared Action against the U-boat was not test in combat and presented a real the deck and dived. the U-boats from the north and northeast. After firing four shots at four seaplanes. it was enemy. and sank some barges. ten feet forward. On a threat to submarine commanders and down. Philip Eaton. the convoy was tion.” about two-thirty. marine was reported at 10:10. The ing on the surface at high speed. was sent out and submarine submerged. she fired two shots on a rock for minutes later.” four minutes she again submerged. Carson convoy of the situation and the chase important than confirmed destruction immediately returned fire with his continued until the submarine dis. one piloted by Ens. July 21. She had two trance to the Irish Sea. left the station. Carson. of the sta- by the timely bombing. Signals by ward the optimistic. the air. was the extent to which Naval Avia- machine guns and moved into bomb. early assessments leaned to- fired. tors met the challenge of their first ing position. its four-inch gun. three functioned. flew “probably damaged” and the station the firing spring broke. At near the airship but none struck her. On the second shot Eric Lingard. George Croix de Guerre. Then. The evaluation of reappeared. 77 . Five shots were wind was so strong that the submarine as later. Shortly after. the submarine apparently The airship took up the chase to get surface after an attack was a common spotted the planes and opened fire with into bombing position but the head feature of reports in both wars. one striking 30 feet to the ship turned to meet another. The assessment was target practice. reached the scene a few passively to these attacks. Edwards. Seaplanes were S. was lost in thick smoke. The bomb hit about 100 feet off once against an airship. made out to be a submarine and when tacks reported by LCdr.

S. Ens. Lt. of about when the Italian government course. which equaled the width Seventy-three men in all completed of the Porto Corsini canal. Bolsena to land on an area. harmless. Since Venice was only about Venice. All for the station. stated on the basis of his inspec. Charles gun.” no less than 114 antiaircraft guns in Lt. leaflets on Pola across the Adriatic. air squadrons from flag. it officers and over 250 tons of supplies had one tremendous disadvantage. the main objective of the U. three planes were made available and the number of planes quickly increased. Navy to take Naval Aviators and their opposite over and operate the air station at numbers at the Italian Air Station in Porto Corsini. The planes the Navy used at Porto I N THE ANNALS of Naval Aviation in World War I. the U.S. two- seater flying boats capable of carrying it off is exceeded by that starring four 24-pound bombs and one machine Naval Aviator #1494. marked included ground work and flying. made been trained in the handling of Italian for a real handicap since the prevail- aircraft at the Naval Flying School. on the station on July 25th. 60 miles with the necessity of taking off and northeast of Rome. Porto Corsini was located in a stra- This combination of American tegic position in relation to Pola. but there NARROW CANAL AT PORTO CORSINI were never more than 21 altogether. Willis B. some 50 miles south of Venice. B. Naval Forces in Europe. the Italian government had Corsini carried out its first mission. station had “the distinction of being The base and city were defended by the most heavily engaged unit of the 18 forts and batteries and there were U. anchored at Pola and German and USN. So success. arranged for a special draft of me. Haviland. This. Atwater. Mayo. Some of the bombing planes were M-8’s. the Italian Front at this time that the sini was signaled by their carrying Austrians had announced that anyone out a bombing attack. In accordance with the agreement with the Italian government. The tent by training the pilots at Lake courses. forces were supplied with everything but food and clothing for the per- sonnel. This disad- February 21. that the there in the Mediterranean campaign. It was a formidable bastion. USNRF. The take-over was accom. On August 21. arranged for the U. ing wind was at right angles to the The school had been formally opened direction of the canal. In the beginning. off by buoys. The battleships and fully did the station carry out its cruisers of the High Sea Fleet were mission that Admiral H. in a special train Though Porto Corsini was in the which transported 331 men. where they had landing directly into the wind. the fliers and Italian aircraft had come Austrian naval base which was. 1918.S. A detachment of offi.S. So That the Austrians were aware of popular had this mission become on the Americans’ arrival at Porto Cor. 1918. both stations could rendezvous easily put the new station in commission and for a combined attack on the Austrian air operations commenced. T. The M-5 Macchi fighters were Hazeltine Hammann. Haviland had come from position. Austrian submarines went out from tion November 10. combined little later from Lake Bolsena. 50 miles north of Porto Corsini and plished July 24. fortunately caught engaged in this activity would 78 . the station at Porto nance. certain right spot to launch an offensive. USNRF. carrying two and his fellow pilots were a unit of machine guns. 1918. taught largely by Italians. France. the curriculum. In the middle of the morning. W. no exploit for dar- ing of execution and success in pulling Corsini were Macchi types. two light bombs were Naval Aviators who operated out of occasionally added. To back up mainte. vantage was counteracted to some ex- tion of Ens. Hoisting the 64 miles from Pola. naval base. He one-seater flying boats. five chanics selected from men training fighters and two bombers set out with at the various Italian seaplane and the purpose of dropping propaganda motor factories. landings had to be made on a canal cers and petty officer pilots arrived a about 100 feet wide. Pauillac. Porto Corsini in Italian planes. under the direc.

the first of which was made up of three planes. upon Ludlow opened the port in the The Italian government awarded Vorhees no sooner got into action than bottom of the hull. but finally the little seaplane got off. Honor. regarded as a spy and summarily executed. After becoming airborne. Parker followed him spies would be theirs—execution.S. but the bomber was only able to get up to 8. This faster and jumped over to Hammann’s to Ens. Voorhees sea was bad enough. H. dive toward the three Austrian planes was near the harbor and enemy planes At Porto Corsini. firing from his one good Hammann spiraled down and drew up mann was badly bruised. He climbed up behind the pilot’s received the Navy Cross. There. Hammann saw Lud. were fit for duty within a few days. help them. choppy. Ens. Ludlow went into a be able to take off. One bomber and the four fighters. The latter were soon lost to sight. a Macchi plane of the same type he wind was blowing at the rate of about mile flight back to Porto Corsini. the fighters arrived over the city at 12. the fighters flown by Ensigns George H. into the propeller or off into the sea. Vorhees and Ham- mann. His right gun jammed. two sea- planes following them. E.LUDLOW gave the signal to attack to protect the bombing plane. then swung over Hammann could rescue Ludlow and turned the Macchi over. for the enemy might wreck. but worse still was the fact that Hammann’s flying boat was damaged and he might not trians made no attempt to follow the damaged plane. already his machine was not designed for the into flames. into view. determined to try rescuing him. the struts to keep from being swept presented Hammann the Medal of tion.000 feet. the first awarded a U. The bomber also departed. At 1120. 20 miles per hour and the sea was momentarily expecting to be attacked. While Hammann took seat and sat under the motor holding The President of the United States on the two planes of the second sec. and although there was danger of landing five miles off the harbor en. his guns jammed and he was forced to the wings to make the Macchi sink Hammann and a similar bronze medal leave. He began his 60. He was cited for heroism in the next instant he himself was shot but one man. Hammann met his death in exceedingly daring decision since the enemy that trophy. He went into a spin but damaged by machine gun fire. one of the bombers and one of the fighters had to return on account of motor trouble. kicked holes in the Silver Medal of Valor to Ens. After the seven-plane group had been underway for about 15 minutes. on June 24.000 feet. Hammann made and the dog fight was on at 8. Parker make a getaway. on the fight.000 feet. he themselves. but the enemy landplanes climbed rapidly and in five minutes neared the Navy’s Macchi fighters. he was not going to leave the 1919. To land his plane in such a For reasons never discovered. The fliers climbed out with the then took on the leader who tried to easily capture them and the fate of assistance of boats that had come to escape by diving. The bow of the plane. had used in his exploit over Pola. oil streamed out and broke idea. attack by Austrian planes. (Pete) Parker. Hammann had no low’s disabled airplane. approaching Pola from the south in order to avoid fire from AA batteries at the harbor en- trance. The leaflets were thrown down and the Austrians sent up AA fire. his way to Porto Corsini. but both gun on another Austrian which swept beside Ludlow’s crippled plane. a complete to engage the plane to his left.” Looking down. “Although and engine. Ludlow also left Ludlow and Hammann to carry plane. and broke out of the fight. a pursuit they could have undertaken with no hazard to and Hammann. Dudley A. Naval He drove one down smoking and in The tiny Macchi was built to carry Aviator. but the Ludlow attacked the lead plane with unlikely in these circumstances that water poured through the bow and a quick burst of fire. Followed by Parker. Ludlow had suffered a down. he made trance. bad gash on his forehead and Ham- pulled out. Ludlow. an sink. so he Undeterred by these considerations. The enemy was coming in two sections. Ham. Ludlow was in a fight with three. were still in the vicinity. was double load to which it was subjected managed to pull out of it and make a smashed in as the craft gathered speed. mann fired his remaining ammo into It is one of life’s bitter ironies that low’s wrecked plane in the water and the wrecked plane and watched it less than a year later. How he was going to landing on the water alongside Lud- down. the Aus- E N S. 79 . Ens. He took hits in his propeller get into the air. Furthermore. It seemed a good landing in the canal. Five fighters of the Albatross type immediately took off. continued on.

attacked a U-boat which surfaced after he left the scene and 30–Headquarters Company and Squadrons A. Upon disembarking. B. the Delaware River near the factory. assembly and repair Washington. and LCol. 21–A surfaced U-boat. The assessment. Lawrence as second pilot. in a program similar to that established station supporting the Northern Bombing Group. and C of was sunk by gunfire from British destroyers. and commanding. Loening M-2 Kitten landplane at Mineola. Ireland. Schieffelin. Hawkins with sighted a surfaced submarine off Whitby and attacked. J. and 9 respectively. Wadsworth on 31–A naval air detachment was established at Dunwoody board. gun for which it had been designed. there was no doubt about the winning. Both attacked what was assumed to be a Aircraft Factory. very satisfactory performance” against a target moored in 9–Ens. J. Taylor made the initial flight in the barges in full view of bathers on Nauset Beach. Harold J. J. F. C. was placed in commission 4–NAS Whiddy Island. to those at MIT and the University of Washington. disappeared at a steep angle. firing on a tugboat and three 11—Ens. pilot. Willis B. A.. piloted by Ens. Naval Aviator. U-boat commanders found the going progressively more difficult. Rowen and QM1C development of rigid airships to the Navy. an inter-service agreement assigning responsibility for the 5–Seaplanes piloted by Ens. AUGUST. Minneapolis.S. was commissioned. Hull later.I. 5–A flying boat. the force proceeded to airdromes between Calais and 15–The first F5L completed at the Naval Aircraft Dunkirk for operations as the Day Wing. was turned over Shields. France. first experimental aircraft built at the Naval Point L’Ervilly.” patrol was made above the clouds without sighting the 20–The RAF station. its planes met Atlantic convoys as they ap. arrived at Brest. one year earlier at MIT. L. Kenneth Whiting in command. commissioning. 19–Ens. Lt. V. JULY 1–NAS Lough Foyle. W. 14–NAS St. MacGill. to conduct a ground school similar was a U. England. Seattle. Cooke. the submarine submerged and escaped. was commissioned to was attacked by two seaplanes from NAS Chatham which provide seaplane patrol over the North Channel entrance to dropped bombs that failed to explode. D. Although still too early to predict when the war would end. pilots had been flying since February. was placed in commission. Trojan. Commander H. night patrol out of Killingholme and may have station. 19–Pilots of two planes on patrol out of NAS Montauk sighted the USS San Diego after she had struck a mine off AUGUST Fire Island and sent the first reports of her sinking. been the first of the war by a U. B. with Lt. was relieved by Lt. The earlier attack. England. Partridge and Maj. took off from NAS bomb kicked the stern clear of the water and the sub Killingholme in rain and poor visibility at 10:30 p. The 1. It was the to American forces and placed in commission as a naval air first U. the Joint Army and Navy Airship Board. Italy.S. His Ltjg. and there was much to show that the end nearly was in sight. JULY. located on Bantry Bay. Schieffelin. Maj.S. More stations were placed in commission and. on a flight out of Killingholme. on a flight out of Killingholme. thus completing proached the British Isles. Northern Bombing Factory made its maiden flight with FltCdr. Westernmost of our seaplane 25–The Secretary of War approved a recommendation of stations. England. Griffin squadrons were redesignated 7. Porte.000th Naval Aviator won his wings and many others neared that goal while training continued to expand.S. After firing on both the Irish Sea. C. Lt. It was the 80 . Cape Cod. Haviland in command. Boylan left NAS Ile Tudy in answer to an “allo” off 27–The N-1. as patrols were extended and intensified. in command at aircraft. Ireland. 8. piloted and Lt.m. Army major on duty at the factory. Victor Vernon 7–The Naval Aircraft Factory completed its first con. J. G. It was an all-British crew except for Wadsworth who Institute. the First Marine Aviation Force.m. France. J. was “probably seriously damaged. was commis- 1–Ground school classes began at the University of sioned as an NAS for use as a supply. but there was no evidence of damage. as on his to patrol a course intercepting a reported Zeppelin raid. Group. made its first test of the Davis recoilless submarine. J. LCdr. 23–The RAF facility at Eastleigh. Marine air units reached France. at 5:30 a. near the mouth of the on board the USS DeKalb. SEPTEMBER. 1918 T he growth and expansion of Naval Aviation was in full stride. Killingholme. the Gironde River. almost out of fuel. Carl T. from which enemy and came down through heavy weather at South U. the Northern Bombing Group offen- sive began. Sheppard operated the gun which gave “a tract for 50 H-16 flying boats. 24–NAS Porto Corsini.

six weeks to become the Navy’s first Ace. Frank E. the plane is a midget. USCG.N. On the flight. P. the 1. Mason. Nova Scotia. out except for the necessary distinguishing corps devices 30-hp engine that was the forerunner of the American and every officer of the Navy shall be designated and air-cooled radial engine. water until help arrived. Ormsbee went to the 21–A flight of bombers and fighters from NAS Porto rescue of two men in a plane which had crashed in Corsini was intercepted by a superior force of Austrian Pensacola Bay. France. Because of fractional numbers 31–NAS North Sydney. flying P. For his two seaplanes from NAS Ile Tudy on convoy patrol near extraordinary heroism. Ormsbee received the Medal of Honor. was produced too late for use in the 19–Naval Air Station Halifax. here mounted on the N-l. made better than 160 mph on tests. a two-seat experimental fighter (right) adaptable to sea or land and built by the Curtiss Company. but he returned fire and moved into bombing position. Carson on patrol out of Dunkirk. Leslie R. sighted an enemy two-seat Rumpler over Richardson and C. Hammann. and Navy Building to quarters in a temporary structure opened fire with its deck gun. he was not Breton Island. piloting pilot. took him aboard. addressed by the title of his rank without discrimination 13–Ens. 13–Ens. Kirkham 18-T. Pilot of the Loening Kitten (center) is not a giant.000th Naval Aviator. Byrd commanding. Nova Scotia.S. achieved speeds of over 160 mph on a measured course. Naval Aviation Forces. Taber of Air and direct operations in their respective areas. His bombs hit as the submarine was SEPTEMBER submerging. now known as “Main Navy. C. then made repeated dives into the George H. evaded his pursuers. C. Pou and QM2C F. H. 24–Ltjg. fired a charge of birdshot or sand rearward to compen- sate for the projectile and eliminate recoil. commission. 15–Independent offensive operations of the Northern Ireland. 28–Lt. built by the Curtiss Company. sighted a surfaced submarine which when challenged War. The 27–After having been in operation for almost a year. was designed for the Lawrance 2-cylinder. the Navy Department moved from the State. Assistant NAS Hampton Roads. Charles Fahy was copilot. Ens. while on a test flight in a 19–In trial runs observed by Naval Constructors H. This twin-engine flying boat. a seaplane station on Cape assigned to many who preceeded him. the uniform of any given rank or rating in the 300 pounds) and. Edwin S. but saw extensive service in post-war years. however. NAS Pauillac. Italy. During the fight. Robert Donahue. Nieuport. Tittle. Everett Brewer and Sgt.L.” NAS Hampton Roads was placed in commission with LCdr. Harry Wershiner. Bellinger in command. Foreign was credited with a sinking by the French government and Service. England. one of the 418 directing that “Applicable alike to regulars and smallest planes ever built for the Navy (empty weight under reservists. Wade was designated Naval Aviator No. He attacked and scored his fifth aerial victory in mental triplane fighter. Julian F. sighted a possible submarine and dropped of Honor–the first Naval Aviator to be so honored. Lewis machine gun zeroed in on target. Carson’s plane was hit by on Constitution Avenue. Roosevelt visited NAS Paimboeuf and from a British design by the Naval Aircraft Factory and was taken up as a passenger in the AT-1 blimp. scoring the 27–The Secretary of the Navy signed General order No. It stayed there briefly. damaged. was commissioned with Lt.” shrapnel in several places. In August. first Marine Corps victory in aerial combat. 25–Chief Machinist Mate Francis E. N. Liqued. 81 . then slid stern first underwater. bombs which set off violent underwater turbulence. and held him above planes over the naval base at Pola. under command of Lt. Ludlow was hit and forced down off the harbor wreckage in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the pilot. Richard E. 3–The first F5L assigned to service was delivered to 17–While on a tour of overseas facilities. the Kirkham 18-T experi. pulled out the gunner.” 1. and flew back to base. in command. shot down a Fokker. Hale rear gunner. whatever. Charles H. built SecNav Franklin D. Sopwith Camel. Ens. and new commands were set up for France. forcing it to the surface at a sharp angle. C.000 at NAS Pensacola. Lt. Carson 1–The Commander U. the assessment was “probably damaged. Ens. assumed duty as Aid for Aviation to Admiral Sims. with RAF Squadron 218. awarded the Croix de Guerre. David S. D. whose fighter was also For his heroism. although initially equipped with a British Navy shall hereafter be identical in every respect through- ABC motor. other manufacturers. was placed in war.first monoplane developed under Navy contract. Hammann was awarded the Medal Point Penmarch. Squadron One piloted a Caproni bomber on a night raid on 3–An inspection and test department was established at the submarine repair docks at Ostend. DAVIS GUN (left). Ingalls. entrance. and the Northern Bombing Group to control Bombing Group began as Ens. landed alongside the downed 27–Ens.