Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Etrich Taube

  R to L, Rittmeister Meyer, Professor Meyer and Ltn Guidp Scheffer 1915

Austrian aviation pioneer Igo Etrich developed the Etrich Taube which became one of the first aircraft to be built in large numbers. The Taube (dove in German) is also known by the names of the various later manufacturers who build versions of the craft. There were well over a dozen companys that built Taube copies.

Pictured above is a Jeannin Taube (Jeannin Stahltaube) which is a version with steel tubing fuselage construction.

For the first months of WW1, Taubes flew with the Central Powers armies in the role of scout aircraft. As new Allied aircraft began arriving at the front, the unarmed Taubes began to seem frighteningly unmaneuverable and sickening slow to their German flyers. The Taube was soon transferred to the role of training student aviators.

The Taube was very popular prior to the First World War, and it was also used by the air forces of Italy and Austria-Hungary. Even the Royal Flying Corps operated at least one Taube in 1912. 

The design provided for very stable flight, which made it extremely suitable for observation. In addition, the translucent wings made it difficult for ground observers to detect a Taube at an altitude above 400 meters. 

The Taube's first hostile engagement was on November 1, 1911, Giulio Gavotti, an Italian aviator, using pistols and 2 kg (4.4 lb) grenades dropped the world's first aerial bomb from his Taube monoplane over the Ain Zara oasis in Libya. 
The Taube was also used for bombing in the Balkans in 1912–13, and in late 1914 when German 3 kg (6.6 lb) bomblets and propaganda leaflets were dropped over Paris. 
Taube spotter planes detected the advancing Imperial Russian Army in East Prussia during the World War I Battle of Tannenberg.

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