Bloody April 1917 history | ww1 facts

We spent more than a hundred years after the end of the First World War. No matter how destructive the war throughout the day, in the end, only one side won the fight. After four years of fighting and loss of 8.5 million soldiers, the Allies achieved the victory in ww1. The Allied sacrificed much during this war. ‘Bloody April’ is one of the significant moments that cost allies (especially to The Royal Flying Corps) a lot.

What is Bloody April 1917?

In April 1917, British air force (The Royal Flying Corps-RFC) lost 250 aeroplanes and more than 400 pilots and crew throughout the month against German air defence known as Bloody April.

WW1 Trench war and Air surveillance

After the outbreak of the Trench War in the First World War, it became essential for both sides to know the exact position of the opposite trenches to gain success in-ground force attack. Trench war and air surveillance were totally new war techniques for parties of ww1. That’s why both sides used their planes for surveillance, along with some irregular air attacks.

Airplanes mostly used to take pictures of enemy trench lines and send them to war policymakers. This information helps the ground force in their attacks. Sometimes, they used their aircrafts to attack with machine guns, rifles, or drop bombs on trenches or important buildings. Duelling aircraft or aircraft dogfight became a common sight on the Western Front during the whole war time.

Also Read :

Bloody April 1917 history | ww1 facts

Evolution of WW1 warplanes

As the new technology comes in war, German air forces got an advantage in the sky. In 1915, the German company used the mechanism of Dutch inventor ‘Fokker’ to install machine guns through the propeller, which brought Germany significant technological advancement in the field of warplanes. Although the Germans had new war-tech but on the other hand, the Royal Flying Corps remained the same until the summer of 1917. So instead of modern technology, the British increased their aircraft numbers. In 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, the number of people associated with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) exceeded 42,000.

In the Battle of Somme (also known as the Somme Offensive), the British side lost about 400 of their pilots in the sky battle. It was a massive loss for them, most of the dead pilots were experienced on the battlefield. The newly recruited pilots were neither experienced nor skilled in a dogfight, and it was a big problem for the British force.

Bloody April 1917

In April 1917, another massive war started in Arras, France. In this war, German Reich created horror in the skies of Europe. The Germans established five air squadrons with 50 aircraft to attack the allies’ frontline. On the other hand, the Royal Flying Corps use about 400 aircraft in 25 squads. In this war, the allies were in the attacking mood, but the Germans were quite defensive although Britain’s ground forces were stronger than Germans.

The Germans formed a terrible air hunting squadrons, whose job was to bring down allied planes in dogfights. This ‘hunting squadrons’ was famous as ‘Jastas’ and that squad was rich with the most of German superior aircraft technological excellence. ‘Jastas’ causes heavy damage to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

Who is “Red Baron”?

Red Baron : Baron von Richthofen

In April, German ace pilot Manfred von Richthofen became a nightmare for the British in the skies of Europe. Throughout April, he shot down about twenty Royal warplanes in dogfights. Manfred also brings down more than 80 Allied fighter jets in just 18 months of his career. And prove himself as the best pilot in Europe. He was famous as the ‘Red Baron’ because of his red-coloured duelling aircraft. Later Richthofen became the leader of ‘Jastas’ squadron in 1917. Then the wing also gets popularity as “The Flying Circus” or “Richthofen’s Circus” as they show great success in Europe.

Who killed Baron von Richthofen “Red Baron”?

During first world war Baron von Richthofen probably killed by Cedric Bassett Popkin an Australian anti-aircraft machine gunner of First Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

Bad news kept coming to the British Although they fought successfully to take control of the sky. At the end of April, Britain lost about 250 warplanes. Many of these pilots were killed and have been taken as war prisoner by the Nazis. The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) also unable to make new development and construction of new planes.

It may seem that Germany did very well in the war as the statistics show they were outstanding in the Air battle but not at all sectors. The British Armed Forces were just unstoppable in the ground war. Despite such heavy losses to the Air Force, the British continued to monitor the trench line with the remaining aircraft. The German Reich was successful in the sky but couldn’t resist the British on the ground. Even ‘Bloody April’ couldn’t save the Greater German Reich. In the end, defeat was the only consequence for the Germans.

Bloody April 1917 history | ww1 facts

Aftermath of WW1 Bloody April

  • After the damage of bloody April RFC Concentrated on building new aeroplanes.
  • They design many aircrafts with advanced features like Sopwith Camel. Royal Aircraft Factory built the aircraft model S.E.5 with the help of Henry Folland, John Kenworthy and Major Frank Goodden and other specialists.
  • French Manufacture airplane model “SPAD S. XIII” designed by Louis Béchéreau. 
  • During April 1918, Two special forces Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service merged into one special force named “the Royal Air Force”.
  • After this formation the Royal air force fought with newly invented advanced aircraft. The Royal Air Force gradually enriched their force with 4000 modern aeroplanes and recruited 100,000+ manpower.

Although RAF took significant damage during the whole war time, their Biggest loss happened in bloody april. Bloody April will remain Black month for the whole British royal air force.