DOGFIGHTS OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR
World War I was the first war in which aircraft were deployed on a large scale. Tethered observation balloons had already been employed in several wars, and would be used extensively for artillery spotting. Germany employed Zeppelins for reconnaissance over the North Sea and strategic bombing raids over England.
Aeroplanes were just coming into military use at the outset of the war. Initially, they were used mostly for reconnaissance. Pilots and engineers learned from experience, leading to the development of many specialized types, including fighters, bombers, and ground attack aeroplanes.
Ace fighter pilots were portrayed as modern knights, and many became popular heroes. The war also saw the appointment of high-ranking officers to direct the belligerent nations’ air war effort.
The first recorded dogfight took place between a Serbian and an Austro-Hungarian pilot. The fight took place with handguns, due to the fact that weight restrictions kept them from bringing heavier arms, both escaped alive. Before that, enemy planes would fight with bricks and even rope.