9. U.S. bombing airplane over enemy territory, 1918

Gelatin silver print
Gift of William Kistler, 1977.685

Photographic observation planes often flew in formation, with one plane assigned to photography and the rest present as defense against enemy aircraft. While it is not known if this was the case when this photograph was taken, it is likely, since resources were at a premium.

The information gleaned from aerial observation behind the frontlines was highly valued, and as a result, observation planes were prime targets for enemy fire, both from antiaircraft shells from below and enemy aircraft mid-flight. The aerial dogfights associated with World War I often emerged from the defense of observation missions.

Inscribed recto, on album page, lower left, in black/brown ink: “U. S. bombing airplane over enemy territory”; printed recto, on album page, lower right, in black ink: “Photographic Section. / Air Service. American Expeditionary Forces.”; inscribed recto, on album page, lower right, in blue ink: “9″; unmarked verso