Military Review

Funny ancestor of an aircraft carrier


Yes, the material may seem ridiculous and frivolous, but believe me, the direct participants were not at all laughing. They, the participants, were engaged in a very serious matter of creation.

Today, an aircraft carrier is very serious weapon. And countries that have aircraft carriers in their arsenal make up a prestigious club of those who were able to acquire these weapons. Thailand does not count, the presidential aircraft carrier still does not look very serious against the general background.

But today we plunge into history. It’s so deep, because history is a very serious thing. And the history of aircraft carriers began much earlier than many can imagine.


And we begin with what all aircraft were originally engaged in. That is, from intelligence.

Initially, intelligence was tied to the speed of movement and the height at which scouts could climb. And the higher the observer turned out to be, the easier it was for him to work. But the trouble is, suitable heights were not always at hand. Especially during the siege of cities, as well as at sea, where the height of the masts decided everything.

Not surprisingly, as soon as a person came up with a way to rise higher, the first ones who began to look at it intently were the military.

And as soon as things began, such as “furwin made like a big ball, blew nasty and smelly smoke from him, made a noose from him, sat in it, and the evil spirit lifted him above the birch,” the military realized that there it was.

True, the first air observers took off not on balloons or balloons, but on kites. It is clear that the idea that came from the Chinese was productive, although the flight depended on such things as the wind. Well, I had to select observers according to the principle "the easier the better."

Funny ancestor of an aircraft carrier

According to the records, the first attempts to adapt a balloon for reconnaissance were made in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. And it seems even successful. And then a vile little thought arose about the idea that it would be nice to throw something explosive on the head of an enemy from a balloon.

But it didn’t work, because there wasn’t what could be thrown. Contact fuses have not yet been invented, and the lifting height was so-so. Not more than 400 meters, and the removal is not so far from the launch site, so it was easy to send a certain number of cores or (even more efficiently) a volcano hussar squadron that would chop down the crew of aeronauts to Kroshevo.

However, the idea firmly settled in the military brains.

The next attempt was made by the Austrians, who besieged Venice in 1849, where the anti-Austrian uprising began. Venice was then part of the Austrian Empire.

And it was in 1849 that the first use of combat aircraft from ships occurred.

Austrian troops besieged Venice, having made a full blockade, but this did not go further than this. Venice was very well fortified, and even the landscape simply did not allow it to pull up heavy siege artillery in order to enlighten the rebellious.

There was a stalemate situation in which the Austrians simply could not normally fire at the city, which, of course, infuriated them.

Among the Austrians there was a smart man. This happens even in imperial armies. The lieutenant (!!!) of the Austrian artillery, Franz von Juhatic, proposed to bombard the city with balloons.

The idea was very innovative: balloons had to be launched in the wind when it was blowing towards Venice, and at the right time the clockwork was supposed to drop bombs on the city.

The Austrian commander, Marshal Radetsky, liked the idea, and the work began to boil.

Why the Austrians decided to use balloons from the water is difficult to say today. But the first application was from a carrier of sea-based, in modern language.

In fact, everything was simpler: the Vulkano auxiliary ship was used as a balloon carrier. Balloons equipped with bombs clung to the sides of the ship. With a fair wind, balloons detached and sent to the target. After the estimated time, a mechanism was released over the city that released the bombs, and they flew down.

Everything was very approximate, but the idea at that time was good. And very modern. It is unlikely that a real military influence would be significant, but moral - completely.

Satisfied with the panic in the city, the Austrians continued to shoot around the city with cannons, which the wind was not fundamental.

The fact, albeit subtle, has remained in history. In June 1849, for the first time on board a warship, an aircraft (unmanned) with a bomb load started.

But whoever needed it, he remembered. And already in 1862, in the waters of the Potomac River, the army of the northerners used this weapon in the Civil War. True, in a slightly different quality.

The northerners took the old coal barge and converted it into a balloon carrier. A stable barge made it possible to place on itself all the necessary equipment, a repair, lifting, telegraph station (!) For observer reports and a supply of hydrogen for filling the shell.

Accuracy of movement was not required here, it was enough to hang out the balloon higher and observe the actions of the enemy or adjust the fire of your batteries.

It turned out very effective. So much so that the barge, cruising out of reach of the southerners' guns, took them out so much that an airborne detachment from several ships was sent in order to stop the reconnaissance outrage of the northerners.

However, the northerners assumed something similar, and a small battle was fought on the Potomac between the landing of the southerners and the aerostat carrier guard forces, which consisted of two gunboats, an armed tugboat and a sloop. Southerners got the teeth, but they copied the idea and built their ship with a reconnaissance balloon.

But the Civil War was observed from Europe, and watched intently. They even sent their representatives and observers. For acquaintance with novelties and military experience.

One of these officers was the German captain (future lieutenant general) Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Cavalry reconnaissance profile.

Probably, no one will be surprised that Major von Zeppelin during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 very widely used balloons to collect data ...

On the navy the novelty was also mastered. Even with greater interest than on land, because the sea has no mountains, heights and other advantages. Only the masts from which all visual observation was conducted.

But the mast can’t be made so high that you can really get an advantage over the enemy. A few tens of meters, and that’s it. But the balloon could be lifted by how much the cable length and weight would allow. That is a few hundred meters. And this is a real advantage.

But working with a balloon was not an easy task. Firstly, the wind, which interfered with the work, and secondly, the shape of the balloon. Draft balloons turned and rotated with the wind just awful, and often observers simply could not do their job properly.

This went on until the Germans invented the so-called snake balloon. That is, the balloon is slightly elongated and with plumage, which played the role of a stabilizer.

And the world erupted. I liked everything the concept of an air spotter at sea, which is completely free from smoke from shots of huge guns of armadillos and dreadnought. And they still fired black powder, so there was enough smoke. By the very clowns.

And scouts were very inexpensive, for the needs of the fleet and carrying balloons it was possible to convert all sorts of commercial ships. The cheaper the better.

By the way, here in terms of building and rebuilding balloons, the Russian fleet was the first. In 1904, the auxiliary cruiser Rus appeared in the ranks of the Russian fleet. It was a German commercial ship, which bought Count Stroganov and gave it to the needs of the fleet.

The steamer (“Lan”) was fresh and rather fast, 17 knots - this is quite good. Therefore, they did not put weapons on Rus, but armed the newly made cruiser with four snake-type balloons.

In addition to them, the “ammunition” included one traditional ball-shaped balloon and four small signal balloons. Signal balloons were designed to send signals to ships in a squadron at a great distance.

And on other Russian ships, balloons began to appear. So, I found a photo of the cruiser "Russia" with a bubble at the stern.

Balloons took root on ships. The benefit was obvious. Development idea ruined aviation. Yes, the plane in World War I only got on the wing. He carried one or two machine guns and several small bombs, while normal combat airships bristled with trunks of not only machine guns, but also guns. And the bombs took hundreds of kilograms.

Alas, the aerostat lost in the dispute with the aircraft. And the balloons began to remodel into hydroplanes, that is, carriers of seaplanes.

Russian hydro-air transport "Orlitsa"

So, historically, the development chain looks like this: aerostat carrier - airship - hydro-air transport - aircraft carrier.

And the essence of the application, by the way, is not very different from the Austrian idea of ​​1849. So the idea was very, very good ...
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  1. WILL
    WILL 15 June 2020 18: 15
    Miracle - Miracle! I liked the article by Roman Skomorokhov! We wish the author more good articles on historical topics! good Photos - Exam!
    1. Kuroneko
      Kuroneko 16 June 2020 17: 38
      Roman aircraft carriers KR and LC forgot. I’m not talking about ordinary (even for the Kyrgyz Republic period of Interbellum-World War II) seaplanes, but about specific representatives of the genre, combining the features of an aircraft carrier and an artillery ship.

      Well, you can still remember kakbe underwater carriers, and the projects of air carriers - airships, aircraft carriers. And aircraft carriers (looks like a tautology, but in reality it’s not =).

      In short, the evolution of the class was far from being as linear as Roman presents it to us.
  2. Avior
    Avior 15 June 2020 18: 34
    . Why the Austrians decided to use balloons from the water is difficult to say today.

    Perhaps for several reasons
    1 from the water to Venice less distance due to difficult approaches along the coast
    2 it is easier to deliver to the launch site, especially taking into account the fact that the direction of the wind could differ, and it was necessary to start from a certain point depending on the direction of the wind, quickly moving.
    The best way for that time is water transport

    3. To start, we needed a time-predictable and not very strong wind, the easiest way is a daily breeze, it blows from the sea to land during the day, even in strength, stable in direction and time.
    In addition, after the bomb was dropped, the balloon flew further and fell somewhere on the shore; it could be reused.
  3. bubalik
    bubalik 15 June 2020 18: 37
    ,,, Roman briefly ran through it. You could write a lot about airships, especially in World War II.
    Firm "Goodyr", airships "K" ,,,

    As the German U-134 airship K-74 failed.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 15 June 2020 19: 22
      Quote: bubalik
      As the German U-134 airship K-74 failed.

      At the same time she fell in love with a bulk carrier and a tanker.
      Because of which. in fact, the airship attacked the submarine contrary to instructions
    2. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins 15 June 2020 19: 31
      Well, we got an extended version of articles from MK of the eighties.
    3. vladcub
      vladcub 15 June 2020 20: 30
      My friend Sergey, you only teased your appetite: what was this story?
      1. bubalik
        bubalik 15 June 2020 20: 34
        DD! hi
        ,,, described on many resources. The story is quite famous.
  4. avia12005
    avia12005 15 June 2020 18: 42
    I wonder why balloons were not used in the 2nd squadron at Tsushima? And were they with her?
  5. Alceers
    Alceers 15 June 2020 19: 25
    So the idea was very, very good ...

    It’s strange to read this from Roman. After all, only recently was his article about the uselessness of the Navy, the inferiority of ideas laid down in aircraft carriers and other things ....?
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 15 June 2020 20: 21
      But what about the 70 tons really needed? to whom?
    2. vladcub
      vladcub 15 June 2020 20: 33
      The novel responded: "everything flows, everything changes" and my thoughts changed dramatically
  6. sharp-lad
    sharp-lad 15 June 2020 19: 39
    Wow! A combat, robotic, unmanned vehicle is lighter than air in 1849! Truly great is the power of human thought in the destruction of their own kind.
  7. Undecim
    Undecim 15 June 2020 20: 00
    According to the records, the first attempts to adapt a balloon for reconnaissance were made in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte.
    The first attempts to adapt balloons for reconnaissance were made before Napoleon.
    The world's first aeronautical military unit, the Compagnie d'aérostiers, was created in France in 1794. The corps consisted of a captain and a lieutenant, a senior sergeant and two sergeants, a corporal and twenty privates. Three roles were envisaged: intelligence, signaling, and propaganda.
    The first military use of the balloon was on June 2, 1794 at the Battle of Fleurus.
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 15 June 2020 20: 34
      V.N., thank you for correcting Roman
    2. Saxahorse
      Saxahorse 15 June 2020 23: 33
      Quote: Undecim
      The world's first aeronautical military unit, the Compagnie d'aérostiers, was created in France in 1794.

      It is curious that "on January 28, 1799, the first aviation company was disbanded for some unknown reason, and on November 17, 1801, by decree of the Minister of War Berthier, the second aeronautical company was liquidated, and its personnel were transferred to artillery."

      Rumor has it that already under Fleurus, Jourdan was dissatisfied with the work of his air reconnaissance. It was assumed that "everything is visible from above .." however, even a modest "brilliant green" made significant adjustments. As a result, under Fleurus and during the siege of Mainz, the aeronauts missed the approach of as many as several Austrian divisions, which almost ended badly for the French army.

      As a result, the benefit of aeronautics at that time was recognized as very limited.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 16 June 2020 00: 30
        The first company at the battle of Würzburg was captured by the Austrians in full force along with a balloon, which is now on display at the Vienna Museum of Military History and is the oldest surviving in Europe.

        After being released under the terms of the Leoben Treaty, the company was sent to Egypt, where in 1798 at the battle of Abukir it lost all its property and was used for other tasks until 1802, when the army returned from Egypt.
        1. Saxahorse
          Saxahorse 16 June 2020 00: 40
          Quote: Undecim
          the company was sent to Egypt, where in 1798 at the battle of Abukir it lost all its property and was used for other tasks

          It was believed that balloons greatly scared the natives and barbarians, for which they sent to Egypt. The Mamelukes really didn’t get scared. And the company’s property was lost as a result of a hurricane, which took their ball just to the Mameluke. They say it upset Bonaparte. :)
  8. Undecim
    Undecim 15 June 2020 20: 19
    It is unlikely that a real military influence would be significant, but moral - completely.
    In total, the Austrians launched about 200 balloons. The balloons were launched mainly from land; however, some were also launched from the Vulcano. Reliably confirmed "hit" - one. But the changed wind drove part of the balloons to the Austrian positions, where there was more panic than in the city.
  9. vladcub
    vladcub 15 June 2020 20: 43
    Roman, actually it was supposed to use a balloon to strike the French from the air. A similar balloon was built on the Sparrow Hills in 1812. He had to have a dozen light cannons to fall asleep with French shots, but did not have time to build and test before the battle of Borodino
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 15 June 2020 21: 00
      before the battle of Borodino did not have time to build and test
      Have time. He did not get off the ground. This is Leppich's "flying boat". The project cost 163 rubles. At that time - very serious money.
      1. vladcub
        vladcub 15 June 2020 21: 12
        I read that the tests were delayed. On TV there was a d / f in the "Searchers" cycle, but there was a lot of accompanying "garbage" like: "if only mushrooms had grown in my mouth"
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 15 June 2020 21: 18
          Three days before the occupation of Moscow by the enemy, Rostopchin reports:
          “... With regret, I inform your Majesty of Leppich's failure. He built a ball, which was supposed to raise 50 people, and set the hour when he was supposed to rise ... 5 days have passed and nothing is ready. Instead of 6 hours, he used the whole 3 days to fill a ball with gas, which two people didn’t lift ...

          Remember this magazine - "Technology of Youth", and in it the heading "Anthology of Mysterious Cases".
          In No. 3 for 1970 there was just an article.
          1. vladcub
            vladcub 16 June 2020 11: 43
            Indeed, a lot of interesting things were published in "Technics of Youth". Once there I saw about the explosion on: "Empress Mary", there are still a lot of interesting
            PS. On the Internet can be found to re-read?
            1. Undecim
              Undecim 16 June 2020 13: 56
              Everything can be found on the Internet.
  10. doubovitski
    doubovitski 15 June 2020 21: 38
    I liked the language of presentation. I was already somewhat familiar with the facts, but anyway, I read it with interest. The author is undoubtedly with talent in friends.
  11. phair
    phair 15 June 2020 21: 51
    5+ Very nice articles.
  12. Pushkowed
    Pushkowed 16 June 2020 06: 07
    The balloon carrier "Rus" did not reach Tsushima. Due to the terrible technical condition, he was sent back.
    When approaching Tsushima, the Russian squadron imagined that someone's balloon was visible over the sea. (Then the Russian squadron saw a lot of things: either Japanese destroyers at Dogger Banks, or Japanese submarines ...) The cruisers Zhemchug and Oleg were sent for reconnaissance. But they did not find the balloon or its source.
    The cruiser Almaz, which successfully passed Tsushima, later became the first Russian seaplane carrier (in the Black Sea Fleet), in this role and passed the First World War.
    1. vladcub
      vladcub 16 June 2020 11: 35
      "then the Japanese destroyers at Doger Banks" the Japanese were there. In my opinion Kostenko: "On the" Eagle "in Tsushima" gave data that the yaps were seen there.
  13. Earthshaker
    Earthshaker 16 June 2020 12: 27
    "Not everyone can see tomorrow ... or rather, they can, but not everyone" ©
    Franz von Johanik saw.
  14. dgonni
    dgonni 16 June 2020 12: 29
    Respect! Skororokhov suddenly was able to an excellent article!
  15. Region-25.rus
    Region-25.rus 20 June 2020 16: 42
    Quote: vladcub
    "then the Japanese destroyers at Doger Banks" the Japanese were there. In my opinion Kostenko: "On the" Eagle "in Tsushima" gave data that the yaps were seen there.

    it seems like the question has long been sorted into pieces. And ... where did the "shells" with a displacement of 200-250 tons appear there by themselves? Yes, our destroyers crawled to Tsushima but (!) As part of a squadron. At the same time, receiving from the squadron and coal, and provisions, lubricants, often going in tow of larger ships. Why would the Japanese be asked to drag a couple of destroyers across half the world to Europe?) If the same could be done much closer to their waters. Moreover, there are better conditions. especially at the exit from the Indian Ocean.
    Well, unless they bought destroyers from the same Britain on the spot, put their crews on them and raised their "Sun" at the stern. But .. it somehow sounds fantastic)))
  16. Gloomy skeptic
    Gloomy skeptic 27 July 2020 04: 54
    Interesting article! My Respect to the author !!!