Bombers are military aircraft designed to drop bombs on enemy targets from the air. They originated in with the World War I appearance of aircraft such as the de Havilland DH4 and German Gotha, and developed into the highly sophisticated flying machines in service today such as the Rockwell B-1 Lancer and the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Although the US Army was the first to drop a bomb from an aeroplane in 1910, it was the Italians who first dropped them in anger against the Turks in 1911. Few of the early bombs were purpose made, Many were modified artillery shells fitted with fins and often just simply tossed over the side of the aircraft or suspended alongside or beneath the aircraft on primitive mountings. Before the start of World War I the Austro-Hungarians, Germans and Russians had all working on developing specialized bomber aircraft (although the British did not do so until after the outbreak of hostilities), but the first true bomber used in combat was the French Voisin which earned its spurs with an attack on the hangers at Zeppelin Metz-Frascaty on August 14, 1914.

By the outbreak of World War II the Bomber aircraft had undergone much improvement. Now it had been adapted to perform her bewildering variety of Strategic and Tactical roles. Early in this War such bombers as the Junkers Ju87 Dive Bomber would provide sterling work in supporting the advancing German Army. Later large Four-engined Heavy Bombers like the Boeing B 17 Flying Fortress and Avro Lancaster would devastate enemy cities and industrial targets. Anti-Shipping missions would likewise have a significant effect on wartime Naval operations.

The advent of the Nuclear age would not see a decline in the role of the manned bomber (although many long range strategic targets could now be attacked by ICBM missiles. Conflicts around the world since 1945 have many times shown that the Bomber still has a significant effect on the conduct of military operations.

See Also

List of bomber aircraft

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