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Thread: September 22, 1915: The French airstrike at Stuttgart

  1. #1

    Default September 22, 1915: The French airstrike at Stuttgart

    On Wednesday, September 22, 1915, at 8:15 am Central European Standard Time, 20 French Voisin Type V biplanes departed from their aerodromes, located in the municipal Territoire de Belfort, a Department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region in Eastern France. To aid in their mission, the aircraft were painted with deceptive German identification markings. Pilots were instructed to fly to Stuttgart; their furthest excursion over German territory as of that date in the war. The goal was to hit the Neues Schloss (New Palace) and the Royal Wurttemberg State Railways Hauptbahnhoff (Central Station, or Train Depot), under construction since 1914. The intent was to inflict psychological as well as physical damage to the city and its residents, as an expression of outrage over German aerial attacks on French, Belgian and English cities. More than 100 bombs were sent below, but the munitions were inadequately small. Answering the ruse, German battery positions sent a furious barrage skywards, resulting in fire and smoke. Pilots of Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches (Imperial German Army Air Service) ascended to the sky with vengeance. The French airmen retreated for home. As a result, actual material wreckage to the New Palace, central station and adjacent buildings was minor. Four German civilians died; several civilians and soldiers were injured. As the day progressed, 1 hapless German pilot returning from a different assignment was mistaken as being French, flying a disguised plane. While attempting to land, he suddenly received friendly fire from overanxious, confused ground troops.
    This was the first airstrike on Stuttgart during the Great War.
    Last edited by Joe Mac Pherson; 02-25-2021 at 18:36.

  2. #2


    False-flagging your aircraft markings is always a recipe for disaster.
    Does your source say what makes of planes the French used? 1915, I'd guess Vinson pushers.
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  3. #3


    I'm pleased to answer your question, but first, a backstory: For decades, I've been buying original European travel posters 1920-1957, through galleries and auctions. In 2019, I was the high bidder on what is now one of the 4 rarest posters I own: Stuttgart, by August Friedrich Gumbart (1884 - year of death believed to be before 1955). The poster is graded as Condition A-. Regretfully, the poster isn't dated. I was certain it was done between 1929-1930, 1931, and I was determined to find out. Through Google, I typed in Stuttgart postcard 1925. Anything in those German printed postcards that appears in my poster helped ascertain the date. I researched individual features from each postcard. It helps that my high-definition monitor is 24 x 14 inches, plus I used a magnifying glass. Also, if particular buildings in the poster weren't seen in the postcards, back to more searching. Stuttgart postcard 1926, Stuttgart postcard 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, Stuttgart postcard, 1931... I also studied maps of Stuttgart, from 1925-1933. Numerous German websites! Finally I got the date, or as close as I ever will. I don't speak Deutsche, so I had A LOT of German to English translations. Everything I learned was typed in an ongoing email I created for myself, and anyone else interested in the poster. By learning about the different architecture and layout of the city, I gained more appreciation for this truly rare and beautiful artwork.
    While researching the Hauptbahnhof and Neues Schloss, prominently featured in the poster, I discovered they were specifically targeted during the Great War, in 1915. This resulted in my quest to read as much as possible about aerial bombings of Stuttgart during 1914-1918, because maybe, results of those airstrikes resulted in the look of the modern city shown in my poster.
    So many hours, days, weeks of research and cross-referencing, to find what I know so far. Details for my post were acquired by reading British, US and Canadian newspaper stories on that date, plus a 1915 British journal for engineering, also a 1915 journal for aviation and other 1915 accounts. Most of the reports were very brief. I diligently carried on, compiling all I could about the Stuttgart airstrike of 1915, for accuracy in my poster's history.
    My extensive research for Stuttgart's eventful day is posted here, for the benefit of everyone else. I assure you, if I could have gained from the plethora of 1915 articles I read, the squadron's name, I would include the information. Honestly, when I first read that the French actually disguised their planes for this sortie, I was astonished and rather disappointed that this was allowed to happen. I was fascinated to discover that 1 German pilot, thinking he's coming safely home from another, different mission somewhere else, suddenly realized, Germans are aiming their guns on him! I can only imagine what he was thinking! The account makes no mention if he lived to berate and thoroughly insult the German gunners on the ground, or not.
    I hope Wings Of Glory will use my detailed report, for the date of September 22, 1915.
    If you or anyone else would like to see my Stuttgart poster and the detailed research I did to accommodate it, my email address is:
    Also, thanks to Wings Of Glory, for being the only site that offers a day by day account of The Great War. For my research, this is an extraordinary benefit.
    If you wonder, where will my collection of Original European Travel Posters, 1920 - 1957 eventually go, my plan is to donate all of it. Either 1 or 2 museums of art will receive them, so others can appreciate the artworks. Not yet- my most recent acquisition was last November, 2020, for a 1933 KLM poster, graded as A. Definitely included among the 4 rarest posters I own.
    Last edited by Joe Mac Pherson; Today at 04:43.

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