Aerial photography

During World War I, millions of aerial photographs were taken on the Western Front in Belgium and France. Hundreds of thousands of images are still preserved in archives around the world.

Aerial photography during the First World WarAerial photography during the First World War

Aerial photography during the First World WarPoppy

World War I broke out on 4 August 1914. What was initially intended to be a lightning war, ended up as a stalemate in the trenches after the Battle of the Yser and the First Battle of Ypres. Both sides soon recognised the potential of a new weapon: aerial reconnaissance. Pilots and observers became the all-seeing eyes of the military. What started as an initiative by a few enthusiastic pilots and observers, quickly grew into a fully-fledged discipline from mid-1915 onward, and was widely practised. In fact, aerial photography proved to be the most efficient way to gather information about the enemy as well as one's own trench systems and the organisation of the hinterland. The aerial photographs were an invaluable source for creating trench maps.