'Military Ballooning', 1844-1884.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Printed woodcut from 'The Illustrated London News' showing two images of a reconnaisance balloon. The first shows the method of floating the balloon with signals at rest, and the second shows the near view of the car with signals working. In April 1974, the French army formed the world's first airborne military service using balloons. These were generally used for enemy observation rather than attack or defence, but proved very useful to the French in their war against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.