'Battle in Mid-Air', sheet music, 1914,
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithographed sheet music cover by Frank M Barton depicting two aeroplanes engaged in a violent aerial dogfight. The music is described as being a 'Fantasia' by Haydon Augarde. In the years before World War I, military planners pondered the potential applications of aviation, from observation to bombing and attacking ground forces using machine-guns carried on board aeroplanes. Inevitably, clashes were going to occur between opposing aeroplanes whilst in the air. The first dogfight resulting in one plane shooting down another happened on 5th October 1914, when a French Voisin fitted with a machine-gun and flown by Sergeant Frantz and Corporal Quenault downed a German Aviatik over Jonchery near Reims. By the end of the war aerial battles were being fought between massed formations of aircraft.