A balloon at Fleurus, 1794.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The world's first military observation balloon, shown in a painting on a snuff box lid. The balloon 'L'Entreprenant' was used by the French Republican Army to observe the combined Austrian and Dutch army at Maubeuge on 26 June 1794. This became the first battle to be won through control of the air. The balloon was piloted by scientist Captain Charles Coutelle.