January

First air-to-air combat, German airman killed by rifle fire from Allied aircraft.

  • 18. Japan's Twenty-One Demands on China
  • 19-20. First German aerial bombing of Britain, by two Zeppelins, thereby opening up a new era in the exploitation of aeronautics. During World War I, a total of 56 tons of aerial bombs was dropped on London and 214 tons on the rest of Britain.
February

French Lieutenant Roland Garros mounts a machine gun on his aircraft, shot down first the German aircraft.

Anthony H. G. Fokker perfects his design for a synchronizing gear to allow machinegun fire through a rotating propeller.

  • 4. Germany announces "war zone" in British waters
  • 19. British begin naval action against the Dardenelles
  • 10. Prussians defeated by Germans in Battle of Masurian Lakes.
  • 18. German submarine 'blockade' of British Isles begins.
  • 25. Allied fleet destroys outer forts of Dardanelles.
March
  • 1. American citizen dies in sinking of first passenger ship, the British liner, Falaba. Capt. George Van Horn Moseley of War College Divison suggests a plan for universal military training to Chief of Staff
  • 2. Allied troops land at Kum-Kale, on Asiatic side of the Dardanelles.
  • 3. The Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or NACA) was established by a rider to the Naval Appropriations Act, "..to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view of their practical solution." The sum of $5,000 a year was appropriated for 5 years. The total appropriation for naval aeronautics was $1 million.
  • 4. US Congress passed an appropriation bill of $300,000 for Army aeronautics for fiscal year 1916.
  • 10. British take Neuve Chapelle in Flanders battle.
  • 11. Britain announces blockade of German ports
  • 22. Austrian fortress of Przmysl surrenders to Russians.
April
  • 2. President Wilson appointed the first 12 members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
  • 16. US Navy AB-2 flying boat successfully catapulted from a barge, Lt. P. N. Bellinger as pilot.
  • 22. Second Battle of Ypres begins. Poison gas first used by Germans in attack on Canadians at Ypres, Belgium.
  • 23. The Secretary of War called the first meeting of the NACA in his office. Brig. Gen. George P. Scriven, Chief Signal Officer, was elected temporary Chairman, and Dr. Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was elected first Chairman of the important NACA Executive Committee. American altitude record of 10,000 feet for seaplanes was established in Burgess-Dunne AH-10 by Lt. P. N. Bellinger over Pensacola, Florida.
  • 25. British landing on Gallipoli Peninsula
  • 26. France, Russia, Italy and Britain conclude secret Treaty of London
  • 31. First German Zeppelin raid on London. British employed rockets in their defenses around London.
May
  • 1. American steamer Gulflight torpedoed off Scilly Isles by German submarine; 3 lives lost.
  • 2. British South Africa troops under General Botha capture Otymbingue, German Southwest Africa.
  • 2. Opening of great Austro-German offensive in Galicia. (Gorlice-Tarnow)
  • 7. Germans capture Libau, Russian Baltic port. Lusitania, Cunard liner, sunk by German submarine off Kinsale Head, Irish coast, with loss of 1152 lives; 102 Americans.
  • 9. Opening of the Second Battle of Artois on western front.
  • 23. Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary and begins invasion on a 60 mile front.
  • 25. Asquith reorganizes his liberal ministry as a coalition.
  • 31. German Zeppelins bombard suburbs of London.
June
  • 1. Navy let first contract for lighter-than-air craft in ordering one nonrigid airship from Connecticut Aircraft (later the DN-1).
  • 4-6. German aircraft bomb English towns.
  • 15. Allied aircraft bombs Karlsruhe, Baden, in retaliation.
  • 22. Lemberg recaptured by Austrians.
  • 26. Montenegrins enter Scutari, Albania.
  • 29. First of twelve battles of the Isonzo begins on the Italian front.
July
  • 7. Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, in a letter to Thomas A. Edison said that the Navy required "machinery and facilities for utilizing the natural inventive genius of Americans to meet the new conditions of warfare." This letter prompted creation of Naval Consulting Board of civilian advisers which functioned throughout World War I, and which included in its organization a "Committee on Aeronautics, including Aero Motors."
  • 9. German Southwest African surrenders to British South African troops under Gen. Botha.10. Naval Aeronautic Station, Pensacola, tested sextant equipped with a pendulum-type artificial horizon and reported that pendulum type was unsatisfactory for aircraft use, but that a sextant with a gyroscopically stabilized artificial horizon might be acceptable.
August
  • 5. Warsaw captured by Germans.
  • 6. Gallipoli Peninsula campaign enters a second stage with the debarkation of a new force of British troops in Suvla Bay, on the west of the peninsula.
  • 8. Russians defeat German fleet of 9 battleships and 12 cruisers at the entrance of Gulf of Riga.
  • 11. US Naval Observatory requested Eastman Kodak to develop an aerial camera with high-speed lens suitable for photography at 1,000 or 2,000 yards' altitude.
  • 19. Arabic, White Star liner, sunk by submarine off Fastnet; 44 lives lost; 2 Americans.
  • 21. Wilson sends notes to Secretary of War Garrison and Secretary of the Navy Daniels directing them to draft a defense program.
  • 25. Brest-Litovsk, Russian fortress, captured by Austro-Germans.
  • 28. Italians reach Cima Cista, north-east of Trent.
  • 30. British submarine attacks Constantinople and damages the Galata Bridge.
  • 31. Lutsk, Russian fortress, captured by Austrians.
September
  • 1. US Congress supplemented appropriation of Army aeronautics to $13,281,666 from $300,000 of previous fiscal year.
  • 6. Czar Nicholas of Russia assumes command of Russian armies. Grand Duke Nicholas is transferred to the Caucasus.
  • 22. Opening of Second Battle of Champagne on western front
  • 25. Allies open offensive on Western front and occupy Lens.
October
  • 5. Franco-British force lands at Salonika and Greek ministry resigns.
  • 9. Belgrade again occupied by Austro-Germans.
  • 12. Edith Cavell, English nurse, shot by Germans for aiding British prisoners to escape from Belgium.
  • 13. London bombarded by Zeppelins; 55 persons killed; 114 injured.
  • 14. Bulgaria at war with Serbia.
  • 15. Great Britain declares war on Bulgaria.
  • 17. France at war with Bulgaria.
  • 19. Italy and Russia at war with Bulgaria.
  • 19. Two Americans die in sinking of Arabic off Ireland.
  • 21. The Washington Post carries story that General Staff is planning to send a force of 1 million soldiers overseas.
  • 24. Baltimore Sun carries story that General Staff is planning to send a force of 1 million soldiers overseas. War College Division denies allegations in Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. American General Staff, in response to request from Secretary of War Lindley M. Garrison, devotes much of the year to preparing the "Statement of a Proper Military Policy for the United States."
  • 29. Briand becomes premier of France, succeeding Viviani.
November
  • 5. Nish, Serbian war capital, captured by Bulgarians.
  • 6. First catapult launching from a ship underway, made from the U.S.S. North Carolina in Pensacola Bay, by Lt. Cmdr. H. C. Mustin.
  • 24. Serbian government transferred to Scutari, Albania.
December

All-metal fully cantilever-wing monoplane produced by Hugo Junkers in Germany, the J-1 powered by a 120-hp Mercedes, made its first successful flights.

  • 4. Henry Ford, with large party of peace advocates, sails for Europe on chartered steamer Oscar II, with the object of ending the war.
  • 12. An all-steel frame, fabric-covered combat plane successfully flown, one designed by Grover C. Loening and built by Sturtevant Aeroplane Co.
  • 13. Serbia in hands of enemy, Allied forces abandoning last positions and retiring across Greek frontier.
  • 15. Gen. Sir Douglas Haig succeeds Field Marshal Sir John French as Commander-in-Chief of British forces in France.
  • 20. Dardanelles expedition ends; British troops begin withdrawal from positions on Suvla Bay and Gallipoli Peninsula.
  • 22. Henry Ford leaves his peace party at Christiania and returns to the United States.