New Developments 1915

In the first months of 1915 the Air Corps to received the first Voisin aeroplanes from the French, acquired cameras designed for air to ground pictures and to started to equip the existing fleet with machine guns and bombing equipment.

In March 1915, Roland Garros operated from Dunkerke on the Flanders Front with a Morane Saulnier specially equipped to permit him to fire his machine gun through the propeller circle. This invention was decisive in the development of the fighter. However, after many initial successes Garros was finally captured with his aeroplane on 18 April 1915 a few kilometres of Kortrijk. In March 1915, the term of Belgian "Military Aviation" was also used officially for the first time.

The squadron constituted in Antwerpen with both French & Belgian crews evolved to form the French C74 squadron. The unit was based in Hondschoote on the French territory flying Caudron GIII and later GIV and RXI under French colour with mixed French-Belgian crews.

Squadrons of the British RNAS were also based in Dunkerke and sometime operated from Koksijde. These units operated all long the Belgian coast against the installations of the German Navy. British pilots operated also deep inside the country against the Zeppelin bases and airfields Germans had established in towns like Oostende, Gent or Brussels. It is the case in June 1915 when the Zeppelin LZ37 was shoot down near Gent on the way back from a bombing mission in Great Britain.

All during the conflict, the Belgian military aviation had some trouble to acquire last technology aircraft from French or British sources. However BE2c's, various mark of Farman, RE8's, Nieuport X, XI were finally delivered. The first Nieuport fighter arrived on June 1915. Lieutenant Crombez flew the first true fighter mission on 26 August 1915.

Due to his small force, the Belgian Military Aviation mainly specialised in air to ground photography and observation for the support of the Army. Some bombing and audacious raids were sometime mounted. This is the case in July 1915, when the Belgians, French and British military aviation united their forces to bomb the Germans airfields near the front.