5 October 1914: The first aerial combat between two airplanes took place during World War I over Jonchery, Reims, France.
A French Voisin III biplane of Escadrille VB24, flown by Sergeant Joseph Frantz with observer Corporal Louis Quénault, engaged a German Aviatik B.II flown by Oberleutnant Fritz von Zangen and Sergeant Wilhelm Schlichting of FFA 18.
The Voisin was armed with a Hotchkiss M1909 8mm machine gun. Corporal Quénault fired two 48-round magazines at the German airplane, whose crew returned fire with rifles. Quénault’s machine gun jammed and he continued to fire on the Aviatik with a rifle.
The German airplane crashed and von Zangen and Schlichting were killed.
This was the first air-to-air kill in the history of warfare.
© 2016, Bryan R. Swopesby