5 April 1916 – RFC starts preparations for major British offensive

The British Fourth Army under General Sir Henry Rawlinson is preparing for a major offensive in the Somme area during the summer. For the first time in the war a coordinated plan has been agreed between Rawlinson and RFC Commander Hugh Trenchard for the support that the RFC will provide to the offensive.

Army squadrons will conduct conduct strategic reconnaissance and begin the process of achieve air superiority over the German Army Air Service, followed by long-range bombing of German communication networks.

Corps squadrons will observe and direct counter-battery fire against German artillery followed by contact patrols with the infantry, close reconnaissance, destruction of enemy observation balloons, aerial photography and other special missions as determined by the RFC commander.

Today, the Third and Fourteenth Wings began the process of photographing every yard of ground opposite the Fourth Army. Work has also begun to identify and target German artillery batteries.

Fighter aircraft are protecting the corps and army aircraft from enemy attacks as well as preventing German observation and reconnaissance aircraft from venturing into British airspace where they could view the gradual build-up of units and equipment.


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