Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops

Austro-Hungarian Imperial And Royal Aviation Troops

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Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops

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The Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops (Kaiserliche und Königliche Luftfahrtruppen or K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen) was the air force of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the empire's demise in 1918. It saw combat on both the Eastern Front and Italian Front during World War I. Despite being much smaller and usually less technologically advanced than the German or British air forces, it performed with tenacity and bravery during the war.


The Air Service began in 1893 as a balloon corps (Militär-Aeronautische Anstalt) and would later be re-organized in 1912 under the command of Major Emil Uzelac, an army engineering officer. The Air Service would remain under his command until the end of World War I in 1918. The first officers of the air force were private pilots with no prior military aviation training.

At the outbreak of war, the Air Service was composed of 10 observation balloons, 85 pilots, and 39 operable aircraft. Just as Austria-Hungary fielded a joint army and navy, they also had army and naval aviation arms. The latter operated seaplanes; Gottfried Freiherr von Banfield became an ace in one. The Adriatic Coast seaplane stations also hosted...
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