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Giulio Gavotti on a Farman biplane, Rome 1910.

Giulio Gavotti (17 October 1882 in Genoa – 6 October 1939) was an Italian lieutenant and pilot, who fought in the Italo-Turkish War. He set two firsts in the history of aerial warfare of heavier-than-air flyers: He was the first man to make an aerial bombardment, as well as the first to perform a night mission.

Aerial bombardmentEdit

On 1 November 1911, he flew his early model Etrich Taube monoplane against Ottoman military in Libya.[1][2][3] He took four grenades ("Cipelli"[3]) to a leather pouch, each of a size of grapefruit and weighing about four pounds.[2] Flying at an altitude of 600 feet, Gavotti screwed in the detonators and tossed each munition over the side[1] — three onto the Tagiura (Jagiura) oasis, and one more onto military camp at Ain Zara.[2][3] Gavotti’s attack did not inflict any casualties.[4]

The oldest known preserved Etrich Taube, in Vienna, Austria, is possibly a near-twin to the aircraft Gavotti flew in 1911, as both are said to have been powered with inline-four cylinder liquid-cooled powerplants.

After this and further missions, the Ottoman Empire issued a protest. The dropping of bombs from balloons had been outlawed by the Hague Convention of 1899, but Italy argued that this ban did not extend to heavier-than-air craft.[1]

Night missionEdit

Gavotti performed the historically first night mission of a heavier-than-air aircraft. It took place as part of the same campaign in Libya on 4 March 1912.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Grant, R.G. (2004). Flight - 100 Years of Aviation. Dorling-Kindersley Limited. p. 59. ISBN 1-4053-0575-4.
  2. ^ a b c d The influence of air power upon history by Walter J. Boyne, p.38
  3. ^ a b c d Chant, Christopher (2002). Austro-Hungarian aces of World War 1. Oxford: Osprey. pp. 38–39. ISBN 1-84176-376-4.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Libya 1911: How an Italian pilot began the air war era". BBC News Website. May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.