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Giulio Gavotti (17 October 1882 in Genoa–6 October 1939) was an Italian lieutenant and pilot who fought in the Italo-Turkish War.

Giulio Gavotti on a Farman biplane in Rome (1910)
Giulio Gavotti on a Farman biplane in Rome (1910)

Aerial bombardment

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]) in 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] This event is the first recoded airstrike launched from an airplane.[4][3]

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]

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.

Night mission

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 also


  1. Grant, R.G. (2004). Flight - 100 Years of Aviation. Dorling-Kindersley Limited. p. 59. ISBN 1-4053-0575-4.
  2. The influence of air power upon history by Walter J. Boyne, p.38
  3. Chant, Christopher (2002). Austro-Hungarian aces of World War 1. Oxford: Osprey. pp. 38–39. ISBN 1-84176-376-4.
  4. Lindqvist, Sven (2001). A history of bombing. New York: New Press. ISBN 1-56584-625-7. OCLC 44794868.
  5. "Libya 1911: How an Italian pilot began the air war era". BBC News Website. May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.

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