Tethered balloons authorized World War I observers to see as far as forty miles behind enemy lines to spot troop movements, chart ditch systems and direct artillery fire. The observation balloon most utilized by Americans was named for its designer, French engineer Lt.
Albert Caquot. The hydrogen-filled balloon could lift 2 passengers in its basket, with charting and communications appliances, and the weight of its mooring wire, to a height of roughly four thousand feet in good weather. Standard operations were between one thousand and four thousand feet. During WWI, Yank balloon observers directed artillery fire at targets like troop concentrations and supply dumps. Continue reading