22 Aug: Balloons With Bombs On

The world’s first notable air raid occurred on 22nd August, 1849, when the Austrian Army attacked Venice using a fleet of 200 miniature hot air balloons, each delivering a 33lb pound bomb. 

Following a disastrous first attempt – when the balloons blew back on to their own men – this time the Austrians equipped each balloon with a long copper wire to trigger the detonation. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly weigh up if the event had a decisive effect on their recapture of the Italian city; consider the psychological impact of attacking from the skies; and reveal why a ‘drone’ is called a drone… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Bombs over Venice’ (History Today, 1958): https://www.historytoday.com/archive/bombs-over-venice

• ‘Drones in Society’ by Ron Bartsch, James Coyne and Katherine Gray (Taylor & Francis, 2016) : https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Drones_in_Society/7CglDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=1849+austrian+venice+balloon&pg=PA20&printsec=frontcover

• ‘Planehook Stories: The Siege of Venice’ (Droneport Texas):