Dogfight facts for kids
A dogfight is a close air fight between fighter planes. It often involves turning, climbing, and swirling.
Dogfights started during World War I when the fighter planes did not have many weapons.
The first aerial dogfight occurred during the Battle of Cer (15–24 August 1914), when Serbian aviator Miodrag Tomić encountered an Austro-Hungarian plane while performing a reconnaissance mission over Austro-Hungarian positions. The Austro-Hungarian pilot initially waved, and Tomić waved back. The Austro-Hungarian pilot then fired at Tomić with his revolver. Tomić produced a pistol of his own and fired back. Tomić managed to escape, and within several weeks, all Serbian and Austro-Hungarian planes were fitted with machine-guns.
Modern weapons such as homing missiles did not exist in that time, and planes could only fight each other with machine guns. Since the machine guns were only useful at close range, the planes had to fly very close together to have combat. Pilots had to fly with many maneuvers to try to not be shot, and be able to shoot the enemy planes. This new type of flying was named dogfighting. Fighter planes made just for this type of flying were sometimes called dogfighters. During World War II many had autocannons firing small, explosive artillery shells. They kept farther apart so they would not be destroyed quickly.
In modern air combat, there are many long range weapons that can be used before dogfighting. Homing missiles can be fired much further away from the target than machine guns, and will automatically try to follow the target. These types of weapons make dogfighting less common, but modern planes still have Gatling guns, which are more advanced kinds of machine guns. This is because dogfighting still happens sometimes.
Images for kids
Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero chases a North American B-25 Mitchell during simulated combat.
Dogfight Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.