Awful though it was, some good came of a German air raid on London in July 1917. Twenty-two Gotha bombers had flown in for the attack, but only 19 returned, Prime Minister David Lloyd George told a secret session of the House of Commons a few days later. The incursion had not been made with impunity, he said.
The downing of the bombers allowed an artist working for The Times Mid-Week Pictorial to render the airplanes’ general structure and arrangements in a cutaway diagram, including the racks and chutes in which 14 60-pound bombs were carried over the target, and the bombardier’s sighting window on the underside of the fuselage. The diagram also showed the biplane’s 260-horsepower Mercedes engines, manufactured by Daimler Motors.
(This was the month in which King George V restyled the British royal family as the House of Windsor, and dropped the names Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, for fairly obvious reasons.)
The Mid-Week Pictorial of a century ago also printed a photo of Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe, touring a munitions plant in Paris. He looked quite satisfied with the array of deadly shells, stacked waist-high. If the right side of the picture spoke to the cold machinery of modern war, however, the left side contained an almost domestic tableau out of the 19th century.
Times Insider is offering glimpses of some of the most memorable wartime illustrations that appeared in The New York Times Mid-Week Pictorial, on the 100th anniversary of each issue:
• Raw recruits muster at Gettysburg (Aug. 2)• A hellish battle scene captured by the camera (July 26)• Feeding troops with a cumbersome kitchen (July 19)• A phony battleship lures real sailors (July 12)• Carrier pigeons in military duty (July 5)• Fijians join the fight (June 28)• A “dead town” in northern France (June 21)• Immigrants among draft registrants (June 14)• Terror on the high seas (June 7)• General Pershing shows some vanity (May 31)• The face of chemical warfare (May 24)• Germans lose Cameroon (May 17)• Marshal Joffre conquers Capitol Hill (May 10)