http://cgi.ebay.com/Real-Photo-PC-Balloon-Co-Soldiers-Car-Ready-4-War_W0QQitemZ1 30282983678QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item130282983678&_trksid=p 3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A0|293%3A2|294%3A50
This is an unusual photo. I wonder if it pertains to weather balloons or spy balloons?
How about barrage balloons? The Dayton Air Museum has a couple examples of tethered balloons sent up to interfere with planes that tried to fly in close to the trenches.
Amazingly, the first scout or spy balloon was used by the North in the unCivil War.
I was unable to download the photo in your input. However, the main use for baloons, starting with the Civil War and before was to observe and report troop movements and concentrations. The baloons had a wicker gondola where the observers observed the area and sent down reports via the use of small parachutes. As planes and anti-aircraft guns were perfected this became a very hazardous duty and observers were provided the new parachutes.
My dad was in France in WWI and was a anti-aircraft gunner, utilizing a French Hotchkiss machine gun. His main duties were protecting these observation baloons from German aircraft and also protecting ground troops and airfields from the enemy.
My oldest brother was also an anti-aircraft gunner in WWII in Belgium, France and Germany. He was on a half-track with quaud-50 caliber machine guns. He received the purple heart from wounds inflicted by a M-109 strafing attack.
Watertown, South Dakota
Ralph, Amazingly I knew that. I read Thaddeus Lowe's biography as a kid when my Dad gave me the book. I remember the south tried to make a balloon out of silk dresses since they lacked the fabric in bolts due to the blockades.
Looking further into the 44th, they're referenced in a Google Books link. They did indeed deploy barrage balloons and were able to thwart the enemy on several occasions.
http://books.google.com/books?id=L3EXBUfG2tgC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=%2244th+balloo n+company%22&source=bl&ots=VlpXMEwpQA&sig=uhZAK0X9rBCuAJ2S4jNfDLNiU6g&hl=en&sa=X &oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result
the french army used a spy balloon at the battle of fleurus in 1794.....
Mr.Lowe's demonstration balloon used in 1861 to convince Lincoln of it's value was named "Enterprise"... telegraphing where no man had telegraphed before...The first Confederate balloon got away from it's handlers on it's second flight. The southern boys thought it was a Yankee balloon and commenced to use it for target practice...landed safely. Their balloon program didn't last long either.
Ralph, we still refer to that as the "War of Northern Aggression"
The balloons were used in WWII as well. I once saw a picture of a downed V-1 with the balloon's cable wrapped around its wing.
I also saw a picture of a man being taken aloft by several kites strung together, one above the other, separated by maybe 50 ft. I believe this was a Civil War observer, as well. I never tried to do the mulitple kite thing, but me and a buddy of mine did build a rather large kite in college. It was 6 or 8 feet tall. You can bet we thought we were going to get picked up by that thing. We had to take turns flying it. You couldn't hold on for long.
Just a short trip from me, between Paris, TN and McKenzie, TN there is a cattle ranch which used to be Camp Tyson. This was a BBTC (barrage balloon training camp). My great uncle was stationed there during WWII until he went AWOL and spent some time in a federal pen after they caught up to him a few months later. Most of the buildings are gone except the hangars which are used to store clay now. The roads are open through the camp during daylight hours, but it is open grazing so you gotta watch for cows and their patties in the roads. Its a pretty interesting place to drive around.
Interestingly, one of the few T stories my grandfather tells concerns Camp Tyson. Early in his enlistment, while my great uncle (grandpa's brother) was at Camp Tyson, my grandpa and his younger brother wanted to go visit him. Camp Tyson is about 35 miles from where I live, which was the far where they lived at the time. Grandpa and his brother headed out for the camp one morning before daylight on bicycles. They made it through Paris (about 25 miles from home)and went on toward the camp. There are a few big hills on that road between Paris and Camp Tyson, and they were really getting tired when they topped a hill and saw yet another one. After a short discussion, they decided to turn back and go home.
The next weekend, my great-grandfather's brother-in-law took them all in his T tudor to Camp Tyson. My grandfather was sitting in the back seat (he said he was puzzled by the three pedals and tried the whole trip to figure out what pedal did what) and noticed the hill where they had turned around on their bicycle trip. He pointed and told everyone in the car that was where they had turned around since the next hill was so big. The old T went to the bottom of the hill and chugged to the top, and my grandfather said his heart just sank when he saw Camp Tyson just ahead. Yep, they rode over 30 miles one way, and gave up with less than a mile to go!
A little about Camp Tyson
Since I am a hot air balloon pilot and own a T as well, I had to take a look at this thread. Its not often I get to read about two of my favorit things in the same forum post. If Rays grandpa had only been riding a motorcycle rather than a bicycle I would have had all the bases covered.
I'm not sure where I saw it, possibly the Imperial War Museum in London or the War Museum's facility at Duxford, but I do recall seeing a Model T with a very large winch on the back with some kind of guide framework attached to the rear. The description stated that it was a balloon winch used during WWI for observation balloons.
Barrage balloons from WWII were used to snare low-flying bombers over high value targets - like London during the Blitz. The German's had specially equiped bombers with a cable cutter array attached to them that would go in first to cut the cables - not something I'd care to do.