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  • Daily History Picture: WW1 German Planes Over Pyramids September 12, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Historical Pictures , trackback

    In awe of this picture.

    James H. 29 Sep 2017, has found the same orientation. Love this.

    Leif, 1 Nov 2017: At the sight of this photo, Dr. Beachcombing was overcome with awe. We were overcome with suspicion. 100 years ago, film exposures were far to slow to capture a propellor in rotation, so when the photo was taken the propellor had to be stationary. The pilot was on a mission far into enemy territory, presumably at or near the airplane’s ceiling. It does not appear likely he would shut the engine off under such circumstances. Also, sunrays will appear parallel, assuming there is but one sun in the sky (see below).

    So the photo is clearly a fake, but at least it’s a real fake. The Germans overflew Cairo in 1916, and the photo’s background was almost certainly taken on that mission.

    Hauptmann (Commander) Gerhard Felmy commented on the flight:

    ‘At the beginning of October, the division was moved back to Beersheba due to the impending rainy season. On November 13, 1916, a long-distance flight from here to Cairo was completed (round trip over 800 km), with refueling stops in El-Arisch. Lieutenant-General Richard Falke and Lieutenant Schultheiß successfully bombed Cairo, made valuable pictures of the ship traffic on the [Suez] canal and an interesting picture of the pyramids at Giza, and returned home. At the time, this attracted worldwide attention, and it counts as the first aerial photograph of the pyramids.

    ‘There was no pursuit from English aircraft. Later we heard from some prisoners of war, that the English airmen based at the canal were informed of a German airplane over Cairo, but decided the report had to be a mistake and so stayed home.’

    ‘Anfang Oktober wurde die Abteilung wegen der bevorstehenden Regenzeit nach Beersheba zurückverlegt. Am 13. November 1916 wurde von hier aus ein Fernflug nach Kairo ausgeführt (hin und zurück insgesamt über 800 km) mit Zwischenlandungen in El-Arisch. Oberleutnant Richard Falke und Leutnant Schultheiß belegten Kairo erfolgreich mit Bomben, brachten wichtige Bildmeldungen auch über den Verkehr zum Kanal, und eine interessante Aufnahme der Pyramiden bei Gizeh, heim, die seinerzeit sehr große Aufmerksamkeit weltweit erregte und als erste Luftaufnahme von den Pyramiden galt. Kein englischer Flieger hatte gestört! Wie später Gefangene aussagten, hatten die englischen Flieger am Kanal, als ihnen gemeldet wurde, ein deutsches Flugzeug sei über Kairo, diese Meldung tatsächlich für irrig gehalten und – waren zu Hause geblieben!’

    The Germans airbrushed the airplane onto the photograph, and distributed it for propaganda purposes– including dropping it over an English airbase.

    The bomb did little damage, but the mission foreshadowed the Doolittle raid 25 years later.

    For this information, I am indebted to the following web page at The Great War Forum: and especially to Egbert.