Alsace and Lorraine - 1875
When the war began, bombers did not exist until the development of the use of the flechette, which was used until 1915, first in the French armed forces before the other belligerents swiftly followed suit. The flechette was a 13 cm bar of steel in three parts: a point, a body and a cross-shaped tail.
Flechettes were dropped from aircraft in large numbers. They were carried in boxes fixed to the side of the aircraft, with the point facing upwards. It was up to aviators to release the flechettes.
However, flechettes did have a major downside: they lacked precision. Altitude and wind had a major impact on their trajectory. The margin of error was therefore too large to expect great effectiveness.
Air-dropped flechettes with tail fins, first quarter of the 20th century, metal, L. 13 x D. 1.3 cm. Inventory no.: 2006.1.6452.0