In 1918 nearly 6,000 Allied planes and over 4,000 German planes were deployed on the western front. These planes were used for reconnaissance, air to air combat and attacks on enemy infantry. By 1918 these planes were heavy enough to arm with machine guns and carry grenades. They were also installed with highly sophisticated surveillance equipment and flew at greater heights: the German Rumpler could fly at 21,000 ft (6,4000 m). There were frequent ‘dog-fights’ with enemy planes. In April 1918, Allied planes shot down the top scoring fighter pilot of World War I, Baron von Richthofen, ‘the Red Baron’. On 8 August, the Allies launched a major offensive on the western front. Although successful, they lost a quarter of their aircraft in fog and to enemy fire. In 1918, the air war on the western front had become one of attrition.
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