While aeronautical advances that pioneered and contributed to improving fighter aircraft mostly came from the domains of the British and the German engineers, the first useful bombers & heavy aerial bombers were the forte of the Italian and Russian pioneering engineers in aeronautical warfare. One of the main innovators and pioneering forces in the development of useful heavy aerial bombers came from the Italian firm Societe de Aviazone Ing Caproni a bureau commonly better known as Caproni. The firm and its engineers built what was probably the first useful heavy bomber as early as 1913 called the Caproni 260 hp with a simple model designate of Ca1, the aircraft was powered by three pusher type French manufactured Gnome rotary engines, with all three housed alongside each other in a centre mounted fuselage nacelle. Two of the engines powered tail boom mounted propellers through a tractor system, it was later joined by modified version, the Ca30 during October 1914.
Continual testing revealed the larger platform bombers to be wholly underpowered, Caproni then made further improvements to the propeller drivetrain system by relocating the propellers into the towering tips. These new positions allowed direct drive powertrain systems between engine and propeller, thereby improving performance by cutting down on the drivetrain power transfer losses incurred by indirect drives between engine and propellers. Additionally the pioneering factory decided to equip their airframes with a new type of Fiat A10 in-line piston engine, and renamed the new improved aircraft to the Caproni 300 hp with a model designation of Ca32. The new improved Ca32 designate successfully took flight for the first time during late 1914 and proved to be impressively capable in its new improved high horsepower output format. The Ca32 became the definitive heavy bomber by the end of the war, fit eventually delivered over 15,000 engines before the end of the airframe’s serviceable lifespan.
As with the fighters of the First World War era heavy bombers had never been used in military combat before, and would make fine additions to military arsenals around the world, irrespective of the era. These heavy bombers provided military forces from around the world with long range strike capabilities and could bring much greater devastation through their increased payloads than fighters or scout planes. Their bulky fuselages necessitated by the large capacity payloads and increased aircrew requirements, also provided a good weapons platforms for defensive purposes with swivel and gimbal mounted machine gun turrets mounted in various positions around the fuselage.
Macchi, an Italian aeronautical concern established during 1912 by a certain Julio Macci hailing from Varese, Italy. This gifted Italian engineer built the Macchi L1 as a production copy from a captured Austro-Hungarian two seater plane, the Lohner L series reconnaissance flying boat, thereby firing the company’s opening salvo in aircraft manufacture. The plane went on to be produced in a number of different an improved designate formats, gaining the company invaluable aeronautical experience. This skills improvement eventually led to the culmination of the efforts during the First World War to design and build the M5 model designate, which were to be regarded as a fine example of a fighter seaplane capable of being deployed in a multirole capacity covering fields that included reconnaissance, maritime patrol, bombing capabilities, while retaining its inherently respectable performance capabilities tied to its machine-gun armament which enabled the plane to mix it up with most fighters of the day.