Back during the opening phases of the Great War in 1914, it was thought that flechettes would be the best thing going to drop from aeroplanes and dirigibles on wayward enemy cavalry and foot soldiers below. These steel darts, of a number of different types, seemed monstrous but were in fact not very effective.
Bombs took up the slack by 1916.
German Crown Prince takes cover under his car from darts dropped by a French plane. Illustration from the Petit Journal, August 1915
The images below are from the Imperial War Museum collection of a number of different types of these failed antipersonnel missiles, but interestingly enough were brought back as part of real cluster bombs in Vietnam
This German flechette (aerial dart) was found after a Zeppelin raid on the night of 19/20 January 1915, in the vicinity of Glanford, on the North Norfolk coast. German Navy Airships L3 and L4 were both involved during this attack, but only L4 appears to have bombed in the area where this Flechette was picked up. Flechettes were normally dropped in bundles, which dispersed the missiles over a wide area; flechettes were used as anti-personnel weapons.– Via IWM
The Germans called them, “fliegerpfeil”
‘Lazy Dog’ anti-personnel flechette of the type dropped by the United States Air Force during the war in Vietnam (1962-1975). The flechette was delivered via a Mk 44 Cluster Bomb (which held at least 10,000 flechettes). The Mk 44 opened in mid-air after release, so that the flechettes (or ‘aerial darts’) were then dispersed over the target where they inflicted damage by penetration of soft targets. VIA IWM