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Strafing (adaptation of German strafen - to punish) is the practice of shooting a machine gun, from an airplane in flight, at objects or people on the ground. It first became possible in the first World War, when a Frenchman set small armor plates on the blades of his propeller in such a way that he could shoot a machine gun straight through it, aiming directly at objects rather than shooting from over the top or off the sides of the plane. The Germans captured this plane and Anton Fokker, using it as a guide, devised a cam system which shot the bullets through the open spaces in the propeller, rather than the propellor deflecting the bullets which hit it.

See also: military aviation