Strategic bombing is done by heavy bombers primarily designed for long-range bombing missions against strategic targets such as supply bases, bridges, factories, shipyards, and cities themselves, in order to diminish the enemy's ability to wage war by limiting access to resources through crippling infrastructure or reducing industrial output. Current examples include the strategic nuclear-armed strategic bombers: B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95 'Bear', Tupolev Tu-22M 'Backfire'; historically notable examples are the: Gotha G.IV, Avro Lancaster, Heinkel He-111, Junkers Ju 88, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Boeing B-29 Superfortress, and Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger'.
Tactical bombing, aimed at countering enemy military activity and in supporting offensive operations, is typically assigned to smaller aircraft operating at shorter ranges, typically near the troops on the ground or against enemy shipping. This role is filled by tactical bomber class, which crosses and blurs with various other aircraft categories: light bombers, medium bombers, dive bombers, interdictors, fighter-bombers, attack aircraft, multirole combat aircraft, and others.
The first use of an air-dropped bomb (actually a hand grenade) was carried out by Italian Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti during the 1911 Italo-Turkish war in Libya, although his plane was not designed for the task of bombing, and his improvised attack had little impact.
In 1912, during the First Balkan War, Bulgarian Air Force pilot Christo Toprakchiev suggested the use of aircraft to drop "bombs" (called grenades in the Bulgarian army at this time) on Turkish positions. Captain Simeon Petrov developed the idea and created several prototypes by adapting different types of grenades and increasing their payload.
On 16 October 1912, observer Prodan Tarakchiev dropped two of those bombs on the Turkish railway station of Karağaç (near the besieged Edirne) from an Albatros F.2 aircraft piloted by Radul Milkov, for the first time in this campaign. This is deemed to be the first use of an aircraft as a bomber.