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This one-volume anthology presents a finished research of the position that air strength has performed in army conflicts over the last century. Comprising 16 essays penned through an international cadre of major army specialists, A background of Air Warfare chronologically examines the application of air strength from the 1st international battle to the second one Lebanon warfare, crusade via crusade. each one essay lays out the targets, occasions, and key avid gamers of the clash in query, experiences the position of air strength within the strategic and operational contexts, and explores the interaction among the political framework and army operations right.

The concluding part deals wider views via concentrating on air and area energy in either unconventional and standard battle from 1913 to the current. greater than an easy homage to air strength, A heritage of Air conflict exposes air power's strengths and weaknesses and, the place correct, illuminates the demanding situations of joint operations and coalition war. due to its serious method, even remedy, and historic history, the e-book will attract smooth conflict students, air energy experts, and basic readers attracted to army heritage alike.

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This page intentionally left blank 2 THE AIR WAR IN EUROPE, 1939–1945 Richard Overy WHEN A SECOND MAJOR EUROPEAN war broke out in September 1939, there was a widespread popular expectation that it would be waged with ruthless disregard for the traditional conventions of warfare. At the heart of this fear was a belief that modern air power would be aimed at an enemy’s home population, whose morale might crack completely under a hail of bombs, gas canisters, and biological weapons. These first “weapons of mass destruction” failed to materialize fully, but on the very first morning of the European war, September 3, an air raid alarm sounded in London, triggered by an aircraft mistakenly identified as hostile.

The era of the individual ace would last into 1917, but individuals would soon find themselves submerged in the burgeoning aerial war of attrition, as the deployment of aviation forces in mass became indispensable to the conduct of war. 1917: AERIAL WAR OF ATTRITION In early April 1917, French general Henri Nivelle launched an ill-fated assault on the Aisne River, at the Chemin des Dames, where the Germans had already withdrawn to their recently constructed Hindenburg Line. At GQG, Nivelle exhorted, “The aerial victory must precede the terrestrial victory of which it is both part and pawn.

The Ministry of Munitions did succeed in mobilizing the aviation industry, which, with nearly 350,000 workers, was the world’s largest at the end of the war. The RAF split its forces between the Western front and far-flung imperial bases stretching to the Middle East, and its long logistical “tail” meant that it was the world’s largest air force in personnel at the end of the war. Finally, Italian military and naval aviation dominated its Austro-Hungarian enemy in 1918. Giulio Douhet returned to aviation to serve as director of aviation in a general commissariat established in April 1918, but he retired from the army in 24 A HISTORY OF AIR WARFARE June at the age of forty-nine to write.

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