Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

The Command of the Air

The Command of the Air May, 1944 AIRCRAF T ENGINEERING The Comman d of the Air . By Giulio Douhet. all its value, not realizing the menace of even all th e stupid people who cannot see eye to eye Translated by Dino Ferrari. [Faber and a single squadron of fighter aircraft to a bomber with him have most unaccountably looked upon Fabcr. 15s.] formation. He likewise held the theory, which it as a menace to civilization. Well, we should Bombin g Vindicated. By J. M. Spaight. has not proved valid, that bomber formations all be pleased to be put right by Mr. Spaight, [Bles. 6s.] in the attack would be hard to find. Land war­ bu t his argument really boils down to the dis­ REVIEWE D BY CAPTAIN CYRIL FALLS fare, he considered, would again be static, like covery that we can bomb German cities more tha t of "the First World War. Germany, he heavily than the Germans can bomb ours. This The fate of General Douhet's celebrated work thought , would be one of th e few nations which stat e of affairs has been brought about by has been strange. For long it was referred to in would realize this thoroughly, and she would causes which are not directly concerned with this countr y with extreme distaste. I t was taken therefore seek no decision in the. field in the ai r doctrine; namely, that Germany attacked as representative of th e most brutal ideas, of the next war. She would put all her aerial strength Russia and tha t Russia stood up t o her and has degradation of warfare, of th e doctrine of indis­ into an independent air force while her oppon­ ever since drained away her resources, and that criminate slaughter. Now the .times have ents frittered theirs away in auxiliary military American resources have been thrown into the changed and we have changed with them. and naval squadrons. Then she would promptly scale on our side. I t proves nothing, and indeed Douhet is described as a great genius, a great win the battle for air supremacy and announce Mr. Spaight has nothing to prove. prophet. Pic is compared with Clausewitz. He in advance tha t she would destroy th e enemy's is constantly quoted, not in reprobation, but cities one after the other, day by day. Like in justification when this is considered to be man y other theorists before and since, he did necessary. In point of fact the earlier view of not realize the advantage in certain circum­ A Metallurgical Study of German and Douhet was based on hearsay or occasional stances of battin g on th e home pitch. The Battle Italian Aircraft Engine and Airframe magazine articles at most. The number of of Britain would have greatly astonished him, Parts . [The Kennedy Press, Manchester. critics who had read him in th e Italian was small had he lived t o witness it . According t o his ideas and not till now has he been translated into 10s. 6d.] it would have been hardly worth fighting; English. All th e income from the sale of this book will logically we might as well have thrown in our Douhet was not a savage or a brute. He was be placed to the credit of the Royal Air Force hand before it began because our case was that much more dangerous type, the man With Benevolent Fund so it is a charitable duty, as hopeless. Curiously enough, he makes little an intensely powerful single-track- mind, the well as an instructive pleasure t o buy a copy. distinction between day-bombing and night- logician in blinkers seeing only straight ahead The book has been prepared from a number bombing. But it may even be tha t this was one but with piercing eyesight, brilliant and per­ of individual reports on the examination of of the examples of his foresight because in the suasive in argument himself while unaffected enemy aircraft made by the Aero Components present attacks on Germany these conditions by any argument from outside, unchanging Sub-Committee of the Technical Advisory have approximated to an extent greater than and uncompromising, limited but powerful as Committee of the Special and Alloy Steel Com­ one would have believed possible two years ago. an armour-piercing shell. That alone is to say mittee formed in the early days of the War to Wit h all his weaknesses Douhet was a man of that he was no Clausewitz; indeed, comparison collect any information likely to be of value between the patient, philosophic inquirer and inspiration. His ideas have exercised a powerful obtained from a critical examination of parts of effect upon present-day theories of air warfare. the specialized dogmatist is absurd. Douhet enemy aircraft structures. It is, therefore, They have provided a doctrine, though not in was a prophet. He saw further than almost all fully authoritative and contains a great deal of all respects a sound doctrine, to a new and the experts in his subject. But of what he saw interesting information. It has been arranged, revolutionary arm in warfare which without only a proportion has actually happened. in co-operation with the Committee, by Mr. the m would be singularly barren in thought. He realized that even the First World War Otto, Editor of Metallurgia. Bu t he was not a practical man. He did not was not total warfare, but that the next would The contents are predominantly concerned realize tha t if the air Blitzkrieg failed to achieve be. In that he rightly anticipated that the with aero-engines, th e first twelve sections being its lightning victor y a retur n to th e diversion and nation, would be "sucked into the maw". The devoted to this aspect; leaving two for air­ dispersion which he so abominated became change, he said, again truly, would be brought frame components and miscellaneous parts, inevitable. We ourselves, for example, were not about by th e aircraft. I t was a weapon confined such as gun-mounting parts and bomb-release obliterated by the Blitzkrieg. Having survived by no barriers which could attack objectives not mechanisms. The engines included are th e Jumo that , we had to consider how we should .go on designed to resist attack, whereas warfare had 211, D.B. 601, B.M.W. 132 and 801, Bramo- living. We could not have done so unless we had hitherto been waged against objectives which Fafnir 323 and Fiat A.80. The chemical com­ pu t an end to the cruel starvation of the'Fleet were designed to do so. From tha t he went on position and mechanical properties of the Air Arm, had built up and trained a very to argue .that the only weapon certain to materials used in each of the main components powerful Coastal Command, had instituted achieve victory was an independent air force of th e various engines are given an d commented long-range Atlantic patrols, and provided the used to attack regardless of consequences. The on. It docs not appear that, in general, enemy convoys with pocket aircraft-carriers. In the object was to clear the air of the enemy's air­ practice differs very much from that obtaining second place our armies would have continued craft and -then bomb him into submission. in England, and indeed this is not to be ex­ t o be defeated and captured unless we had pro­ Defence by fighters, anti-aircraft artillery, pected, and no very new data emerge but it is vided them with substantial tactical air sup­ observation groups, etc. was wasteful- and useful to have all the information available port . And his central thesis, tha t you can knock worthless. The thing was to attack without collected between covers. a nation out of war by air bombardment alone reference to the enemy's action. As to the Both for its intrinsic value and because of the is somethin'g that remains to be proved after effects of bombing attack, he backed his argu­ ultimate destination of the purchase price, the nearly five years of war. and will in fact never ments by a statistical theory of destruction book is heartily recommended. be proved in this war because the chief factor in proportion to the strength employed which in the German defeat will be the Russian has proved fallacious in itself even without Aircraft Design Sketch Book. Lockheed armies. regard to the strength of defence. All tha t was Aircraft Corporation. [Aero Publishers wanted was a strong enough independent air I myself believe Douhet to have exercised a Inc., Glendale, Cal., U.S.A. 30 dollars.] force which would break down the enemy's malign influence upon our conduct of the war, This might be described as a draughtsman's material and moral resistance in the briefest bu t i see in him also the first man to recognize commonplace book. It contains a very large possible time. Destruction of great cities would th e development of certain inevitable tenden­ numbe r of sketches of complete aeroplanes be brought about by a single bombing. It cies and forces. It may sound impolite to a production "breakdowns" and details—the logically followed that there should be no competent writer to say so, but Mr. Spaight's auxiliary aircraft allotted to the navy or the latte r arranged in sections under the headings, limitations serve t o emphasize how considerable *rmy. That was waste again, because the "wings, empennage, controls, fuselage," etc. a figure Douhet really was. I suppose Mr. independent air force could never be too These are culled from all sorts of sources and Spaight has somewhere at the back of his mind man y of them we recognize, though no acknow­ 4rong. theories closely resembling those of Douhet— ledgements are made. Curiously enough, the perhaps indeed they were influenced by Com­ I t was therefore necessary to resign Oneself Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, by whom it has mand of the Air—but he sadly lacks the clean, the italics are his own) to submit to enemy been compiled, prohibit reproduction from it; clear thinking of the Italian. He is extremely tUacks in order to use all possible means for though on what grounds it can claim copyright, pleased tha t we have avoided the "hecatombs" Punching the greatest offensives against the except perhaps on behalf of the original owners, of the last war, though whether the Russians memy. War was to be all strike and no parry. we cannot imagine. It should be useful in a would join in his jubilation is a matter open Douhet despised—and gravely underrated— drawing office when it is desired to know how to doubt. But his main thesis is that the :lie power of fighter defence. He held that it "th e other man " does a job. bomber is the saviour of civilization, whereas i-ould have to be so dispersed as to lose nearly http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology Emerald Publishing

The Command of the Air

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology , Volume 16 (5): 1 – May 1, 1944

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/the-command-of-the-air-l2ZidK0WJL
Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0002-2667
DOI
10.1108/eb031126
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

May, 1944 AIRCRAF T ENGINEERING The Comman d of the Air . By Giulio Douhet. all its value, not realizing the menace of even all th e stupid people who cannot see eye to eye Translated by Dino Ferrari. [Faber and a single squadron of fighter aircraft to a bomber with him have most unaccountably looked upon Fabcr. 15s.] formation. He likewise held the theory, which it as a menace to civilization. Well, we should Bombin g Vindicated. By J. M. Spaight. has not proved valid, that bomber formations all be pleased to be put right by Mr. Spaight, [Bles. 6s.] in the attack would be hard to find. Land war­ bu t his argument really boils down to the dis­ REVIEWE D BY CAPTAIN CYRIL FALLS fare, he considered, would again be static, like covery that we can bomb German cities more tha t of "the First World War. Germany, he heavily than the Germans can bomb ours. This The fate of General Douhet's celebrated work thought , would be one of th e few nations which stat e of affairs has been brought about by has been strange. For long it was referred to in would realize this thoroughly, and she would causes which are not directly concerned with this countr y with extreme distaste. I t was taken therefore seek no decision in the. field in the ai r doctrine; namely, that Germany attacked as representative of th e most brutal ideas, of the next war. She would put all her aerial strength Russia and tha t Russia stood up t o her and has degradation of warfare, of th e doctrine of indis­ into an independent air force while her oppon­ ever since drained away her resources, and that criminate slaughter. Now the .times have ents frittered theirs away in auxiliary military American resources have been thrown into the changed and we have changed with them. and naval squadrons. Then she would promptly scale on our side. I t proves nothing, and indeed Douhet is described as a great genius, a great win the battle for air supremacy and announce Mr. Spaight has nothing to prove. prophet. Pic is compared with Clausewitz. He in advance tha t she would destroy th e enemy's is constantly quoted, not in reprobation, but cities one after the other, day by day. Like in justification when this is considered to be man y other theorists before and since, he did necessary. In point of fact the earlier view of not realize the advantage in certain circum­ A Metallurgical Study of German and Douhet was based on hearsay or occasional stances of battin g on th e home pitch. The Battle Italian Aircraft Engine and Airframe magazine articles at most. The number of of Britain would have greatly astonished him, Parts . [The Kennedy Press, Manchester. critics who had read him in th e Italian was small had he lived t o witness it . According t o his ideas and not till now has he been translated into 10s. 6d.] it would have been hardly worth fighting; English. All th e income from the sale of this book will logically we might as well have thrown in our Douhet was not a savage or a brute. He was be placed to the credit of the Royal Air Force hand before it began because our case was that much more dangerous type, the man With Benevolent Fund so it is a charitable duty, as hopeless. Curiously enough, he makes little an intensely powerful single-track- mind, the well as an instructive pleasure t o buy a copy. distinction between day-bombing and night- logician in blinkers seeing only straight ahead The book has been prepared from a number bombing. But it may even be tha t this was one but with piercing eyesight, brilliant and per­ of individual reports on the examination of of the examples of his foresight because in the suasive in argument himself while unaffected enemy aircraft made by the Aero Components present attacks on Germany these conditions by any argument from outside, unchanging Sub-Committee of the Technical Advisory have approximated to an extent greater than and uncompromising, limited but powerful as Committee of the Special and Alloy Steel Com­ one would have believed possible two years ago. an armour-piercing shell. That alone is to say mittee formed in the early days of the War to Wit h all his weaknesses Douhet was a man of that he was no Clausewitz; indeed, comparison collect any information likely to be of value between the patient, philosophic inquirer and inspiration. His ideas have exercised a powerful obtained from a critical examination of parts of effect upon present-day theories of air warfare. the specialized dogmatist is absurd. Douhet enemy aircraft structures. It is, therefore, They have provided a doctrine, though not in was a prophet. He saw further than almost all fully authoritative and contains a great deal of all respects a sound doctrine, to a new and the experts in his subject. But of what he saw interesting information. It has been arranged, revolutionary arm in warfare which without only a proportion has actually happened. in co-operation with the Committee, by Mr. the m would be singularly barren in thought. He realized that even the First World War Otto, Editor of Metallurgia. Bu t he was not a practical man. He did not was not total warfare, but that the next would The contents are predominantly concerned realize tha t if the air Blitzkrieg failed to achieve be. In that he rightly anticipated that the with aero-engines, th e first twelve sections being its lightning victor y a retur n to th e diversion and nation, would be "sucked into the maw". The devoted to this aspect; leaving two for air­ dispersion which he so abominated became change, he said, again truly, would be brought frame components and miscellaneous parts, inevitable. We ourselves, for example, were not about by th e aircraft. I t was a weapon confined such as gun-mounting parts and bomb-release obliterated by the Blitzkrieg. Having survived by no barriers which could attack objectives not mechanisms. The engines included are th e Jumo that , we had to consider how we should .go on designed to resist attack, whereas warfare had 211, D.B. 601, B.M.W. 132 and 801, Bramo- living. We could not have done so unless we had hitherto been waged against objectives which Fafnir 323 and Fiat A.80. The chemical com­ pu t an end to the cruel starvation of the'Fleet were designed to do so. From tha t he went on position and mechanical properties of the Air Arm, had built up and trained a very to argue .that the only weapon certain to materials used in each of the main components powerful Coastal Command, had instituted achieve victory was an independent air force of th e various engines are given an d commented long-range Atlantic patrols, and provided the used to attack regardless of consequences. The on. It docs not appear that, in general, enemy convoys with pocket aircraft-carriers. In the object was to clear the air of the enemy's air­ practice differs very much from that obtaining second place our armies would have continued craft and -then bomb him into submission. in England, and indeed this is not to be ex­ t o be defeated and captured unless we had pro­ Defence by fighters, anti-aircraft artillery, pected, and no very new data emerge but it is vided them with substantial tactical air sup­ observation groups, etc. was wasteful- and useful to have all the information available port . And his central thesis, tha t you can knock worthless. The thing was to attack without collected between covers. a nation out of war by air bombardment alone reference to the enemy's action. As to the Both for its intrinsic value and because of the is somethin'g that remains to be proved after effects of bombing attack, he backed his argu­ ultimate destination of the purchase price, the nearly five years of war. and will in fact never ments by a statistical theory of destruction book is heartily recommended. be proved in this war because the chief factor in proportion to the strength employed which in the German defeat will be the Russian has proved fallacious in itself even without Aircraft Design Sketch Book. Lockheed armies. regard to the strength of defence. All tha t was Aircraft Corporation. [Aero Publishers wanted was a strong enough independent air I myself believe Douhet to have exercised a Inc., Glendale, Cal., U.S.A. 30 dollars.] force which would break down the enemy's malign influence upon our conduct of the war, This might be described as a draughtsman's material and moral resistance in the briefest bu t i see in him also the first man to recognize commonplace book. It contains a very large possible time. Destruction of great cities would th e development of certain inevitable tenden­ numbe r of sketches of complete aeroplanes be brought about by a single bombing. It cies and forces. It may sound impolite to a production "breakdowns" and details—the logically followed that there should be no competent writer to say so, but Mr. Spaight's auxiliary aircraft allotted to the navy or the latte r arranged in sections under the headings, limitations serve t o emphasize how considerable *rmy. That was waste again, because the "wings, empennage, controls, fuselage," etc. a figure Douhet really was. I suppose Mr. independent air force could never be too These are culled from all sorts of sources and Spaight has somewhere at the back of his mind man y of them we recognize, though no acknow­ 4rong. theories closely resembling those of Douhet— ledgements are made. Curiously enough, the perhaps indeed they were influenced by Com­ I t was therefore necessary to resign Oneself Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, by whom it has mand of the Air—but he sadly lacks the clean, the italics are his own) to submit to enemy been compiled, prohibit reproduction from it; clear thinking of the Italian. He is extremely tUacks in order to use all possible means for though on what grounds it can claim copyright, pleased tha t we have avoided the "hecatombs" Punching the greatest offensives against the except perhaps on behalf of the original owners, of the last war, though whether the Russians memy. War was to be all strike and no parry. we cannot imagine. It should be useful in a would join in his jubilation is a matter open Douhet despised—and gravely underrated— drawing office when it is desired to know how to doubt. But his main thesis is that the :lie power of fighter defence. He held that it "th e other man " does a job. bomber is the saviour of civilization, whereas i-ould have to be so dispersed as to lose nearly

Journal

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace TechnologyEmerald Publishing

Published: May 1, 1944

There are no references for this article.