Command of the Air [Giulio Douhet, Charles a. Gabriel] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Reprint of the translation by staff of the. The Command of the Air is the greatest military treatise on air war ever written – a dogmatic manifesto promising victory through strategic. Credit to Nicholas Morrow Giulio Douhet, an Italian army officer who never learnt to fly, first published one of military theory’s most recognized.
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And that loss can easily be compensated for by simply keeping up the strength of the bombing units by a constant flow of replacement planes. Confronted as we are by this upheaval in the character of war, which encourages nations who lust for conquest and feel neither hesitation nor remorse, it is imperative that we stop and examine calmly, coolly, but searchingly into the question of what is the right path for us to follow in providing for an effective goulio defense.
And from that we arrive at this second corol- lary: Outside Italy, Douhet’s reception was mixed. Will she accept patiently this inferior status? But if an objec- tive with a surface larger than meters in diameter is marked for attack, the entire area should be so designated. Search the history of over billion douyet pages on the Internet. In I wrote: The active ingredients of bombs or projectiles, the explosives, the incendi- aries, the poison gases, are already being produced.
We can answer, “No, it is not true,” to this question only if we have no intention of providing ourselves with suitable cpmmand, in addition to those of tthe army and navy, with which to meet any such eventuality. But such aerial means, which integrate the separate operations of those two branches of the service, are nothing more if an extension of the army and navy.
They should rather see in the plane a third brother, younger of course, of the powerful family of War. The same year he completed a hugely influential treatise on strategic bombing titled The Command of the Air Il dominio fiulio and retired from military service soon after.
We do not know whether, when he first began to navigate the seas, he regarded naval warfare as a mere auxiliary to land operations; but giuulio do know that from time immemorial we have been fighting on the sea independently of, though in co-operation with, land forces. It is only when we arrive at the term off Air Force” that we perceive an entity capable of fighting on the new battle- field, ghe neither army nor navy can take any part.
Douhet virtually assumed the prevalence of total war. Out of the necessity of protecting other types of plane from the pursuit plane, arose the need of another plane as fast or faster, a plane able, as it were, to give chase to the chaser. Up to the very last days of the war, in fact, all belligerents carried out aerial operations against each other. As we shall see, an air force capable of conquering the command 7 This is exactly what happened to Poland, France, Norway, Belgium, Holland, and in a measure to England and America when they were caught unprepared by the war fo of Germany and Japan in the present war.
There will be no distinction any longer between soldiers and civilians. He was an army officer, reaching the rank of general, but trench-war stalemate had turned his mind to alternatives.
So far, an aerial force able to command the air does not exist anywhere in the world. The Douhet model rests on the belief that in a conflict, the infliction of high costs from aerial cojmand can tne civilian morale. Of the defensive attitude, on the other hand, there was hardly any talk at all, only occasional casual mentions, as though it were a painful subject not to be discussed. Hurley and Robert C.
Project MUSE – The Command of the Air
Earlier in these pages I remarked that to rely on speed alone in aerial combat is to stake one’s hhe on a doubtful card. The fact that Germany leads the world in both fields, chemico-bacteriological and mechanical, must not be lost sight of. Inthe Chief of the Air Corps, Major General Benjamin Foulois, sent 30 mimeographed copies of an article on Douhet’s theories to the chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs, calling the study “an excellent exposition of certain principles of air war.
Then, in order to extend the The Command of The Air 21 destructive action of this active material over a surface meters in diameter, times kilograms, or 10 tons, will be re- quired. In the preparations for national de- fense we have to ccommand an entirely new course because the char- acter of future wars is going to be entirely different from the character of past wars.
Only practical experience can furnish us with enough data to determine the proper organization of the combat unit in specific detail— i. No doubt that influence will be great, and I have no hesitation in asserting that it will completely upset all forms of war so far known.
And these are the basic— the sufficient— ele- ments necessary to create rapidly and secretly a formidable air force. Kohn and Joseph P.
Aerial bombardment can certainly never hope to attain the ac- curacy of artillery fire; but this is an unimportant point because such accuracy is unnecessary. Observation planes directing artillery fire are useful observers in aerial form, no more.
By virtue of this new weapon, the repercussions of war douget no longer limited by the farthest artillery range of surface guns, but tthe be directly felt for hundreds and hundreds of miles over all the lands and seas of nations at war.
His theories were discussed and disseminated in France, Germany and America which were very receptive; In America, Billy Mitchell was a strong advocate. Meilinger, The Paths of Heaven: Every time an aerial offensive was carried out resolutely, it accomplished its purpose. The primary function of planes under direct army command is, naturally, the furthering of specifically army aims; of those under navy com- mand, furthering specifically navy aims.
On a tactical level he advocated cpmmand three types of bombs in quick succession; explosives to destroy the target, incendiaries to ignite the damaged structures, and poison gas to keep firefighters and rescue crews away.
This would unravel the social basis of resistance, and pressure citizens into asking their governments tje surrender.
We should always keep in mind that aerial offensives can be directed not tbe against objectives of least physical resistance, but against those of least moral resist- ance as well. For this reason clinging to the past will teach us nothing useful for the future, for that future will dohet radically The Command of The Air 27 different from anything that has gone before.
Willing or unwilling, military authorities have had to modify their views on the air arm. It means to be able to cut an enemy’s army and navy off from their bases of operation and nullify their chances of winning the war.
Advocates of the offensive were in the saddle everywhere extolling the advan- tages of the offensive war, but at the same time forgetting that one must have the means to back it up in order to take the offen- The Command of The Air 11 sive successfully.
Such a unit represents an exactly determined offensive power which possesses a definite known capacity for destruction over a given surface.
In that theory, airpower became the use of space ofT the surface of the earth to decide war on the surface of the earth. As a matter of fact, this same offensive power, the possibility of which was not even dreamed of fifteen years ago, 5 is increasing daily, precisely because the building and development of large, heavy planes goes on all the commadn. For the sake of simplicity, I shall hereafter refer to all those aerial means which, taken together, constitute an aerial force capable of conquering the command of the air, douheg the term, Independent Air Force.
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