Posts Tagged 'Air Power Literature'

Aimpoint

The Royal Australian Air Force’s Air Power Development Centre has just launched a new newsletter on their website. Entitled Aimpoint, its aim is to:

The intent of this newsletter is to provide members of the RAAF, the ADF and the public with a quick and easy means of remaining current with worldwide developments relating to air power and to stimulate discussion on Australian air power. These newsletters also provide an update on APDC activities such as air power conferences and seminars, links to APDC products such as air power doctrine, books and Pathfinders, and noteworthy air power articles from around the world.

Of particular interest in this first newsletter are the latest Pathfinder papers produced by the centre. These are:

No. 133 – Defining Air Power: Part I – Evolution of the Term

No. 134 – The RAAF in Non-military Operations

Also of interest is the latest issue of the Australian Defense Forces Journal, which concentrates on the subject of Joint Professional Military Education.

New Books on First World War Air Power

While browsing the shelves at my local Waterstones I have come across two new works on air power during the First World War that may be of some interest to readers. Air Power and the First World War is a an area that really needs some good scholarship to be produced. Peter Hart has done some useful work on it and there is some useful stuff in the pages of the Journal of Cross and Cockade but I think it still has some way to go.

The first book is by E R Hooton who was the author of Phoenix Triumphant: The Rise and Rise of the Luftwaffe. This new book, entitled War Over the Trenches: Air Power and the Western Front Campaigns 1916-1918, is published by Midland Publishing and on the glance that I have given it at the bookshop it appears to be a well researched work with good referencing and a full bibliography. I hope to pick up a copy soon and not to be disappointed. Here is the blurb about the book:

The colossal impact and effect of World War 1 has provided a historical watershed of which almost every aspect has been studied and revised. Yet there is one aspect which has remained an enigma – air power. This book helps resolve many unanswered questions. Ironically, less is known about the air war, especially over the Western Front, than the campaigns of the armies of ancient Rome. Yet the technological development of the aeroplane, in air power and in air power’s use as an offensive weapon between 1914-18, accelerated at a pace which has never been matched. Few histories of World War 1 air power have focused upon the strategic air campaign, especially against England – fewer still those based upon documentary evidence which describe the course of operations and the events which shaped them; but the events of 1916-18 have been so little studied that mythology has become accepted fact, including myths in many now famous ‘standard works’. “War over the Trenches” is the first internationally-researched study to portray how air power really evolved and how it was really used to support armies during the massive and devastating battles on the Western Front. E.R. Hooton examines how air power was deployed en masse for the first time over Verdun and its subsequent use over the Somme in the second half of 1916; how reconnaissance and measures of co-operation with artillery were developed and refined; and, the recovery of Allied air power during in the autumn and summer of 1917 following months of attrition and in the final, great German offensives of 1918. This could often be a grim war, whose participants were directed in the air – frequently to their deaths – by commanders on the ground. War over the Trenches is based on exhaustive research conducted in archives in France, Belgium, the UK, the USA and includes German material which has never before been published. It provides the most insightful, exciting and radical reassessment of First World War air operations ever published.

The second book I have seen is by John Sweetman. John is the former head of Defence and International Affairs at Sandhurst and wrote a book on the Dambusters Raid. This book, entitled Cavalry of the Clouds: Air War Over Europe 1914-1918, is published by the History Press and again from a quick glance appears to be a good work. The key difference to the above work is its more general focus as it concentrates on the developments of the whole war, however, this hopefully should not a problem with it. Again I hope to have a copy at some point. Here is the blurb for it:

In 1917, David Lloyd George declared that airmen were ‘the cavalry of the clouds – the knighthood of this war.’ This romantic image was fostered post-war by writers of adventure stories and the stunts of Hollywood filmmakers, and yet it was far from the harsh reality of life of an airman. From their baptism of fire in 1914 carrying out reconnaissance and experiencing the first dogfights, to the breakthrough in 1918 which claimed heavy casualties, the aerial defenders of Britain were continually tested. In Cavalry of the Clouds John Sweetman describes the development of British air power during the First World War on the Western Front, which culminated in the creation of the first independent air force, the RAF. By making use of the correspondence of airmen and ground staff of all nationalities, he illustrates the impact this new type of conflict had on those involved and their families at home. Extensively researched and handsomely illustrated with contemporary photographs, Cavalry of the Clouds is an essential reference work for any student of military history.

It is good to see some focus return to First World War air power.

Reprints of Classic Air Power Texts

Like all areas of military history there are some classic texts that deal with air power. Like all classic texts they can often be difficult to find if they are not reprinted. Therefore it is good to see the University of Alabama Press reprinting some classic titles on air power. In particular the following have been reprinted in new editions:

John C Slessor Air Power and Armies (University of Alabama Press, 2009) – This new edition has an introduction by Philip Meilinger. The original was published by Oxford University Press in 1936. For me it has always been my nemesis as when ever I tried to get hold of a copy it was either too expensive or I was outbid on evilbay. Therefore, I am glad I know have a copy in my collection. It is one of the key texts on the use of operational air power in support of the land campaign, discussing its use primarily in aerial interdiction campaigns.

The next to be reprinted is:

Giulio Douhet The Command of the Air (University of Alabama Press, 2010) – Initially published in 1921 this edition is edited by Joseph Patrick Harahan and Richard H. Kohn. While it is debatable what impact the Douhet had upon the interwar development of air power theory in Britain and the US it remains an important text in air power history so it is good to see an accessible edition being available.

It also appears that later on this year they will be reprinting Mitchell’s Winged Defence.


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