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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He is the one who seeks battle, who makes the attack. If bombs containing high explosives require a large conmand of metal in proportion to their internal charge in order to ensure an effective explosion, the proportion of metal in bombs containing incendiaries or poison gases may be reduced to a minimum.
But they are still in their infancy, and are entirely different from all others in character; and we cannot yet estimate exactly their potential influence on the form of future wars.
Project MUSE – The Command of the Air
But it only seemed so; for the term ‘ ‘flying service” expresses only a bond, inasmuch as a “service” is a mere part of a whole, which is the only entity which can be considered really independent. This offensive— or better still, destructive— power can be launched against an enemy at whatever point it will prove most effective and most painful. By its very nature the pursuit plane must be an exceptional machine, embodying at any given moment all the most recent technical developments, and manipulated by excep- tional pilots.
In I wrote: The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet: Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. And the fact that this possibility exists, proclaims aloud for any- one to understand that to have command of the air is to have victory. This quantity will be larger or smaller according to the efficacy of the active materials used in the actual 36 The Command of The Air bombs.
All this is a present possibility, not one in the distant future.
Command of the Air – University of Alabama Press
We do not doihet whether, when he first began to navigate the seas, he regarded naval warfare as a mere auxiliary to land operations; but we do know that from time immemorial we have been fighting on the sea independently of, though in co-operation with, land forces.
With its very limited radius of action, the pursuit plane was forced to play a passive role instead of seeking out the enemy on his own grounds. InItaly went to war against the Ottoman Empire for control of Libya. The ex- tent of the radius of action depends exclusively upon the fuel con- sumption souhet its motors and its carrying capacity. In the air his planes may escape; but, like the birds whose nests and eggs aid been destroyed, those planes which were still out would have no bases at which to alight when they returned.
As for any opposition from ground forces, there can be none except antiaircraft guns; and I couhet try to show how combat planes can counteract even the action of antiaircraft guns. Then, indeed, the bomber got through.
All the strategic moves of the Germans can be reduced to this formula: But in order to be effective, these dispositions for defense must provide means of warfare suited to the character and form future wars may assume. And how was this to be achieved?
The assumptions upon which this computation is based are not pure speculation; they are derived from existing condi- tions. Even if we still have little knowledge of them, we can at least sense, and experience may confirm the impression, that high explosives will play a minor role in potential combinations, given a more The Command of The Air 41 extensive use of incendiaries and poison gases.
But during all that time nothing effective was done by our aerial defense forces to prevent the bombings except to take note of the places bombed; so the attacks went on until the very end of Octoberor until the Armistice 24 The Command of The Air of November 3, in spite of our claim, especially toward the end of the war, to the command of the air.
When I sir the first version inmore douhett ten comand had passed since I first voiced the ideas expressed there. The municipality of Treviso has published a pamphlet entitled “The Martyrdom of Treviso,” which may serve as an illustration of what I have said above. It is easy to see how the use of this method, even with limited supplies of explosive and incendiary bombs, could completely wreck large areas of population and their transit lines during crucial periods of time when such thf might prove strategically invaluable.
In our own lifetime we have seen how great an influence the introduction of small-caliber, rapid-fire guns— to- gether with barbed wire— has had on land warfare, and how the submarine changed the nature of sea warfare.
As an illustration of the magnitude of aerial power, let us assume that kilograms of active material is capable of de- stroying the area of a circle douyet meters in radius. In Douhet’s thinking, aircraft altered the fundamental character of warfare, and he argued the case at a level of abstraction and generalization that elevated argument to principle and the body of thought as a whole to theory.
Antiaircraft fire can certainly put out of action some planes in a bombing unit —a limited loss; but no one can hope to fight a war without taking some risks, especially when those risks can be reduced to a mini- mum. Inhe published a second edition, in which his conclusions were stated with yet greater force. And, as a matter of fact, it goes without saying that the radius of action and ceiling of combat planes should be greater than those of bombing units, which commmand must escort and protect.
Therefore, combat units have no need of great speed in lf to seek out the enemy and force him to give battle; all they need is enough to escort the bombing units and put up an adequate fight if the enemy attempts to interfere with their operations. The Command of the Air remains a visionary conceptualisation of the potential power of massed strategic bombing.
In he was recalled to service to head the Italian Central Aeronautical Bureau.
Fortunately, conditions are different today. The Command of qir Air. Obviously, both the army and the navy, each in its own field, must operate toward the same objective— i.
Is it true or is it not true that the strongest army and navy we could muster would be powerless to prevent a de- termined, well-prepared enemy from cutting them off from their bases of operation and from spreading terror and havoc over the whole country? To be exact, let us say that there are twenty of these objectives.
To get an idea of the nature of future wars, one need only imagine what power of destruction that nation would possess whose bacteriologists should discover the means of spreading epidemics in the enemy’s country and at the same time immunize its own people.