Handbook of the War

By John C. De Wilde; David H. Popper et al. | Go to book overview

6. AIR: THE NEW DIMENSION

AIR POWER has three jobs in a war. First, it assists the army. The battle of Guadalajara and subsequent fighting in Spain proved the usefulness of planes working step by step with land forces. Attack bombers strafe and bomb trenches, advancing troops, refugees, and supply columns, contributing more than their share to the horrors of battle. The air force also does valuable scout work for the army; recently on the Western Front, the first task of the British and French air forces was to map and photograph the Siegfried Line. In battle, observation planes direct artillery fire. Scout planes shuttle the commanding officers around, and perform innumerable taxi and messenger services. In these functions there is nothing revolutionary, nothing which alters the nature of war. The planes merely intensify the fire power, contribute mobility and double the accuracy of established methods.

The second function of the air force is co-ordinated with naval operations, and here again the chief use of the planes is as added artillery, scouts, and transport. The third, and by far the most important, aspect of air power is its strategic mission behind the lines. Here is the real revolution in war. Bombing planes can reach hundreds of miles behind an enemy frontier and aim their attack directly at the industrial and human sources of national strength. Consequently, the old barriers have shrunk, strategic naval bases have lost

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Handbook of the War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Maps and Pictorial Charts v
  • Note vii
  • 1. What They Are Fighting For - A Rapid Glance at Europe Since Versailles 1
  • 2. the Geography of Land War 15
  • 3. Armed Men 33
  • 4. the War of Attrition 44
  • 5. the War of Annihilation 57
  • 6. Air: the New Dimension 69
  • 7. Ships and Strategy 89
  • 8. the Sea Front 109
  • 9. the Economic Front 135
  • 10. Can Germany Be Blockaded? 153
  • 11. Merchant Shipping 181
  • 12. Paying for the War 203
  • 13. Propaganda 215
  • 14. the Defense of America 227
  • Index 243
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