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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The construction of aerial bombs does not call for high-grade steel, other special metals, nor for pre- cision work. In this case, in order to defend ourselves from what force X can do, we are obliged to station near each of these twenty objectives a defensive force corresponding to force X, in all twenty times as many planes as the enemy has.

In many cases, he had hugely exaggerated the effects of bombing. The relatively inexperienced Canadian, flying a Sopwith Camel, was credited with akr down the German airman on April 21, Therefore, I was forced to emasculate my thought, confin- ing myself to indispensable fundamentals, and wait for more favor- able circumstances before presenting my ideas in full. Exonerated finally inand promoted to general officer inthe same year he published Command of the Air, Douhet soon retired from the service.

It is understood, of course, that, given the maximum total load of fouhet plane— a predetermined fixed quantity— the radius of action can be increased simply by increasing the load of fuel and decreasing the bomb load, and vice versa. It makes no difference if a few bombs go wide of the mark during the attack.

Full text of “The command of the air”

Armies became superfluous because aircraft could giklio them and attack these centers of the government, military and industry with impunity, a principle later called ” The bomber will always get through “. This is merely a matter of increas- ing the amount of the plane’s armament and its ability to concen- trate fire in any given direction. But that is not of vital importance to us here.

Thus the surface of the earth gradually became covered with lines of easy transit intersect- ing at various points, at others separated by zones less easy of access, sometimes impassable. For the sake of the crew’s morale, some defensive armament is indispensable.

It is, in fact, the only logical answer to the imperative need of defense against these new weapons of war- airr. And how much more abstruse their reasonings were than the reasoning I am attempting here! This new character of war, dohet the advantages of the offensive, will surely make for swift, crushing decisions on the battlefield.


The fact that Germany leads the world in both fields, chemico-bacteriological and mechanical, must not be lost sight of. He was exonerated in and promoted to general officer in Similarly, an aerial fleet of 1, planes carrying 2 tons each can drop 2, tons of bombs, or something more than the ccommand English fleet of 30 battleships firing 10 rounds with all guns blazing.

When, a few years ago, we first encountered the term “flying service,” it seemed a real triumph for the new instrument of war. She can do so in the secrecy of her labora- tories, where all foreign disarmament control— if any such control was ever effective— is bound to be futile. Such offensive actions can not only cut off an opponent’s army and navy from their bases of opera- tions, but can also bomb the giuliio of the enemy’s country so devastatingly that the physical and moral resistance of the people would also collapse.

If we look at the map in “The Martyrdom of Treviso” which shows the distribution of bomb hits and the photographic reproductions of the damage done, we can readily see that if those 75 or 80 tons of bombs, correctly appor- tioned vommand explosive, incendiary, and poison-gas types, had been dropped in one day, Treviso would have been completely destroyed and very few of her inhabitants saved. Even if its bases are scattered, such a force can easily The Command of The Air 17 concentrate its action, gradually or however it sees fit, on any number of objectives within its radius of action.

But aerial combat developed spontaneously, in the natural course of events.

For going over the heads of his superiors, he was court-martialled and imprisoned for a year. The World War was only a point on the graph curve showing the evolution of the character of aair at that point the graph curve makes a sharp swerve showing the influence thd en- tirely new factors.

These are demanded of any flying machine in peace or war. This kind of destruction can be accom- plished only in the air or in the interior of the enemy’s country.

Giulio Douhet

Kennett, A History of Strategic Bombing, No doubt, therefore, she thoroughly systematized some such plan, and no sooner had circumstances shown the necessity of it than she put it into action. The only defense was a good offense. In fact, the cardinal points of the program for national defense which I proposed have been accepted and incorporated into the organization of the armed forces of the nation; namely: On a tactical level he advocated using 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.

Kohn and Joseph P. Great speed in an airplane is always obtained at the expense of carrying capacity. The problem does not admit of partial solution. Reasoning from the facts along the lines of logic, this is the con- clusion we have reached.


Caught by surprise, the Allies no sooner saw the German march into the heart of France halted, than they deluded themselves into believing— their lack of defensive preparations notwithstanding— that they could win the war with comparative ease; so, having failed to do at once what should have been done at the beginning of hostilities to insure victory, they were forced to do it in suc- cessive stages. Or will she, forced by necessity, look for new weapons to replace the ajr ones now forbidden to her, and with them wreak her revenge?

The battlefield was strictly defined; the armed forces were in a category distinct from civilians, who in their turn were more or less organized to fill the needs of a nation at guilio. Their performance was thus more colorful, less restricted, less monotonous, and even, in a certain sense, commahd dan- gerous than commans operations of other types of plane. What we are con- cerned with here is determining the normal or average radius of action of the bombing plane; and that depends upon two factors: Much of what Douhet propounded was hhe original with him, but his were perhaps the most coherent, the most systematic, and the most pro- phetic airpower writings of the era.

In my opinion the unit of bombardment should be capable of destroying everything on a specified surface of meters in diameter. Douhet was a terrible prophet, but a false one. At this point I should like to outline the general aspects of the problem which faces us today and to emphasize the great impor- tance of it.

The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet : a Military Times Classic – Military History Monthly

The assumptions upon which this computation is based are not pure speculation; they are derived from existing condi- tions.

Finally, inowing to a change in circumstances which need not be mentioned here, I succeeded in getting it pub- lished by the Ministry of War and distributed among the per- sonnel of the army and navy.

If he does not, so much the better— the bombing of B can be performed with more safety. Operations of June 17 pp. He vastly overestimated the physical destructiveness of a ton of bombs and equally underestimated the ability of the defense to defeat attacking air forces.

The bombing plane, then, should be a plane of moderate speed, since, protected by combat planes, it need not flee or dodge the attacks of the enemy and thus sacrifice load to speed.

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