This book offers a fresh approach to the debate on the RAF's bomber offensive by using modern strategic leadership theory as an analytical tool to examine the campaign. In particular, it looks at the legality and legitimacy of the offensive and explores the key interfaces between the military leaders, the politicians and allies. It also looks at the major controversies in the aims and objectives of the campaign and the personalities involved. Modern literature from the leadership field is used to consider the challenges facing those charged with the formulation and execution of the offensive. Aspects of the senior leadership disputes are also dealt with in the context of the leadership literature and in the wider context of the strategic challenges then facing Churchill, Sinclair and Portal. A multi-disciplinary bent to the book enables the reader to move beyond the narrow confines of military considerations to the thorough investigation of the legality, legitimacy and morality of the offensive.
WINNER OF THE HWA NON-FICTION CROWN A TIMES AND SPECTATOR BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Britain's wartime story has been told many times, but never as cleverly as this.' Dominic Sandbrook In the bleak first half of the Second World War, Britain stood alone against the Axis forces. Isolated and outmanoeuvred, it seemed as though she might fall at any moment. Only an extraordinary effort of courage - by ordinary men and women - held the line. The Second World War is the defining experience of modern British history, a new Iliad for our own times. But, as Alan Allport reveals in this, the first part of a major new two-volume history, the real story was often very different from the myth that followed it. From the subtle moral calculus of appeasement to the febrile dusts of the Western Desert, Allport interrogates every aspect of the conflict - and exposes its echoes in our own age. Challenging orthodoxy and casting fresh light on famous events from Dunkirk to the Blitz, this is the real story of a clash between civilisations that remade the world in its image.
In the early twentieth century, the new technology of flight changed warfare irrevocably, not only on the battlefield, but also on the home front. As prophesied before 1914, Britain in the First World War was effectively no longer an island, with its cities attacked by Zeppelin airships and Gotha bombers in one of the first strategic bombing campaigns. Drawing on prewar ideas about the fragility of modern industrial civilization, some writers now began to argue that the main strategic risk to Britain was not invasion or blockade, but the possibility of a sudden and intense aerial bombardment of London and other cities, which would cause tremendous destruction and massive casualties. The nation would be shattered in a matter of days or weeks, before it could fully mobilize for war. Defeat, decline, and perhaps even extinction, would follow. This theory of the knock-out blow from the air solidified into a consensus during the 1920s and by the 1930s had largely become an orthodoxy, accepted by pacifists and militarists alike. But the devastation feared in 1938 during the Munich Crisis, when gas masks were distributed and hundreds of thousands fled London, was far in excess of the damage wrought by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz in 1940 and 1941, as terrible as that was. The knock-out blow, then, was a myth. But it was a myth with consequences. For the first time, The Next War in the Air reconstructs the concept of the knock-out blow as it was articulated in the public sphere, the reasons why it came to be so widely accepted by both experts and non-experts, and the way it shaped the responses of the British public to some of the great issues facing them in the 1930s, from pacifism to fascism. Drawing on both archival documents and fictional and non-fictional publications from the period between 1908, when aviation was first perceived as a threat to British security, and 1941, when the Blitz ended, and it became clear that no knock-out blow was coming, The Next War in the Air provides a fascinating insight into the origins and evolution of this important cultural and intellectual phenomenon, Britain's fear of the bomber.
Since the Second World War, depictions of Royal Air Force operations in film and television drama have become so numerous that they make up a genre worthy of scholarly attention. In this illuminating study, S. P. MacKenzie explores the different ways in which the men of RAF Bomber Command have been represented in dramatic form on the big and small screen from the war years to the present day. Bomber Boys on Screen is the first in-depth study of how and why the screen-drama image of those who flew, those who directed them, and those who provided support for RAF bomber operations has changed over time, sometimes in contested circumstances. Until now dramas that focus on Bomber Command have tended to be mentioned only in passing or studied in isolation, despite the prevalence of surveys of both the British war film genre and of aviation cinema. In Bomber Boys on Screen MacKenzie examines the development, presentation, and reception of significant dramas on a decade-by-decade basis. Titles from the beginning of the war (The Lion Has Wings, 1939) to the start of new century (Bomber's Moon, 2014) are situated in the context of technical possibilities and limitations, evolving social and cultural norms in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and the development of moral and utilitarian controversies surrounding the wartime bomber offensive directed against Nazi Germany. While the focus is on feature films and television plays, reference is also made to documentaries, memorials, veterans' organizations, book titles, war comics, and other representations of the war fought by Bomber Command.
Air Warfare provides an introduction to the subject's theory, history and practice. As well as delivering an up to date look at the strategy, and historiography of air power, Peter Gray explores the theories behind air power and looks at the political, legal and moral dimensions of the application of air power. Topics covered include: - Key military strategists and their legacy - Air power's strategic effects - Leadership, management and command - Tactics, technology and operations The book draws on primary sources including official narratives and published reports, examines key thinkers in the study of air power, and discusses topics such as concepts of warfare as an art or science, cultural perceptions of air power, and the experience of being an airman. With its broad scope and thorough coverage of a range of key topics, Air Warfare takes air power beyond the study of individual campaigns, or controversies, providing a multi-disciplinary approach to air power studies.
The Routledge Handbook of Air Power offers a comprehensive overview of the political purposes and military importance of air power. Despite its increasing significance in international relations, statecraft and war, the phenomenon of air power remains controversial and little understood beyond its tactical and technological prominence. This volume provides a comprehensive survey designed to contribute to a deep and sophisticated understanding of air power. Containing contributions from academics and service personnel, the book comprises five sections: - Part I Foundation: the essence of air power - Part II Roles and functions: delivering air power - Part III Cross-domain integration: applying air power - Part IV Political–social–economic environment: air power in its strategic context - Part V Case studies: air power in its national context Examining a series of themes and factors that contribute to an understanding of the utility and applicability of air power, this Handbook focuses on the essence of air power, identifies its roles and functions, and places air power in its wider strategic and national contexts. The Routledge Handbook of Air Power will be of great interest to students of air power, strategic studies, defence studies, security studies and IR, as well as to military professionals and policy-makers.
The United States needs airpower, but does it need an air force? In Grounded, Robert M. Farley persuasively argues that America should end the independence of the United States Air Force (USAF) and divide its assets and missions between the United States Army and the United States Navy. In the wake of World War I, advocates of the Air Force argued that an organizationally independent air force would render other military branches obsolete. These boosters promised clean, easy wars: airpower would destroy cities beyond the reach of the armies and would sink navies before they could reach the coast. However, as Farley demonstrates, independent air forces failed to deliver on these promises in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, and the War on Terror. They have also had perverse effects on foreign and security policy, as politicians have been tempted by the vision of devastating airpower to initiate otherwise ill-considered conflicts. The existence of the USAF also produces turf wars with the Navy and the Army, leading to redundant expenditures, nonsensical restrictions on equipment use, and bad tactical decisions. Farley does not challenge the idea that aircraft represent a critical component of America's defenses; nor does he dispute that -- especially now, with the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles -- airpower is necessary to modern warfare. Rather, he demonstrates that the efficient and wise use of airpower does not require the USAF as presently constituted. An intriguing scholarly polemic, Grounded employs a wide variety of primary and secondary source materials to build its case that the United States should now correct its 1947 mistake of having created an independent air force.
Sir John Slessor was one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished wartime commanders and incisive military thinkers, and William Pyke’s comprehensive new biography reveals how he earned this remarkable reputation. Slessor, a polio victim who always walked with a stick, became a First World War pilot in the Sudan and on the Western Front and a squadron and wing commander in India between the wars. When aerial warfare was still a new concept, he was one of the first to develop practical tactics and strategies in its application. In the Second World War, as the Commander-in-Chief of Coastal Command during the Battle of the Atlantic and the RAF in the Mediterranean during the Italian and Balkan campaigns, he made a remarkable contribution to the success of Allied air power. Then, after the war, as a senior commander he established himself as one of the foremost experts on strategic bombing and nuclear deterrence. That is why this insightful biography of a great British airman and his achievements is so timely and important as we enter a new era of strategic doubts and deterrence at the beginning of the twenty-first century. William Pyke follows each stage of Slessor’s brilliant career as a pilot and commander in vivid detail. In particular he concentrates on Slessor’s writings, from his treatise on the application of air power in support of land armies to his thinking on nuclear deterrence and Western strategy.
Compared to armies and navies, which have existed as professional fighting services for centuries, the technology that makes air forces possible is much newer. As a result, these services have had to quickly develop methods of preparing aviators to operate in conditions ranging from peace or routine security to full-scale war. The first book to address the history and scope of air power professionalization through learning programs, Educating Air Forces offers valuable new insight into strategy and tactics worldwide. Here, a group of international experts examine the philosophies, policies, and practices of air service educational efforts in the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada, and the UK. The contributors discuss the founding, successes, and failures of European air force learning programs between the Great War and World War II and explore how the tense Cold War political climate influenced the creation, curriculum, and results of various programs. They also consider how educational programs are adapting to soldiers' needs and the demands of modern warfare. Featuring contributions from eminent scholars in the field, this volume surveys the learning approaches globally employed by air forces in the past century and evaluates their effectiveness. Educating Air Forces reveals how experiential learning and formal education are not only inextricably intertwined, but also necessary to cope with advances in modern warfare.
This book explores the development of tactical air power in Britain between 1940 and 1943 through a study of the Royal Air Force’s Army Co-operation Command. It charts the work done by the Command during its existence, and highlights the arguments between the RAF and Army on this contentious issue in Britain. Much is known about the RAF both in the years preceding and during the Second World War, particularly the exploits of Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands, yet the existence of the RAF’s Army Co-operation Command is little-known. Through extensive archival research, Matthew Powell maps the creation and work of the RAF’s Army Co-operation Command through an analysis of tactical air power developments during the First World War and inter-war periods, highlighting the debates and arguments that took place between the Air Ministry and the War Office.
Aerial warfare has dominated war-making for over 100 years, and despite regular announcements of its demise, it shows no sign of becoming obsolete. In this Very Short Introduction Frank Ledwidge offers a sweeping look at the history of aerial warfare, introducing the major battles, crises, and controversies where air power has taken centre stage, and the changes in technology and air power capabilities over time. Highlighting the role played by air power in the First and Second World Wars, he also sheds light on the lesser-known theatres where the roles of air forces have been clearly decisive in conflicts, in Africa, South America, and Asia. Along the way, Ledwidge asks key questions about the roles air power can deliver, and whether it is conceptually different from other forms of combat. Considering whether bombing has ever been truly effective, he discusses whether wars can be won from the air, and concludes by analysing whether there is a future for manned air power, or if it is inevitable that drones will dominate 21st century war in the air. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Previously published in hardback as Aerial Warfare: The Battle for the Skies.