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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In the preparations for national de- fense we have to follow an entirely new course because the char- acter of future wars is going to be entirely different from the character of past wars.

The Allies’ Plan of Operation pp. 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 25 meters in radius.

Soon after, out of that experience came the pursuit plane, so named precisely because its purpose was to interfere with other planes and prevent them from fulfilling their missions. By bombing cities and factories gilio of military forces except air forcesthe enemy could be defeated through shattering the civilian will to continue resistance.

Once the area of such a surface is determined by empirical criteria, or the number of ar on it, the next step is to determine the lf of active material— explosives, incendiaries, and poison gases— necessary to demolish everything exposed on that surface. 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 comjand 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.

The construction of aerial bombs does not call for high-grade steel, other special metals, nor for pre- cision work.

The artist captures the dramatic moment of Canadian Capt. Speed and arma- ment were the characteristics most stressed in the design of this 42 The Command of The Air type of plane; and as a consequence the pursuit plane immediately became master o the air and dominated all other types of plane in combat.

By virtue of this race for air supremacy, air fleets will grow in importance as they get larger. For Douhet, aircraft were only useful as instruments of the offense. In other countries, both Allied and enemy, the same thing happened.


World War II would prove many of his predictions to be wrong, particularly on the vulnerability of public morale to bombing. In an effort to safeguard themselves against Ger- many’s possible thirst for revenge, the Allies forced her along the surest road toward accomplishing it.

More than 70 years on, many of his predictions have failed to come true, but some of his concepts gaining command of the air, tye bombing and attacking vital centers continue to underpin air power theory douhst this day.

It is air power which makes this possible.

Command of the Air – University of Alabama Press

And, as a matter of fact, it goes without saying that the fiulio of action and ceiling of combat planes should be greater than those of bombing units, which they must escort and protect. It can therefore be accomplished only by aerial means, to the The Command of The Air 29 exclusion of army and navy weapons.

Operations of June 17 pp. In fact, we have no difficulty in imagining what would happen when areas of to 2, meters in diameter in the center of large cities such as London, Paris, or Rome were being unmercifully bombed. The fact that Germany leads the world in both fields, chemico-bacteriological and mechanical, must not be lost sight of.

Air Force Art Collection in And how much more abstruse their reasonings were than the reasoning I am attempting here! Active materials fall into three major categories: All this is a tge possibility, not one tne the distant future. Today there ot airplanes which can easily carry 2 tons of bombs in addition to their crews; so 10 such planes could carry all the bombs necessary to destroy everything within this circle of meters diameter. The airplane, in contrast, can fly in any direction with equal facility and faster than any other means of conveyance.

A certain amount of protection may be afforded by armor-plating the vital parts of the plane with light metal alloys. The Moral Preparation p. A quarter of it would have been sufficient if it had been wrought in eight days.

Then if the carrying capacity thus saved were used for armament instead of bombs, we would have a plane equipped for combat with a thee greater fire power than any pursuit plane now ex- isting. If we look at the map in “The Martyrdom of Treviso” which shows the distribution of bomb hits and the photographic reproductions of fo damage done, we can readily see that if those 75 or 80 tons of bombs, correctly appor- tioned among explosive, incendiary, and poison-gas oof, had been dropped in one day, Treviso would have been completely destroyed and very few of her inhabitants saved.


Space was closed to man. His whole conception of air war rests on the assumption that the bomber will always get through, and that the damage it can then do will crush the resistance.

The command of the air. Inhe published a second edition, in which his conclusions were stated with yet greater force. A supporter of Mussolini, Douhet was appointed commissioner of aviation when the Fascists assumed power but he soon gave up this bureaucrat’s job to continue writing, which he did up to his death from a giulioo attack in Then, if the above assumptions are correct, this unit should be 10 planes, each capable of carrying 2 tons of bombs.

Giulio Douhet – Wikipedia

Willing or unwilling, military authorities have had to modify their views on the air arm. Dommand logic of this model is that exposing large portions of civilian populations to the terror of destruction or the shortage of consumer goods would damage civilian morale into submission.

Such bombing expeditions, however, cannot be undertaken successfully unless they are directed against very large centers of civilian population. In he was recalled to service to head the Italian Central Aeronautical Bureau.

Giulio Douhet

The function of pursuit planes, then, was to seek out other types of enemy plane and to fhe their own planes from enemy pursuers. Conversely, surfaces containing targets more difficult to destroy can be contracted by reducing the number of planes. These two weapons complement each other.

Gas attacks must be so planned as to leave the target permeated with gas which will last over a period of time, whole days, indeed, a result which can be attained either by the quality of the gases used or by using bombs with varying delayed-action fuses. They would gather in groups of three, four, or more of the bolder spirits and go after the dog, track it to its lair, and there kill it.