WWI's transformational impact on the evolution of early airpower concepts including mission types, aircraft types, aviation tactics and the roots of aviation squadron culture. WWI airpower--as a new third dimension of warfare--began a long standing debate about the role of airpower in national strategy (including counter-productive debates about "decisiveness").


  1. By 1912, military value of air is being tested before the war.
  2. As war begins MILITARY FUNCTIONS FOR AVIATION evolved over time (Chapt 1-4).
    1. Stage 1: Eyes of the Army: Tactical Recon (23)
    2. Stage 2: Strategic Recon (87)
    3. Stage 3: Aerial bombing – as an extension of arty (48)
    4. Stage 4: Aerial bombing – strategic bombing emerging as "distant" or "industrial" (54)
    5. Stage 5: Aerial combat – air-to-air (63)
  3. TWO CATEGORIES of employment developed (86).
    1. "WORKING UNITS" – A-G forces working for a direct benefit of the ground forces.
    2. "COMBAT UNITS" – basically meant A-A forces.
  4. COST of aircraft is an issue in WWI (85, 95)!
  5. Fundamental observations:
    1. Modern industrial society more susceptible to bombing (9).
    2. Basis for AUTONOMY begins: to use airpower strategically (8).
  6. Two core problems emerge: aircraft vulnerability and bomb accuracy (9).
  7. Horribly, you may need to hit civilians when desperate to end long, unlimited war (9).
  8. Airpower is viewed as so terrible a weapon that it could end war (12). Abolition of borders (13). Airpower over a capital city could end war (13). Air covers 100% of the earth.
  9. Seapower is no shield against attack (17).
  10. 'Strategic' is almost synonymous with 'range' in early concepts… range against a CoG (3, 11).
  11. Trenchardian viewpoint = relentless offensive use of air (26-29).
  12. But this can only mean attacking what was within range (42).
  13. Air-to-Ground integration is very trial and error in nature (87).
  14. VERDUN marks the beginning of the fighter arm (73) and, "centrally directed tactical employment of the air weapon" (89b).
  15. Chapter 8 contains many intellectual history notes on aviation squadron life (133).
  16. The superior observation from air evolves rapidly (from balloons to planes).
  • "Observation and reconnaissance missions were by far the most numerous and the most important" (178).


  1. The British Post-War Assessment (Biddle, 57).
    1. Conclusion 1: material damage was small.
    2. Conclusion 2: moral effect was considerable.
    3. Jones (61). Summarizing the good results:
      1. First, national moral impact
      2. Second, falling off of production.
      3. Third, diversion of enemy forces for defense.
  2. The American Post-War Assessment (Biddle, 64).
    1. Note Thionville – 16 July 1919 – Key event: hit munitions train with secondaries. Starts to foster AI lessons about lucrative targets (63).
    2. Their Conclusions (64)
      1. Conclusion 1: Indirect effects
      2. Conclusion 2: Loss of production
      3. Conclusion 3: The cost of established defenses
      4. Conclusion 4: Fosters the diversion of enemy resources from O to D.
  3. Hints to targeting from WWI:
    1. Long range (go long)
    2. The kind of target matters
    3. Ask, “What factories if destroyed would do the greatest damage?”
    4. Requires, “a more systematic analysis of target sets”
    5. “program of strategic bombing”
  4. The US report favors Tivertonian vs Trenchardian concepts, "what factories if destroyed would do the greatest damage to the enemy's military organization as a whole" (Biddle, 67).


The volunteer aviator spirit in the US begins here.

  1. Escadrille Americaine changed to Lafayette Escandrille.
    1. Led by Norman Prince, New Englander, Mass 1914.
    2. Squadron B-Day, 16 April 1916 (Horne, 209).
    3. First mission – escort French bombers
    4. Odd mix of rich and poor; playboys and college boys, pro flyers and soldiers of fortune.
    5. First Commissioned officer among them, William Thaw, Yale.
    6. First US Ace: Raoul Lufbery. Died May 1918.
  1. Flying Tigers 1938. Fight for China.
  2. The Eagle Squadron 1940. Fight for Britain.
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