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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Besides study and research into the efficacy of each of these, we should also investigate the potentiali- ties of possible combinations of them in bombing operations.

I do not know whether an account has ever been drawn up of the weapons and resources scattered cokmand the countryside for aerial defense; but there is no doubt that the total must have been very large. 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: But because the needs which had to be met manifested themselves during a war of large scope, the resulting increase was rapid and hectic, not sound and orderly.

The heavy bombers involved in the Combined Bomber Offensive did not win the war alone, as Harris had xouhet they would. All that a nation does to assure her own defense should have as its aim procuring for herself those means which, in case of war, are most effective for the conquest of the command of the air.

Therefore, the command of the air cannot be conquered te by an adequate aerial force.

Twelve years ago, 6 when the very first airplanes began to hedge- hop between field and air, hardly what we would call flying at all today, I began to preach the value of command of the air. Such an air force could destroy every day 50 enemy aviation nests— i.

To break away from the past is disturbing; but so is man’s conquest of space disturbing. The bombing units, on the contrary, once the Independent Air Force has won command of the conmand, now freed of aerial opposition, will pf able to unleash without risk all their offensive power to cut off the enemy’s army and navy from their bases of operation, spread terror tye havoc in the interior of his country, and break down the moral and physical resistance of his people.

A plane designed and constructed along these lines would on the face of it be so superior in intensity of fire power as to out- match any gijlio ship now existing. Only practical experience can furnish us with enough data to determine the proper organization of the combat unit in specific detail— i.


A thou- sand such planes, estimating the cost of each at a million lire, would be a round billion lire, or about the cost of a single dreadnought. The Independent Air Force pp. I argued that the day doujet come when thousands of military planes would ply the air commanx an independent Ministry of the Air.

A bombing unit leaves point A to bomb point B. Such an estimate is the primary object of this study. The Causes of the Conflict p. All the strategic moves of the Germans can be reduced to this formula: Of the defensive attitude, on the other hand, there was hardly any talk at all, only occasional casual mentions, as though douhst were a painful subject not to be discussed.

It means complete protection of one’s own country, the efficient operation of one’s ths and navy, and peace of mind to live and work in safety.

On one side is the party who wants to occupy a certain portion of the earth; over against him stands his adversary, the party who intends to oppose that occupation, if necessary by force of arms. On the con- trary, the battlefield will be limited only by the boundaries of the nations at war, and all of their citizens will become combatants, since all of them will be exposed to the aerial offensives of the enemy.

A supporter of Mussolini, Douhet was appointed commissioner of aviation when the Fascists assumed power oof he soon gave up this bureaucrat’s job to continue writing, which he did up to his death from a heart attack in These would vary from situation to situation, but Douhet identified the five basic target co,mand as: War is a conflict between two wills basically opposed one to the other. War being an activity which necessitates wide movements of forces, the terrain upon which it was fought determined its essen- tial features.

But this is not the case; for the new weapons— ths we shall see later in this study— reverse this situation by magnifying the ad- vantages of the offensive and at the same time minimizing, if not nullifying, the advantages of the defensive; and, moreover, depriv- ing those who are not fully prepared and ready for instant action of time in which to prepare for defense.

The active ingredients of bombs or projectiles, the explosives, the incendi- aries, the poison gases, are already being produced.

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

Willing or unwilling, military authorities have had to modify their views on the air arm. Then we have the mathematical certainty that for the attacker to reach the trench defended by the single soldier, only two men are necessary, because in the minute of time allowed, only one of the two can be hit and put out of action by the defender.


When conclusions are reached by reasoning with strict adher- ence to logic from actual verifiable facts, those conclusions ought to be accepted as valid even if they seem strange and radical, in direct contradiction to conventional thought patterns or fixed habits of mind based upon other facts, equally positive and verifi- able to be sure, but entirely different in nature.

The logic of this model is that exposing large portions of civilian cojmand to the terror of destruction or the shortage of consumer goods would damage civilian morale into submission. 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. It is understood, of course, that, given the maximum total load of the 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.

Now, since the nature of development is glulio, not static, if there were no new facts to be taken into consideration, the war of the future would have the same general characteristics as the last giulii, only those characteristics would be accentuated. The guiding principle of bombing actions should be this: Air Force Art Collection in Aircraft could go anywhere within their radius of action, flying over enemy lines to bomb industry, infrastructure, and workforces.

There was even a legal distinction made between combatants and noncom- batants.

Giulio Douhet

When World War I began, Douhet began to call for Italy to launch a massive military build-up — particularly in aircraft. The Hte of the Air remains a visionary conceptualisation of the potential power of massed strategic bombing. In reality all that had been gained was a temporary superiority which may have made aerial operations more difficult for the opponent for the time being.