By James L. Stokesbury
This concise account of the army use of the aircraft during the last seventy-five years covers significant conflicts in Spain, Korea, Vietnam, and either global wars, in addition to the adjustments in know-how, strategies, and attitudes towards using air energy.
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Additional resources for A Short History of Air Power
They hovered over the German position, correcting the fall of shot from their own guns until the latter was on target. The signal was sent by Morse code: hit. hit. hit. The British gunners laid down a barrage, and the two fliers came home. In this undramatic way, the airplane found its most successful, if least publicized, role in the Great War. " The British, one could signal hit. hit. hit. Perhaps the most enterprising of these early efforts were undertaken by the Royal Naval Air Service. Members of this branch should not, stricdy speaking, even have been in France, but they were.
This second time, they say, he shot off one blade, and the resulting shudder tore the engine loose from the plane before he could shut off the engine. Fokker rejected that idea and, after examining the wreck, pronounced that Immelmann had been hit by antiaircraft fire, probably German. At the time, Fokker's monoplanes had been developed about as far as they could go and were under official scrutiny for structural deficiencies, so he was not likely to conclude that it had been the plane's fault, though on balance, the mechanical failure seems the most probable of the three possible explanations.
The BEF's commander, General Sir John French, was not quite as ignorant of the Germans as they were of him: He at least knew they were there. But he did not know what they were doing until August 22, when reconnaissance planes of Nos. 4 and 5 Squadrons reported that the Germans to the north of them were shifting direction. Hitherto they had been moving southwest, but now they were moving due south, right toward the BEF. At the moment he got this news, French was debating an appeal from his ally, General Lanrezac of the French Fifth Army, new attack eastward to relieve the pressure on him.