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Military Air Power in Europe Preparing for War (ePub)

A Study of European Nations’ Air Forces Leading up to 1939

Aviation > Royal Air Force Aviation > WWII P&S History > British History WWII

By Norman Ridley
Imprint: Air World
File Size: 11.9 MB (.epub)
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 16 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399066877
Published: 12th December 2022


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The First World War had seen the mechanisation of warfare. Battle fronts had become immobilised in the grip of machine-guns and heavy artillery, leading to slaughter on an unprecedented scale.

The end of the war saw exhausted governments extricating themselves from the carnage, but some leaders were concerned that, sooner or later, another major war would follow. As France’s Marshal Foch put it, the Treaty of Versailles was only a ‘twenty-year truce’. The overriding concern was to find ways in future of avoiding the kind of static battle fronts that had consumed so many in such futile efforts.

Military aviation was seen as the one great innovation that had the potential to do this by revolutionising warfare. It would not only augment the effectiveness of ground forces in a tactical role, but it also had the means of reaching out strategically beyond the battlefronts to strike at the enemy’s trade, supplies, communications and industrial production. All through the war, military aviation had been firmly under the control of army commanders but there was soon a fierce debate over the way it should develop. The development of an ‘air doctrine’ within each of the major European powers was fraught with difficulty as the nascent air arms struggled, with varying degrees of success, to free themselves from army control to find a new, independent identity.

This book examines the way in which these air arms competed for prominence within the military structures of six major European nations – Germany, Britain, France, Soviet Union, Poland and Italy – with different resources, ambitions and philosophies, in the years from the beginning of aviation right up to the start of the Second World War.

"...presents a wealth of information in a digestible size. Ridley properly emphasizes the importance of doctrine during the formative stages of fielding a new combat capability."

The Journal of the Air Force Historical Foundation

4 out of 5

Overall it is a good read if you are interested in the development of military aviation policy in this period.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Military Air Power in Europe Preparing for War is an essential read for anyone interested in the history of air power or the Second World War. Having read a couple of Ridley books this is as usual a well-written, informative, and engaging. He provides a balanced and insightful account of a complex and important topic.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

In this comprehensive study of the nascent air forces of six European nations Norman Ridley gives the reader a truly deep and engaging insight into the development of Air Power in Europe during the period from WW1 to 1939.

I highly recommend this work to those with an interest in the development of Air Warfare in the lead up to WW2.

Martin Willoughby, The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

About Norman Ridley

NORMAN RIDLEY is an Open University Honours Graduate who writes about the less well covered aspects of 20th Century history. He lives in the Channel Islands.

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