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Strike from the Air (Paperback)

The Early Years of the US Air Forces

Aviation Military > Pre-WWI > American History Photographic Books

By Terry C Treadwell
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 312
ISBN: 9781526798084
Published: 30th September 2024


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Video book review as featured on The Commander's Voice podcast 

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Much has been written about the Unites States air forces during the Second World War, but little has been written about the early days of American military aviation either before or during the First World War or in the immediate inter-war years.

In Strike From the Air, the author shows the early development of the aviation section of the U.S. Army with balloons and the part they played in the Civil War. This is followed by an account of the first use of military aircraft when General Pershing tracked down the revolutionary Pancho Villa after he had crossed the Mexican border into the United States and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing a number of American citizens. The development of naval aircraft during the invasion of Veracruz is also examined, which resulted in the first American aircraft to be hit by gunfire.

Following the outbreak of the First World War, the United States was gradually drawn into the conflict. Before this had happened, a number of American travelled to Europe to volunteer for the Lafayette Escadrille in France, as well as the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Many of these men eventually joined the newly created United States Army Air Service, taking their valuable experience and knowledge with them. Among the notable early US aviators were individuals such as Eugene Bullard, the first African-American military pilot, and eccentric loners like Frank Luke. The part played by the US Navy and USMC is not neglected.

At the end of the First World War a group of American pilots joined together to form the Kosciuszko Squadron that fought against the Russians in the Polish/Russian War.

The final part of the book contains a number of escape reports by USAS pilots and observers, which gives a real insight into the conditions they, and other Allied soldiers and airmen, were subjected to in German prison camps during the First World War. To complete this fascinating look at those exciting and challenging early days, Strike From the Air includes approximately 250 photographs, many of which have ever been seen before.

"This book should prove an enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in America’s involvement in the air war".

Cross and Cockade

A curious and very interesting book.

Read the full review here

Miniaturas JM

Featured in

Over the Front - Spring 2021 issue

The book covers both Army and Navy aviation. This is a good decision, as the Navy was more succesful at getting it American built aircraft into service in Europe, in particular an impressive variety of Curtiss flying boats.

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History of War

...a very worthwhile history of this time period, one that has been largely ignored by historians up to this point.

Click here for the full review


If you have any interest in the early years of American military aviation, then this book is a 'must have' for your shelves. You will not be disappointed.

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The book is well illustrated with 199 black and white photos and two black and white illustrations peppered through the pages.

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The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

This book will be of interest to modelers and aviation historians alike.

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AMPS Indianapolis

For aviation enthusiasts and students of airpower development, this is a remarkable book that shows just how difficult a start American military aviation endured.

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New York Journal of Books

As featured on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

There has been remarkably little coverage of the early years of US military aviation, making this a most welcome new book. The author follows the development of US aviation from the captive balloons of the Civil War, through WWI and into the post war years of pioneering – Highly Recommended

Read the full review here


About Terry C Treadwell

TERRY C. TREADWELL was born and educated in Bournemouth. Having served in the Royal Air Force, in telecommunications, and travelled the world quite extensively, including working in Australia for a short period, he was European Correspondent for Naval Aviation News (the official aviation magazine for the US Navy) and Wings of Gold (US) for ten years.

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