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Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War



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Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War

Frederick A. Talbot

PREFACE

CHAPTER I. THE INTRODUCTION OF AIRCRAFT INTO MILITARY OPERATIONS

CHAPTER II. THE MILITARY USES OF THE CAPTIVE BALLOON

CHAPTER III. GERMANY'S RISE TO MILITARY AIRSHIP SUPREMACY

CHAPTER IV. AIRSHIPS OF WAR

CHAPTER V. GERMANY'S AERIAL DREADNOUGHT FLEET

CHAPTER VI. THE MILITARY VALUE OF GERMANY'S AERIAL FLEET

CHAPTER VII. AEROPLANES OF WAR

CHAPTER VIII. SCOUTING FROM THE SKIES

CHAPTER IX. THE AIRMAN AND ARTILLERY

CHAPTER X. BOMB-THROWING FROM AIR-CRAFT

CHAPTER XI. ARMOURED AEROPLANES

CHAPTER XII. BATTLES IN THE AIR

CHAPTER XIII. TRICKS AND RUSES TO BAFFLE THE AIRMAN

CHAPTER XIV. ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS. MOBILE WEAPONS.

CHAPTER XV. ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS. IMMOBILE WEAPONS

CHAPTER XVI. MINING THE AIR CHAPTER XVII. WIRELESS IN AVIATION

CHAPTER XVIII. AIRCRAFT AND NAVAL OPERATIONS

CHAPTER XIX. THE NAVIES OF THE AIR

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PREFACE

Ever since the earliest days of the great conquest of the air, first by the dirigible balloon and then by the aeroplane, their use in time of war has been a fruitful theme for discussion. But their arrival was of too recent a date, their many utilities too unexplored to provide anything other than theories, many obviously untenable, others avowedly problematical.

Yet the part airships have played in the Greatest War has come as a surprise even to their most convinced advocates. For every expectation shattered, they have shown a more than compensating possibility of usefulness.

In this volume an endeavour has been made to record their achievements, under the stern test of trial, as an axiom of war, and to explain, in untechnical language, the many services to which they have been and may be applied.

In the preparation of the work I have received assistance from many sources--British, French, Russian and German--from official reports and from men who have played a part in the War in the Air. The information concerning German military aircraft has been obtained from Government documents, most of which were placed at my disposal before the outbreak of war.

The use of aircraft has changed the whole art and science of warfare. With its disabilities well in hand, with its strength but half revealed, the aerial service has revolutionised strategy and shorn the unexpected attack of half its terrors. The Fourth Arm is now an invaluable part of the complex military machine.

F. A. TALBOT.

CHAPTER I. THE INTRODUCTION OF AIRCRAFT INTO MILITARY OPERATIONS

It is a curious circumstance that an invention, which is hailed as being one of the greatest achievements ever recorded in the march of civilisation, should be devoted essentially to the maiming of humanity and the destruction of property. In no other trend of human endeavour is this factor so potently demonstrated as in connection with Man's Conquest of the Air.

The dogged struggle against the blind forces of Nature was waged tenaciously and perseveringly for centuries. But the measure of success recorded from time to time was so disappointing as to convey the impression, except in a limited circle, that the problem was impossible of solution. In the meantime wondrous changes had taken place in the methods of transportation by land and sea. The steam and electric railway, steam propulsion of vessels, and mechanical movement along the highroads had been evolved and advanced to a high standard of perfection, to the untold advantage of the community. Consequently it was argued, if only a system of travel along the aerial highways could be established, then all other methods of mechanical transportation would be rendered, if not entirely obsolete, at least antiquated.

At last man triumphed over Nature--at least to such a degree as to inspire the confidence of the world at large, and to bring aerial travel and transportation within range of realisation. But what has been the result? The discovery is not devoted to the interests of peace and economic development, but to extermination and destruction.

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