giulio douhet command of the air

[37] Douhet, The Command of The Air, iii. The dirigible gained early favor from the majority of military leaders who envisioned aircraft conducting only reconnaissance in support of land movements and naval operations. This new consequence of the changing nature of war led Douhet to define command of the air as the ability to deny the enemy the ability to fly while retaining that ability for yourself. Witness to Europe’s military build-up in advance of World War I, Douhet warned the Ministry of War of the consequences of aerial bombardment. [2] Azar Gat, Fascist and Liberal Visions of War: Fuller, Liddell Hart, Douhet, and Other Modernists (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 571. Warner’s five elements of Douhetism found in The Command of The Air are the product of Douhet’s career of advocating for the transformative capabilities of airpower and the superiority of the airplane. "The enemy as a system." In 1921 he produced his definitive work, “Command of the Air”. The debate became, in Thomas Hippler’s words, between ‘war from the air’ as compared to ‘war in the air.’ [15] In the second edition, published in 1927, Douhet had changed his thinking on the organization of the air forces, which originally envisioned equal components of “aerial means used by the army and navy,” and “aerial means destined to carry out war missions in which neither the army nor navy can take part.”[16] He now believed that “aerial means set aside for auxiliary aviation are means diverted from the essential purpose” that are “worthless, superfluous and harmful.”[17] This contention has become the source of inter-service rivalry between armies, navies, and independent air forces across the world. He was an army officer, reaching the rank of general, but trench-war stalemate had turned his mind to … "Jomini." Upon graduating from the School of Warfare, Douhet took up various positions in the Italian army until 1900 when he attained recognition for his brilliance in applying new technologies for military purposes and was assigned to the Italian Army’s General Staff. Vindicated following the event’s of World War 1, Giulio Douhet still found roadblocks to his theories. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Since the e It is impossible even to outline general standards, because the choice of enemy targets will depend upon a number of circumstances, material, moral, and psychological, the importance of which, though real, is not easily estimated.”[18] One widely accepted view on Douhet’s concepts of total war and strategic bombing, held by theorists including Warner and Gian P. Gentile, asserts that Douhet holds a nation’s industrial capacity and the enemy’s air force to be the primary targets of bombing missions. For going over the heads of his superiors, he was court-martialled and imprisoned for a year. “[I]n only a few months conflict broke out between the ideas which sprang like sparks from his keen intelligence and fertile imagination, and bureaucratic resistance to the intrusion of innovations dealing with the new air weapon,” according to Raymond Flugel’s dissertation on Douhet’s influence on United States airpower doctrine. It reports that the 1990-1991 Gulf War is seen by some as “evidence that technology has finally enabled airmen to fulfill the expectations” of “air proponents such as Guilio Douhet and Billy Mitchell” that “described the things that air power could achieve in theory, but until the Gulf War, air forces lacked the ‘tools and systems capable of achieving them’ in practice.”[36] (The authors of the GWAPS report did not endorse that conclusion.) "Giulio Douhet's The Command of the Air is a military classic. Douhet called the plane that delivers this payload the “battle plane.” He is clear on an air force’s need for such planes, stating, “we have been able to determine through deduction the characteristics a battle plane should have—the only type of plane which should make up the operating mass of an Independent Air Force—the only organism necessary, because sufficient in itself, to wage aerial warfare.”[22] Meanwhile, on the ground below, Douhet observes that “nothing man can do on the surface of the earth can interfere with a plane in flight, moving freely in the third dimension.”[23] Douhet’s battle plane concept was controversial and contributed to his court-martial for his independent support of the Caproni 300 bomber leading up to the First World War. Douhet’s most noted book is Il dominio dell’aria (1921; The Command of the Air, 1942). As the hours passed and night advanced, the fires would spread while the poison gas paralysed all life.’. Speed serves only to come to grips with the foe and to flee from him, no more.”[30] Warner called Douhet’s failure to anticipate the importance of increased speed, “the worst of all of Douhet’s failures in dealing with technical development.”[31] As an example, Brodie cited Germany’s loss in the 1940 Battle of Britain as an example of Douhet’s failure to appreciate the changes in aerial warfare resulting from improved speed and radar capabilities and thus the failure of Douhetism. Though not the first nor only text to recognize the consequences that the airplane would might on the character of warfare, The Command of The Air is an indisputable classic of military strategy because of Douhet’s systematic and forceful argument. Together with the advent of radar, the engine and aeronautical improvements that produced increasing difference in relative speed between fighters and bombers during World War II damaged Douhet’s presumption of the dominance of the aerial offensive. Skip to main content.sg. There, he earned the praise of his professors for his interest in the latest mechanical advancements with his thesis paper titled, ‘The Calculation of Rotating Field Engines.’[2] Douhet then combined his exceptional mechanical science background with study of the theories of military strategy, logistics, and tactics at the School of Warfare in Turin. The three-dimensional vastness of the sky and the speed with which aircraft moved through it precluded effective anti-aircraft gunnery. [3] John Shy, "Jomini," in Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, ed. Command of the Air: Douhet, Giulio: Amazon.sg: Books. Washington, D.C.: Potomac, 2010. After serving eight more months in the military Douhet resigned from active duty. [28] Cappelluti, The Life and Thought of Giulio Douhet, 247. Douhet wrote that when evaluating strategic bombing targets, “the truth of the matter is that no hard and fast rules can be laid down on this aspect of aerial warfare. Then, a fourth edition published by the Italian Air Force in 1955 was issued to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Douhet’s death. The book, long established as essential reading for Air University students, collects separate writings The Command of the Air, The Probable Aspects of the War of the Future, Recapitulation, and The War of 19– into one volume. The command of the air. Finally, Warner’s last element of Douhetism from The Command of The Air is that the bomber is superior to the fighter aircraft. Giulio Douhet Giulio Douhet (1869-1930) is regarded as one of the first military strategists to recognize the predominant role aerial warfare would play in twentieth-century battle. In a measure of Douhet’s recognition, U.S Air Force Historian, Dr. Richard P. Hallion wrote of Douhet, “in the pantheon of air power spokesman, Giulio Douhet holds center stage.”[37] Douhet’s classic, published in 1921, has remained a source of modern strategy that has transcended any reaction to the devastation of the First World War that Douhetism originally sought to overcome, to remain a guiding document for strategists of warfare’s third dimension, the air. [26] Flugel, United States Air Power Doctrine, 255. : Lessons Learned From World War II to Kosovo. This is done, according to Douhet, because, “the essential purpose of an Air Force is to conquer the command of the air by first wiping out the enemy’s air forces.”[19] Once this is accomplished, Douhet writes that bombing strategic targets, including rail roads, ports, and population centers, will quickly bring victory. Aircraft could go anywhere within their radius of action, flying over enemy lines to bomb industry, infrastructure, and workforces. Ever since its popularity took hold, the concepts of his theory of airpower strategy, known as Douhetism, have been the starting point for debate on military air operations. That point was located not in the armed forces of the enemy, but in his economic and administrative centers, which were so vulnerable to aerial attack,” argues John Shy. Airplanes, like warships and armies, should be massed against the decisive point. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Command Of The Air. For the definitive English language version, Dino Ferrari’s 1942 translation of the second edition, published by Coward McCann and then re-printed by the U.S. Office of Air Force History in 1983 and again in 1998, stands out. Octavo; VG; in publisher's original shrink wrapping; full binding of black leather; spine with gilt lettering and design; mild shelf wear; all edges gilt; satin ribbon bookmark; shelved Easton Press. Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Press, 1997. The airplane could do more than observe troops and defend against intruding observation aircraft, wrote Douhet. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); © 2020 Current Publishing. Douhet’s enthusiasm for airpower was grounded in his early interest in engineering and the sciences. He writes, “theory and wishful thinking after the Great War focused on strategic aviation and nearly drove the lessons of tactical aerial importance and success from the minds of postwar observers. Prime. [9] Edward Warner, "Douhet, Mitchell, Seversky: Theories of Air Warfare," in Makers of Modern Strategy: Military Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler, ed. Douhet, like Mahan in the 1890s, “developed a doctrine for [its] optimal strategic employment that closely resembled the Jominan version of Napoleonic warfare. Gat, Azar. Douhet was released from prison on October 15, 1917 and returned to duty. Over the course of decades, in comparison to the centuries of development for sea and land warfare concepts, airpower theorists rapidly sought to understand how this new technology would alter the character of warfare. However, there are several editions and translations. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Once the plane, the Caproni 300, was ready for production, Douhet went to his superiors to argue for the purchase of the plane and anti-aircraft artillery. The Command of The Air was originally published by the Italian Ministry of War. His distinctive contribution was twofold: he insisted that to win a war in the industrial age, one has to have command of the air: not superiority but total control. 1336460. In the bureaucratic inter-service rivalry from which Douhet wrestled control of the air force, tactical operations were relegated to ‘auxiliary’ responsibilities and Douhetism focused on the strategic applications of an independent air force. Norwalk, CT: Easton Press, 1994. Dr. Richard P. Hallion The Air Force Historian In Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, edited by Peter Paret, Gordon Alexander Craig, and Felix Gilbert, 143-185. Giulio Douhet (1869-1930), air war’s greatest prophet, ought to have been a First World War fighter ace. All rights reserved. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, 1993. The Life and Thought of Giulio Douhet. Warner’s fourth element of Douhetism in The Command of The Air, that ground forces are to be delegated to defensive responsibilities, is the result of Douhet’s reaction to the destructive stalemate of the First World War. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Douhet was a terrible prophet, but a false one. The pace with which Douhet and his airpower contemporaries crafted their theories is remarkable. Just three years after the end of the First World War and the first widespread use of airplanes in warfare, this new technology had yet to be fully integrated into military strategy. Nonetheless, even a false prophet often preaches partial truth. Though a highly controversial figure, the very controver… Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Peter Paret, Gordon Alexander Craig, and Felix Gilbert (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 182. My edition was a 1942 wartime publication containing four separate works: The Command of the Air, Douhet's original 1921 air power manifesto that made him famous, plus a 1926 addendum in which he says he did not go far enough; The Probable Aspects of the War of the Future, more of the same, from 1928; Recapitulation, a polemic on the same subject from 1929, in which he replies to his … Britain survived. He was wrong on both counts, as British experience in 1940 was to demonstrate. The Command of the Air is the greatest military treatise on air war ever written – a dogmatic manifesto promising victory through strategic bombing. After witnessing the efficiency and devastation of machine guns, small-caliber arms, mortars, and the mechanization of systems of defense along Italy’s northern front with Austria, Douhet concluded that there had been an upheaval in the character of war which favored only the defensive on the ground. “Every development or improvement in firearms favors the defensive,” according Douhet. Douhet envisioned the destruction of Italy’s coastal cities from the air, and with them its materiel and morale. The short, intense campaign was designed preeminently to disorganize the “central nervous system” of the enemy regime. He challenged the violent opposition it aroused until strategic air power became an accepted part of military thinking. [7] Defining airpower was Douhet’s life work and The Command of The Air was Douhet’s most sweeping, organized, and complete strategy. Upon returning to service, Douhet was named Central Director of Aviation at the General Air Commissariat. They say he articulated a vision glorifying the “knockout blow” with fleets of bombers prowling the skies, burning cities, and causing mass death. The British developed an early warning system linked with a command-and-control network that allowed their fighters to intercept bomber squadrons. Later, in 1920, he was exonerated, on the basis that he had acted for ‘the good of the country’. On one side, scholars such as J.F.C. After World War I, some military theorists saw airpower as a way to avoid the horror of the trenches. [4][4] Giulio Douhet, The Command of The Air (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1998), viii. Warner’s first element of Douhetism in The Command of The Air is that the air is the dominant domain of warfare. New York: Scribner, 1982. Douhet advocated strategic bombardment against civilians on the basis that it will reduce overall suffering, but by questioning the effectiveness of that bombing, its morality is also questioned. [citation needed… Douhet was wrong. In Makers of Modern Strategy: Military Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler, edited by Edward Mead Earle, Gordon Alexander Craig, and Felix Gilbert, 484-503. Then, indeed, the bomber got through. The scholar, Edward Warner, identified the main assumptions of The Command of The Air in his 1941 essay titled, “Douhet, Mitchell, Seversky: Theories of Air Warfare.” He determined that the major assumptions that underpin Douhet’s argument are, “(1) Aircraft are instruments of offense of incompatible potentialities, against which no effective defense is foreseen;” and, “(2) Civilian morale will be shattered by bombardment of centers of population.”[9] These assumptions establish the foundation for the absolute superiority of the air domain over warfare conducted on the land and at sea. In addition to the Air University's edition, the complete translation of Douhet's Command of the Air with the 1928 additions appears in Roots of Strategy Book 4. UG630.D62 1983 358.4 83-19318 ISBN 0-912799-10-2 New imprint in 1998 by Air Force History and Museums Program For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office Warden III, John A. [24] Stanley Baldwin, “A Fear for the Future” (quoted in House of Commons Debates 10 November 1932 volume 270), 632. Douhet would pass away in 1930. Douhet’s tenets of airpower in The Command of The Air are the product of both a synthesis of theories and concepts developed by his contemporaries and an evolution of his own thinking expressed throughout his service in the military. As a result of the airplane’s ability to enter an enemy’s territory, countries are required to gain command of the air to both cause and prevent the destruction of the nation behind the fortified lines of defense. [29] Though the criticism of The Command of The Air is voluminous, in part because of Douhet’s definiteness, it is recognized as an essential text for the development of modern airpower theory because few deny that the concepts of Douhetism, especially strategic bombing, have some degree of influence on the character of war. Bombing the People: Giulio Douhet and the Foundations of Air-power Strategy, 1884-1939. He commits the cardinal error of assuming that the enemy is the passive victim of one’s military plans. Gulf War Air Power Survey. Prior to the invention of the airplane, Douhet was advancing his foundational concept of The Command of The Air—that the character of warfare will be altered by the modern military’s adoption of new technology and mechanization. Former Italian Army General Giulio Douhet and the First Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Trenchard are regarded as two early advocates and visionaries of air power. New York: New York University Press, 2001. The first part of our essay looks at what “air power theory” is, we shall look at the two major air power theorists, Giulio Douhet [1] and Billy Mitchell [2] and examine the differences and similarities between the two. Therefore, the bomber is the superior airplane because it is capable of delivering the greatest payload of devastating bombs and toxic gas munitions upon the enemy’s industrial centers and cities. Douhet, Giulio, 1869-1930. In fact, he may never have learnt to fly. "Douhet, Mitchell, Seversky: Theories of Air Warfare." Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Additionally, the numbers of guns needed to cover every potential target made this form of defence enormously expensive. The ability to accurately target the leadership of opposing forces led to the popularity of Col. John A. Warden’s concept of Warden’s Rings that placed leadership as the primary target of conventional, targeted strikes during the first Gulf War of 1990-1991. The most widely read is Douhet’s second edition, published in 1927. [24], Reaction to Douhetism and The Command of The Air. Try Main His whole conception of air war rests on the assumption that the bomber will always get through, and that the damage it can then do will crush the resistance. University of Oklahoma, 1965), 78. Posted by Roger Beckett on September 01, 2015 at 01:06 PM | Permalink, « Jeremy Bentham, Principles of International Law (1786-1789/1843), Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History (1952) », The Geopolitics of the Civil War; Upton and the Root Reforms, New to CSD: C.E. The following year, he published his masterwork, The Command of the Air. In 1905 Italy built its first dirigible and in 1908 flew its first airplane. Douhet intensified his own argument for the superiority of the air domain over the land and sea during his military career. Despite the recognition of Douhet’s brilliance early in his military career, he was not the first nor only observer to write about the transformative power of warfare’s mechanization, especially in the third dimension, the air. John Andreas Olsen, (Washington, D.C.: Potomac, 2010), 28. Fast and free shipping free returns cash on delivery available on eligible purchase. However, Douhet himself said with certainty that the application of airpower in the First World War provided no guidance whatsoever for the future. Even prior to the invention of the airplane, and against the backdrop of the advancements in the automobile, electricity, gasoline, and the ‘Second Industrial Revolution,’ Douhet had concluded that future conflicts would be won or lost on the basis of whether or not militaries harnessed these new inventions to alter the conduct of war. In A History of Air Warfare, edited by John Andreas Olsen, 3-25. [35]  This then introduces the question of morality as a second ground upon which critics take issue. Morrow, John H., Jr. "First World War, 1914-1919." John Andreas Olsen, (Washington, D.C.: Potomac, 2010),  25. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice (1896), Cornelius Tacitus, Agricola (circa 98 AD), Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-1822 (1957), Christine de Pizan, The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry (circa 1410), Bhagavad Gita (3rd Century BC- 3rd Century AD), Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophic Sketch (1795), Jimmy Carter, Commencement Address at Notre Dame University (May 1977). [35] J. F. C. Fuller, The Second World War, 1939-1945: A Strategical and Tactical History (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1949), 231. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1949. The one effective method of defending one’s own territory from an offensive by air is to destroy the enemy’s air power with the greatest possible speed.’. Diss. Douhet’s application of an aerial offensive to avoid the stalemate and bloody trench warfare of the First World War is but one attempt at altering the strategies that war employed to avoid a repeat of its outcome in the future.

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