by G Douhet · Cited by 32 — The Command of the Air by. Giulio Douhet. Translated by. Dino Ferrari. Air University Press. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
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Air University PressDirector, Air University Press Lt Col Darin M. Gregg Project Editor Donna Budjenska Editorial Assistant Tammi Dacus Cover Art and Book Design L. Susan Fair Composition and Prepress Production Vivian D. O™Neal Print Preparation and Distribution Diane ClarkAIR UNIVERSITY PRESS Air University Press 600 Chennault Circle, Building 1405 Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6010 https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/AUPress/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirUnivPress and Twitter: https://twitter.com/aupress Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Douhet, Giulio, 1869Œ1930, author | Ferrari, Dino, translator. Title: The command of the air / by Giulio Douhet ; translated by Dino Ferrari.Other titles: Dominio dell™aria. EnglishDescription: 2019 Air University Press edition. | Maxwell AFB, Alabama : Air University Press, Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doc -trine Development and Education, 2019. | ﬁThis 2019 Air University Press edition is based on the Air Force Museum™s 1998 edition.ﬂŠ Title page verso. | Summary: ﬁItalian soldier and writer Giulio Douhet (1869Œ1930) lived during a time of great innovation and change in the conduct of war. He began formulating his theories on air units as Italy entered World War I in 1915. His writings, though continue to be essential, fundamental reading for students and poli -cy makers worldwide. The Command of the Air actually is the title of Book I presented herein, the standalone book Douhet published writings, several other of his seminal pieces (ﬁThe Probable Aspects of the War of the Future,ﬂ ﬁRecapitulation,ﬂ and ﬁThe War of 19Œﬂ) were assembled as a collection under the familiar title of his most famous workﬂŠ Provided by publisher. Subjects: LCSH: Air power. LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019033023Copyright 1942 by Coward-McCann Inc., New York This 2019 Air University Press edition is based on the Air Force Museums 1998 edition and includes: Introduction to the 1983 edition by Joseph Patrick Harahan and Richard H. Kohn, 1983 Preface to the second edition of The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet, 1927 The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet, 1921; translated by Dino Ferrari ﬁThe Probable Aspects of the War of the Futureﬂ by Giulio Douhet, 1928 ﬁRecapitulationﬂ by Giulio Douhet, 1929 ﬁThe War of 19Œﬂ by Giulio Douhet, 1930 Published by Air University Press in September 2019 Disclaimer Opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied within are solely those of the authors and do not neces -sarily represent the official policy or position of the organiza -tions with which they are associated or the views of the Air University Press, LeMay Center, Air University, United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or any other US govern -ment agency. This publication is cleared for public release and unlimited distribution. Reproduction and printing is subject to the Copyright Act of 1976 and applicable treaties of the United States. This docu -ment and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This publication is provided for noncommercial use only. The author has granted nonexclusive royalty-free license for distri -bution to Air University Press and retains all other rights grant -ed under 17 U.S.C. §106. Any reproduction of this document requires the permission of the author. This book and other Air University Press publications are available electronically at the AU Press website: https://www. airuniversity.af.edu/AUPress.
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iiiContents Foreword vEditor™s Preface vii Introduction to the 1983 Edition ixPreface to the 1927 Edition xiii Book One: ˜e Command of the Air 1PART I 3Chapter I e New Form of War 3II e Independent Air Force 31III Aerial Warfare 45IV e Organization of Aerial Warfare 63PART II 85Book Two : ˜e Probable Aspects of the War of the Future 129Book ˜ree: Recapitulation 185Introduction 187Chapter I Auxiliary Aviation 191II Aerial Defense 209III e Aerial Battle 217IV e Aerial Field as the Decisive Field 223Book Four: ˜e War of 19Š 261Introduction 263PART I 265Chapter I e Causes of the Cot 265II e Moral Preparation 267III e Intellectual Preparation 269IV e Material PreparationŠFrance and Belgium 283V e Material PreparationŠGermany 307PART II 319VI e Allies™ Plan of Operation 319VII Germany™s Plan of Operation 325VIII e Battle of June 16 339IX Operations of June 17 355Index 359
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vForeword Giulio Douhet stands out among military theorists for his pre -scient insights into how the advent of airpower would change modern warfare. Despite having very little actuaying experience, Douhet formed a theory of airpower that still deserves study today. He recog -nized that the development of the airplane would make ﬁcommand of the airﬂ thst objective in any campaign and the ultimate enabler of victory in war. While his insights into the importance of air superior -ity deserve study, it is his recognition of how the character of war would change in the airpower age that proved prophetic. In true Clausewitzian fashion, Douhet acknowledged that the na -ture of war was a contest of two opposing wills. What Douhet grasped, however, was that airpower had altered the character of war. Since there are no geographical boundaries in the air, airplanes could go everywhere and drop on any surface target. It meant, in his words, that the distinction between soldier and civilian had been removed. e Italian general rightly saw the beginning of total war. Since the population is now a target, Douhet™s theory relied on leveraging that target to end the war. Bombing the population, he theorized, will cause the citizens to petition their leader to end the war, bringing about peace. Readers of this edition will see the brilliance in Douhet™s ideas as he envisioned how this new target set and airpower could be used to bring about the end of war without the need of a land force. His ideas about population bombing would be tried in World War II with mixed results. Some will ignore Douhet™s writings because he incorrectly pre -dicted several aspects of airpower employmeney do so at their own peril. Douhet missed the mark on precision, hypothesizing that strategic bombing would never be as precise as artillery, which the precision revolution proved was possible. Furthermore, populations proved more resilient to bombing campaigns directed at them in World War II than Douhet, and other theorists like Hugh Trenchard, imagined. Yet, Douhet, with little actual airpower experience, did foresee several aspects of airpower employment in existence today. e need for an independent air arm that could achieve strategic ects still remains a requirement for airpower employment today. As previously stated, Douhet recognized the need to establish ﬁcom -mand of the airﬂ as thst objective in any campaign. More impor -tantly, he advocated that airpower should ﬁbreak the eggs in the nest,ﬂ
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vii Editor™s Preface s 2019 hardcover edition of ˜e Command of the Air supports Air University, where socover copies of this resource have been is -sued to so many generations of students that the bindings were liter -ally falling apart. ˜e Command of the Air actually is the title of Book I presented herein, Il dominio dell™aria st published in Italy in 1921. Almost from the time of the st translations of Douhet™s writings, several other of his seminal pieces (ﬁe Probable Aspects of the War of the Future,ﬂ ﬁRecapitulation,ﬂ and ﬁe War of 19Šﬂ) were assembled as a collection under the familiar title of his most famous work. s edition improves on the 1942 version released by Coward- McCann Inc., New York, correcting and smoothing the Italian-to- English translation by Dino Ferrari by referring to the original Italian language from Il dominio dell™aria ™s second printing in 1927. Foot -notes marked ﬁTr.ﬂ are from Ferrari; all other footnotes in ˜e Com -mand of the Air are from Douhet. We have also added an index for ease of navigation within the text, basing our entries on those compiled in the 1943 version of the Fer -rari translation, published by Faber and Faber Limited, London. A 1998 imprint issued by the of Air Force Museums contained an introduction coauthored by the editors who compiled a 1983 reprint from the 1942 Coward-McCann edition; we™ve included that intro -duction here as welle long and storied print history of ˜e Com -mand of the Air continues. Donna Budjenska Editor Air University Press September 2019
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ixIntroduction to the 1983 Edition Long before the age of powered ht, men dreamed of employing aerial cras weapons of war. When in the late eighteenth century the Montgorothers demonstrated freht by means of a bal -loon near Paris, others almost immediately speculated about its ap -plication to battle. In 1794 the French government established an army balloon unit for the purposes of reconnaissanceough the nineteenth century, other military establishments experimented with lighter-than-air ships, not only for observation but for attack, includ -ing onort by an Austrian lieutenant to bomb the city of Venice. By the time of the Wright brothers™ successfuht in 1903, the world was anticipating military aviation. Within a decade, in a war between Italy and Turkey, powereht for thst time became integral to the conduct of military operations. As instruments of war able to leap over armies and ignore many of the physical barriers of terrain and water, airplanes and dirigibles stirred public imagination and s -cient controversy to force soldiers to ponder the role the airplane would play in future cot. 1Few thinkers of that era, or any other, were more prominent in airpower thinking than the Italian soldier and writer, Giulio Douhet. Born in Caserta in 1869 and commissioned into the Italian Army in Artillery in 1882, Douhet in 1909 began thinking seriously about the impact of aircraHe commanded one of the st army air units and directed the army™s Aviation Section; by 1915, the year Italy entered World War I, he had already formulated a substantial portion of his theories, in particular the idea of forcing an enemy nation to capitu -late by means of a bombing campaign directed against the morale of its population. When the Italian army became locked in a bloody stalemate with Austria, Douhet proposed just such an attack against Austrian cities by an independent bomber force of 500 aircrais ideas were rejected, and for criticizing Italian military leaders in memoranda to the cabinet, he was court-martialed and imprisoned for a year. In 1918 he was recalled to service to head the Italian Central Aeronautical Bureau. Exonerateally in 1920, and pro -moted to general ohe same year he published Com -mand of the Air , Douhet soon retired from the service. Except for a 1 Lee Kennett, A History of Strategic Bombing (New York: Scribner, 1982), 1Œ9.
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xINTRODUCTION TO THE 1983 EDITION brief few months as the head of aviation in Mussolini™s government in 1922, he spent much of the rest of his life writing and publicizing his ideas on airpower. Much of what Douhet propounded was not original with him, but his were perhaps the most coherent, the most systematic, and the most prophetic airpower writings of the era. More than any other thinker, Douhet addressed the basic issues that military theorists have grappled with since the beginning of organized combat. In Douhet™s thinking, aircraltered the fundamental character of warfare, and he argued the case at a level of abstraction and generalization that el -evated argument to principle and the body of thought as a whole to theory. In that theory, airpower became the use of space ohe sur -face of the earth to decide war on the surface of the earth. He dis -cussed the organization and employment of aircraeneralities independent of time, place, technology, and even independent of the nature of warfare itself. (Douhet virtually assumed the prevalence of total war.) He believed that thsort of air forces was ﬁto conquer the command of the airŠthat is, to put the enemy in a position where he is unable ty, while preserving for one™s self the ability to do so. ﬂ His method of gaining superiority was to attack the enemy air force on the ground. For Douhet, aircraere only useful as instru -ments of the oense. By bombing cities and factories instead of mili -tary forces (except air forces), the enemy could be defeated through shattering the civilian will to continue resistance. He argued that the character of airplanesŠtheir speed and mobilityŠand the vastness of the ether would prevent the defense from ever stopping a determined bomber oensive. But in order to mount such aort, and because air forces had little sigance as ﬁauxiliariesﬂ to armies and navies, air forces had to be independent of ground and naval forces, and armed, structured, and deployed for the decisive strategic role. 2Aer his death in 1930, Douhet™s writings were translated into French, German, Russian, and English and widely disseminated in western military establishments. According to some military leaders at the time, his thinking had great impact on air doctrine and organi -2 For studies of Douhet™s life and thinking, consult Edward Warner, ﬁDouhet, Mitchell, Severskyeories of Air Warfare,ﬂ in Makers of Modern Strategy: Military ˜ought from Machiavelli to Hitler, ed. Edward Mead Earle (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1943), 485Œ97; Bernard Brodie, ﬁe Heritage of Douhet,ﬂ Air University Quarterly Review VI, no. 2 (Summer 1953), 64Œ69, 120Œ26; and Kennett, A History of Strategic Bombing, 54Œ57.
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