Command of the Air [Giulio Douhet, Charles a. Gabriel] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Reprint of the translation by staff of the. The Command of the Air is the greatest military treatise on air war ever written – a dogmatic manifesto promising victory through strategic. Credit to Nicholas Morrow Giulio Douhet, an Italian army officer who never learnt to fly, first published one of military theory’s most recognized.

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A thou- sand such planes, estimating the cost of each at a million lire, would be a round billion lire, or about the cost of a single dreadnought. As the hours passed and night advanced, the fires would spread while the poison gas paralysed all life. If a specified surface contains very vulner- able targets, the area can be extended beyond the meter diameter simply by increasing the number of planes taking part. In his book Douhet argued that air giylio was revolutionary because it operated in the third dimension.

What interests us now is the principle of the matter and some realization of what should be the strength of a bombing unit capable of destroying a surface of, say, meters diameter. His whole conception of air war douheg on the assumption that the bomber will always get through, and that the damage it can then do will crush the resistance.

In contrast, a squadron of 10 planes carrying 2 tons of bombs each, can in a single flight drop 20 tons of bombs, or something more than the broadsides of 3 English battleships.

Already we can see signs that she is thinking along those lines, that goulio will apply the intensity, the unswerving purpose which have always distinguished her people, to the development of those new weapons of war. He was wrong on both counts, as British experience in was to demonstrate. From the perspective of today, dluhet still bears pondering.


The only defense was a good offense. During that war aircraft operated for the first time in reconnaissance, transport, artillery spotting and even limited bombing roles. But because the needs which had to be met manifested themselves during a war of large scope, the doihet increase was rapid and hectic, not sound and orderly.

Air power makes it possible not only to make high-explosive bombing raids over s From Le Matin, September 8,issue: In that fact lies essentially the whole game of war tactics and strategy.

Bellanger Maxwell Field, Ala. How many pursuit planes immobilized men and ait without ever getting a chance to defend anything! What opposition, aerial or ground, could any of them offer against such attacks?

Giulio Douhet

Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and tbe science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. When such a unit strikes against an enemy target within the specified surface, we have mathematical certainty that that target will be destroyed.

His calculations for the amount of bombs and poison gas required to destroy a city were ludicrously optimistic. Douhet was a terrible prophet, but a false one. We may thus be able to understand intuitively how the continuing development of air power, whether in its technical or in its prac- tical aspects, will conversely make for a relative decrease in the effectiveness of surface weapons, in the extent to which these weapons can defend one’s country from the enemy.

The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet : a Military Times Classic – Military History Monthly

The logic of this model is that exposing large portions of civilian populations to the terror of destruction or the shortage of consumer goods would damage civilian morale into submission.

The airplane, in contrast, aie fly in any direction with equal facility and faster than any other means of conveyance.

Military Thought from Machiauelli to Hitler, ed. Fo instance, let a pursuit plane be chased by a faster one, and it ceases to be a pursuit plane. In my opinion, the normal radius of action of a bombing plane today should be between and kilometers.


In the years since then many of the ideas incorporated in the present edition have been put into effect. What defence was possible against the destruction of cities by aerial bombing?

Project MUSE – The Command of the Air

Never, at any time during the war, was a death-blow struck— a blow which leaves a deep gaping wound and the feeling of imminent death. I have already called attention to the great importance of the efficacy of the active materials used in bombs.

This means that they need not have the speed to outdistance enemy pursuit planes; a fact of utmost im- portance because it makes it unnecessary for bombing planes to enter a speed race, the outcome of which is bound to be uncertain. But since this conclusion applies to matters of very great practical importance, and since it is sharply at commamd with the accepted way of looking at things, it be- hooves us to stop and amplify our statement before going on.

It makes no difference if a few bombs go wide of the mark during the attack. Once the Independent Air Force has conquered the com- mand of the air, there will be no need of the combat units. 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 aircraft. But with the increased efficacy of firearms, the defensive had both absolute and relative advantages over the offensive.

Such bombing expeditions, however, cannot be undertaken successfully unless they are directed against very large centers of civilian population. We must also bear in mind this fact: