The German Air Force 1914-1918 The German War Machine

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The German Air Force 1914-1918  by  The German War Machine

The German Air Force 1914-1918 by The German War Machine
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THUS far the war has been, in the air, a strange one. It has been strange in several ways. People had expected the Blitzkrieg to break in full fury in the west, but as yet no thunderbolt has fallen there. Poland felt its impact and crumpled under theMoreTHUS far the war has been, in the air, a strange one. It has been strange in several ways. People had expected the Blitzkrieg to break in full fury in the west, but as yet no thunderbolt has fallen there.

Poland felt its impact and crumpled under the stroke, though conditions there seemed, prima facie, unfavorable for the successful conduct of a lightning war. The course of the conflict has not, in fact, followed the book. There have been a number of surprises. In the operations at sea, for example, it was confidently expected that aircraft, not the submarine, would be the chief danger to maritime commerce.

The airplane, we were told, would harry and dragoon belligerent and neutral shipping in the narrow waters into which the busy lanes of ocean traffic converge. Actually, the air arm has not been particularly effective at sea, though British aircraft have taken a hand with some success in hunting the submarine.

That, however, had been foreseen.Certainly the achievements of the German air force in Poland fulfilled the expectations of the most sanguine adherents of the blue sky school. In conjunction with the mechanized ground forces it dominated the situation from the first. The lists were set for a tourney between the old order of warfare and the new. Germanys strength lay in her possession of the most modern instruments of mechanical destruction. Poland was, in comparison, a nineteenth century Power. Her cavalry was her pride. One could imagine her gallant horsemen galloping with Jeb Stuart or Sheridan in Virginia.

Indeed, her great masses of cavalry might have thundered their way to victory in the still more appropriate setting of the mediæval era. As it was, they were a sheer anachronism. Confronted by armored cars and tanks, hammered by high explosive from the air, they were only flesh for the slaughter.

The twentieth century won all along the line. The Polish defeat was a tragedy, but an inevitable one.In the east, the war in the air was practically decided on the first day. On the morning of September 1, the German bombers made a vigorous attack on all the air bases in western Poland, as well as on strategic railways and junctions.

The Polish aircraft, caught in their hangars, were destroyed or seriously damaged. That first sudden blow, delivered treacherously and without a declaration of war, while the Polish Government thought that negotiations were still possible, crippled the Polish air arm for the rest of the war. A gallant fight was still made by the remnant but the odds against it were too great. In any case the Polish equipment was inferior to the German.

Germany had the unquestioned mastery of the air.



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