Strike From the Sky: The History of Battlefield Air Attack, 1910-1945

Strike From the Sky: The History of Battlefield Air Attack, 1910-1945

by Richard P. Hallion

Chronicles the history of battlefield air attack from 1911, when the airplane was first used in war, to the end of World War II.

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Chronicles the history of battlefield air attack from 1911, when the airplane was first used in war, to the end of World War II.

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“Strike from the Sky chronicles the history of battlefield air attack from 1911, when the airplane was first used in war, to the end of World War II. . . . [Hallion’s work} is a very useful study of the role of aircraft in battlefield support operations in major and limited wars in the first half of the 20th century. The author’s discussion of the doctrine, command and control, operational circumstances, and aircraft technology of battlefield air operations traces the development of this crucial but often-neglected aspect of air power. The importance of these operations in the first and second world wars and in smaller conflicts of the interwar era, including the Russo-Polish War, British colonial operations, the American intervention in Nicaragua, the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, and the Spanish Civil War becomes evident in Hallion’s fast-paced narrative.”

—Technology and Culture

“Dick Hallion, a masterful chronicler of aviation history, demonstrates once again both the agility of his pen as well as the depth and breadth of his knowledge of military aviation and operations. In this updated reprint of "Strike from the Sky," Hallion traces the early history of air-ground cooperation in wars both small and large. This splendid book offers valuable insights relevant for military operators, defense policy analysts and academics. It deserves to be on the shelf of every serious student of air-ground operations.”-- Alan J. Vick, Ph.D., Senior Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation

“The sooner Western leaders accept that air power is their greatest military comparative advantage, the better. That advantage extends to the (land) battlefield, where air frequently has been decisive, and increasingly is dominant. Richard Hallion's classic study of the three first decades of air power over the battlefield provides the essential start point for anyone wishing to understand this subject. It quite simply is the best study of its kind in the English language.”--Alan Stephens, University of New South Wales

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University of Alabama Press
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

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Strike from the sky

The History of Battlefield Air Attack, 1910-1945
By Richard P. Hallion

The University of Alabama Press

Copyright © 1989 Richard P. Hallion
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8173-5657-6

Chapter One

The final section of this study (first written in 1988) examines how battlefield air support evolved over the Cold War. Today, in the post-Gulf War, post 9-11 era, new methods for battlefield attack have appeared, the most remarkable of which are remotely piloted aircraft dropping and firing precision munitions, guided by satellite navigation, and piloted by operators thousands of miles away. As noted in the first edition of this work, developments such as this hint at the continuing need for scholarship to document the constant evolution of air warfare and its impact upon global events.

Lockheed AC-130 Spectre Gunship. During Vietnam, the Air Force developed fixed-wing gunships, culminating in the Lockheed AC-130 Spectre, a derivative of the C-130 transport. Continuously refined since the 1960s, the AC-130 has featured in every war and almost every significant combat contingency the United States has fought since that time. Versatile and powerful, such aircraft are very useful, but are vulnerable to fighters and surface-to-air missiles if absolute control of the air is absent. Photo courtesy AF Special Operations Command.

Warthog on Review. The best-known American attack aircraft since Vietnam has been the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as the Warthog. Conceived in response to Vietnam and then developed to defeat a Warsaw Pact tank assault in Europe, the Warthog has been used extensively in the Gulf Wars, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. Heavily armed and armored, the Warthog is a formidable ground attacker: but still dependent upon friendly control of the sky in order to fulfill its ground support mission. Photo courtesy History Office, Edwards AFB.

General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. The Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft, introduced into Air Force service in 2007, is the latest in a series of increasingly advanced unmanned surveillance and attack aircraft. Equipped with sophisticated sensors and capable of carrying a variety of precision munitions, it represents the latest trend in attack aircraft development, a trend that will expand to include other military, including deep attack and, likely, air supremacy operations. But, for the moment, it, too, is dependent upon a benign air defense environment characterized by friendly control of the air. Photo courtesy USAF.


Excerpted from Strike from the sky by Richard P. Hallion Copyright © 1989 by Richard P. Hallion . Excerpted by permission.
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