Germany's 1940 defeat of the Armée de l'air, perhaps the world's preeminent air force at the close of World War I, is commonly attributed to incompetent French leadership. Drawing on primary French sources not previously available to historians, Cain argues that while lack of interest in and understanding of aviation by the French government and military high commands constrained the French Air Force, there was no shortage of qualified officers who understood the capabilities of a modern air force in warfare.
About the Author
Lt. Col. Anthony Christopher Cain, USAF, was recognized by the Air Education and Training Command as Educator of the Year in 1995. He is a veteran B-52 radar navigator with more than 3,000 flying hours, and he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross while flying twenty-six combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.
Table of Contents
Part 1 1. Introduction Part 2 2. Sources of Reactive Air Doctrine Chapter 3 French Airpower and the Legacy of World War I Chapter 4 Airpower Contributions in the Rif War Chapter 5 Other Influences on Air Doctrine Part 6 3. Writing and Publishing Reactive Air Doctrine Chapter 7 Types of Military Doctrine Chapter 8 The Armée de l'air and Fundamental Air Doctrine Chapter 9 The Armée de l'air and Organizational Doctrine Chapter 10 The Armée de l'air and Tactical Doctrine Part 11 4. A Training System for Reactive Doctrine Chapter 12 The Training System Chapter 13 Managing the School System Chapter 14 Preserving the Training System Part 15 5. Maneuvers, Exercises, and Reactive Doctrine Chapter 16 Scenario Development Chapter 17 Realism in Exercises and Maneuvers Chapter 18 Exercises, Maneuvers, and Doctrine Part 19 6. The Dénouement of French Airpower Doctrine: Mobilization, Offensive Plans, and War Chapter 20 A Mobilization System for Reactive Airpower Chapter 21 Offensive Strategies for Operational War Chapter 22 War — Phony and Real Part 23 7. Assessing Combat Performance and Air Doctrine Chapter 24 The Nature of Modern Warfare Chapter 25 Defining the Characteristics of Airpower Part 26 8. Neither Decadent, nor Traitorous, nor Stupid
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anyone who studies the French conduct of the May 1940 campaign, sooner or later wonder what on earth they were thinking. This book attempts to answer for the French Air Force. It shows that, because of muddled doctrine and command arrangements, a faulty training and logistics set up, and poor tactical choices, the French Air Force doomed itself from the start.The only drawback is that the author uses a very ponderous and academic style, which doesn't exactly make it light reading.
While this is very much a book for the specialist who is seeking a deep understanding of the early days of World War II, it's another useful study in the growing shelf of books that demonstrate that France fell as much, if not more so, from bad military choices as from social and political dysfunction.