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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I argued that the day would come when thousands of military planes would ply the air under an independent Ministry of the Air. As soon as one side lost command of the air it would capitulate rather than face the terrors of air attack. For example, let us suppose that the enemy has or air force with the offensive capacity of X. It means complete protection of one’s own country, the efficient operation of one’s army and navy, and dommand of mind to live and work in safety.

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On the contrary, the battlefield will be limited only by the boundaries of the nations at war, and all of their citizens will become combatants, since all of them will be exposed to diuhet aerial offensives of the enemy. As I said, we find ourselves now at a particular point in the curve of the evolution of war. Such an air force could destroy every day 50 enemy aviation nests— i.

Giulio Douhet

Since war had to be fought on the surface of the earth, it could be waged only in movements and clashes of forces along lines ajr on its surface. But war is fought with men and machines of average abilities and standards; and we must therefore change our present conception of aerial warfare— or go under. In actual fact, aero- nautics was widely employed in warfare long before any civilian use was made of it. It is only a question of time.

Let us imagine a soldier posted in a trench protected by barbed-wire zir and the attacking enemy exposed on open ground for one minute; and let us also suppose gihlio both sides are armed with douheg muskets capable of firing one shot a minute.

But they are still in their infancy, and are entirely different from all others in character; and we cannot yet estimate exactly their potential influence on the form of future wars. Thus the surface of the earth gradually became covered with lines of easy transit intersect- ing at various points, at others separated by zones less easy of access, sometimes impassable.


Now we have reached the hour when we can no longer ignore this problem, which, in the interest of national defense, we should face aid. But if both sides are armed with rifles which can fire thirty rounds a minute, to have the same mathematical certainty the trench must be stormed by thirty-one men.

Pennsylvania State University Lt. It is understood, of course, that, given the maximum total load of the plane— a predetermined fixed quantity— the radius of action can be increased simply by increasing the load of fuel and decreasing the bomb load, and vice giiulio.

All this should be kept in mind when we wish to estimate the potential power of aerial offensives possible even today.

There will be no distinction any longer between soldiers and civilians. Inhe published a second edition, in which his conclusions were stated with yet greater force. Therefore, if we have a tendency to deviate as little as possible from the beaten path, we will find ourselves diverging from reality, and we will wind up far removed from the realities of our time.

Full text of “The command of the air”

In my opinion, the normal radius of action of a bombing plane today should be between and kilometers. What made it possible for Treviso to escape total de- struction and remain on the map in spite of the grave danger to which it was exposed, and to evacuate the population with the loss of only 30 civilian dead and 50 wounded in the very first bombings, is this: Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet.

For instance, an infantry regiment in a shattered 4 Witness the terrible rhe of Coventry on the night of November, a destruction wrought by perhaps no more than bombers in a single night attack. 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. No enemy offensive could menace them beyond that predetermined distance, so civilian life could be carried on in safety and comparative tran- quillity.

An example is the observation plane, whose function is to direct artillery fire— a function, by the way, which is not essentially aerial; it would be performed by other comand if aviation were not yet invented. In fact, he may never have learnt to fly.


We have already noted that bombing units, which should carry out their mission in spite of enemy opposition, are sup- ported by combat units. The form of any war— and it is the form which is of primary interest to men of war— depends upon the technical means of war available.

Essentially man lives close to the earth’s surface, and no doubt he began his battling there. Therefore, combat units have no need of great speed in order to seek out the enemy and force him to give battle; all they need is enough to escort the bombing units and put up an adequate fight if the enemy attempts to interfere with their operations.

At the slightest chafing of the yoke imposed upon her by the Allies, the inner drive to be free will surely push Germany along the new road. From the perspective of today, he still bears pondering.

Such are the functional characteristics of a bomber— character- istics which, translated into specifications, should be required to be put into effect by plane designers and builders. In this case, in order to defend ourselves from what force X can do, we are obliged to station near each of these twenty objectives a defensive force corresponding to force X, in all twenty times as commabd planes as the enemy has.

The defenses on land and sea will no longer serve to protect the country behind them; nor can victory on land or sea protect the th from enemy aerial attacks unless that victory insures the destruction, by actual occupation of the enemy’s terri- tory, of all that gives life to his aerial forces.

If we look at the map in “The Martyrdom of Treviso” which shows the distribution of bomb hits and the glulio reproductions of the damage done, we can readily see that if those 75 or 80 tons of bombs, correctly appor- tioned among explosive, incendiary, and poison-gas types, had been dropped in one day, Treviso would have been completely destroyed and very few of her inhabitants saved.