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ms27paper - Joshua Daniel LTC Gomes Term Paper The...

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Joshua Daniel LTC Gomes Term Paper The Domination of Aviation The invention of the aircraft was similar to many other great developments in the fact it’s potential was not immediately realized. Until the Great War, it went primarily ignored or used for reconnaissance for infantry and artillery and it was only the British and Germans who began to test out new strategies with it during the global conflict. Revolutionaries like Sir Frederick Sykes innovated early aircraft in order to give Britain a counter to German zeppelins, but even this did not push the aircraft into more than just a supporting role. It wasn’t until Hitler that Nazi-Germany pursued combined arms tactics, utilizing air, armor, and infantry forces equally, and the power of the aircraft was then demonstrated effectively. Ironically, it was the aircraft that would seal the demise of the Germans, as strategic bombing would force the country into turmoil. On the open seas, aircraft carriers replaced battleships and those that did not convert were slaughtered by superior air forces in the latter years of the 2 nd World War. Eventually, it would be two aircraft with a single atomic bomb apiece that would shake the world and establish the value of air forces for the future. The first historic reference of aerial tactics being employed in war date all the way back to 1812 and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Russia. In order to slow the Grand Army’s advance, the Russians filled balloons with explosives in the first recorded aerial bombing (Garrett, p. 3). Despite this breakthrough idea, Napoleon captured Moscow a few days later and it was “General Winter” and not air combat that eventually
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defeated Napoleon. In 1849, the Austrians repeated this effort by sending explosive-filled balloons to attack Venice and the results of this were equally fruitless (Garrett, p. 4). While the Russian and Austrians were making use of original ideas for changing the face of warfare, they had neither the technology nor enthusiasm to make a serious effort. In both cases, desperation was the factor that motivated fresh ideas to be put hastily in motion. Having Napoleon Bonaparte within miles of a capitol would’ve made any country interested in giving something new a spin. The Americans were the next to attempt getting a strategic advantage using aircraft in 1898. As the Spanish-American war was in its early stages, hot-air balloons were inflated in order to locate the enemy and gain additional information (Doughty, Gruber, p. 246). This proved disastrous for the ground troops as Spanish artillery quickly realized that they now had the exact position of American troops and began firing indirectly at the location of the hot-air balloons, inflicting heavy casualties on ground forces. This blunder quickly scratched the effectiveness of hot-air balloons and air effectiveness in general for the American forces and put a black mark on aviation attempts. The Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912 heralded
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