Accession Number:

ADA522125

Title:

The Myth of Air Control: Reassessing the History

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

AIR AND SPACE POWER JOURNAL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2000-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

18.0

Abstract:

Dr. Corum provides a historical look at air-control operations in the British Empire during the first half of the twentieth century. The idea of occupying and pacifying a country with air-power alone has always appealed to airmen. The author, however, argues that advocating air-control doctrine as the basis for US Air Force operations in the twenty-first century lies more in the realm of myth than reality. In the aftermath of World War I, a financially strapped Britain had to face up to several expensive, new colonial obligations in the form of League of Nations mandates to govern Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq. At the same time that the armed forces received orders to assume a costly burden of military occupation in regions rife with violent internal conflicts, the government moved to demobilize the wartime forces and to economize by any means possible. This meant that the British had to police new imperial obligations on the cheap. At the same time, the Royal Air Force RAF, which had recently become a separate service in April 1918, was fighting for its institutional existence. Both the army and navy argued that the RAF ought to revert to its position as a subordinate arm of the two senior services. Air Marshal Hugh Trenchard, RAF chief of staff, sought a mission that would justify the service independence of the RAF. The effectiveness of a few aircraft in putting down a minor rebellion in British Somaliland in 1919-20 provided Trenchard and the Air Staff the concept of an independent mission for the RAF. Trenchard proposed that the RAF be given full responsibility for conducting military operations in Britains most troublesome new mandate--the former Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE