Douhet, And Trenchard's Analysis

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Airpower’s contribution to the Allied victory over Nazi-Germany in the Second World War (WWII) did not represent the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecies and predictions of interwar airpower theorists like Douhet, Mitchell or Trenchard, because strategic bombing with its predicted morale breaking effect did not lead to an uprising of the German population against the Nazi-Regime. Furthermore, their prophecies that air power alone could win a war; “the bomber will always get through” even without support of fighter escort; and that the bomber would be able to attack adversaries’ vital centers with high altitude precision bombing turned out to be false. Despite of excessive aerial bombing of vital centers, cities and industrial facilities, …show more content…
The Italian General Douhet claimed that air forces would become the primary means for the conduction of warfare and armies and naval forces would be marginalized if not even superfluous. He believed, that a war could be quickly won through the utilization of bomber forces in a strategic campaign against the adversary’s territory. Furthermore, he argued, that aerial bombardment of enemy’s population and vital center would demoralize civilians to such extend that they would turn against the government and overthrow it. Conclusively, his emphasis on the strategic offensive sphere of airpower led to his notion that air defense roles such as anti-aircraft artillery or intercept fighter airplanes could not counter the overwhelming long-range bomber …show more content…
Furthermore, he believed that aerial bombing vital centers would break people’s moral and the adversaries’ will to fight. Strategic bombing would be best utilized by striking generally industrial production centers and especially essential war industries. Escorts for bomber were according to Trenchard’s idea to neglect. In particular, he emphasized the offensive role of air power and argued that “in the offensive lies the surest defense, and it will be necessary to carry the war into the enemy’s country, to attack his aerodromes, factories, military and naval establishments.” He was convinced that unless the control of air was established, armies and navies would become less relevant. This view was similar to Douhet’s vision of Command of the Air. Trenchard’s theory had a major influence on RAF’s doctrine and the application of strategic bombing during WWII. Both Trenchard and Douhet envisioned strategic bombing best applied in order to break civilian’s moral and this would lead to the collapse of the adversary. However, Trenchard respected the Hague’s international rules for the conduct of warfare. He prioritized the destruction of infrastructure targets, while Douhet accepted to attack civilians directly, even with gas and incendiary

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