In 1940, the British Army was unceremoniously bundled out of Norway, Belgium and France. A year later, it was the same story in Greece. The complaint from embittered generals and soldiers was always the same: no air support and it seemed the RAF had a lot to learn about how to fight a modern war. Yet little more than twenty years before, the RAF had been providing British forces advancing towards Germany with very substantial, sophisticated and effective air support.
This is the story of how this capability developed, the mistakes made and the lessons learned. The author also examines the rise of a ruthless alternative application of air power in which cities are the targets and civilians are exposed to the horrors of war. He follows the struggle between the advocates of strategic bombing and those who believe air power should concentrate on supporting armies on the battlefield.
In the First Word War, the advocates of tactical air power win the day and the Army gets the air support it needs. A quarter of a century later, British soldiers would not be so fortunate. The blueprint for victory which the First World War had provided would not be followed…
234 x 156 mm
15 August 2014
40 black-and-white photographs
Greg Baughen was educated at Sussex University where he obtained a degree in Mathematics. His interest in military aviation was sparked by curiosity over the calamitous defeat of British and French forces in the Battle of France in 1940. For many years, he has delved through public archives in Paris and London seeking explanations. The quest has taken him back to the origins of air power in both countries and forward to what might have been in the Cold War. Baughen is currently working on a series of studies that will trace the history of the RAF from its origins through to the thermonuclear age.