Air warfare by William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University

By William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press

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Lee, who was thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the offensive was determined to attack, in spite of the huge odds against him, and had already partly succeeded in forcing his opponent to assume a defensive rôle. It is interesting at this time to note the true economy which Lee was practicing. To the east a force consisting of two of Hooker’s seven corps, under the command of Sedgwick, presented a serious threat; to the south the cavalry of Stoneman was operating against Lee’s communications; while the main Union force, under the command of Hooker himself was strengthening its position to the west, in the thickly wooded terrain about Chancellorsville.

The real purpose of the raids was 28 AIR WARFARE [Ch. 1 achieved with conspicuous success. The Germans had hoped that such clamor for protection would arise from the populations of the capitals that the political rulers would not dare disregard it. They hoped that, as a result of this, guns and airplanes by the scores would be diverted from the decisive theatre of war on the Western front and tied down to the fruitless guard of the capitals. The strategy was not unlike that of Lee in the American Civil War in his many threats against Washington.

Such famous organizations in history as Caesar’s Tenth Legion and Napoleon’s Old Guard were not without such an incident in their records. It would be an absurd example of unreasoning esprit de corps in view of these examples to deny that such a wave of hysteria might be born in the air force, even though its combatant personnel be composed wholly of the officer type. But for the transmission of this wave a certain set of conditions must be present. There is considerable evidence which indicates that these essential conditions for the propagation of panic are absent in the case of fleets of aircraft, although this phase of the subject has not yet been investigated with the thoroughness which alone would warrant a definite conclusion.

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