|About the Book|
In tactics as in everything else, a glimpse of the future can often be grasped through the medium of a reflected past. However, the further back one goes, the more the conditions of material and social outlook differ from those of the present, and itMoreIn tactics as in everything else, a glimpse of the future can often be grasped through the medium of a reflected past. However, the further back one goes, the more the conditions of material and social outlook differ from those of the present, and it becomes ever more challenging to stand in the shoes of those whose deeds we probe. Past people were not the same as us, but dressed in petticoats and top hats. They had different ideas from our own. Therefore, they need to be understood on their own terms, not ours. This book delves into their world, from the perspective of those who mastered their aircraft and conquered the skies. Here, those winning tactics that enabled aviators to vanquish their opponents are revealed to the reader. To survive in the past, the best aces were frequently the most calculating of all. Those who balanced risk taking, with a clear understanding of their aircraft and the capabilities of their opponents, and the position at which they found themselves at the beginning of the engagement. From the inception of flight, through observations across three centuries of aerial conflict, striking parallels are shown between the great tacticians, often the ablest thinkers and practitioners with a vivid sense of vision and mission. They all knew that in war, often you don’t get to pick your moment ~ it picks you. So when your moment comes, be ready to take it!Through the rich stream of modern history and at whatever the level of technology applied, aerial warriors have always exerted a powerful influence on the outcome. Results continue to depend on the quality of these warriors in the air to get the most out of the weapons they operate. Both now and in the future, versatile fighter aircraft continue to use radar, air-to-air missiles, and automatic cannons capable of very high rates of fire. Aerial warfare has seen the emergence of manoeuvres to break radar lock or to exhaust the kinetic energy of incoming missiles by changing an aircraft’s course. And yet, aerial combat with automatic cannons and missiles still adheres to many of the same aerial tactics first pioneered by the airmen of the Great War.Even today, as aircraft speeds continue to increase and reaction times continue to diminish, only higher levels of pilot training can compensate. With the tactics of aerial engagements being as much about technology as about the skill and courage of airmen, any technological advantage over an opponent can disappear thru the introduction of a new approach to tactics in the air. Another profound lesson of history, is that air battles have been lost, rather than won, such as the Zeppelin Campaign of the Great War and the surprisingly similar Battle of Britain, both of which were forfeited by a technically brilliant, but tactically inept opponent.From neglected sources of authentic first-hand material, much of it forgotten for the best part of 100 years and a wealth of contemporary accounts untouched by revisionist historians, the narrative offers a passionate account of how airmen and pilots amassed remarkable records in the face of desperate odds. By tapping myriad sources, every significant action is reconstructed and placed within the overall context of operations from the viewpoint of the airmen who took to the air to advance their cause (or to defend their homeland) to preserve a sense of period and to reveal to the reader the most significant and harrowing aerial engagements of all time.