By X. Xie, Ch. Haberland

Airplane layout 2 (1999) 147 - 165

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I n t r u t h , D o u h e t had tried to go through proper channels, but his superior, Colonel Moris —who was still enamored with the dirigible— dragged his feet. Characteristically, Douhet b e c a m e i m p a t i e n t and took matters into his own hands. 9 Unfortunately, Douhet ’s m e t h o d s f o r a d v a n c i n g t h e c a u s e o f airpower tended to work at cross-purposes to his goals. D o u h e t was serving as a division chief of staff at Edolo when Europe blundered into World War I in July 1914.

Douhet stated flatly, “I am against air defense because it detracts means from the Air Force . . I am against it because I am absolutely convinced that . . ”24 T h u s , i n D o u h e t’s eyes, the best defense—indeed, the only defense—was a good offense. For t h e s a m e r e a s o n , h e e s c h e w e d a n a i r r e s e r v e . All aircraft were committed; holding forces in reserve exemplified the outdated and defensive thinking of surface commanders. The speed and range of aircraft created their own reserve because they were able to react quickly and engage in different locations long before surface forces could move there.

Third, Douhet believed that civil airliners should be capable of performing military missions. 4 0 16 MEILINGER This idea has some validity. Although complete commonality has not been possible, the technological relationship between civil and military aircraft h a s a l w a y s b e e n c l o s e b e c a u s e scientific advances often benefit both sectors. During the 1930s, commercial designs like the Boeing 247, Lockheed “Vega,” a n d D o u g l a s D C - 3 led military aircraft development. Even today, it is no coincidence that Boeing and Lockheed airliners closely resemble Air Force tankers and cargo aircraft.

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