Soldiers Need Wings

The Development of Ground-Air Forces

HISTORY furnishes much evidence that peace based on injustice is merely a breeder of war: the Munich settlement of 1938 is perhaps a sufficient example. From this premise, the people of the United States have drawn the conclusion that they must be prepared to use their power in support of justice, as justice is defined by the international community. Now power has various aspects -- moral, political, economic, military. Of these I shall comment here only upon the last, and I shall do so by trying to answer several questions: Given the fact that we may have to exert our military strength abroad on behalf of justice, how may we prepare to do so most effectively? What kind of military establishment should we maintain? What general principles will guide us to wise actions?

To some advocates of air power, the answer seems so plain as hardly to be worth discussing: these experts would equip long-range planes with the strongest possible bombs, and prepare to dispatch them in the shortest possible time to an enemy's vital centers. It is all, for them, as simple as that. Without wishing to go over ground already almost too well harrowed by controversy, I venture to suggest that such a simplification is dangerous.

In the past, a belligerent who was able to bring new weapons or new tactics to bear against his enemy before the latter could produce similar new weapons or tactics, or develop countermeasures, usually triumphed decisively. But no matter what the nature of the new weapons, a war has tended to approach stalemate if both sides enjoyed them in about equal measure. Some such equality of weapons is possible in a combat in which we might engage. And when for this reason a stalemate approaches, even in a war full of novelties, resort must be made to fundamental factors, such as industrial capacity, manpower and will to fight. They are called into play most fully in the climactic act of warfare -- the forceful

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