In line with my recent post about forthcoming air power titles here are a few more interesting title that are due to hit the shelves soon.

Robin Higham, Unflinching Zeal: The Air Battles Over France and Britain, May-October 1940 (Naval Institute Press, 2012)

The main purpose and theme of The Air Battles of 1940 Over France and Britain is to show how realistic assessments of strengths and losses of both sides are an absolute necessity for commanders in addition to their understanding of the principles of war, the assets and limitations of air power, and their comprehension of production, supply, and sustainability. This consequential work by a pioneer aviation historian fills a significant lacuna in the story of the defeat of France in May-June 1940 and more fully explains the Battle of Britain of July to October of that year and the influence it had on the Luftwaffe in the 1941 invasion of the USSR. Robin Higham approaches the subject by sketching the story and status of the three air forces; the Armee de l’Air, the Luftwaffe, and the Royal Air Force, their organization and preparation for their battles. He then dissects the campaigns, their losses and replacement policies and abilities. He paints the struggles of France and Britain from both the background provided by his recent Two Roads to War: From Versailles to Dunkirk (NIP, 2012) and from the details of losses tabulated by After the Battle’s The Battle of Britain (1982, 2nd ed.) and Peter Cornwell’s The Battle of France Then and Now (2007), as well as in Paul Martin’s Invisible Vainqueurs (1990) and from the Luftwaffe summaries in the British National Archives Cabinet papers. One important finding is that the consumption and wastage was not nearly as high as claimed. The three air forces actually shot down only 19 percent of the number claimed. In the RAF case, in the summer of 1940, 44 percent of those shot down were readily repairable thanks to the salvage and repair organizations. This contrasted with the much lower 8 percent for the Germans and zero for the French. Brave as the aircrews may have been, the inescapable conclusion is that awareness of consumption, wastage, and sustainability were intimately connected to survival.

Robin Higham and Marc Parillo (Eds.) The Influence of Airpower Upon History: Statesmanship, Diplomacy, and Foreign Policy Since 1903 (The University of Kentucky Press, 2012)

From early zeppelins, to the Luftwaffe and the Enola Gay, to the unmanned aerial vehicles of today, air power has long been regarded as an invaluable instrument of war. However, nations have employed aircraft for many other purposes as well; they provide security and surveillance, and they are vital to myriad diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. Air power has become a means for statesmen to advance a variety of goals, opening up new possibilities and problems in times of peace as well as war.

The Influence of Air Power upon History examines the many ways in which aviation technology has impacted policymaking since 1903. It analyzes air strategy in nations around the world and explores how a country’s presumed technological capability, or lack thereof, has become a crucial aspect of diplomacy. Together, the essays in this insightful volume offer a greater understanding of the history of military force and diplomatic relations in the global community.


Maryam Philpott, Air and Sea Power in World War I: Combat and Experience in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy (I.B. Tauris, 2012)

The Great War tore the fabric of Europe apart, killing over 35 million men and challenging the notion of heroism in war. Air and Sea Power in World War I focuses on the experience of World War I from the perspective of British pilots and sailors themselves, to demonstrate that the army-centric view of war studies has been too limited. The Royal Flying Corps, created in 1912, adapted quickly to the needs of modern warfare, driven by the enthusiasm of its men. In contrast, the lack of modernisation in the Royal Navy, despite the unveiling of HMS Dreadnought in 1906, undermined Britain s dominance of the seas. By considering five key aspects of the war experience, this book analyses how motivation was created and sustained. Featuring new primary source material, including the journals of servicemen themselves, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars of World War I and of Naval, Aviation and Military History.

John Andreas Olsen, Air Commanders (Potomac Books, 2012)

Air Commanders combines short military biographies and operational analyses to reveal how the personalities, attitudes, and life experiences of twelve outstanding U.S. airmen shaped the central air campaigns in American history. From Gen. Carl Tooey Spaatz, who began his career in World War I, to the contemporary Gen. T. Michael Buzz Moseley, the case studies illuminate the character of these airmen, the challenges they confronted in widely disparate armed conflicts, and the solutions that they crafted and implemented. Their achievements proved decisive not only in the campaigns they led but also in shaping the U.S. Air Force and the dominant role of airpower in modern warfare.

Christopher Rein, The North African Air Campaign: U.S. Army Air Forces from El Alamein to Salerno (University of Kansas Press, 2012)

In the summer of 1942, Axis forces controlled almost the entire southern shore of the Mediterranean. Less than a year later, they had been swept from the African continent—thanks in no small part to efforts of the fledgling U.S. Army Air Force. Indeed, USAAF in North Africa emerged as a senior partner in the Alliance, supplying aircraft and crews at a rate the other partners were unable to match.

Going beyond the spare analysis of North African air operations in previous accounts, Christopher Rein shows how American fighter planes and heavy bombers, employed in almost exclusively tactical and operational roles, played a pivotal role in the Alliance’s successful ground campaigns. This aerial armada also had a significant negative impact on enemy logistics through its bombing raids on Axis ports, shipping, and airfields. In the process, USAAF helped foster and develop a pattern of inter-service cooperation that remains at the foundation of American close-air-support doctrine today.

Rein chronicles the emergence of USAAF in the late interwar and early WWII periods as a more heterogeneous and creative fighting force than earlier works have led us to believe. He then analyzes little-known aspects of the war, including early air operations in the eastern Mediterranean and in the TORCH landings. He explores some of the key issues confronting Eisenhower, such as how to establish USAAF priorities and how to deploy long-range bombers, fighters, and attack forces. In describing the struggle for balance in the employment of air assets between strategic bombing and interdiction in a time fraught with inter-service rivalry, he shows how, despite occasional mistakes such as the heavy losses involved in the Ploesti raids, USAAF struck a suitable balance and even invested more assets in interdiction than traditional accounts of strategic bombardment would suggest.

A virtual operational-level history of the USAAF during the formative period of American airpower, Rein’s account pulls together material from diverse sources to demonstrate that today’s Air Force emphasis on mobility, intelligence, reconnaissance, and close support for ground forces have deep roots. By showing that the Army Air Force in World War II did not neglect support for ground and naval forces in order to concentrate exclusively on strategic bombing, it suggests lessons for military and civilian leaders in the employment of air forces in current and future conflicts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s