Sky Diggers? The Culture, Ethos, and Ethics of the Royal Australian Air Force from Formation to Plan JERICHO

Now that I have finished a couple of projects I can start to slowly turn my attention to my next major research project until they come back from peer review. Principally this is to continue the research I started a few months ago on the culture, ethos, and ethics of the Royal Australian Air Force … Continue reading Sky Diggers? The Culture, Ethos, and Ethics of the Royal Australian Air Force from Formation to Plan JERICHO

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What Value Writing?

I have just started working on an aspect of one of my next major research projects, which is about the culture, ethos and ethics of the Royal Australian Air Force. Specifically, I have started mapping the contributions that RAAF personnel have made to the Australian Defence Force Journal since its establishment in 1976. In short, … Continue reading What Value Writing?

Research Note – Air Power and the Challenge of Professional Military Education

Here is a piece on ‘Air Power and the Challenge of Professional Military Education’ that are based on my recent attendance at a conference at the Royal Military College of Canada on the theme of the ‘Education of an Air Force.’ This post can also be found at The Central Blue, the blog of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation in Australia.

From Balloons to Drones

By Ross Mahoney

I have just come back from a conference at the Royal Military College of Canada on the theme of the ‘Education of an Air Force’ that was well worth the visit. I am sure most readers will agree that the subject of education is of vital importance and this is something that has been increasingly realised in recent years as modern air forces seek to grapple with the challenges that confront them in the operational sphere.

Ideas such as conceptual innovation have become catchphrases for efforts such as the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Thinking to Win programme, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Plan JERICHO and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) AIRpower in Formation process. Underpinning these, to a greater or lesser degree, is the importance of air power education. Indeed, as Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, Commander of RCAF, recently noted in the introduction to an article…

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Acquisitions

Matthias Strohn (ed.), The Battle of the Somme (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2016). With the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme looming large on the horizon, it is unsurprising that we will see a number of publications produced about the battle. Some will regurgitate the same old trope about ‘lions led by donkeys’; however, this … Continue reading Acquisitions

Lecture – The ‘Air Force Spirit’: Towards a Cultural Understanding of the Royal Air Force, 1918-1939

I am pleased to announce that on 3 March, I will be giving a paper at the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War. I will be talking on 'The ‘Air Force Spirit’: Towards a Cultural Understanding of the Royal Air Force, 1918-1939'. TALK OUTLINE Born out of the necessity of the First … Continue reading Lecture – The ‘Air Force Spirit’: Towards a Cultural Understanding of the Royal Air Force, 1918-1939

Dowding, Command Culture and the Challenge of Empowerment

The question of leadership styles adopted in organisations relates to the institutions culture. This culture is shaped by the values, beliefs and assumption that underpin institutional thinking and encompasses conceptual as well as physical concerns. For the RAF this has often be shaped around three broad areas; ‘Command of the Air’ (in both conceptual and … Continue reading Dowding, Command Culture and the Challenge of Empowerment

The Transformation is Complete…and Thesis Submitted!

Well, it has happened…I put the words ‘Social’ and ‘Cultural’ into to my thesis title. For someone who once considered themselves an operational military historian who is interested in the conduct of war rather than the people behind, this is a rather big shift. To be honest it is not all that surprising. As my … Continue reading The Transformation is Complete…and Thesis Submitted!

Book Review – Air and Sea Power in World War I

Maryam Philpott, Air and Sea Power in World War I: Combat and Experience in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Hbk. 258 pp. £59.50. This book is something of a curate’s egg. Overlooked in favour of the experience of the British Army, Philpott suggests that the … Continue reading Book Review – Air and Sea Power in World War I

Comparing Apples and Oranges…Or the Challenge of Comparative History

Comparative history is one of the key historiographical trends to have emerged during the twentieth century and more recently has been joined by transnational history.[1] While comparative studies of countries, institutions or experiences have its advantages, it is a field fraught with difficulties. On a practical level, there is the challenge of being competent in … Continue reading Comparing Apples and Oranges…Or the Challenge of Comparative History

The RAF Staff College and Learning from the French – Sacrebleu!

The RAF Staff College stood up at RAF Andover in November 1921 where it was co-located with its parent headquarters, No. 7 Group. Its formation marked an important step in the evolution of the RAF and its organisational culture. Much of the historiography on the Staff College has focussed on a narrow element of Andover’s … Continue reading The RAF Staff College and Learning from the French – Sacrebleu!