Is Aerial Warfare Doomed? (Nov, 1934)
Needless to say, many of the predictions in this article didn’t pan out.
Is Aerial Warfare Doomed?
Original Editor’s Note – Statements by aviation enthusiasts that airplanes will wipe out cities, destroy fleets and armies, and win the next war prompted this article by Lieut. Hogg, noted writer on military topics. In it he makes startling revelations about the effectiveness of the airplane as a military weapon. The observations and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and should not be construed as reflecting the official views or opinions of the United States Navy Department.
Startling Statements About Aerial Warfare
During the World War airplanes sank no battleships, destroyed no city, and failed in every attempt to bomb or gas an enemy out of a military position.
The first 30 days of any major war will see the complete elimination of air forces of belligerent powers.
No aviator entertains the thought that he is going to fly over the enemy anti-aircraft battery in time of war – and live to tell the tale.
Air raids over London and Paris during the four years of the World War destroyed less than $5,000,000 worth of property and killed fewer than 700 enemy civilians.
It would take 75,000 bombers to carry the load of bombs equivalent to the weight of shells carried by the 15 battleships of the U. S. Navy. The cruising radius of those bombers would be only 500 miles. A battleship can travel 15,000 miles, regardless of weather.
A shell will drill through heavy armor plate, or through concrete walls. It explodes inside to produce a shattering, internal explosion. A aerial bomb, having no such power of penetration pops off like a paper firecracker against whatever it hits.
It would take 28,000,000 pounds of phosgene to “wipe out” an area the size of New York City. To accomplish this the enemy would have to have 14,000 large bombing planes and 280 naval airplane carriers to bring the planes within striking distance of New York.