Historical Reprints Science Aircraft and Submarines

Aircraft and Submarines

Aircraft and Submarines
Catalog # SKU3740
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Willis J. Abbot
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000
 
$25.95
Quantity

Description

Aircraft and Submarines

The Story of the Invention, Development,
and Present-Day Uses of
War's Newest Weapons

104 Illustrations

By
Willis J. Abbot


A Blast From the Past, with images of air and water craft this generation has seldom or never seen! Not since gunpowder was first employed in warfare has so revolutionary a contribution to the science of slaughtering men been made as by the perfection of aircraft and submarines. The former have had their first employment in this world-wide war of the nations.

Large Print, 14 point font, Illustrated

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Excerpt:

It was at Mons in the third week of the Great War. The grey-green German hordes had overwhelmed the greater part of Belgium and were sweeping down into France whose people and military establishment were all unprepared for attack from that quarter. For days the little British army of perhaps 100,000 men, that forlorn hope which the Germans scornfully called "contemptible," but which man for man probably numbered more veteran fighters than any similar unit on either side, had been stoutly holding back the enemy's right wing and fighting for the delay that alone could save Paris. At Mons they had halted, hoping that here was the spot to administer to von Kluck, beating upon their front, the final check. The hope was futile. Looking back upon the day with knowledge of what General French's army faced-a knowledge largely denied to him-it seems that the British escape from annihilation was miraculous. And indeed it was due to a modern miracle-the conquest of the air by man in the development of the airplane.

General French was outnumbered and in danger of being flanked on his left flank. His right he thought safe, for it was in contact with the French line which extended eastward along the bank of the Somme to where the dark fortress of Namur frowned on the steeps formed by the junction of that river with the Meuse. At that point the French line bent to the south following the course of the latter river.

Namur was expected to hold out for weeks. Its defence lasted but three days! As a matter of fact it did not delay the oncoming Germans a day, for they invested it and drove past in their fierce assault upon Joffre's lines. Enormously outnumbered, the French were broken and forced to retreat. They left General French's right flank in the air, exposed to envelopment by von Kluck who was already reaching around the left flank. The German troops were ample in number to surround the British, cut them off from all support, and crush or capture them all. This indeed they were preparing to do while General French, owing to some mischance never yet explained, was holding his ground utterly without knowledge that his allies had already retired leaving his flank without protection.

When that fatal information arrived belatedly at the British headquarters it seemed like a death warrant. The right of the line had already been exposed for more than half-a-day. It was inexplicable that it had not already been attacked. It was unbelievable that the attack would not fall the next moment. But how would it be delivered and where, and what force would the enemy bring to it? Was von Kluck lulling the British into a false sense of security by leaving the exposed flank unmenaced while he gained their rear and cut off their retreat? Questions such as these demanded immediate answer. Ten years before the most dashing scouts would have clattered off to the front and would have required a day, perhaps more, to complete the necessary reconnaissance. But though of all nations, except of course the utterly negligent United States, Great Britain had least developed her aviation corps, there were attached to General French's headquarters enough airmen to meet this need. In a few minutes after the disquieting news arrived the beat of the propellers rose above the din of the battlefield and the airplanes appeared above the enemy's lines. An hour or two sufficed to gather the necessary facts, the fliers returned to headquarters, and immediately the retreat was begun.

It was a beaten army that plodded back to the line of the Marne. Its retreat at times narrowly approached a rout. But the army was not crushed, annihilated. It remained a coherent, serviceable part of the allied line in the successful action speedily fought along the Marne. But had it not been for the presence of the airmen the British expeditionary force would have been wiped out then and there.

The battle of Mons gave the soldiers a legend which still persists-that of the ghostly English bowmen of the time of Edward the Black Prince who came back from their graves to save that field for England and for France. Thousands of simple souls believe that legend to-day. But it is no whit more unbelievable than the story of an army saved by a handful of men flying thousands of feet above the field would have been had it been told of a battle in our Civil War. The world has believed in ghosts for centuries and the Archers of Mons are the legitimate successors of the Great Twin Brethren at the Battle of Lake Regillus. But Cæsar, Napoleon, perhaps the elder von Moltke himself would have scoffed at the idea that men could turn themselves into birds to spy out the enemy's dispositions and save a sorely menaced army.

When this war has passed into history it will be recognized that its greatest contributions to military science have been the development and the use of aircraft and submarines. There have, of course, been other features in the method of waging war which have been novel either in themselves, or in the gigantic scale upon which they have been employed. There is, for example, nothing new about trench warfare. The American who desires to satisfy himself about that need only to visit the Military Park at Vicksburg, or the country about Petersburg or Richmond, to recognize that even fifty years ago our soldiers understood the art of sheltering themselves from bullet and shrapnel in the bosom of Mother Earth. The trench warfare in Flanders, the Argonne, and around Verdun has been novel only in the degree to which it has been developed and perfected. Concrete-lined trenches, with spacious and well-furnished bomb-proofs, with phonographs, printing presses, and occasional dramatic performances for lightening the soldiers' lot present an impressive elaboration of the muddy ditches of Virginia and Mississippi. Yet after all the boys of Grant and Lee had the essentials of trench warfare well in mind half a century before Germany, France, and England came to grips on the long line from the North Sea to the Vosges.

Asphyxiating gas, whether liberated from a shell, or released along a trench front to roll slowly down before a wind upon its defenders, was a novelty of this war. But in some degree it was merely a development of the "stinkpot" which the Chinese have employed for years. So too the tear-bomb, or lachrymatory bomb, which painfully irritated the eyes of all in its neighbourhood when it burst, filling them with tears and making the soldiers practically helpless in the presence of a swift attack. These two weapons of offence, and particularly the first, because of the frightful and long-continuing agony it inflicts upon its victims, fascinated the observer, and awakened the bitter protests of those who held that an issue at war might be determined by civilized nations without recourse to engines of death and anguish more barbaric than any known to the red Indians, or the most savage tribes of Asia. Neither of these devices, nor for that matter the cognate one of fire spurted like a liquid from a hose upon a shrinking enemy, can be shown to have had any appreciable effect upon the fortunes of any great battle. Each, as soon as employed by any one belligerent, was quickly seized by the adversary, and the respiratory mask followed fast upon the appearance of the chlorine gas. Whatever the outcome of the gigantic conflict may be, no one will claim that any of these devices had contributed greatly to the result.

But the airplane revolutionized warfare on land. The submarine has made an almost equal revolution in naval warfare.




334 pages - 8½ x 11 softcover


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