Publié en 1915, l'ouvrage de F.A. Talbot nous fait prendre conscience des progrès accomplis par l'aviation dans les 20 années qui vont suivre. Car c'est aux environs de 1935 que sont conçus les appareils qui tels le Hawker Hurricane ou le B-17 vont servir tout au long de la Seconde guerre mondiale. Les performances accrues des avions décuplent leurs possibilités d'emploi, en même temps qu'ils font peser de nouvelles contraintes sur les personnels : contraintes physiologiques, consécutives à la haute altitude et aux variations de pression, contraintes techniques, les nouvelles conditions de vol exigeant des connaissances scientifiques bien supérieures, agumentation du stress en raison des vitesses atteintes et du remps de réaction réduit.
Le recrutement du personnel devra suivre la même évolution. Il suffisait en 1915 de recuter des jeunes gens habiles et audacieux pour en faire des aviateurs. Une vingtaine d'années plus tard, seuls ceux qui possèdent un bon niveau en mathématiques et en physique auront la possibilité d'être sélectionnnés.
NB : les illustrations diffèrent de celles de l'édition
1.The introduction of aircraft into military operations
2. The military uses of the captive balloon
3. Germany's rise to military airship supremacy
4. Airships of war
5 . Germany's aerial dreadnought fleet
6. The military value of Germany's aerial fleet
7. Aeroplanes of war
8. Scouting from the skie
9. The airman and artillery
10. Bomb-throwing from air-craft
11. Armoured aeroplanes
12. Battles in the air
13.Tricks and ruses to baffle the airman
14. Anti-aircraft guns. Mobile weapons
15. Anti-aircraft guns. Immobile weapons
16. Mining the air
17. Wireless in aviation
18. Aircraft and naval operations
19 . The navies of the air
Ever since the earliest days of the great conquest of the air, first by the dirigible balloon and then by the aeroplane, their use in time of war has been a fruitful theme for discussion. But their arrival was of too recent a date, their many utilities too unexplored to provide anything other than theories, many obviously untenable, others avowedly problematical. Yet the part airships have played in the Greatest War has come as a surprise even to their most convinced advocates. For every expectation shattered, they have shown a more than compensating possibility of usefulness.
In this volume an endeavour has been made to record their achievements, under the stern test of trial, as an axiom of war, and to explain, in untechnical language, the many services to which they have been and may be applied.
In the preparation of the work I have received assistance from many sources --British, French, Russian and German--from official reports and from men who have played a part in the War in the Air. The information concerning German military aircraft has been obtained from Government documents, most of which were placed at my disposal before the outbreak of war.
The use of aircraft has changed the whole art and science of warfare. With its disabilities well in hand, with its strength but half revealed, the aerial service has revolutionised strategy and shorn the unexpected attack of half its terrors. The Fourth Arm is now an invaluable part of the complex military machine.
F. A. TALBOT.