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By William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press

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It is true that larger numbers of airplanes than this were flying simultaneously on missions which called for mutual aid and support. But their objectives usually lay on the surface of the earth. Judged by the criteria of their ability to carry out a coordinated attack on an objective in the air, in accordance 18 AIR WARFARE [Ch. 1 with a plan conceived in the air and based on the air situation, these airplanes did not constitute a true tactical unit, but were rather an aggregation of semi-independent squadrons.

It is necessary in addition that the plan of the leader for the specific situation be conveyed to all through the medium of orders. Even then, history teaches us, men who have imbibed the same doctrine in the same school, sometimes work at cross-purposes, when orders lack clarity. The status of development of the principle of mass, which was briefly described above, was reached toward the end of the World War. With the coming of the Armistice and the inevitable cessation of military effort, further evolution ceased.

1 In spite of the axiomatic character of the principle of mass, it has not always found ready and universal acceptance among those who have been called upon to deal with the strategy and tactics of the air. It is probably true, however, that the many failures to abide by this principle arose not so much from lack of appreciation of the principle as from inability or disinclination to overcome the obstacles to its application. This subject will be dealt with in greater detail in subsequent chapters, but it is purposed to give a brief outline here of the development of the principle during the air combats of the World War.

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Air warfare by William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press


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