BOOK – THE GREAT WAR IN THE AIR: MILITARY AVIATION FROM 1909-1921 BY JOHN H. MORROW, JR.
This absorbing book was published in 1993. John Morrow presents a fine historical viewpoint of military aviation from 1909 to 1921. In 1909, six years after the Wright Brothers’ historical flight at Kitty Hawk, European and United States officials began to consider whether or not fixed wing aircraft might be useful during military operations. When WW I arrived, aircraft’s first role was to scout enemy positions. As the war progressed, opposing pilots began to shoot at one another with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Soon, an enterprising French pilot decided to armor his airplane’s propeller and shoot a machine gun through it. [That did NOT work well! The enterprising French airman shot himself down].
The great Tony Fokker further developed the Frenchman’s idea, inventing an interrupter gear that allowed German aircraft to fire only when the propeller was NOT in the line of fire. This fantastic modification soon had airplanes falling from the skies at record levels. More innovations quickly followed. Larger airplanes became bombers, dropping increasingly massive bomb loads on assorted targets. At the same time, the German Army and Navy were sending zeppelins on bombing missions over England and the Continent. And all the while, everyone’s planes kept getting faster and more deadly.
The book gives a fine overview of the operations and advancing of military planes during WW I. While it includes some photographs, the author focuses one’s attention on the book’s text. The book is a first edition, is over 450 pages long, and comes complete with its dust jacket. Dr. Morrow is one of the most respected authors on WW I aviation and teaches at the University of Georgia where he has been the Franklin Professor and the Chairman of the History Department. This is serious reading!