Page:Aircraft in Warfare.pdf/109

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§ 44
THE FIGHTING MACHINE.

power of rapidly putting and most appropriate on altitude alone form its natural means of defence. The tactical position; its duties are of such a scout is not in the same character that if it be driven by hostile aircraft away from its place of operation, it has for the time being ceased to fulfil its mission, and operate with a protective force of fighting machines within call, or it must itself be armed, and be rendered capable of putting up a scout or machine for local reconnaissance will require to be furnished, to some extent at least, with both offensive and defensive armament. so either it must always fight. In any case the tactical But it is by no means clear that it will require to be armed more heavily than may be own with the aircraft of the enemy sufficient to hold its similar duty, engaged to perform the minor acts of aggression against the enemy's land forces that fall to its lot.

Evidently it can be only the specialised fighting-machine is called into being. We may admit that the first and more immediate step will be to render the tactical reconnaissance type capable of taking the offensive, ascendency over the similar craft of the enemy the struggle for supremacy in the air which must then ensue will call imperatively for something powerful and efficient, fighting-machine in fact. machine of the future, that the author proposes to make the subject of present study, discussing primarily the factors upon which its armament and its usage, tactical employment, depend. that for the period during which the tactical scout is playing the double rôle of reconnaissance-machine and fighting-machine the main general considerations will apply than required to enable it on or a matter of time before so that it may establish its But more specialised and heavily-armed It is this type, the fighting

It may be taken or

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