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AIRCRAFT IN WARFARE

THE DAWN OF THE FOURTH ARM


CHAPTER I.

(September 4th, 1914).

AIRCRAFT AS CONSTITUTING A NEW OR FOURTH "ARM." THE PRIMARY AND THE SECONDARY FUNCTIONS OF THE AERONAUTICAL ARM.

§ 1 Introductory. All authorities may to-day be said to agree on the broad fact of the utility and importance of the flying-machine or aeroplane—or, more broadly, aircraft—in warfare; but at present the air service as a fourth Arm of the military organisation, either of this country or of any of the other great military Powers, can only be regarded as of a tentative and experimental character.

It is, unfortunately, not yet possible to draw confrom the actual usage of aircraft in the present war, mainly for two reasons. Firstly, the machines at present available (with possibly a few exceptions) are entirely without armour or defence of any kind, and, dirigibles apart, are, generally speaking, without guns or other offensive armament of an effective character. Secondly, the machines are numerically so weak that, as an Arm of the Service, the aeronautical forces are a negligible factor. The question of sufficiency in numbers is evidently dependent upon the point of view