By William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press
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Not always, however, is the goal attained. For while raw and untrained troops will almost certainly yield to the first approach of its malign influence, even seasoned veterans are not wholly immune. Such famous organizations in history as Caesar’s Tenth Legion and Napoleon’s Old Guard were not without such an incident in their records. It would be an absurd example of unreasoning esprit de corps in view of these examples to deny that such a wave of hysteria might be born in the air force, even though its combatant personnel be composed wholly of the officer type.
The man on the ground first becomes aware of the presence of aircraft, in almost every instance, from the noise of the engine and propeller, or from the whistling of the air stream through the rigging of the airplane; the airman, with the roar of his own engine close to his ears, is practically deprived of his sense of hearing. The vision of the man on the ground, too, is often unobstructed; while the airman, seated in the cockpit of his machine, has large sectors of the surrounding space shut off from his view by wings, tail, and fuselage.
His best method, as so often is the case, lies in striking at his [Ch. 1 SOME PRINCIPLES OF AIR WARFARE 29 opponent, either destroying or neutralizing the latter before suffering damage himself. It is much the same with aircraft. Despite the many strictly defensive agencies, which will be described subsequently, there is no adequate armor against air attack. Not only is the assumption of a vigorous offensive the best defense—it is almost the only form of action which leads to successful issues in air warfare.