Researched from original-language primary sources, this is a uniquely well-informed and multi-faceted history of the World War I air campaign of Bloody April.
Researched from original German-, French-, and English-language sources, and written by an authority on both air and ground military operations, author, Dr James S Corum examines how Bloody April caused Allied forces to reassess their approach to the use of airpower. Considering well-known problems such as technology and training doctrine, but also how the artillery-aircraft combination ideally had to work in late-WW I ground offensives, Dr Corum analyses what each side got wrong and why. He describes little-known parts of the April campaigns, such as both sides' use of strategic bombing with heavy aircraft, and considers the German use of advanced high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft with oxygen and heated suits while detailing the exploits of the infamous 'Red Baron', Manfred von Richthofen.
Lessons from Bloody April not only served to improve the coordination of Allied artillery and aircraft but subsequently aircraft played a much larger role in supporting ground troops in attack mode.
Bloody April paved the way for the airpower revolution that, by 1918, would make the Allies masters of the sky on the Western Front.
Read an extract of Bloody April 1917
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION CHRONOLOGY ATTACKER'S CAPABILITIES The Entente air services in 1917 The French Service Aéronautique in the Nivelle Offensive The Royal Flying Corps Senior commanders Army air commanders British RFC brigade commanders DEFENDER'S CAPABILITIES The Luftstreitkräfte: German Imperial Air Service Luftstreitkräfte organization in the 1917 campaign German aircraft Senior commanders German Army aviation commanders AIRPOWER IN 1917 The eyes of the big guns Aircraft and the artillery Fixed balloons and the artillery The artillery flyers Lessons from the Verdun and Somme campaigns Lessons from the Somme: July–November, 1916 Air services and aircraft production Aircraft attrition – the problem of quality control Training for the air services Fighter tactics Squadron tactics CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES The Nivelle Offensive The strategic situation in early 1917 THE CAMPAIGN Bloody April March 1917: Germans withdraw to the Siegfriedstellung Preparing the Nivelle Offensive Air operations prior to the offensive The French front Attacking the balloons The air campaign prior to the British attack The Arras sector: the RFC's bombing campaign The attack at Vimy Ridge and Arras, 9–14 April The British offensive continues, 10 April–4 May Arras Front, 11 April–4 May Battle on the Chemin des Dames Front Chemin des Dames Front, 18 April–4 May The French Army mutinies Losses and lessons for the air campaigns of April 1917 AFTERMATH AND ANALYSIS BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX
24 Nov 2022
Illustrated throughout with around 60 photos and at least 14pp of colour illustrations