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Description - Sir Frederick Sykes and the Air Revolution, 1912-1918 by Lieutenant-Colonel Eric A. Ash

This is a long-overdue study of Sir Frederick H. Sykes, Chief of the Air Staff of Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) during the First World War. Historians, for the most part, have either overlooked Sykes or misinterpreted him, leaving a gap in the story of British flying. Contrary to previous images of Sykes, we now see that he was not a secretive intriguer or a tangential subject in RAF history. Rather, he played a fundamental part in organizing and leading British aviation from 1912 to the end of 1918. He provided organization, visionary guidance and efficient administrative control for the fledgling service that tried to survive infancy in the heat of battle. Sykes assumed command of the Air Staff immediately after the RAF's birth - on April 1 1918 - at a critical time, when the German spring offensives were about to split the French and British defensive lines and cause an Allied defeat. Sykes stepped in to quell organizational and bureaucratic fires by working harmoniously with the Air Minister, Lord Weir. Together they maintained control of the air service and established a strategic Independent Air Force prepared to bomb Berlin by the time the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918. Sykes battled against fellow airmen, military traditionalists and French commanders to promote an incipient air revolution in warfare by instituting 'air-minded' use of new technologies to economize on manpower and apply air power tactically, strategically and independently from the inefficient army and navy competitive control that had plagued the air services. From the reconnaissance of 1914 to the devastating precision attacks of Desert Storm in the 1991 Gulf War, aircraft have transformed the modern battlefield. As this book shows, Sykes was important to that revolutionary process.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780714648286
ISBN-10: 0714648280
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Frank Cass Publishers
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 31-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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