The author followed a career in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, followed by a tour as curator at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, before becoming an accomplished author of naval aviation history. This new book is a substantial review of the RNAS during the Great War and includes a wealth of images to support the very able text – Most Highly Recommended.
NAME: Royal Navy's Air Service in the Great War FILE: R2612 AUTHOR: David Hobbs PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth BINDING: hard back PAGES: 528 PRICE: £35.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: War, Great War, First World War, WWI, World War 1, World War I, technology, naval warfare, war at sea, war in the air, naval aviators, naval aviation, carriers, seaplanes, non-rigid airships, rigid airships, semi-rigid airships, flying boats, amphibians, fighters, bombers, tactics, weapons ISBN: 978-1-84832-348-3 IMAGE: B2612.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y7wawsu4 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The author followed a career in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, followed by a tour as curator at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, before becoming an accomplished author of naval aviation history. This new book is a substantial review of the RNAS during the Great War and includes a wealth of images to support the very able text – Most Highly Recommended. The Royal Navy was an aviation pioneer before the Wright brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. Larger than life frigate captain Thomas Cochrane, who irritated the French so much that he came to the attention of Napoleon, who dubbed him “The Sea Wolf”, wrote a number of papers considering naval aviation and the use of poison gas in warfare. At that time he was considering the use of manned balloons flown from warships blockading France. Royal Navy observers during the American Civil War took flights in the hydrogen balloons used by the Union Army as artillery spotting platforms. The Royal Navy did not adopt these ideas for sea use because of the difficulties of managing balloons at sea and launching them with a reasonable prospect of reaching their intended targets. However, Royal Navy gunners made use of British Army balloons during the two Boer Wars to spot for the naval guns brought ashore and used in support of the Army. The famous field gun race that has been an very popular attraction at the annual Royal Tournament and other events is based on the use of naval guns ashore during the Boer War. In 1903, the Royal Navy began extensive trialling of man-carrying kites aboard ships from whalers ( a pulling and sailing boat carried aboard ship ) to battleships, concluding the trials in 1908. These trials, using the Cody kites, were very promising but were overtaken by Royal Navy support of Cody's powered kite which became the first aeroplane to fly in Britain in 1908. The Royal Navy then forged ahead, creating a flying school in 1911 with the support of the Royal Aeronautical Society who initially ran the school for the RN. The first officers to train became the fathers of the RNAS and Fleet Air Arm. They learned to fly, but they were also tasked with producing papers on how to turn aviation into an effective weapon system to assist the RN in achieving tasks that would be set in war. The result was that the Royal Navy invented naval aviation as an armed component of the Royal Navy. It is therefore surprising that the politicians tried forcing the naval aviators into an air force under Army control. The Royal Navy fought against this stupid policy and continued to train its officers to fly and continue to devise technology and tactics for war in the air. This resistance was rewarded when the politicians buckled and gave the RN control once more of its aviation a month before the outbreak of WWI. The RN celebrated by successfully dropping the first torpedo from an aircraft, starting the Great War with aircraft that could drop bombs, depth charges and torpedoes, while the Army was content to continue taking frail machines from the Government aircraft factory to be used as scouts for field formations of the Army. The Royal Naval Air Service was enormously successful through the Great War until the politicians again took aviation away from the RN to form the RAF, so missing a number of important opportunities before the end of the conflict. The RAF was in fact formed to deliver strategic bombing, which had been pioneered by the RNAS and which work produced viable long range multi-engine bombers with the Vickers Vimmy being used later by Alcock and Brown to make the first trans-Atlantic crossing by air. The RNAS explored every avenue of flight to produce a range of air vehicles and pioneer so many aspects of aviation. It produced the first fully functional aircraft carriers that could launch and recover aircraft with wheeled undercarriage. It also produced and trialled the first airship fighter carriers. Seaplanes and flying boats formed an important part of its maritime patrol force, but it also ordered large numbers of non-rigid and semi-rigid airships for maritime patrol and convoy escort. Some of these carried out patrols of more than 24 hours duration, spotting for enemy submarines and surface ships, with an ability to depth charge and bomb them, and with radio communication to direct RN ships to the attack. From the beginning of the Great War the RNAS attacked German ports and manufacturing facilities. They also intercepted and destroyed the huge German Zeppelin airships. However, it was with fixed wing fighters that the RNAS achieved some great advances. Part of the secret of RNAS success was that the Admiralty avoided the products of the Government Aircraft Factory and ordered machines that were much more advanced, and often cheaper, direct from commercial suppliers. In particular there was a long and fruitful relationship with Sopwith which brought out a succession of aircraft that were developments of their first design. This approach produced aircraft rapidly and took advantage of all the elements of earlier machines that had been very successful, reducing risk. The reliable and successful two seat Sopwith One an a Half Strutter was developed into the single seat Sopwith Pup which fired a machine gun through the propeller arc using an interrupter gear. This highly successful fighter was further developed into the single seat Sopwith Triplane, or Tripe, that was flown with distinction in France and was copied by Fokker in the Dr1 triplane made famous by the Red Baron. The Tripe was then developed into the highly successful single seat Sopwith Camel that was also adopted by the Army for the Royal Flying Corps. The Camel was then developed into the Snipe which became a mainstay of the newly created RAF, serving on through the post war years. The author has produced an excellent review of this amazing success story. It is incredible that politicians should seek to risk a success story by taking aviation away from the Royal Navy. Fortunately for Great Britain, the RN fought on and won back most of its aviation just in time to fight WWII. It is a pity that this did not include maritime patrol aircraft that were retained and neglected by the RAF, costing so many lives in the Atlantic in the early stages of WWII. It is interesting that the attack by FAA torpedo planes on the Italian Fleet in harbour, inspiring the Japanese planners for their attack on the US Pacific Fleet in harbour, was based on the plans made in 1917 to attack the German Fleet in harbour. By the time the plans were complete, the RAF had taken control and failed to understand the huge benefits of a mass attack by surprise from a carrier task force. This book will now be a staple reference work for enthusiasts and historians, but it should be widely read, particularly at a time when pro-EU quislings are so keen to run Britain down. The spirit that made the RNAS such a success lives on and will be ably repeated once the two QECs receive their air wings and continue the long history of Royal Navy aviation inventiveness.