By Martin van Creveld, Kenneth S Brower, Steven L Canby, Air University Press
268 pages - Manneuver conflict in motion - Germany - Russia - pictures - Israel - Air energy in Nineties
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Extra info for Air power and maneuver warfare
In numbers of combat aircraft (fighters, bombers, and ground support), the two forces together outnumbered the Allies 2,474 to 2,196 (another 850 first-line combat aircraft, including all of the excellent Spitfire squadrons, were kept back in England). 59 The quality of the bombers on both sides was roughly equal ; however, the German Me-109 fighter enjoyed a clear edge over all but the relatively few French Dewoitine 520s and British Hurricanes that were available. s0 The rest consisted of single- and twin-engined fighters, as well as comparatively light twin-engined bombers that were unable to carry much more than two tons of ordnance.
Under such circumstances, it was perhaps inevitable that the German air operations should be prolonged and conducted in piecemeal fashion. The forces themselves did not arrive all at once. Once they arrived, strategic surprise had been lost, though tactical surprise still could be, and sometimes was, achieved . There were many attempts to gain air superiority both by striking at enemy airfields and by aerial combat. However, given the number and quality of machines on both sides (during much of the conflict, the Republicans actually outnumbered their enemies, and until the end of 1937, their Soviet-built fighters were clearly superior to the German craft), there was no possibility of gaining a rapid, overwhelming advantage in this respect.
The German commanders of the Condor Legion suffered agony as they saw their most cherished principles of war-concentration, maneuver, the quest for the enemy's center of gravity, and the decisive battle that would quickly end the war-thrown away- 28 Looking back, however, one finds it hard to avoid the conclusion that they were wrong and Franco was right. In the absence of wide-ranging, fast-moving, deeppenetrating mechanized forces and country suitable for their support, the struggle took one of two forms .