We devote the special this time to our occasional series on airpower. We analyse airpower’s coming of age in the context of the military revolution of 1918, when a new kind of combined-arms tactics based on machines, firepower, and infiltration ended trench-war stalemate and restored a war of movement.
This became the basis of tactics through the rest of the 20th century. The Hundred Days Offensive of 1918 has more in common with the Blitzkrieg operations of 1940 than with either the Battle of the Marne in 1914 or the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Airpower was an increasingly important part of this transformation in war.
Two very different aspects of the Second World War are covered – in Andrew Chatterton’s report on the latest research on Britain’s secret resistance forces, and in John Sweetman’s analysis of the Fleet Air Arm attacks on the Tirpitz in 1944.
Earlier periods are represented in Edmund West’s article on the Swiss in the Late Middle Ages – peasant pikemen who evolved into a Renaissance military elite – and in Patrick Mercer’s latest regiment feature, where his focus is the 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot in the little-remembered Walcheren Campaign of 1809.