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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Early Perspective of War | Rise of Total War | WWI Perspective | Context for Airpower | Aircraft as a Military Tool | Aircraft for Strategic Effects | Early Airpower Theorists | Aipower Theorists—Douhet | Douhet’s Theory | Implications of Douhet’s Theory | Douhet’s Impact | Aipower Theorists—Trenchard | Trenchard’s Theory | Implications of Trenchard’s Theory | Trenchard’s Impact | Aipower Theorists—Mitchell | Mitchell’s Theory | Implications of Mitchell’s Theory | Mitchell’s Impact | Mitchell’s Legacy | Summary | Quiz ]

Title: Aipower Theorists—Trenchard

Action: A portrait of Trenchard appears to screen left while text bullets appear to the right to reinforce the narration:

Hugh Trenchard (1873-1956)

Voice: Hugh Trenchard was well along in his military career when he learned to fly at age 40. He fought much of World War One as the head of the Royal Flying Corps in France, and was firm in his vision of aviation as an auxiliary to the army. At first, Trenchard opposed the creation of an independent air force, and he even opposed the idea of strategic bombing. He was, however, a firm believer in offensive operations for air forces. Like ground commanders of the time, he believed in the massed offensive as the key to victory. Only in Trenchard’s case, this idea of mass involved aircraft in the air. Unfortunately, the Royal Flying Corps suffered substantial losses as a result of his commitment to the massed offensive. Nonetheless, Trenchard ended up in command of the Independent Air Force in France in 1918, which was created in response to the German bombing of London. A considerable portion of the Independent Air Force’s efforts was in support of the Allied armies, and the war ended before the Independent Air Force could conduct much strategic bombing. When he returned to the United Kingdom, Trenchard was appointed as Chief of the Air Staff of the Royal Air Force, or RAF. Soon after, he became an advocate of strategic bombing. He remained in his post for the first decade of the RAF’s existence. Trenchard had an influence on the initial founding of many of the RAF’s ideas and institutions. Trenchard’s ideas were at the center of RAF doctrine manuals and they were embedded in the curriculum at the RAF Staff College.

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