[Skip to Content | Skip to Navigation | Skip to Lesson Index]

[ASPC Main Menu | Help | Back | Next]

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: Trenchard’s Theory

Action: Another portrait of Trenchard appears to screen left while the major premise of his theory appears to the right:

Trenchard’s Thesis:

Victory can be achieved by bombing enemy vital centers, thus breaking the enemy’s will to fight

Voice: Trenchard’s theories on airpower have had a lasting effect on airpower employment. The major premise of his theory was his belief that during war, victory could be achieved by bombing enemy vital centers and thus breaking the enemy’s will to fight.

Action: The text is replaced by the following links to pop-up boxes. The text of the pop-up boxes follows:

Key Aspects of Trenchard’s Theories:

Expanded Thesis:

Major Assumptions:

Thoughts on Targeting:

Trenchard’s ideas on targeting against morale were vague but did allow that international law be followed, collateral damage be limited, targets in urban areas be selected for their military significance, and vital centers in the infrastructure and production systems be attacked.

Thoughts on Air Superiority:

Seeing only limited success with airfield attacks during World War I, Trenchard believed that at least part of the struggle for air superiority should take place in the air.

Thoughts on Air Exploitation:

Both Trenchard and Douhet aimed at the collapse of civilian morale. However, Trenchard wanted to do it indirectly through the destruction infrastructure targets, while Douhet wanted to attack the people directly.

Voice: Pass your mouse cursor over the bullets to view more information about Trenchard’s theories.

[Back: Airpower Theorists—Trenchard | Next: Implications of Trenchard’s Theory]