By William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press
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These trite and well known facts are nevertheless worthy of thought and of analysis. The privileged position of the officer, the necessity of instinctive and instant obedience to his commands on the part of the soldier, the necessary restriction of initiative as we go down in the hierarchy of rank until, when the private soldier is reached, it is almost nonexistent—these are facts which enter into the very warp and woof of the fabric of infantry. Long experience of many land battles has demonstrated their necessity.
The French were armed with the Chassepot rifle, a rapid fire weapon with nearly double the effective range of the needle gun of the Germans. Realizing to the full the enormous physical power of this weapon on the defensive, and desiring to reap the benefit of their advantage in this respect, the French permitted the gradual development of a cult of the defensive. They began to place their hope of victory in destroying the offensive power of the Germans, while the latter were yet too distant to make reply with their inferior small arms.
They hoped that, as a result of this, guns and airplanes by the scores would be diverted from the decisive theatre of war on the Western front and tied down to the fruitless guard of the capitals. The strategy was not unlike that of Lee in the American Civil War in his many threats against Washington. It met with a full measure of success. A very small force of German airplanes immobilized many times their number of allied aircraft, and reduced by that amount the allied air power in the decisive areas of action.
Air warfare by William Carrington Sherman; Wray R Johnson; Air University (U.S.). Press