- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Naval Inst Pr; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1557506175
- ISBN-13: 978-1557506177
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,971,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Naval Aviation in the First World War: Its Impact and Influence Hardcover – November 1, 1996
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"Naval Aviation..." is not a badly written book, and not without value. In fact, it was fairly well written. Perhaps my problem is that the author resorted far too often to phrases like "this matter is beyond the scope of this work", or "this matter has been `too often discussed' in other works to discuss it here" after pricking my interest in his story, leaving me up in the air and unsatisfied. There were absolutely no maps in the book, which would have enhanced its usefulness to me. I had to resort to the internet to find places that are mentioned. Also, if you are a speaker of American English, you may have trouble with some of the distinctly British idioms Mr. Layman uses.
One of the main points he made that did impress me was that with aviation so new to all the nations, much of the story of naval application surrounds what it could NOT do, or failed to do because of a host of unforseen circumstances that were due solely to a lack of experience caused by a totally new technology. For example, they very seldom hit their targets with guns or bombs, but annoyed and distracted the enemy just by their presence in the air. And, perhaps that is part of my frustration with "Naval Aviation in the First World War...": I hoped for so much more than he provided that I am left with great curiosity about what he did NOT tell me, but lacking sufficient interest to locate and dig into a larger book on the subject. With naval aviation in WW I, the war ended before they could really get the technology to a reliable and effective level. With this book, the story ended before I got enough answers to satisfy me, but I was just glad it was over.
I was pleased with one other thing, in addition to the occasional informational gem. Each chapter was followed by notes and references that promise more answers.
One other comment must be made about the value of this book, as I see it. On Amazon there are four dealers with copies offered at around fifty dollars each. I do not consider this book worth any more than its original publication price, and certainly not fifty dollars. But I guess that depends on how badly you want the book and how patient you are with the authors occasional lapse into relatively insignificant details while leaving out some that would be interesting to the reader.
Noland writes with wit and from extensive research. The title of the third chapter, "Battleship Admirals and Other Myths" sets the tone. Early naval aviation developments were not hindered by a lack of support from senior officers so much as the primitive equipment available. As Noland writes in a later chapter, "The distrust was justified. Here (a series of unsuccessful raids on Zeppelin bases) again was a case in which it was not based on any prejudice against aviation - else why would have eight aeronaval operations been authorized? - but on technological unreliability of aircraft."
Reading the tales of the early days of air combat over the sea, the contemporary Tailhooker cannot help but be impressed by the sheer, what in those days was called, moxie of the early aircrewmen. The odds of a successful mission were extremely low. Crashes so routine they were hardly commented on. " `Never to be seen again' was the epitaph for many a Great War naval aviator." Entertaining as well as informative, Naval Aviation in the First World War is strongly recommended for anyone who wants to know where we came from.
R.R. "Boom" Powell USN (ret)