Army of the Sky: Russian Military Aviation before the Great by Gregory Vitarbo

By Gregory Vitarbo

Army of the Sky addresses the improvement of army aviation from 1904 to 1914 for you to discover the connection of modernization and Russian Imperial officer tradition. using archival fabric, military reviews, the army and well known press, released tracts, and comparative literature, this publication explores the reaction to aviation in the tsarist army within the realm of hopes and fears, institutional diversifications, initiatives drafted to faucet the ability of the aircraft, the politics of command, regulations of recruitment and coaching to construct a cadre of aviators, and the rituals that paid homage to this progressive new weapon. not like a historiography which typically portrays aviation as incompatible with an exceptionally conservative, even backward, army tradition, this research paints a much more advanced and dynamic photo. quite a few tsarist officials well-known that the aircraft awarded either a significant problem and a true chance: it uncovered the constraints of Russia’s financial, technological, and infrastructural improvement whereas at the same time providing the way to conquer them and a method to claim Russia’s improvement, satisfaction, and position as a superb eu strength regardless of heightening fears of failure. Army of the Sky illustrates extra how disparate responses to this case inspired tsarist officer tradition. even though the concept that of «modernization» remained framed round typical binaries, aviation recast and infused with new that means juxtapositions of Russia and the West, imitation and illness, and the imperatives of development and the legacies of backwardness. Aviation helped to remold triumphing paradigms of hierarchy, authority, deference, and accountability. This quantity concludes that the tsarist officer group eventually provided special possibilities to domesticate a tradition of army aviation and thereby to grasp the problem of modernization in a uniquely Russian, an Imperial Russian, demeanour. This booklet might be of significant curiosity to historians of either the army and past due Imperial Russia in addition to aviation fanatics.

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Extra info for Army of the Sky: Russian Military Aviation before the Great War, 1904-1914

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Official efforts to develop aviation continued to consist largely of experimentation conducted by the permanent staff of the Officers’ Aeronautics School as well as the civilian inventors, constructors, and scientists who often worked closely with such officers and occasionally received military subsidies. For the most part, Russian military aviation remained restricted to the Gatchina aerodrome. A somewhat more auspicious effort was put forth by the Grand Duke Alexander and the Department of the Air Force [Otdel Vozdushnogo Flota, hereafter OVF] a newly established division of the Committee for Strengthening the Fleet Through Voluntary Contributions.

20 He argues that the development and application of aviation fit perfectly within the emphasis and reliance upon technology, the search for material as opposed to personnel solutions for military challenges, and the view of war from a largely economic, cost-effectiveness outlook that was inherent in the “liberal militarism” of the English military establishment and society. Perhaps Edgerton’s most intriguing observation is the seamless way in which a common commercial world view had penetrated even those segments of English society—the socially upper crust officer corps—deemed most conservative and hidebound.

Notable in this regard were several military district commanders in addition to Kaul’bars. Often defining military necessity in their own terms, they took steps to see to it that such needs were met. The doctrinal freedom which allowed them to do so was aided as well by the specifics of tsarist military administrative structure, where military district commanders, particularly in the border districts, had a good deal of discretionary authority in assessing needs and priorities, even in war planning.

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