They Fought for the Sky: The Dramatic Story of the First War in the Sky
Bantam Books | 1963 | ISBN: N/A | English | 260 pages | PDF | 48 MB
On the ground, it was a movement-choked war of metal and poison gas, but in the air World War I was something else, a shifting, gyrating spectacle where advanced lightweight technology clashed under something akin to rules of combat otherwise discarded centuries before. Quentin Reynolds sketches out the conflict with profiles of those who flew and died. "They Fought For The Sky" is fascinating because it was published in 1957, when some World War I pilots were still alive and others only just died, meaning Reynolds was collecting recent history from some first-hand accounts. Chapter 1 tells of the early days when airplanes were used for scouting and observing enemy troop movements. In February 1915 a French single-seater with a machine gun shot down two German observer planes. Chapter 2 tells how the British used the B.E. 2 airplanes. In these early days a pilot had more to fear from his machine than the enemy. The method for destroying a Zeppelin was to ram it (Chapter 3). The early days of the war involved infantry and artillery (Chapter 4). Occasionally dropping a small bomb on cavalry caused a panic. Tony Fokker's synchronized machine gun created fighter machines (Chapter 5). The "tank" was a code word for armored vehicles. Competition produced airplanes that were faster, more maneuverable, and could fly higher.