cover of book

Winged Defense: The Development and Possibilities of Modern Air Power--Economic and Military
by William Mitchell
foreword by Robert S. Ehlers Jr.
University of Alabama Press, 2009
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8304-6 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5605-7
Library of Congress Classification UG633.M44 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 358.400973


This book is the basis for airpower doctrine in the US, and demonstrates  how forward looking Gen Mitchell was even though the technology for conducting air operations was in its infancy  when it was written.  It is essential reading for anyone concerned with airpower history or aerospace doctrine.

William Lendrum "Billy" Mitchell (December 28, 1879 – February 19, 1936) was an American Army general who is regarded as the father of the U.S. Air Force, and is one of the most famous and most controversial figures in the history of American airpower.

Mitchell served in France during the First World War and, by the conflict's end, commanded all American air combat units in that country. After the war, he was appointed deputy director of the Air Service and began to advocate  increased investment in air power, claiming this would prove vital in future wars. He particularly stressed the ability of bombers to sink battleships and organized a series of dramatic bombing runs against stationary ships designed to test the idea that attracted wide notice from the public.

He antagonized many  in both the Army and Navy with his arguments and criticism and, in 1925, was demoted to Colonel. Later that year, he was court-martialed for insubordination after accusing military chiefs of an "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." He resigned from the service shortly thereafter.

Mitchell received many honors following his death, including a commission by the President as a Major General. He is also the only individual after whom a type of American military aircraft is named: the B-25 "Mitchell."

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