Aerial Warfare: The Battle for the Skies

ISBN : 9780198818137

Frank Ledwidge
192 ページ
129 x 196 mm
  • Offers the first short history of air warfare, analysing its influence on wars, campaigns and conflicts from the pre-WW1 period to today and beyond
  • Considers how military operations from the air impact upon political decisions on the ground
  • Discusses the advances in air power technology and capabilities, and the impact this has on warfare

Aerial warfare which has dominated western war-making for over 100 years, and despite regular announcements of its demise, it shows no sign of becoming obsolete. Frank Ledwidge offers a sweeping look at the history of air warfare, introducing the major battles, crises, and controversies where air power has taken centre stage, and the changes in technology and air power capabilities over time. Highlighting the role played by air power in the First and Second World Wars, he also sheds light on the lesser-known theatres where the roles of air forces have been clearly decisive in conflicts, in Africa, South America, and Asia.
Along the way, Ledwidge asks key questions about the roles air power can deliver, and whether it is conceptually different from other forms of combat. Considering whether bombing has ever been truly effective, he discusses whether wars can be won from the air, and concludes by analysing whether there is a future for manned air power, or if it is inevitable that drones will dominate 21st century war in the air.


1: Foundations
2: Beginnings
3: Theory and Practice; the Inter war years
4: The Second World War in the West
5: The Air War in the Pacific
6: Cold War 1945-1982
7: The Apotheosis of Air Power; 1983-2001
8: Aerostats to Algorithms; 2001-2018 and beyond
Further Reading


Frank Ledwidge is Senior Fellow in Air Power and International Security at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell. After a 7 year career as a barrister, he was called up to serve as a reservist intelligence officer in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s with the mission to locate war criminals. In 2003 Frank served as commander of one of the intelligence teams sent to Iraq to hunt for WMD. One of few British officials to have served in all of the country's recent wars, he has also worked for the UK government in Helmand and Libya during the conflicts there. In his civilian life, he has worked as a human rights lawyer throughout the Balkans, the Former Soviet Union and Africa. Frank is the author of two acclaimed and bestselling books on British military performance in the 9/11 wars; Losing Small Wars (2011) and Investment in Blood (2013).

"Arguments surrounding the role of air power alongside land and sea power have raged for a century. The rise of digital networks and putative cyber power adds a new and urgent dimension. Ledwidge covers the gamut succinctly and with compelling good judgment, a stylish energy, and panache." - David Betz, Professor of War in the Modern World, Kings College London

"Frank Ledwidge's short and concise Aerial Warfare should be required reading for all military professionals and policy makers, as it ties strategy, tactics, and technology neatly together. It is a first-rate survey of the evolution, impact, and relevance of air power: past, present and future. Highly recommended." - Colonel John Andreas Olsen, PhD., Royal Norwegian Air Force

"A concise and up-to-date account of the evolution of air power and its various roles over time that is insightful and comprehensive. Aerial Warfare will appeal to anybody interested in contemporary strategic studies." - Bettina Renz, Associate Professor in International Security, University of Nottingham