National Geographic : 1918 Jan
VOL. XXXIII, No. 1 WASHINGTON JANUARY, 1918 THE A TIHAL G EOIGRAPHIC MAGAZ HEN AMERICA'S PART IN THE ALLIES' MASTERY OF THE AIR BY MAJOR JOSEPH TULASNE CHIEF OF THE FRENCH AVIATION MISSION TO AMERICA THE summer of 1917 was marked by very spirited air battles for the supremacy of the air. During those battles the losses of the Allies were great and those of our ene mies still greater. At the present time we are profiting by the lull which the winter rains have caused in air raids and are organizing large fleets of well - armed and well equipped planes for the spring 1918. The aerial program of the Allies is a mighty one; that of the enemies is just as mighty. Every one is convinced to day of the importance of the supremacy of the air throughout 1918. The American people have understood admirably the part which American avia tion is to play in this gigantic struggle, and the enthusiasm of the American peo ple and their determination to intervene in order to blind the army of the enemy has enabled Congress to pass an aviation bill calling for an appropriation of $640, 000,000. The officers in charge of the organiza tion and development of American avia tion and the business men who have spon taneously offered their services and busi ness experience have done a great deal during the last six months. Aviation schools have sprung up all over the coun try. Several of them are at present work- ing at full speed. Hundreds of pilots, full of dash, are being trained, and they are going about their work with the same zeal which they formerly displayed on the football field at college. ARRIVAL OF AMERICA'S AIR FLEET ANXIOUSLY AWAITED American engineers have designed and constructed a powerful motor, and the workshops for motors and airplanes are fully organized for the task ahead of them; but if these machines are not ready in time, provisions have been made in France and other Allied countries to place the necessary airplanes at the disposal of American aviators, so that they will be able to take part in the air battles in the early spring of this year. On the whole western front, extending from the North Sea to Switzerland, the arrival of the American air fleet is anx iously awaited. This fleet must consist of a mighty battle squadron and a mighty bombing squadron as well. The battle fleet is the decisive element in securing and maintaining supremacy in the air. But the Allies must also have a large number of pursuit squadrons, efficiently armed and piloted by daring aviators. The American fleet of battle planes will enable the Allies to secure the indisputa ble mastery of the air.