By Alan Abel;Drina Welch Abel
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Extra resources for Bellanca's Golden Age, The Golden Age of Aviation Series
This whole area over which the Germans and French battled was not more than sixty miles across. It was as though they kept knocking their heads against a stone wall, until their brains were dashed out. 23 14 g e n e s i s i n t h e g r e at wa r In May, Mitchell visited the headquarters of Major General Hugh Trenchard, commander in the field of Britain’s Royal Flying Corps (rfc). Mitchell arrived abruptly, wearing an extravagant uniform that he designed himself, but his unbridled exuberance persuaded the general who was “decided in manner and very direct in speech” to give him a three-day dose of rfc operations and Trenchard philosophy.
26 Soon after receiving Mitchell’s plan, Pershing selected a board of officers to determine the proper composition for aef aviation. 27 Mitchell’s appointment did not, however, guarantee his proposal’s acceptance. On 11 July, Pershing outlined a comprehensive plan for aef organization that authorized fifty-nine squadrons of tactical aircraft for service with the field armies. It made no mention of an independent force for “strategical” operations. A Plan Evolves Pershing’s failure to approve the proposal caused Mitchell to redouble his efforts.
In his eyes, the previous attacks had been for the Navy’s benefit, as they permitted observers to scrutinize the damage inflicted at periodic intervals. After the next bomb run, he aimed to make further inspections superfluous. Slung beneath the fuselage of each bomber that flew past the Osprey was a specially built two-thousand-pound bomb. While those bombs would likely cause substantial damage to the German battleship if they hit it, Mitchell had directed his crews to drop their ordnance in the water near the ship.