Airpower in Colonial Wars

by Mitch on March 23, 2011 0 Comments

Military force, especially airpower, was used by colonial powers to conquer, dominate, and preserve control over their territories despite resistance and struggle for independence by local populations. There were some 40 wars, conflicts, and military actions of this kind in the twentieth century. The most distinctive feature was their one-sided character: the indisputable air dominance of colonial powers. In the two exceptions (the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935–1936 and the First Chechen War of 1994–1996), the European powers rapidly and decisively eliminated their potential air opponents.


The colonial experience also had a significant influence on technological development, organizational evolution, and expansion of major world air forces as independent services, as well as their air doctrines, combat performances, tactics, and operations.


The first recorded attempt to use airpower in colonial conflicts was by Napoleon in Egypt in 1799, with he used balloons to undermine the morale of the hostile population ...

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Druze Revolt of 1925 – 27 and French Air Power

by Mitch on December 20, 2010 0 Comments

When the French occupied their Mideast colonies of Lebanon and Syria in 1919, they faced the same sort of nationalist unrest that the British faced in Iraq. Initially, the French sent a larger air contingent to garrison Syria than the British sent to Iraq and by the end of 1919 had built up a force of four squadrons in Syria. French Breguet 14 light bombers, sturdy aircraft from the Great War, played the same role that the RAF's DH-9s played in British colonial operations. Gen Maxime Weygand, commander of the garrison in Syria, argued that airpower was "indispensable" and requested more air squadrons so that he could withdraw ground troops. In 1924 Weygand issued directives to his air units that closely resembled British air-control doctrine. He intended to use aircraft to bomb tribal groups when incidents occurred as a means of intimidating them into complying with the French regime ...

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Caproni Ca.101 D2

by Mitch on November 12, 2010 0 Comments


Model by Enrico Tiolli


The Caproni Ca.101 was an Italian airliner which later saw military use as a transport and bomber. It was designed in 1927 and first flown in 1928.


The D2 version, was produced replacing the motors with three more powerful Alfa Romeo D.2 motors. In operations in Eritrea, they guaranteed good performance in the tropics. From the opening of the hostilities in East Africa in 1935, various versions of the Ca. 101 came used for all the conflict, carrying out tactical support missions for the infantry and bombing. The D.2 version, in particular, operated with the 14th Bomber Flight "Hic Sunt Leones" and 15th Bomber Flight "La Disperata" of the 4th Bombers Squadron.


The Regia Aeronautica ordered 72 Ca.101 and 34 Ca.102. These aircraft served with 8 and 9 Wing (Ca.102) and 7 Wing (Ca.101).

Though the Ca.102 was ...

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Algerian Air War

by Mitch on October 2, 2010 0 Comments

From 1954 to 1962, France sought to maintain control of its colony in Algeria using a mix of ground, naval, and air forces to fight Algerian rebels. Initially, air operations remained limited due to the commitment of aircraft and personnel to the Indochina front.

By 1959, however, some 40 percent of French airpower was on Algerian territory, and another 20 percent based in France supported the effort. The hardware eventually amounted to some 600 airplanes and 600 helicopters from the three services. The air interdiction practices allowed the French to seal off the Algerian border, preventing rebel support from neighboring Morocco and Tunisia. In addition, heavy helicopter use to ferry commandos helped defeat organized rebel forces. However, such efforts failed to remove the psychological impact of war and ongoing terrorism, to the point where negotiations between the two sides led to Algerian independence in 1962.

The Helicopter War

Only six ...

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