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6 THE SATURDAY EVENING POST December 2, 7939 In the heart of Washington, D. C., an antiaircraft gun roars. Note the dome of the Capitol in the distance. INTERNATIONAL Caught. During maneuvers, this camouflaged antiaircraft battery was ruled silenced after planes had spotted it. 1,71 P, Heavily camouflaged, a three inch antiaircraft gun goes into action against "enemy" planes, during maneuvers. WIDE I. Twelve fingers of light in search of a plane. This search• light battery is defending our life line, the Panama Canal. INTERNAL Major General W. N. Haskell, head of the New York National Guard, recently furnished a check on this by a statement that New York City needed 200 guns for effective antiaircraft defense. Let us take this figure as a basis; count seventy-five guns more for the industries on the New Jersey bank of the Hudson, another 200 for the Philadelphia area, 200 more for Pittsburgh, something like 250 for Chicago and its area, 175 for Detroit, 100 for Youngstown, 150 for Boston, and already we have 1350 antiaircraft guns, with an establishment of men equal to our entire present regular Army, to give this type of protection to only a few of the most vital centers. Nor will anything less than long-service regular troops do for the job. Of all the branches of military science, none requires such a high level of natural aptitude and acquired skill as antiaircraft work, particularly on the part of the men handling the "jeep." Obviously, we cannot hope to provide our cities and industrial areas with fixed ground defenses on the European scale. The only thing we can do is base ground defense on the operations of well-trained units, rendered extremely mobile by their equipment with the light but fast-moving 3-inch gun. The Atlantic Hop FORTUNATELY, we are technically and geographically able to do this. People say, " The Clippers fly the Atlantic. Why can't bombers? " They overlook the specialization of airplane types which has turned the commercial plane and the bomber into breeds as different as a greyhound and a great Dane, both of which began their careers as just dogs. The bomber is the greyhound. Designers build them to fly at the greatest possible height and speed, taking what they can get in the way of such characteristics as range and carrying capacity. The big commercial plane must carry a heavy load for a long distance; speed, climb, maneuverability, come out of what is left over when the essentials have been achieved. Comparing the recent German Dornier or Heinkel bombers with the transatlantic Clippers, we find the military machines nearly 100 miles an hour faster, but with nearly 1000 miles shorter range. It would be physically possible to fit bomb racks to a Clipper and load her with death instead of passengers. But her utmost full-throttle speed of 200 miles an hour would render her virtually a stationary object to the attacks of fighters traveling at 350 miles an hour. Her climbing ability, perfectly adequate for commercial craft, is insufficient even to carry her above the range of 37-millimeter guns, the small change of antiaircraft defense. That is, she would inevitably be shot down if there were anything at all to dispute her; she would be about as useful in military operations as a truck in a tank battle on the ground. There is not in the air service of any foreign power today a bombing plane that can cover more than 1500 miles under military conditions. Stories about 1600 and even 2000-mile bombers have come from Europe, but they always turn out to be like the figures on the German Messerschmidt pursuit plane, which did more than 370 miles an hour on tests, but only flies at about 333 under service conditions. Half the bomber's range must be spent in getting home after a raid, unless the party doing the bombing is willing to swap a half-million-dollar airplane and a highly trained crew for the amount of damage the machine could do on a single flight. This is a poor investment; bombing airplanes do not carry enough explosives to do half a million dollars' worth of damage, except by the most extraordinary good luck. That is, the limit radius of existing bombers is 750 miles. Their effective, or operating, radius is a good deal less. The bombing pilot must keep a considerable reserve of fuel for bursts at full power to dodge attackers, for fighting head winds, to cover errors in navigation and changes of objective. Aviators figure the effective radius of the best modern bombers at about 600 miles. Now let us take a map of North America and draw a series of circles with a 600-mile radius, each centered on a big industrial district or a military or naval base, observing what and how much foreign territory each of these circles contains. The circle from the San Diego naval base takes in most of the Mexican state of Sonora and Lower California, just missing the excellent harbor at Magdalena Bay. The Seattle circle covers the coast of . British Columbia, right up to the Alaska line. A network of circles from the industrial northeastern cities covers all the settled regions of Southern and Eastern Canada, with the outermost circle—that from Boston—just missing Newfoundland. The circle around the Alabama iron centers barely catches the tip of the Bahamas; that from Norfolk just misses Bermuda. These, then, are the regions from which bombers could operate against the only targets in the United States where industry, power stations and arsenals are concentrated enough to make the venture pay— in the case of one center each, Western Mexico, the British Columbia coast and the Bahamas; in the case of many, the Southern Canada region; and in the case of all, the large sections of open sea that lie within the circles. The problem of protecting ourselves from bombardment is the problem of preventing an enemy from establishing airplane bases, afloat or ashore, in these regions. But before entering upon the strategic questions thus raised, it is necessary to dispose of an important issue. Does not the technical development of aircraft promise to shrink down the oceans at no very distant date? Will not the danger circles expand to take in Northern South America, the Azores, or Europe itself? The organizations in charge of our defense cannot afford to neglect the possibility altogether, of course, but the chances are minute. All the major inventions in aviation appear to have been made. In fact, there have been only two since the World War that have had any wide effect on the range of military aircraft— the cantilever wing and the variable-pitch propeller. The rest of the gradual increase in ranges during the last twenty years has been due to improvements that amount to refinements of detail, adding a few miles at a time to the bomber's stride through increased general operating efficiency. In this class belong the N. A. C. A. and " zenonia " wing forms, slots and flaps, the balanced rudder and navigational aids. Bomber Ranges THERE are doubtless other refinements ahead, as there have been in the automobile, since it stabilized as a mechanical type in the 1920's. But the likelihood is that they will come in little jerks of progress, each followed by a new period of stabilization, and that none of these jerks will cover a great deal of ground. Moreover, it must be remembered that the bombing airplane is a military machine; that it must, first of all, specialize in qualities that will keep it away from ground


Can_They_Bomb_Us
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