“The battlefield in the air will be the decisive one.”
Douhet (1920 to 2007)
An Italian army general and the ‘father’ of strategic air power.
Trained as an artillery officer, from 1912 to 1915 Douhet served as commander of the Aeronautical Battalion, Italy’s first aviation unit (also the first to practice aerial bombardment, in Libya during Italy’s war with Turkey, 1911–12). Largely because of his efforts, the three-engine Caproni bomber was ready for use by the time Italy entered World War I.
He soon grasped the potential of air power and at every opportunity expounded his theories. His severe criticism of the conduct of the war resulted in his court-martial, imprisonment, and retirement. But investigation of the Italian defeat at Caporetto in 1917 justified his criticisms; his conviction was reversed, and he was appointed head of the aviation service.