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x THE DEFENSE AGAINST AIRCRAFT IT was proved in the European war that the only effective defense against aerial attack is to whip the enen1Y's air forces in air battles. In other words, seizing the initiative, forcing the enemy to the defensive in his own territory, attacking his most important ground positions, menacing his airplanes on the ground, in the hangars, on the airdromes and in the factories so that he will be forced to take the air and defend then1. To sit down on one's own territory and \vait for the other fellow to come, is to be whipped before an operation has even commenced. During the Chateau-Thierry operations when our air forces first came up on the line in the last part of June and the first part of July, 1918, the Germans controlled the air conlpletely. They had concentrated the major part of their aviation against the air force assigned to the Sixth French Artny and destroyed it, while their offense on the ground was so rapid that they captured the French airdronles with the planes still in them. We were ordered from our concentration area in the Toul region to reinforce the Sixth French Army that was holding the line of the Marne River. We started there on the 28th day of June, 199 200 Winged Defense 1918, arriving that night with all our planes. We were under French command and they assigned us to what is known as barrier patrol duty along the front. This consists of having a flight of five or six airplanes or maybe a squadron patrol back and forth on a front of about ten miles, which makes both ends of such a patrol sector visible from the other end. The barrier patrol was designed to keep out any hostile aircraft that might come into the area. These patrol areas were joined on each side by other patrols, and in this way the whole front was covered. If only one or two German planes attempted to break through, this system worked, but it was fallacious because the Germans, finding out the strength of the patrols, could concentrate their aviation and outnumber anyone of our patrols three or four to one, jump on it, destroy it and go ahead and do whatever they wanted to. In a few days our losses were terrific. Among the lost were Quentin Roosevelt, Allan Winslow and other valuable men. In the meantime, some of us had flown clear across the German position all the way from La Ferte Sous Jouarre across Fere-en-Tardenois to Soissons , cross cutting the whole German area. I did it alone in a Newport single seater, and later Major Brereton with Captain Hazlett as observer did the same thing. We had definitely located the German center of supply at Fere-en-Tardenois. The woods were full of ammunition, machine guns, cannon, fuel, gasoline and oil, motor transport, pontoons, temporary railroads , and everything that goes to make up an army's equipment. The Defense Against Aircraft 201 We had found a place that would have to be protected in case it was menaced from the air, because a few bombs dropped on the ammunition dumps would blow them up, gasoline and oil would be set on fire, and the losses of material might be so great as to completely stop a forward movement. I therefore asked that bombardment aviation be called for immediately as we had none. The French air division, used as the great mass of maneuver of air operations, was attempting to cover the front of the Fourth French Army which was menaced by a strong German attack. They had been badly depleted and were very tired as they had been fighting constantly since the German attack against the Fifth British Army under General Goff, in March. They could not come to assist us. We therefore ask~d the British to send a brigade of their air force to help us. They despatched it immediately. It consisted of three squadrons of two-seater D.H. 9 bombardment airplanes, and two squadrons of pursuit, one of which was equipped with Sopwith Camels and the other with S. E. 5's. They arrived full of fight and ready to go. On the following morning the British bombardment force was given directions to attack Fere-en-Tardenois at dawn. We concentrated all our pursuit aviation, four squadrons of ours and two of the British and converged on Fere-en-Tardenois...


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