Download Army of the Sky: Russian Military Aviation before the Great by Gregory Vitarbo PDF

By Gregory Vitarbo

Army of the Sky addresses the advance of army aviation from 1904 to 1914 so one can discover the connection of modernization and Russian Imperial officer tradition. using archival fabric, military stories, the army and renowned press, released tracts, and comparative literature, this publication explores the reaction to aviation in the tsarist army within the realm of hopes and fears, institutional diversifications, initiatives drafted to faucet the ability of the plane, the politics of command, guidelines of recruitment and coaching to construct a cadre of aviators, and the rituals that paid homage to this progressive new weapon. not like a historiography which usually portrays aviation as incompatible with an exceptionally conservative, even backward, army tradition, this research paints a much more complicated and dynamic photo. a number of tsarist officials famous that the plane provided either a significant problem and a true chance: it uncovered the restrictions of Russia’s fiscal, technological, and infrastructural improvement whereas concurrently delivering how to conquer them and a way to claim Russia’s improvement, delight, and position as an exceptional ecu energy regardless of heightening fears of failure. Army of the Sky illustrates extra how disparate responses to this example motivated tsarist officer tradition. even if the idea that of «modernization» remained framed round general binaries, aviation recast and infused with new that means juxtapositions of Russia and the West, imitation and infection, and the imperatives of growth and the legacies of backwardness. Aviation helped to remold triumphing paradigms of hierarchy, authority, deference, and responsibility. This quantity concludes that the tsarist officer group eventually provided special possibilities to domesticate a tradition of army aviation and thereby to grasp the problem of modernization in a uniquely Russian, an Imperial Russian, demeanour. This e-book may be of significant curiosity to historians of either the army and past due Imperial Russia in addition to aviation fans.

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Extra resources for Army of the Sky: Russian Military Aviation before the Great War, 1904-1914

Example text

The institutionalization of serious efforts to address the demands and military potential of aeronautics came with the founding of the Aeronautical Training Park in 1890 by a handful of enthusiasts of the engineering service, among them a junior officer named A. M. Kovan’ko. By the early 1900’s the Russian army possessed several aeronautical units, consisting of various types of balloons. Some of these units, along with officers from the Aeronautical Training Park, took part in the Russo-Japanese War.

Emblematic of such opportunities were the huge and wildly enthusiastic crowds who turned out at the First All-Russian Festival of Aeronautics, held in St. Petersburg in September 1910. Organized by the Imperial All-Russian Aeroclub with the aid of a 25,000 ruble subsidy from the War Ministry, the festival was intended to rival the mass public aviation meets common in Western Europe. As noted earlier, several of the officer-instructors of the newly established Sevastopol Aviation School participated in this event, 38 Army of the Sky together with leading Russian civilian pilots.

Thus, engineering officers were joined by numerous line officers in the various public aviation, aeronautical, and technical 36 Army of the Sky organizations. 37 Perhaps of greater consequence were senior officers outside the aeronautical services who were convinced by their experience, opinion, or ambition of the power and importance of aviation. The best example of this phenomenon was the activity of the Department of the Air Force and its leaders, the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and his assistant General Kaul’bars, commander of the Odessa military district.

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