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What about war in the air? That is a question that has been only partially answered thus far in the war of 1939. Expert opinion declares the tactics of the World War are finished. Modern aerial warfare tactics depend on strict adherence to formation. Our back cover shows a British attack on Berlin.

GONE are the romantic days of the World War when knights of the air sped forth to do individual combat and rise to the fame of acedom. There will be no aces in the 1939 war. Teamwork will spell success or defeat, the individual being but a cog in the machine. It will be a cold, merciless business, stripped of any chivalry of men-at-arms. It will be as methodical and impersonal as the filing system in your office.

Heavy bombers will strike smashing, paralyzing blows at munitions factories and aircraft works. Lightning-fast interceptor fighters will rise like swarms of vengeful hornets to combat the menace from the skies. Tightly-knit squadrons will flash through the air as one indivisible unit, concentrating their fires power for a terrifying, devastating instant on their objective. That will be modern aerial warfare.

Let us take a hypothetical case and get a foretaste of what to expect when the motors and guns fill the heavens with their symphony of death. Our hypothetical engagement is illustrated on the back cover. At 20,000 feet a squadron of Bristol Blenheim bombers rocket toward Berlin at more than 250 m.p.h. The pilot and the bomb-aimer-navigator occupy the nose of the ship. A wireless-operator-gunner is tense in the hydraulically-operated gun-turret just behind the wing. Nestled in the belly of the ship is the deadly bomb load. One forward-firing gun is operated by the pilot. The gunner operates another machine-gun in the gun-turret.

Cryptic orders crack in the pilot's earphones as the Squadron Commander directs the attack. Each plane is but a part of the whole, and the entire squadron operates as one unit. Specks in the sky ahead are swiftly materializing into vicious Messerschmitt Bf. 109 interceptor-fighters, hurtling to destroy the bombers.

The Blenheims continue their flight-course as though undisturbed. As brig as they hold their formation they are almost impregnable. The guns of each plane cover and protect their companions. There are no "blind spots" in this formation. The Messerschmitts must depend upon weight of numbers and heavy concentration of fire power to smash through the hail of spitting death that will flash from the Blenheims' guns.

As one unit a squadron of the interceptors strikes in an enfilading attack from above. Each flight of planes pours a concentrated fire into one of the bombers. The Blenheims smash back with the full fury of their guns, and continue their flight towards Berlin.

THE pilots and gunners are steel-nerved automatons, holding rigidly in formation, riding their driving ships into the blazing inferno of chattering guns. When a plane is hit mortally and staggers out of formation, the others close up to fill his vacant place. Under no circumstances must a plane detach itself from the formation to go to the aid of another. To do so would spell disaster for it also. In these days of parachutes, the crews will take to the silk and become prisoners of war, if they survive. Let the ships crash. There are more where they came from, and more pilots to fill the breach. Crushing, mass attack is the thing—a half-hundred yammering guns blasting a plane from the air and then turning their attention to the next victim.

Such is a picture of a bombing raid in the 1939 war. Will the Blenheims reach their objective? It is a moot question as yet unproved, but it is certain that some will win through. The Messerschmitts will suffer terrific losses. Who will win? It is estimated that pilot and plane replacements in the 1939 war will run as high as 90 per cent a month, so draw your own conclusions.

The old-time dog fight, as such, will occur only when air forces are striving to sweep the enemy pursuit from the sky so that bombing and observation may attain their objectives. Even then, individual pitted against individual will be a rarity. Squadrons of pursuit ships will maneuver as one plane. Positions of advantage will be sought, and then the entire squadron will strike the opposing squadron like a mailed fist. If the squadron shatters, then, and only then, is there a chance of battle-mad pilots seeking individual opponents. Otherwise the squadron will claw for altitude and try another blow. The full effect of concentrated fire cannot be visualized without a shudder. Titans of the air smashing at one another with blows that will strew the earth beneath with smouldering wreckage. Can human flesh, blood, and nerves withstand such robot-like mass destruction? Only time will tell.