Norwegian air power 1900-1923: The debate on doctrine and organisation

Maao, Ole Jorgen (2003) Norwegian air power 1900-1923: The debate on doctrine and organisation. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

From around 1904-1905 a few officers argued in favour of the development of air power, and put the issue on the agenda in Norway. Before the First World War air power was mainly seen as a means for observation and reconnaissance. The officers were inspired by developments in France and Germany. The arguments of these officers met with little opposition from the military and political establishment, but none was particularly eager to foster the progress of this new technology. Although the importance of air power was stressed in Parliament on several occasions, this did not lead to the allocation of much funding or any decision on the question of organisation. During the First World War, a shift occurred in Norwegian air power doctrine. The Air Arms were very small, but their very existence made it possible to expand the activity when this was necessary. Necessity arrived with the fear of aerial attacks from Germany in the late autumn of 1916. Aerial defence became a priority within both Air Arms. Eventually the Norwegians succeeded in acquiring aircraft from Great Britain, which also led to British influence upon the Air Arms. During the war, the Defence Department tried to arrange joint leadership over the two existing Air Arms, but without success. When the war was over, a Defence Commission was set up to evaluate the lessons of the war. With respect to air power, the Commission delivered its report in 1923, and advised the creation of an independent Air Force that should return to pre-war priorities. Observation and reconnaissance were again to be the most important tasks, although aerial defence was not forgotten. Throughout the period, officers led the debate on air power. At no time was the political establishment in the forefront. The development of air power was not politicised in Norway. In politics, air power was almost solely an organisational question. The question was problematic, as it threatened the two existing services. For 14 years the authorities tried unsuccessfully to get Parliament to sanction a solution. Declarations from Members of Parliament concerning the importance of air power did not lead to sanctions from Parliament. The main reason was that theoretical and practical importance of air power was disproportionate. Thus, when the theoretical importance of air power technology and doctrine approached the realities of organisation, next to nothing happened.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Hew Strachan
Keywords: Military history, Scandinavian studies
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-71211
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 10:49
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71211

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