The Wars of the Future: A Look from 1921
War of airplanes and giant submarines. Defenseless under their onslaught trade routes and cities. After the end of the First World, the world had a premonition that the next war would be a more horrendous slaughter, and predicted how it would look, tried to stop it. Did not help. But about the dominance of aviation and the fleet 90 years ago, they guessed exactly.
The world, and with it the war, at the beginning of the twentieth century was changing with terrifying speed, which amazes us even today, in an age of more advanced scientific and technical progress. The Anglo-Boer and the Russo-Japanese wars were, perhaps, the last, which took place without motorized connections. Already 10-15 years later, tanks and airplanes appeared on the battlefield, and the trenches were flooded with mustard gas. The First World War defined the type of war for the next 20-30 years, but even then the developed world understood that scientific and technological progress would not stop at these innovations.
Immediately after the end of the PRC, military experts began to make predictions on what the next encounters would look like.It seemed to them that aviation and submarines would become dominant after only 10–20 years. And the infantry will be a thing of the past. Mechanisms will fight each other. They were mistaken for 30-40 years.
This world, as accurately described in the 1920s, we can see today. Trade blockade, carpet bombing, the fifth column in the defeated country and "information support". The forecasters of 90 years ago correctly guessed that the winner in the war would now be a country developed from a scientific and technical point of view, and not one that could put up "100 million bayonets." Exaggerating somewhat, but today, for example, the 60-millionth England can bring the 1.5-billion-strong China to its knees in six months - simply arranging the blockade of the Molucca Strait and the waters around the Philippines with the help of pirates (read the footnote on this topic at the bottom of the text). Perhaps in such a war, where there will be a winner and a defeated one, not a single soldier will be killed.
In 1922, Pavel Abramovich Sadyker, managing director of the joint-stock company "On the Eve", made a compilation of the forecasts of military analysts of foreign countries (made by them in 1921) - what the future war will look like. The text was printed in the magazine “Change of Milestones”. We give this forecast with small cuts.The illustrations are from American, English and German editions of the time.
Regarding the accuracy of forecasts of those years - an illustration from the American magazine from 1919, which "gadgets" will become everyday very soon
“War to war”, “destruction of militarism”, “last war” and other slogans that the masses of all countries hypnotized, slogans in which these masses sincerely believed - where are they? Have they found at least a partial embodiment in the treaties that have concluded this greatest war of mankind? Is there the slightest certainty that the world massacre will not happen again? - No one has such confidence.
The new world war is now almost considered inevitable and the whole question seems to be only in time: how much time is left to prepare? That is why the study of new ways of waging war, based on the experience of the past war, is conducted everywhere with unremitting and unprecedented energy, but in parallel with conversations and conferences about disarmament.
And so, if war in the future is considered probable, if it is not methods of avoiding war that are being worked out, but only the rules for regulating it, then naturally a number of questions arise:
- Will the impending war inevitably look like the past, and will there be no radical changes in the fundamentals of tactics, land and sea? What role should artillery take? What - infantry attacks? And on the sea - who will be the headship? For the one who has the largest and most powerfully booked ships (Capital Ships), or for those who own more submarines and airplanes? What will be the role of chemistry in the coming war? the role of mechanics?
“After all, during the past war, all the usual methods of warfare had to be changed, due to the use of tanks, airplanes, smoke screens, asphyxiated gases, fire emitters. The future probably promises even more decisive changes.
- Almost all authorities agree that submarines and airplanes will be the main weapon in a future war.
- We will not dwell here on the role of submarines. The experience of the "merciless" German submarine war is still memorable.
Illustration of 1926 - about the role of robots in a future war
The Germans had already used armored submarine cruisers in 2,200 tons of displacement, with a length of more than 100 meters, with immersion for only 30 seconds.These submarine cruisers repeatedly crossed the entire Atlantic Ocean, despite the entire complex guard service of the Allied fleet. Their disadvantage was too weak armor.
Recall the German “commercial” submarine Deutshland, which brought aniline paint from Germany to America during the war, plunging Nickel in America, safely reached Bremen, although the English fleet was aware of the exact moment it left the American port.
Now the opening of the German prof. Flamma makes a whole revolution in the field of submarine construction. Prof. Flamm has discovered a special method of stabilizing submarines, thanks to which it is possible to build submarines of unprecedented sizes before this time and — most importantly — to cover them with completely powerful armor. Until now, there is one such model boat in 1443 tons, equipped with two armored towers, armed with 105-mm guns.
Prof. Flamm fully developed the plan of an underwater ship of 4,870 tons, armed with 210-mm guns and possessing a speed of 25 knots. Recently, on a report at the Charlottenburg Polytechnic, prof.Flamm reported that, with the assistance of the Krupp and Siemens-Schukkert factories, they developed plans for large underwater armored cruisers of 8400 and 9900 tons, with a speed of 28 knots and armed with 240-mm guns placed in armor towers with armor of 60 and 70 mm thick
The anxiety of the great maritime powers, possessing a huge surface fleet and considering themselves, therefore, by tradition, the masters of the seas, becomes understandable. This fleet has provided them so far the possibility of using the most terrible weapon - the blockade, which beats the civilian population of the whole country. U-boats will undoubtedly be able, if not to nullify the effect of this blockade, then, in any case, they will considerably weaken the disasters caused by it. They, in addition, will give the opportunity to apply this blockade to the territory of the lords of the sea. They are a defense weapon as much as an attack weapon. They, therefore, are the weapons of the weaker offshore powers, forced to defend their vital interests against any hegemony.
By the way, in the USSR, after the Second World War, it was a bet on submarines, while the surface fleet was several times inferior to the American
The second powerful weapon designed to effect a coup in both the naval war and the land war was aircraft.
“What is the point,” asks Mr. XXX in “Revue des deux Mondes” (December 15, 1921), “to have a fleet of mastodons if they are forced to remain in their bases, and flying machines can also drop two-ton bombs on them, containing many times more explosive than the largest so far known torpedoes? "
What is the point, we ask, to spend many millions on the construction of a dreadnought, even if at sea it cannot feel safe from airplanes that can put it to the bottom with one successful hit?
A whole series of interesting experiments in support of the above view was made recently in America by General Mitchell, the head of military aviation, a tireless champion of the development of aviation, as the main weapon of the coming wars.
"Armadillos," says the gene. Mitchell, is just as helpless against airplanes as a middle-century warrior in armor against modern weapons. I undertake to sink with the help of airplanes all the ships that I will be provided for this purpose. ”
And the ships were given to him for his experiences.The former Germans: the U-117 submarine, the light cruiser “Frankfurt” and the dreadnought “Ostfriedland” were intended to be sacrificed to finally determine whether an airplane could sink a warship? In addition, to determine the effect of the speed of a ship on the accuracy of hitting it, gene. Mitchel was given an obsolete battleship of the American fleet "Iowa", which was remotely controlled from another ship using a wireless telegraph.
The experiments began with the bombing of a U-117 submarine: after the second volley of 6 bombs, the submarine went down. One 100 kilogram bomb was enough to drown it. Of course, during a war the conditions for hitting are much more difficult, but this experience, in any case, proved that hitting from an airplane can be quite accurate.
Even more indicative is the bombardment of the battleship Iowa. The bombs used for the experiments were filled with sand and could cause only minor external damage, yet giving an idea of the accuracy of the hit.
On the appointed day, the naval detachment surrounding the ship was located in the open sea 100 miles from the coast, at a point unknown to the air squadron; and an hour after the moment defined as the beginning of the experiments, airplanes appeared over Iowa.
The experience was observed from the cruiser “Henderson” (on which were foreign military agents), moving 3 km from the “Iowa”.
Despite changes in the Iowa direction, its changing speed (from 1 to 6 knots) resulted in the following: 76 bombs dropped, 2 hits into the ship directly, 15 hits at a distance less than 20 meters from the ship and all others - at a distance less 100 meters from the ship.
If we take into account that the bombs that hit the zone in 20 meters around the ship are incomparably more dangerous for him than the ones that hit him directly, then it must be admitted that the results of the bombardment are brilliant.
Experiments with the bombing of "Frankfurt'a" and "Ostfriedland'a" fully confirmed the calculations of the gene. Mitchell The cruiser “Frankfurt” was sunk by one bomb of 300 kg, which exploded outside it, 10 meters from the waterline. Prior to that, “Frankfurt” resisted 11 hits directly into it, which did not cause much damage to either deck armor or guns.
There remained the most difficult task - to drown the Ostfriedland dreadnought.
It is a battleship of 23 thousand tons, with onboard armor 11 inches thick and a deck arm 3 inches. At one time, he brilliantly withstood the explosion of a mine in a sea battle at Jutland.The first phase of the experiment with bombs of 300 kg ended in failure: 42 bombs were dropped, 13 hit the ship, but did not cause significant damage to it.
The second phase lasted 25 minutes. The explosion of two bombs of 800 kilograms (containing 350 kg of trinitrotoluene each), which fell several meters from the starboard side of the dreadnought, several plates of its armor were torn off, and 15 minutes later Ostfriedland sank.
The effect is complete: a small airplane drowns a huge sea monster at 23 thousand tons, built in 1913, which, according to its designers, was supposed to withstand any mines, shells and torpedoes (and resisted in a normal sea battle)!
The American naval minister concludes from this that armor must be strengthened ... One of the foreign military agents who was present at the experiments and distressed for the tradition found “that such experiments should not be allowed” (!). The winning test gene. Mitchel found it necessary to note: "This is still nothing, I still had only small bombs, but now I already have bombs of 2,150 kg, but this is only another beginning."
Gene. Mitchel predicts the impending war, as a special air war, with the help of huge masses of aviation; he considers a group of 100 airplanes a tactical unit.
“A war without communication lines: the air army rises, concentrates, attacks, returns to its base, regardless of land communications. It possesses extraordinary activity, mobility, thanks to which it can make terrible blows here and there extremely quickly. ”
Its supply (food), which in the past war was committed with the help of automobile columns, will now be carried out by air; for this purpose will serve huge airships like Zeppelin, lifting up to 30 tons of cargo, with a flight area of up to 15 thousand kilometers. They will be transported gasoline, oil, spare parts, supplies.
Gene. In the event of a war with Japan, Mitchell predicts that a huge American air fleet, fed by airships (1 airship per 1000 airplanes), will fly over the Bering Strait and start sowing death and destruction on Japanese territory.
And vice versa. “Imagine,” he says, “that the enemy air force is flying over New York and dropping some of the bombs I’ve already carried out (2 tons bombs) to the city center. Do you think the war will last long when all the Wall Street banks are blown up? ”
Airplanes can now fly deep into the enemy country, carrying with them an unprecedented amount of explosives in a single projectile; they can now do the work of tanks, not paying attention to obstacles (soil irregularities, wolf pit, underground mines). With the merciless, inhuman use of aviation, where is the limit to the damage it causes? After all, airplanes can, by dumping tanks with asphyxiating gases, poison whole areas, destroying everything that lives there.
How important is the advancement of infantry by 10 kilometers, if any city in the rear can be filled with suffocating gases on any day of war, if it can be ignited on any night by an enemy who, having done his vile deed, will calmly return to himself.
That the air army has already become a reality, shows the following message from London on January 2, p. city:
“The British War Department has ordered 150 airplanes for the movement of troops intended to maintain order in Mesopotamia. Each airplane will be able to carry 10 soldiers, fully equipped, and will be equipped with two machine guns.In the future, it is intended to withdraw the English expeditionary force from Mesopotamia and the order will be maintained exclusively by the air army. ”
So, the most crucial word in the next world war will be beyond the underwater and air fleets. This word will be so terrible that this war has to be thought of as a catastrophe from which mankind cannot recover. And yet they are preparing for it, it serves as an argument in establishing new international relations! And when they are looking for a way to prevent or mitigate its excessive destructiveness, then, as usual, they do not find anything better, like insincere agreements on "human-loving" bullets or not too large bombs ... Yes, and can one ever successfully solve the problem in to the very essence of its contradictory one: prepare to damage the enemy as much as possible, but in such a way as not to cause him “unnecessary suffering”?
Flying submarine - the worst weapon of the future
In addition, a military victory over the enemy, as the experience of 1918 showed, does not mean a real victory over him and does not give the winner any benefits or peace of mind. So why fight then? Obviouslysubsequent wars will continue to owe their beginnings solely to the inability of states to truly reconcile their mutual interests and fairly and expediently distribute the benefits of life among themselves.
And from this the conclusion is the same: it is necessary to build the foundations of international life in a different way, by which they have been built so far. Is it not the task that, in the final analysis, the Great Russian Revolution undertakes if viewed from the standpoint of world politics? Having rejected the legitimacy of wars for annexation and indemnity, successfully overcoming the principle of “national self-determination”, proclaiming the principle of unification, it opens the way for the final overcoming of wars ...
From the attacks of the aviation of the city it was proposed to place underground, in any case, the most important infrastructural objects - power stations, telegraph, railway stations, etc.
Undoubtedly, the overcoming of war through the eradication of militaristic psychology will not happen immediately, because this eradication will not happen immediately. That is why even Russia itself will have to attend to the creation, for the purposes of defense, of submarines and air fleets.But it is even more certain that its main force will forever remain its radically renewed world view, depriving it of the need to attack, but also protecting it, thanks to the sympathy of the working people of the whole world, from predatory attacks from the outside. ”