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The Most Dangerous Enemy 4: Air Defence

April 10, 2011

Bungay describes in detail the organisation of the RAF control and command infrastructure. The description starts with the background of the strategic thinking in those days. He starts with the influence of the theories of Giulio Douhet, which stated that defence against bombers would be futile, and goes on to show how the RAF went about circumventing the points Douhet raised.

The description of the ‘Dowding system’ is exhaustive, and shows to the lay reader just how ‘the bomber will always get through’ was addressed by the structure of the RDF stations, filter rooms, Fighter command HQ, group HQs and sector stations.

Bungay also points out how flexible and robust this system was, which (looking ahead) was proven in actual battle.

No unnecessary psychological speculation, and Bungay’s experience in large organisations pays off in this chapter, as his insights into the organisational strengths of the Dowding system comes from someone with hands-on experience in leading a large organisation.

Again, excellent stuff.

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