Bomber Command: The Years of Crisis, 1935-9

Weapons and Warfare

Although Germany’s rearmament plans were alarming enough, the Air Staff were confident that the Germans would not be in a position to offer a serious challenge to Britain in terms of first-line air power until at least the end of 1936. This belief, however, was based on the assumption that there would be no dramatic increase in the rate of German aircraft production; if such an increase took place, the Air Staff were well aware that the Germans had the capability to build up a combat force of two thousand aircraft, with reserves, in a relatively short time. Air Chief Marshal Sir Edward Ellington, who had taken over the post of CAS in May 1933, stated this danger in very clear fashion at a Chiefs of Staff Committee meeting on June 1934.

Parliament, however, seemed unable to grasp the sense of urgency. It was absent even in November 1934, when…

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