Thursday, October 10, 2013

1915 officially completed... currently on Verdun & The Somme

It has been a while but I have finally completed my 1915 chapter.  The past two weeks have been spent on additional research for the current chapter (6) on Verdun/The Somme .  The overwhelming majority of sources for this chapter are primary source/unpublished material from the special collections department Ferko/Williams collections at UT-Dallas.. which means extra time for translation.  I am currently still in the process of writing rough draft/outlines to get the best flow to the text I can get but I should have it completed in the next week or two with the next chapter solely dealing with the "GRAND REORGANIZATION OF 1916".. which was the creation of the Jasta's.. renaming of the FFA and AFA.. creation of protection squadrons.. all units separately under the command of a commanding General (von Hoeppner)  A sample of text from Verdun section will be included soon. Any requests for more lengthy samples will be gladly given.. simply message me

Speaking of Verdun I would like to simply state that I am a HUUUGE FAN of JOHN MOSIER and ALL of his WW1 books.  "The Myth Of the Great War" was really the first book to get me interested in the grand strategic history of the war and the "ground war".. I had previously only been interested in the air war, but his book helped open my eyes to the fact that the air war was not fought just for the sake of fighting it.. instead it was a tool to the overall strategic plans on both sides to win the war. That is why I am writing the book I am now.. there simply is no book on the air war that covers the air war in direct relation to what is going on on the ground... most books cover a person, a unit, an aircraft and is written "in a vacuum" with no reference to how aviation affected the overall progress of the war.  JOHN MOSIER has recently released (Oct 1 2013) a book on Verdun that is simply the best book on Verdun I have read.  It is certainly worth a read and I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in the true history of the great war and not the Franco-British propaganda history of the war. 

Thanks for reading.

Arlington Texas

Monday, August 19, 2013

New week .. new chapter

Hope everyone's weekend went well.....  I spent the majority of my time finishing work on Chapter 4... which covers the period known as "RACE TO THE SEA"; the battle of 1st Ypres; & the Winter of 1914/1915 including the reorganization of the flying troops into a semi-autonomous unit commanded by THOMSEN. 

The horrible weather and late arrival of most of the aircraft and FFAs to Flanders severely handicapped the German Army's attack at Ypres throughout October and November.  If the Army had the services of all the FFAs that were present in mid November were present at the start of the battle perhaps the movement of Franco-British troops and placement of new batteries could have been reported and attacks altered accordingly.

The most important issue in the chapter is the reorganization and the subsequent changes made by Thomsen and his top aide Major Siegert.  It was during this reorganization that the first artillery flying units were created as well as the first bombing unit code named Carrier Pigeon Ostend.  Aviation Staff officers were placed at the army HQ to ensure the FFAs were being employed to their full capabilities.  A logistical system was created to ensure the process of sending newly built aircraft to the front as quickly as possible.  Orders for more modern and specialized aircraft for artillery or bombing work was placed and the new "C Types" were subsequently at the front by spring 1915.  The reorganization saved the air force from near extinction in December of 1914 and had all the flying troops working with better aircraft and carrying out missions that were better utilized by the new staff officers at the various army HQ.  Simply put the reorganization had the airforces prepared for the Franco-british offensives starting in late spring of 1915. 

The chapter covering all of this was finished over the weeekend and I am now working on CHAPTER 5: "1915" ....  The chapter will simply cover all air operations carried out throughout the year. Including the allied offensives at Neuve Chapelle which was prepared by photos made by airmen of the Royal Flying Corps.  The first German fighters and the subsequent "Fokker Scourge" are covered in detail.  The new artillery fliers system of communication with friendly batteries and the implementation of German reconaissance aircraft using cameras to prepare for attacks are also detailed throughout the chapter.  The new aircraft types and deployment/organization of the FFAs are shown with great detail.

The book is coming along great.. any questions or if anyone would like to see a chapter please message me and Id be happy to email a manuscript to a chapter that is already completed (except for the numerous photos and captions which will be added). 

hope everyone has a great week.


-Matt Bowden-

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2nd... Chapter 3 progress

Happy Friday to all... It is AUGUST 2nd....

99 years ago today, German troops seized the crucial railway hubs in Luxembourg in preparation for the Marne Campaign.  Once seized, the "period of concentration" began.  The mobilization timetable was being followed perfectly to the letter regarding the movement of troops, guns, animals, and supplies across Germany’s rail lines to the area of concentration. As Evelyn Princess BlΓΌcher stated “Germans take to war as a duck takes to water”.[i]  The deployment of all the forces were done according to Moltke’s “Revised Deployment Plan”.[ii]  In 312 hours 11,000 trains transported 119,754 officers, 2.1 million men, and 600,000 horses to the various marshaling areas in preparation for the “Attack March” orders.  1.6 million men were transported to the Western Front at a rate of 560 trains, each carrying 54 cars per day between August 2-8.[iii]  As this was happening, all German aviation units were likewise receiving their deployment orders and were traveling to their respective staging areas on Germany’s western border.  Most FFAs spent the period of concentration giving last minute training to pilots, observers and the mechanics.  The aircraft were made ready for the coming campaign.  Engines, flight surfaces and controls were all checked and made ready.  Pilots and observers oriented themselves with both the area in which they would be operating and the officers in which they would be reporting to.  Several FFAs, primarily belonging to IV V and VI Armies, flew over enemy lines and monitored troop movement and rail traffic.


Regarding the book, I am completing Chapter 3 "Battle of Frontiers August 1914".  The Chapter covers German aviation activity at Liege, Alsace, the Battles of Morhange and Sarrebourg in Lorraine, the various battles of German IV and V Armies in the Ardennes, II and III Armies at Namur/Charleroi/Dinant, Kluck's I army at Mons and Le Cateau and finally the French counter attack at Guise/St.Quentin.

Chapter 4 will cover the Allied "Great Retreat" & the Battle of the Marne. 
Chapter 5 will cover the "Race to the Sea" and the rest of 1914


The Book is going to be the first of its kind... a operational history of all Central Powers air services throughout the entire war split into fronts. ie Part 1:Western Front 1914-1918 2: Eastern Front 1914-1917 3: Italian Front 1915-1918 4:Balkans 1914-1918 5:Ottoman Turk Front 1915-1918

 After the operational histories there will be short 2-5 page histories on aircraft, aviation personalities (commanding officers/aces/pilots/observers), squadrons full of color profiles of the aircraft of the squadrons,aces,etc as well as photos and detailed information on victory claims, aerodromes, etc.

Using previously unpublished information and photos from the "history of aviation" special collections department at UT-Dallas the book will contain unique information and images never before used, making the book a must have for any world war one aviation enthusiast.

 My Chapter 1: "Birth and Development of Aviation in the Central Powers"
       Chapter 2: "Training and Mobilization of Central Powers Air Services"

 are both completed... if anyone would like a look contact me and I'd be happy to share.

-Matt Bowden- 

[i] Holger Herwig "The Marne 1914" Random House (2011) p.49.
[ii] Herwig p.50
[iii] Herwig p.48

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back up & Running

Apologies to all but I have been buried in my research for the book and my work (got to make a living) To be honest I had switched emails and completely lost track of emails and passwords connected to this blogger account.  But at the 11th hour I was able to rescue the account and have updated the email and password information so I can post regular updates on the book like I intended when I created the blog over a year ago.

Book news: Chapter 1 "Founding And Development Of Military Aviation In The Central Powers Prior To The War" is essentially complete. If I were to put a number on it I'd say 90-95%.  There is several sources I am waiting in the mail to complete the Bulgarian and Ottoman Turk subsections but other than that Chapter 1 is complete.  I will post a sample from it later in the week after I scan and upload several organizational tables that will be included in the text. 

I am feverishly working on Chapter 3 "Air Operations During Battle Of Frontiers and The Marne Campaign August-September 1914".  The best work on the subject I have seen is a 1939 book by Elard von Loewenstern entitled "Mobilization And Deployment Of Flying Troops In August 1914" The book has never been translated to English and I am currently in the process of negotiating a professional to translate it for me.  In the mean time, I am using 12 unique sources from within the Ferko Collection inside the UT-Dallas Special Collections Department air archives & the 1942 book "The Air Weapon 1914-1916" by John Cuneo.  The book is part 2 of a series called "Winged Mars" and is devoted primarily to the operational & tactical history of the German Air Forces.  The fact that part 2 ends in the winter of 1916 and there is no part 3 to cover 1917 and 1918 raises alot of questions.. I know very little abut Cuneo and do not know if he was called to service in WW2 or was otherwise killed before completing part 3 covering 1917-1918. Whatever the reason, it is a shame because the book on 1914-16 is very well done. The only book of it's kind in the English language  giving a grand operational scale account of air operations instead of the usual "unit or personal histories". While useful, these histories must be put together to gain any sense of what is going on at the operational level. 

Cuneo's book, published in 1942, covers the grand tactical/operational level history of the Luftstreitkrafte 1914-1916. There has never been an operational level history of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman Turk and Bulgarian Air Forces for the entire war; 1914-1918. This is the reason why I firmly believe my work is so important and I devote all free time and energies to this endeavor.

A sample of Chapter 1 with the organization charts and several photos that will be used with the corresponding text will be posted at the end of the week.
I have ordered the newly published book "Above Ypres: The German Air Force in Flanders 1914-1918" By Bernard Deneckere and will review it on here as soon as I get it. 
 I am currently re-reading Sewell Tyng's "Campaign Of The Marne"; the book is the best Campaign level study of any campaign of any war I have ever read.. if you have not read the book you must.. Im not exactly sure of the details but I believe it was voted top 50 non-fiction books of all time and is very deserving.  
I just finished both of Terence Zuber's August 1914 books.. "Mons Myth" & "Battle of Frontiers".. the books described the various battles from the German point of view giving incredible detail of the various engagements. (division,brigade,regiment,battalion,company & even platoon level descriptions are throughout the books) Using regimental histories among other reliable sources, the book destroys false conclusions of the battle and for the first time tells the truth of why the German troops were superior to the French & British. Better training and tactics are the key reasons. The failure for German defeat in the Marne Campaign is not at the Division Corps or even Army Command levels... instead defeat can only be blamed on Supreme Command. Unlike Joffre, who hired the Paris Grand Prix winner as his personal driver and was constantly visiting Army, Corps and even Division HQs.. getting up to the date information and altering strategy accordingly.  Moltke on the other-hand stood idle in Luxembourg while the western armies were heavily engaged.  On several occasions Moltke didn't even communicate with army commanders while the armys were enageged and the fate of the empire was in the balance.  It is Moltke's lack of a guiding hand that resulted in the various Army commanders.. not having the overall picture were making decisions based on what was going on in their sector and they did the best they could.  If the army leaders like Bulow and Kluck were informed of the overall picture they would have certainly acted differently than they did.  It can easily be argued if they had the overall strategic information.. the right wing armys could have ended the war in September.  

Again the Chapter 1 sample will be up later in the week. 

-Matt Bowden-
Arlington Tx CSA

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Update will be a PFALZ D.III an example from PART 4 of the book (aircraft)

One of the 100+ Aircraft profiles of the book will be uploaded in full on this blog once the art director has completed the layout of the pages.. It will be the famous and mass produced PFALZ D III and Pfalz D IIIA

The aircraft was produced and delivered in large quantities in summer of 1917 and over 1,000 were eventually built. The fighter was slow by 1918 standards yet it was so successful and durable there were still over 150 in front line service on NOVEMBER 11 1918!

The UNQUESTIONED best diver and therefore balloon buster of the war, the Pfalz was a very serviceable and productive fighter for Germany.  Several examples were also given to the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, and Austria-Hungary.

As with all aircraft profiles in GREAT WAR'S FINEST the soon to be uploaded profile of the Pfalz will have:
-Complete statistics, measurements & production numbers
-The text will be in 2 parts:
      -Design and production history
      -Operational History
-Between 5-10 photos
-Lists of famous aces and number of kills achieved within the aircraft
-Table showing each Jasta and how many Pfalz D III delivered
-Factory Statistics
-Two facing pages with 8 different color side views of the aircraft from various Jastas showing different paint schemes (Beneath each drawing there will be: Jasta #, Jasta's airfield, date in operation, pilot {if known})

please stay tuned for the upload which should be up within 48 hours


-Matt Bowden-