The bomber is the ace of air power. The nation that can send the greatest number of first-line bombers over enemy territory, and can drop the heaviest weight of bombs consistently on military and industrial objectives, will win this global war.
Ford's success has startled the country, almost the world, financially, industrially, mechanically. It exhibits in higher degree than most persons would have thought possible the seemingly contradictory requirements of true efficiency, which are: constant increase of quality, great increase of pay to the workers, repeated reductions in cost to the consumer. And with these appears, as at once cause and effect, an absolutely incredible enlargement of output reaching something like one hundred fold in less than ten years, and an enormous profit to the manufacturer.
What is the personality behind these startling results? What are the ideals worked out in them? What are the conditions and methods in the shops where they have been secured in regular every-day operation?
The rapid advance in the industry appertaining to mechanical appliances for locomotion on common roads seems to need a better representation than it has yet had in book form, especially in its relation to the automobile industry in the United States. It is hoped that the numerous inquiries in relation to motors and vehicles that have been received by the author will find a fair and satisfactory reply in the pages of this work.
In this book when written nearly ten years ago the Author sought to review the changes which had taken place in the principal ﬂeets 'of the world during the last half-century. The navy of our own country naturally took the most prominent position in such a work. On approaching the task of revising and bringing the volume up to date, it became evident that, owing to the great advances made by other nations, as well as ourselves, during the interval, such a subject could not be satisfactorily compressed within the limits originally assigned to it. All nations are adding to their maritime strength. A new navy has arisen in the East, while in the West a ﬂeet neglected for many years has now attained to considerable dimensions. To adequately describe all these efforts abroad’ would now require a separate volume.
It has therefore been considered advisable to eliminate the chapters on Foreign Navies in this Edition, and restrict it to a history of the development of our Fleet from 1840 to the present day; a period which includes the vast changes from sail to steam, wood to iron, and smooth bore guns to rifled ordnance, quick- ﬁre guns and torpedoes. We thus get a full account of our Fleet to-day, and the weapons with which it is equipped. By this course, moreover, it becomes possible to give further examples of torpedo attack, and an account of the wars between China and Japan, and the United States and Spain, from which several important lessons as regards modern naval warfare can be derived and are pointed out. I desire to repeat here my obligations to those who rendered valuable assistance when this book was ﬁrst published.
The large Zeppelin Airship supplies the demand for a much faster, more luxurious, more comfortable and more safe long distance transportation. It is not restricted by the geographical limitations of the railway and the steamship. A Zeppelin can go anywhere, in fact the cruising radius of a Zeppelin is only limited by the size of the ship and the amount of fuel it can carry. Zeppelins, only slightly larger than those actually flown during the last few months of the war, are capable of safely and quickly making a non-stop flight from Berlin to Chicago and from New York to Paris in 56 hours, carrying 100 passengers and in addition 12 tons of mail or express matter.
It would be a long list if all the persons who contributed to the publishing of this book were personally recognized. I would particularly like to thank those analysts and desk officers of the Office of Naval Intelligence; Naval Intelligence Command and its ﬁeld activities; and the Defense Intelligence Agency ’s Directorate for Research who assisted me in researching and writing both this, the Fourth Edition, as well as the earlier Third Edition of Understanding Soviet Naval Developments. Additionally, a number of persons in the office of Naval Information; Naval Publications Branch; Department of Defense ‘s Directorate for Freedom of Information and Security Review and the Government Printing Office provided extraordinary contributions to the production and publication of this book.
The development of the aeroplane is traced chronologically, because that is the clearest way to explain how its shape has developed. It is almost like a family tree with the pioneers aeroplanes at the beginning, the pure vehicles built to fly and with no other purpose than to get into the air—in fact that was just about as much as they could do. Then, the tree begins to branch, first into civil and military types, again subdividing into scouts, bombers, seaplanes, and so on. Today, the branches of the tree are manifold and there are aeroplanes weighing five hundred pounds or a hundred tons, capable of carrying one man or two hundred; they may have a speed of under one hundred or over one thousand miles an hour.
This book is merely a sketch of a very large subject. Each chapter might well make a separate book, and any of those books might well be as large as this volume in which we have tried to cover the whole ground. Naturally, our attempt can at best be little more than a summary, but we hope that the summary, within its limits, is accurate and complete.
Many of the pioneer trails and other historic routes that are important in our nation’s past have been designated by Congress as National Historic Trails. While most of the old roads and Route routes still in existance are not open to motorized trafﬁc, people can drive along modern highways that closely parallel the original trails
It is difficult to realize that since the first edition of this book was published, nearly a quarter of a century ago, there has been a virtual revolution in commercial transportation, domestic and international. The internal combustion engine made possible the diversion to highways and airways much of the travel and trade which once belonged to railways, ocean routes, and internal waterways. The airplane, the motor bus, and the motor truck have brought about an amazing — a revolutionary — change in the character of the world's transportation service.