Our vision of aviation in the First World War is dominated by images of gallant fighter pilots duelling with each other high over the Western Front. But it was the threat of the Zeppelin which spurred the British government into creating the Royal Flying Corps, and it was this 'menace', which no aircraft could match in the air at the beginning of the war, which led Winston Churchill and the Royal Navy to set about bombing these airships on the ground. Thus in 1914, the Royal Naval Air Service, with their IKEA-style flatpack aeroplanes, pioneered strategic bombing. Moreover, through its efforts to extend its striking range in order to destroy Zeppelins in their home bases, the Royal Navy developed the first true aircraft carriers. This book is the story of those largely forgotten very early bombing raids. It explains the military and historical background to the first British interest in military and naval aviation, and why it was that the Navy pursued long distance bombing, while the Army concentrated on reconnaissance. Every bomber raid, and every aircraft carrier strike operation since, owes its genesis to those early naval flyers, and there are ghosts from 1914 which haunt us still today.
Brief History of Pandemics (Pandemics Throughout History)
Intermittent outbreaks of infectious diseases have had profound and lasting effects on societies throughout history. Those events have powerfully shaped the economic, political, and social aspects of human civilization, with their effects often lasting for centuries. Epidemic outbreaks have defined some of the basic tenets of modern medicine, pushing the scientific community to develop principles of epidemiology, prevention, immunization, and antimicrobial treatments. This chapter outlines some of the most notable outbreaks that took place in human history and are relevant for a better understanding of the rest of the material. Starting with religious texts, which heavily reference plagues, this chapter establishes the fundamentals for our understanding of the scope, social, medical, and psychological impact that some pandemics effected on civilization, including the Black Death (a plague outbreak from the fourteenth century), the Spanish Flu of 1918, and the more recent outbreaks in the twenty-first century, including SARS, Ebola, and Zika.
Very few phenomena throughout human history have shaped our societies and cultures the way outbreaks of infectious diseases have yet, remarkably little attention has been given to these phenomena in behavioral social science and in branches of medicine that are, at least in part, founded in social studies (e.g., psychiatry).
This lack of attention is intriguing, as one of the greatest catastrophes ever, if not the greatest one in the entire history of humankind, was an outbreak of a pandemic . In a long succession throughout history, pandemic outbreaks have decimated societies, determined outcomes of wars, wiped out entire populations, but also, paradoxically, cleared the way for innovations and advances in sciences (including medicine and public health), economy, and political systems . Pandemic outbreaks, or plagues, as they are often referred to, have been closely examined through the lens of humanities in the realm of history, including the history of medicine . In the era of modern humanities, however, fairly little attention has been given to ways plagues affected the individual and group psychology of afflicted societies. This includes the unexamined ways pandemic outbreaks might have shaped the specialty of psychiatry psychoanalysis was gaining recognition as an established treatment within medical community at the time the last great pandemic was making global rounds a century ago.
There is a single word that can serve as a fitting point of departure for our brief journey through the history of pandemics – that word is the plague. Stemming from Doric Greek word plaga (strike, blow), the word plague is a polyseme, used interchangeably to describe a particular, virulent contagious febrile disease caused by Yersinia pestis, as a general term for any epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality, or more widely, as a metaphor for any sudden outbreak of a disastrous evil or affliction . This term in Greek can refer to any kind of sickness in Latin, the terms are plaga and pestis (Fig. 2.1 ).
Plagues of Egypt depicted in Sarajevo Haggadah, Spain, cca. 1350, on display at National Museum of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo
Perhaps the best-known examples of plagues ever recorded are those referred to in the religious scriptures that serve as foundations to Abrahamic religions, starting with the Old Testament. Book of Exodus, Chapters 7 through 11, mentions a series of ten plagues to strike the Egyptians before the Israelites, held in captivity by the Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, are finally released. Some of those loosely defined plagues are likely occurrences of elements, but at least a few of them are clearly of infectious nature. Lice, diseased livestock, boils, and possible deaths of firstborn likely describe a variety of infectious diseases, zoonoses, and parasitoses . Similar plagues were described and referred to in Islamic tradition in Chapter 7 of the Qur𠆚n (Surat Al-A’raf, v. 133) .
Throughout the Biblical context, pandemic outbreaks are the bookends of human existence, considered both a part of nascent human societies, and a part of the very ending of humanity. In the Apocalypse or The Book of Revelation, Chapter 16, seven bowls of God’s wrath will be poured on the Earth by angels, again some of the bowls containing plagues likely infectious in nature: “So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast” (Revelation 16:2).
Those events, regardless of factual evidence, deeply shaped human history, and continue to be commemorated in religious practices throughout the world. As we will see, the beliefs associated with those fundamental accounts have been rooted in societal responses to pandemics in Western societies and continue to shape public sentiment and perception of current and future outbreaks. Examined through the lens of Abrahamic spiritual context, serious infectious outbreaks can often be interpreted as a 𠇍ivine punishment for sins” (of the entire society or its outcast segments) or, in its eschatological iteration, as events heralding the 𠇎nd of Days” (i.e., the end of the world).
Throughout known, predominantly Western history, there have been recorded processions of pandemics that each shaped our history and our society, inclusive of shaping the very basic principles of modern health sciences. What follows is an outline of major pandemic outbreaks throughout recorded history extending into the twenty-first century.
Risk Management: History, Definition, and Critique
This article was subject to double-blind peer review.
The study of risk management began after World War II. Risk management has long been associated with the use of market insurance to protect individuals and companies from various losses associated with accidents. Other forms of risk management, alternatives to market insurance, surfaced during the 1950s when market insurance was perceived as very costly and incomplete for protection against pure risk. The use of derivatives as risk management instruments arose during the 1970s, and expanded rapidly during the 1980s, as companies intensified their financial risk management. International risk regulation began in the 1980s, and financial firms developed internal risk management models and capital calculation formulas to hedge against unanticipated risks and reduce regulatory capital. Concomitantly, governance of risk management became essential, integrated risk management was introduced, and the chief risk officer positions were created. Nonetheless, these regulations, governance rules, and risk management methods failed to prevent the financial crisis that began in 2007.
THROUGHOUT the war a distinction was made between individual training, on the one hand, and crew and unit training on the other. The former prepared students in their individual specialties, such as pilot, navigator, or gunner the latter taught those individuals to work effectively as a team. After July 1940 individual training of flying personnel was chiefly the function of the three Air Corps training centers, operating under the direction of the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps. In February 1942 this function was delegated to a single Flying Training Command, which, it will be recalled, in 1943 was merged with the Technical Training Command to form the Training Command, with headquarters at Fort Worth, Texas. Combat crew and unit training was conducted from early in 1941 by the four continental air forces training of cargo and ferrying crews was carried on by the Air Transport Command.
As had been the case in the First World War, when ground schools for air cadets had been established at selected colleges throughout the country, it became necessary to provide for prospective pilots, bombardiers, and navigators extensive preflight instruction previous to their assignment to flying schools. During the interval between the two wars this had not been necessary. The small peacetime air establishment permitted the setting of high educational requirements for selection of cadets, and sufficient time was allowed for military indoctrination in the flying schools. The rapid expansion that began in 1939, however, presented special problems of military training
for prospective officer--leaders of combat crews, and the early necessity of lowering educational standards for admission to cadet programs forced attention to means whereby a minimum level of academic preparation could be assured. The preflight school provided a solution to this two-sided problem. 1
In February 1941 the War Department authorized establishment of three Air Corps replacement training centers for classification and preflight instruction of candidates for pilot, bombardier, and navigator training. The official designation of "preflight school" was authorized on 30 April 1942, and the term replacement training center was dropped. By that time preflight schools were in operation at Maxwell Field, Alabama Kelly and Ellington Fields, Texas and Santa Ana Army Air Base, California. The school at Kelly Field was soon afterwards moved to an adjoining site, designated the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center.
There was a difference of opinion as to whether pilot and nonpilot candidates should be assigned to the same preflight school. At first, all trainees were included in the same organization, but soon thereafter separate schools were provided. The general rule of separate, though similar, training was followed until April 1944. By that time the downward trend in the number of students called for consolidation, and the Training Command directed that pilot and bombardier-navigator schools be combined. Students thereafter entered preflight schools with only a general aircrew classification and were not assigned to a specialty until near the end of the preflight course. As the war moved to a climax, the unified school proved more adaptable to the shifting demands for each type of aircrew personnel. In November 1944, when the flow of students had been reduced to a trickle, all training was consolidated in one preflight school at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. 2
Although agreement existed on the need for some kind of pre-flying training, ideas regarding the content of the course were vague when the schools first opened. In announcing the decision to undertake such instruction, OCAC stated that the preflight period would consist of "physical training, military training, supervised athletics and the complete processing of assigned students," as well as "additional instruction and training as may be practicable . . . to further qualify trainees for instruction as pilots, bombardiers, or navigators." 3 Brig. Gen. Walter R. Weaver, commanding the Southeast Air Corps
Training Center, leaned toward military discipline and physical conditioning as the primary aims of preflight, and his view was supported by many officers who viewed the academic program as sub-ordinate. Curricular development, however, followed the direction favored by those who stressed the need for technical knowledge on the part of aircrew members. There was a steady increase in the relative amount of time and recognition given to academic subjects, and this phase of the program became the paramount function of the preflight schools. Military training doubtless suffered from this trend, but the development was a logical response to the increasingly technical nature of air combat. 4
Four weeks was the standard length of training at the replacement training centers until March 1942, when a nine-week course was instituted. Separate curricula were issued at that time for pilot and nonpilot training the distinguishing feature of the latter curriculum was greater emphasis upon mathematics, target identification, photography, and meteorology. Until 1943 each preflight school exercised broad discretion in executing the prescribed program. The lack of uniform instruction proved a handicap in subsequent stages of aircrew training, and to correct this situation a single curriculum for all preflight students was published in April 1943. Final developments of the course were incorporated in a revision of May 1944, when the period of training was extended to ten weeks. 5
Under the various preflight curricula, students spent four to five hours daily in academic training. Many students entering preflight were so deficient in the fundamentals of mathematics and physics that considerable time had to be given to rudimentary drills, with emphasis upon problems related to performance of flying duties. Theory was reduced to a minimum, and matter inapplicable to aviation was progressively screened out of the courses. Since ability to use aeronautical maps and charts was basic to flying operations, an elementary course in that subject was also developed in the preflight schools. The course became increasingly practical as the necessary materials were made available for teaching purposes a large portion of the allotted hours was reserved for student exercises in simulated operational problems which required use of aeronautical charts. 6
The subject of aircraft and naval vessel recognition slowly gained acceptance in recognition of its combat importance. Early teaching of planes and ships was largely ineffectual because too much was
attempted with too little time and equipment, but by 1943 the pre-flight recognition program was fairly satisfactory. The time allotted to the course was extended, and the number of visual aids greatly increased. During 1994 and 1945, with an adequate supply of projectors, slides, and screens, the schools were quite successful in training students to recognize, almost instantly, close-up views of the principal American and British aircraft. The scope of naval vessel recognition was gradually restricted to identification of ships by general type, including merchantmen and landing craft, rather than by nationality or individual class. 7
Pilot trainees, in particular, were unhappy in having to take radio code instruction. It was admittedly a dull subject, requiring concentration and repetition. Student motivation was weakened by the fact that flyers returned from combat generally declared that overseas they had little use for code. Headquarters, AAF, however, repeatedly directed that code be taught, and all preflight students, except those who demonstrated proficiency, had to attend one hour of code daily. By 1944 both sending and receiving of code, by aural and visual means, were taught. The proficiency required was six words per minute. 8
Of the 175 hours of instruction called for in the official academic program of 1944, 110 were allotted to basic military and officer training. One-half of this time was set aside for close order drill, ceremonies, and inspections the remainder went to classroom or squadron instruction in customs and courtesies of the service, chemical warfare defense, small-arms familiarization, and related military subjects. The West Point code of cadet discipline and honor was regarded as the model for the preflight schools. The traditional class system, with its more or less stereotyped forms of hazing, was introduced at first, but this practice came under severe public attack, and in spite of its defense by the responsible military authorities, the class system was abolished by order of the Flying Training Command in May 1943. 9 While there may have been disciplinary advantages in the supervision of each lower class by upperclassmen, the hazing associated with the system interfered with the primary mission of the schools and was ill suited to the temperament of the civilian soldier.
Physical conditioning was one of the major purposes of preflight, and after initial uncertainty regarding the nature of such training, a comprehensive and balanced program was evolved. Experimentation
was the rule during the early period, when calisthenics, in varying amounts, were mixed with competitive sports, cross-country hikes, and obstacle courses. In September 1943 a weekly minimum of six hours of physical training was established for all aviation cadets. The trend toward uniform conditioning culminated in November 1949 when the Training Command published a detailed outline of exercises for each stage of aircrew training. This memorandum provided for a steady progression of physical hardening and a specified division of time among standard drills, team games, and aquatic exercises. 10
The chief problem in developing an effective preflight program was the lack of qualified academic instructors. Because few military personnel were available and they were inadequately prepared as teachers, it was realized that they could not be depended upon exclusively, and in July 1941 authority was granted to hire civilians. Within a year it was recognized that professional training and educational experience were prime requisites of academic instructors, and such men were procured in large numbers. Although these civilians were generally satisfactory, their status as civilians proved troublesome. They were authorized to wear military-type uniforms, but such quasi-military status did not make them feel at home in Army schools. Some of the men, furthermore, were in the process of being drafted by their selective service boards, and others were accepting commissions offered by the Navy. To hold on to these teachers, the AAF in the latter part of 1942 and during 1943 gave direct commissions to civilian instructors at the schools, as well as to several hundred procured directly from colleges, and sent them to the AAF administrative officer training school. Instructors under thirty-five were allowed to enlist and were then assigned to the officer candidate school. Practically all of the men who thus became officers were returned to their preflight teaching positions. In addition, a few instructors who were physically ineligible for commissions remained at the schools as enlisted men, and a small number of civilians were also retained. 11
Although most of the instructors were experienced college or high school teachers, some had almost no knowledge of some of the subjects they were assigned to teach. In order to deal with this problem, practical in-service training, consisting of classroom observations, individual study of textual materials, and conferences with veteran pre-flight teachers, was given at each school. Attention was limited at first to preparing each instructor in the subjects he was required to
teach, but programs to improve teaching techniques and develop familiarization with the entire curriculum were later developed. In the summer of 1943 these local efforts were supplemented by a special course at the central instructors school at Randolph Field. After a considerable number of teachers had attended the six-week program there, the course for ground-school instructors was dropped in January 1944. 12
The typical aviation cadet was an eager learner in preflight school. Ground training in any form was viewed with some misgivings by the average cadet, but he responded willingly to preflight instruction. Pilot and navigator students usually showed the highest morale, because their classification most commonly coincided with their first preference. Many of the bombardier students, up to 1943, were eliminees from pilot training who, required to repeat preflight instruction, naturally resented the delay and repetition of subject matter. In 1943 bombardier morale was greatly improved when it was decided that an eliminee from one type of aircrew training, who had completed preflight, would no longer be required to retake that phase of training. As the war neared its end, the attitude of all students be-came less inspired. Delays in the progress of training, caused by curtailments in the aircrew program, proved especially disheartening. 13
The preflight schools formed an integral part of aircrew training throughout the war. In 1943 an additional phase of pre-flying instruction was introduced: the aircrew college training program, which lasted until July 199.4. The college program, to put it bluntly, came into existence not so much to meet an educational need as to hold a backlog of aircrew candidates. As has been previously noted,* the AAF had found it advisable in 1942 to recruit aviation cadets in excess of its immediate needs and to hold them in an inactive enlisted reserve until needed. By December 1942 approximately 93,000 men were awaiting classification and instruction, and many of them had been in this limbo for six or seven months. Not only did this extended in-active period discourage some of the men, but the pool of idle man-power received increasing notice from selective service boards and the War Manpower Commission. Accordingly, General Arnold proposed to the War Department that these men be called to active duty and given a period of college training designed to make up educational deficiencies.
In January 1943 the Secretary of War, after making certain modifications, ordered Arnold's recommendations into effect. The Services of Supply, then in the process of establishing the Army specialized training program in various colleges, was directed to set up aircrew college training as a separate project. The curriculum was planned to cover a five-month period, and all aircrew candidates were to be assigned from basic training centers to the colleges unless they could pass a special educational test. The relatively few who passed this test were sent directly to preflight schools. 14 Special boards within the Flying Training Command made preliminary selection of colleges for the program, and the contracts for instruction, housing, messing, and medical care were later negotiated by the AAF Materiel Command. Implementation of the project suffered because of the haste in which it was conceived and executed by April 1943 over 60,000 men were in aircrew college training detachments at more than 150 institutions. 15 Since the AAF viewed the college enterprise primarily as a personnel rather than a training activity, it failed to establish a clear definition of its educational purpose. The educational objectives, as stated by the Flying Training Command, varied from a limited "Preparation . . . both mentally and physically, for intensive ground training in the Preflight Schools" to the broader "attempt to diminish individual differences in educational background for subsequent air crew training." 16
Academic subjects, taught by college faculty members, included mathematics, physics, current history, geography, English, and civil air regulations. Military indoctrination, the responsibility of the officers of each detachment, consisted of drill, inspections and ceremonies, guard duty, customs and courtesies, and medical aid. Military training was carried into the academic phase by having the students march to and from classes and by insisting upon proper military courtesies at all times. Although there was a great variance in the degree of emphasis upon discipline at the colleges, this phase of the program was probably more valuable than any other, in that it at least helped adapt students to the standard regimen of Army training. Physical conditioning, required one hour daily, included calisthenics, running, and competitive sports. 17
Perhaps the most controversial phase of the curriculum was the ten hours of flight indoctrination. The AAF did not desire this instruction in the college program it was prescribed by the War Department
and conducted in cooperation with the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Flying schools located near the colleges provided the training under contract. Since the purpose of this flying was only familiarization, operations were restricted to simple maneuvers in light aircraft, under dual control by instructor and student. AAF observers criticized the training as of little value, charging that the students were "merely riding around for 10 hours." A study conducted in 1944 showed that the indoctrination course helped students materially in the regular primary stage of flying training but gave them no appreciable advantage in later stages. Whatever its long-range value, the course was a morale booster for men who had waited months to learn to fly. 18
As early as November 1943 moves were made toward liquidating the college program. By that time sufficient aircrew personnel were in the training pipeline, and the backlog of men on inactive status was relatively small. The Training Command took the view that the college program was not essential and that it was creating an unfavorable public attitude by holding combat-age personnel in colleges while fathers were being drafted into military service. In January 1944 en-trance of aircrew students into college was cut almost in half, and contracts with many institutions were terminated. In March, as a consequence of the general manpower shortage, the AAF was directed to return to the Army Ground Forces and Army Service Forces all personnel recruited from those branches who had not reached the preflight stage of aircrew training. This order resulted in large withdrawals of students from the college detachments and sealed the fate of the program. Shortly thereafter, the Secretary of War approved its final liquidation by July 1944 since procurement of aircrew candidates had been suspended, there appeared to be insufficient personnel in the backlog to sustain the program beyond that time. 19
Although the number of enlisted reservists awaiting training had been greatly diminished by the middle of 1944, the general problem of backlogs, or personnel pools, was by no means ended. During the year requests from combat theaters for aircrew personnel declined sharply entry of students into the flying stages of training was accordingly reduced, and this had created pools in intermediate stages of the training sequence. The Training Command concluded that the best solution to the problem was to distribute personnel from the pools to flying fields for on-the-job instruction. AAF Headquarters
accepted the recommendation and authorized the beginning of on-the-line training, with a dual objective: to provide storage and training of delayed students and to alleviate the growing shortage of regularly assigned personnel at the airfields. On-the-line training was first put into effect in February 1944, and after termination of the college program in July, it became the principal holding device for pre-flying personnel pools. 20
Higher headquarters provided little guidance in the development of an instructional program for on-the-line students. The Training Command advised only that "trainees will be given duty assignments with aircraft maintenance and servicing where they will get more practical training for their future instruction." Responsibility for implementing the program was left almost entirely to individual station commanders, and this fact resulted in considerable variation in the training. Some commanders reasoned that the students would shortly be returned to the normal sequence of aircrew instruction and gave them slight attention others saw the possibility of a longer period of delay and devoted a great deal of consideration to their training, work, and recreation.
Some stations offered a few elementary academic courses, but attendance was voluntary a formal thirty-day mechanic course was established at stations of the Western Flying Training Command. At every field, however, student training consisted chiefly of apprentice experience in aircraft maintenance. Because of the increasing shortage of regularly assigned enlisted personnel, permission was eventually granted to use trainees for administrative and nontechnical duties, as well as on the flight line. Such permission tended to draw students ever closer to enlisted and further from cadet status. As progressive cuts in the aircrew program continued, large numbers of aircrew candidates were transferred to regular enlisted status and classified in their appropriate military occupational specialties. 21
In no other stage of aircrew training was the problem of morale so serious as in on-the-line training. Lack of an explicit program was partially responsible, but delay and uncertainty concerning the students' future were of primary importance. Each step in curtailing the aircrew program was an added blow to morale. Although many of the trainees eventually reached flying schools, large numbers remained in the pools by the end of 1944 some men had been in pre-aircrew status for almost a year. Higher headquarters showed concern over
the attitude of such students and explained each curtailment of air-crew training quotas as the result of unexpected combat success. To young and ambitious men this explanation was hardly satisfying as they moved toward enlisted status, many experienced bitter disappointment and sense of failure. 22
Although the importance of other specialties was increasingly recognized during the war, the pilot remained the principal object of Air Corps training. While each member of the aircrew was essential to performance of assigned missions, the general success and safety of the crew depended mainly upon the pilot, who was the aircraft commander. Although the AAF made a substantially successful effort to give all flying personnel due recognition, it properly put flying training in top priority.
Development of a military pilot required a succession of training stages, for it was not feasible to train a man to fly a powerful combat or service airplane without preparation in simpler and less specialized aircraft. During the 1920's and 1930's pilots had received a total of twelve months' instruction, divided into three stages. After 1931 the primary and basic stages were given in an eight-month combined course at Randolph Field, Texas a four-month advanced course, providing specialization in bombardment, pursuit, observation, or attack aviation, was taught at Kelly Field, Texas. This peacetime system of training was successful in producing a small number of graduates who were both skillful pilots and highly qualified junior officers. 23
In July 1939 the total instructional time was reduced from twelve to nine months. In the following May, with the war pressure mounting across the Atlantic, the period was cut to seven months. Although the introduction of preflight training in the following year compensated somewhat for the loss of time allotted to flying schools, the seven-month period, which allowed only ten weeks each for primary, basic, and advanced flying, was considered insufficient by existing standards. But national danger required unprecedented steps, and shortly after Pearl Harbor the time for each stage was forced down to nine weeks. In March 1944 each stage was lengthened to ten weeks, and after V-J Day to fifteen weeks. The post-hostilities schedule raised the time for individual pilot training to a level approximately that of the 1930's. 24
The three stages--primary, basic, and advanced--were common to the training of all Air Corps pilots, and upon graduation from advanced, students received their wings and bars. This step, however, did not signify the end of their training the new pilots were given additional periods of specialized instruction suited to their military assignments. Such instruction included in all cases a period of transition flying.
The term "transition" was applied generally to a pilot's learning to operate an unfamiliar plane thus all students underwent several brief transition phases as they progressed through the normal stages of pilot training. In primary they learned to fly a small aircraft of low horsepower in basic they transitioned to a heavier plane with more complex controls in advanced they learned to fly a still more powerful machine which approximated the characteristics of combat aircraft. Transition to combat planes, which generally did not occur until after a pilot had earned his wings, was a larger undertaking than previous transitions to training planes. It involved not only learning to fly a complex, high-performance aircraft, but also the acquisition of flying techniques, preliminary to operational unit training. In order to make adequate provision for this step, a special stage, called transition, was evolved in the major pilot programs.
When the Air Corps' expansion began in 1939, transition to combat aircraft was a function of the GHQ Air Force and units in overseas departments the four continental air forces took over this job and carried it on until 1942. By that time the program had become too large for the air forces alone to direct in addition to their operational unit training. Consequently, transition of pilots to heavy and medium bombardment aircraft was assigned to the Flying Training Command, the agency primarily responsible for individual flying instruction. Light bombardment and fighter transition, however, remained a function of the continental air forces' operational units. 25
The time allotted to pilot transition to combat planes varied throughout the war, but by May 1944 it was stabilized at ten weeks for bombardment transition. Fighter pilots received five weeks of transition on obsolescent combat types before being assigned to operational units, where they were given transition on current fighter types prior to tactical training. Transition to the specific aircraft to be flown in combat was the last stage of a pilot's individual training. Upon completion of this stage, he was ready to start training as a
member of an aircrew and a combat unit. Crew and unit indoctrination normally required about twelve weeks, after which the aerial teams were sent to staging areas to prepare for movement overseas. Even though the time for primary-basic-advanced training of pilots was reduced during the war to seven months or less, a pilot was not ready for combat until a year or more after he started flying instruction. 26
Until July 1939 primary training, as well as other phases of pilot training, had been conducted exclusively at Air Corps stations by military instructors. Thereafter, as described above,* the Air Corps depended increasingly upon civilian schools working under contract to provide primary instruction to air cadets by May 1943 there were fifty-six contract primary schools in operation. At each school the AAF maintained a small military contingent whose services were gradually expanded, but the military element in the activity of these schools was subordinated to the task of learning to fly. 27 The termination of contracts began with the curtailment of pilot training in
1944, and by the end of the war the responsibility for primary training had been returned to regular AAF establishments. 28
The instruction given at the contract schools was an adaptation of the primary phase formerly taught at Randolph Field. Although the number of weeks allotted to primary training was sharply reduced, the number of flying hours remained almost constant after the original requirement of sixty-five hours had been trimmed to sixty in March 1942. In that year an unsuccessful attempt was made to add instrument, night, and navigation instruction to the curriculum, but otherwise the program remained virtually the same during the war. As given at the height of the effort, primary flying training was divided into four standard phases. In the pre-solo phase students became familiar with the general operation of a light aircraft and achieved proficiency in forced landing techniques and in recovering from stalls and spins. In the second, or intermediate phase, pre-solo work was reviewed, and precision of control was developed by flying standard courses or patterns, known as elementary 8's, lazy 8's, pylon 8's, and chandelles. The third, or accuracy, phase demanded high proficiency in various types of landing approaches and landings the fourth, or acrobatic, phase required ability to perform loops, Immelmann turns, slow rolls, half-rolls, and snap rolls. The ratio of dual to solo hours was flexible within the limitation that a minimum of 40 per cent and a maximum of 50 per cent of the total time was to be dual. Each student in primary was required to make at least 175 landings. 29
It was the mission of the basic schools to make military pilots out of primary graduates hence, these schools were completely controlled and operated by the military. Although basic flying was conducted by a few private contractors, on a trial basis, from 1941 to 1943 and the experiment met with some success, AAF officials questioned the ability of civilians to teach military flying techniques, and by the end of 1943 curtailment of the pilot program removed any necessity for using private agencies in basic training. The student at basic learned to operate a plane of greater weight, power, and complexity than the plane which he had mastered in primary. In addition, the student was introduced to new aspects of airmanship, learning to fly by instruments, at night, in formation, and cross-country. The military instructors emphasized precision and smoothness of airplane operation, and a large portion of flying time was devoted to repetition of maneuvers to develop proficiency. 30
After 1939 the basic stage was accomplished in from 70 to 75 hours of flying, as compared with the loo hours required before that time. It was divided into a transition phase, involving familiarization with the plane and fundamental operations, and a diversified phase, which included accuracy maneuvers and acrobatics, and formation, instrument, navigation, and night flying. Reduction in training time was at first effected by eliminating navigation and formation flights and decreasing slightly the hours allotted to other portions of the diversified phase. In 1940 formation and day navigation flights were restored to the curriculum, and Link trainer instruction was added. Soon after Pearl Harbor, in response to observed combat requirements, increasing emphasis was placed upon the diversified phase, but the change was unsatisfactory, because it allowed too little time for fundamental transition exercises. The root of the difficulty lay in the fact that the nine weeks given to basic from 1942 to 1944 were not enough to permit satisfactory development of proficiency in both phases of training. Since it was impracticable to accomplish the full objective, there was a serious controversy over which phase should receive principal emphasis. During 1943 the curriculum was modified to favor transition at the expense of diversified training and, as might have been expected, graduates showed greater proficiency in the so-called flying fundamentals but were weak in formation and instrument flying. Criticisms of this weakness from combat units brought a change in basic curricular requirements in May 1944, at which time the length of training was extended to ten weeks. Although the hours allotted to flying were held constant, there was a shift of hours within the diversified phase, instrument time being increased at the expense of acrobatics. 31
Instrument training was doubtless the most important part of the basic curriculum. Experience in combat underlined the necessity of flying at night and under all weather conditions, and such missions required operation of aircraft by instruments. The nature and extent of the instrument indoctrination given to pilots at basic schools were insufficient until late in 1943, partly because of the traditional peace-time attitude of training officers who subordinated instrument work to conventional visual maneuvers. Another reason for this deficiency was the acute shortage of instructional time and equipment more-over, the system of instrument flying used by the AAF before June 1943 was not the most efficient. The AAF system relied almost exclusively
upon the three rate instruments: the needle, or rate-of-turn indicator the ball, or bank indicator and the airspeed indicator. Gyroscopic instruments were practically ignored. During 1942 the Navy developed an improved method of instrument flying, the full-panel system, which relied chiefly upon the directional gyroscope and the artificial horizon. AAF instructors who observed the new method found it to be more accurate than the traditional one hence, the full-panel system was introduced at basic and advanced pilot schools in June 1943. Assistance in establishing the new system was given by officers from the central instructors school (instrument pilot), which had been activated in March 1943 as a means of strengthening the AAF instrument program. During the succeeding year a substantial improvement in the instrument proficiency of basic graduates was achieved this resulted from standardized employment of the more efficient system, proper training of instructors, procurement of adequate equipment, and allocation of more flying hours to instrument work. 32
The traditional basic curriculum had always been confined to training on single-engine aircraft differentiation of students for single-engine or two-engine instruction did not normally occur until advanced training. But during 1943 and 1944 an attempt was made, in the interest of improving the proficiency of multiengine pilots, to begin two-engine training for them in basic. Although the majority of students continued to receive the standard single-engine curriculum, small numbers were entered into one of two experimental curricula. The first of these was a combination course after transitioning on the single-engine basic trainer, the student received familiarization instruction on a two-engine plane. The second course was conducted exclusively with two-engine aircraft. Although the experimental curricula showed some promise, they were abandoned in 1945 The combination course allowed too little time for the student to gain more than familiarization with either type of plane the second course proved impracticable because of the shortage of appropriate two-engine aircraft. The experiment indicated, however, that if adequate numbers of satisfactory trainers were planned for and provided, differentiation of instruction at the basic stage would prove more efficient than the conventional curriculum. 33
Although twin-engine training did not become a permanent part of the basic curriculum, one of the responsibilities of the basic schools
was the selection of students for single- or two-engine advanced training. Assignment was based upon a combination of factors--current requirements for fighter and multiengine pilots, the student's aptitude, his physical measurements, and preference. After the middle of 1944, however, student choice was generally disregarded. Preferences for fighter training exceeded the demand, and there were not enough men with the requisite physical qualifications who desired bombardment. Some schools found it necessary to assign all men with the required physique to advanced two-engine schools.
The differentiation of single-engine from two-engine training in the advanced stage was not effected until the spring of 1942 although planning for the change dated back to October 1940. 34 As it had evolved by 1944, the single-engine curriculum consisted of seventy hours of flying instruction, compared with seventy-five hours in 1939. It included five phases--transition, instrument, navigation, formation, and acrobatics Link trainer time was also required. Instrument operation was a continuation of the methods learned in basic the transition, navigation, and formation phases all required night flights. In response to the lessons of war, increasing emphasis was placed on formation flying, especially at high altitudes and using the close, three-plane V-formation. Acrobatics included all conventional combat maneuvers within the performance limits of the advanced trainer. 35 Although some of the graduates of the advanced single-engine school eventually were assigned as noncombat pilots or were sent to bombardment operational training units for service as co-pilots, the principal mission of the school was to prepare students for subsequent flying in fighter aircraft. To achieve this end, the advanced schools stressed the handling of maneuverable, speedy training planes and the development of instantaneous control reactions in students.
But besides expert flying ability, the fighter pilot needed skill in fixed aerial gunnery. Hence, during the course of advanced training the more promising students, those who were to become combat fighter pilots, were assigned to a fighter-transition and gunnery stage. This preparation for operational unit training consisted of some twenty hours of fixed gunnery practice in the standard advanced training plane and about ten hours of transition in an obsolescent combat type (P-40 or P-39). Development of proper techniques and equipment for fixed gunnery training came slowly, although gradual improvement was noted after 1942 when better teaching methods and use of
Photos: World War II Fixed Blade Knives
Because of the shortage of brass and aluminum during World War II, Western used plastic for the guards and pommels of its “Baby Shark” models.
Saturday, May 19, 2018, is Armed Forces Day. It’s a day to “participate in exercises expressive of our recognition of the skill, gallantry, and uncompromising devotion to duty characteristic of the Armed Forces in the carrying out of their missions,” as President Harry Truman put it in 1950.
BLADE is doing its part by taking a look back at the knives that accompanied those in uniform during World War II. When BLADE writes about lives depending on knives, it’s not only referring to the user. If a soldier depends on a knife, then citizens also depend on that knife.
Editor’s note: The following is by Richard D. White.
Pal (bottom) and Robeson made these Mark 1’s with wood pommels. Wood was used because of a shortage of aluminum during World War II. Both knives feature handmade sheaths, probably made on ships by servicemen. (All images by Richard D. White)
Featuring a 5-to-5.25-inch flat-ground blade, the Mark 1 utility knife was adopted by the Navy as a survival-type knife with sheath. Every sailor who worked “topside” was issued a fixed blade for cutting ropes/line.
The Mark I probably the World War II military knife encountered most in the marketplace. There are a significant number of different varieties—some historians say as many as 42. Camillus, Colonial, Geneva Forge, Pal, Robeson, KA-BAR, Boker and Kinfolks made them.
Blade finishes included polished, blued and Parkerized. Pommels were the traditional bird’s-beak design or flat of steel, plastic or wood. Handles generally were stacked leather—some with fiber spacers, some without. Mark 1’s by Colonial had injected plastic handles.
Two excellent Mark 2’s stamped “KA-BAR” are synonymous with World War II U.S. military combat knives. Union Cutlery Co. made approximately 1 million USMC-stamped KA-BAR knives for distribution in the South Pacific.
The Mark 2 was made available to combat soldiers in 1943. It was 12 inches long with a 7-inch blade. The handle was stacked leather, generally grooved. It was held in place with a steel washer pinned to the tang. Examples are plentiful and often were photographed hanging from the belts of soldiers who fought in the South Pacific Islands.
The backs of the KA-BAR Mark 2 tangs show the very deep, distinctive “USMC” stamping—a stated preference of the author’s—on the polished (left) and coated blades.
KA-BAR, Robeson, Pal, Utica, Ontario and Camillus were the major manufacturers of the Mark 2. Variations included different spacer colors, marks/stamps, pommel thicknesses and materials, piening vs. welding of the pommels, blue vs. polished blades, and smooth vs. grooved handles.
The M3—this one by Camillus—is one of the most desirable World War II combat knives because of its double-edge blade. Though over 2.5 million supposedly were produced during World War II, prices remain quite high for them. Boker, Kinfolks, Robeson, Utica, Imperial, Case, Aerial and Pal also made M3s.
The M3 was designed to meet a shortage of combat knives, especially in early 1942. According to Frank Trzaska, a military knife historian, the decision to design the M3 rather than continuing to produce the Mark 2 was based on a U.S. steel shortage.
The M3 was selected because it was easier to manufacture and had a thinner blade, which was 6.75 inches and sharpened the full length, excluding the stamped tang area. The top edge was sharpened about a third of the blade length. The guard was thick steel angled on top to form a thumb rest.
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The handle was stacked leather with a series of cut grooves. Originally there were supposed to be eight grooves, but some companies generally used to six to seven. The grooves provided better purchase. The pommel was flat steel and pinned to the tang.
The M3 had many variations, including added spacers at the guard and pommel end, or piening the tang over to hold the pommel in place as opposed to pinning the pommel onto the tang.
Because of the shortage of brass and aluminum during World War II, Western used plastic for the guards and pommels of its “Baby Shark” models.
Any review of World War II military fixed blades must include several examples of Western knives. While some are very rare, such as the L-76, L-77, “Bushman” and USMC parachutist knives, several examples are more ubiquitous.
One is the “Shark.” Western made two: one with a 6-inch blade, the G46-6, and one with a 5-inch blade, the G46-5. Both had huge blood grooves, stacked leather handles, and several different guards and pommels. Both came with flat steel, aluminum or mottled-brown-plastic pommels.
Guards were double steel, the very rare brass or plastic like the pommels. Many times the guards and pommels were mixed and matched. The smaller Sharks were issued to Navy and Army Air Corps pilots as a bailout knife. Blade finishes were blued and polished.
Of these two Western 46-8 combat knives, the more traditional World War II vintage is the bottom one, with flat steel pommel and blued blade. The top model is perhaps post-World War II because it features a brass guard. Because of the demand for brass for artillery shells and ammunition, few World War II military knives feature the material for guards.
Another Western World War II fixed blade was the 46-8, a huge, impressive combat knife with an 8-inch blade. It was officially known as the G46. The blade had a massive blood groove and upswept false edge on the spine. The knife featured stacked leather handles, double-sided steel guards, and flat steel pommels. Most had blued blades, though some were polished.
The Cattaraugus 225Q was favored by GIs because of its massive, thick blade and the three-part steel pommel. The sheath is in mint condition and was bought with the knife from a 95-year-old veteran of World War II. Most 225Q’s have a rough groove cut into the stacked leather handle for enhanced purchase.
The Cattaraugus 225-Q had one of the strongest blades of any World War II combat knife. Many observers say it was for quartermasters, with the “Q” standing for quartermaster. As the thinking goes, the rather stout blade was designed to open various wooden crates—an important part of the quartermaster’s job—and the triple steel pommel was used to nail the crates closed.
Still others say the knife was designed for and used by U.S. special operatives during World War II. As with any military knife, be careful not to fall victim to the opinions of so-called experts, especially when they attribute particular knives to units like the Devils’ Brigade, Commandos, OSS, Underwater Demolition Team, etc.
Some military knives—not just the 225Q—were stamped very lightly, while others were deeply stamped.
By William H. McNeill | Rock-bottom Price:
William Appleman Williams was one of the greatest opponents of US imperialism. The Modern Library chose The Contours of American History as one of the best 100 nonfiction books of the Twentieth Century. More »
William McNeill's Plagues and Peoples theorises about the impact disease has had on human history. He examines the influence plagues may have had on various events, such as the development of Chinese civilisation, the renaissance and the downfall of the Roman Empire. More »
The Family Relationships that Couldn’t Stop World War I
In the latest Brookings Essay, “The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War,” noted historian Margaret MacMillan compares current global tensions—rising nationalism, globalization’s economic pressures, sectarian strife, and the United States’ fading role as the world’s pre-eminent superpower—to the period preceding the Great War. In illuminating the years before 1914, MacMillan shows the many parallels between then and now, telling an urgent story for our time.
One aspect of the war upon which she remarks is the close connection among the three principal monarchs of the age, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany King George V of England and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. In fact, they were all cousins with each other: Wilhelm and George were first cousins, George and Nicholas were also first cousins, and Wilhelm and Nicholas were third cousins.*
WWI family relationships
(family tree image by Marcia Underwood see essay for image credits)
Wilhelm’s mother was the sister of George’s father George’s mother and Nicholas’ mother were sisters from the Danish royal family. All three men were also fifth cousins, being equal descendants of King George II of England.
Volume two of Mein Kampf, subtitled “Die Nationalsozialistische Bewegung,” or “The National Socialist Movement,” consisted of 15 chapters and was published in December 1926. This volume was intended to cover how the Nazi Party was founded however, it was more of a rambling discourse of Hitler’s political ideology.
In this second volume, Hitler laid out his goals for future German success. Crucial to the success of Germany, Hitler believed, was gaining more “living space”. He wrote that this gain should be made by first spreading the German empire to the East, into the land of the inferior Slavic peoples who should be enslaved and their natural resources confiscated for the better, more racially pure, German people.
Hitler also discussed the methods he would employ to gain the support of the German populace, including a massive propaganda campaign and the rebuilding of the German military.
Stumbling Into World War I, Like 'Sleepwalkers'
One hundred years ago, European statesmen — emperors, prime ministers, diplomats, generals — were in the process of stumbling, or as Christopher Clark would say, "sleepwalking," into a gigantic war. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is Clark's history of Europe in the years leading up to World War I — a war that claimed 20 million lives, injured even more than that and destroyed three of the empires that fought it. Clark joins NPR's Robert Siegel to talk about the book.
On whether European diplomacy between 1900 and 1914 resembles diplomacy today
"I wish I could tell you it would be impossible today. I mean, I must say I was struck by the opposite insight, namely that it seems to me that our world is getting more like 1914, not less like it. You know, we're just starting to come to terms with the fact that we're no longer in a world that is disciplined by the standoff between two nuclear hyperpowers. And what we're drifting back into now is a polycentric world with many potential sources of conflict. So in some ways, our world is drifting back towards 1914, even if the ocean of time between us and the First World War gets larger and larger."
On war and masculinity
"A colleague asked me . 'Are there any women in your book?' And I suddenly was rather appalled to notice that this was a story involving men only. But I hadn't really thought about what that meant. You know, I don't want to beat up on men in that sort of self-hating way that some men get into, but I do think that there was something special about the kind of masculinity of these male statesmen at this particular moment, the period up to 1914. I think masculinity was particularly brittle and uncompromising. And I think that was a perilous development."
On the assumption that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was doomed to fail
"This is something that struck me very much — the degree to which statesmen, politicians, diplomats and other functionaries . trapped themselves within narratives of their own making. And one of these was this idea that Austria was a doomed, anachronistic construct, a morbid edifice which is about to collapse. These are narratives spun by the enemies of Austria clearly this is not something you'd hear so much in Berlin or in Vienna itself.
Christopher Clark is professor of modern European history and a fellow of St. Catharine's College at the University of Cambridge in England. Thomas Meyer/Harper hide caption
Christopher Clark is professor of modern European history and a fellow of St. Catharine's College at the University of Cambridge in England.
"And on the other hand, the young Balkan nations were . young, virile, full of future. And of course, part and parcel of those narratives was an acceptance of the vitality and the positive value of nationalism as a force that was going to carry the future before it, with ethnically homogeneous populations. And of course, Austria-Hungary was anything but that. It was not ethnically homogeneous it had 11 official nationalities and a few more unofficial ones."
On Italy's 1911 seizure of Libya from the Ottoman Empire
"I was writing about the Italian assault on Libya in 2011, exactly 100 years after this war had taken place. And suddenly the newspapers were full of headlines saying 'Airstrikes on Libya,' you know, Bengazi, Homs, Tripoli and so on. And these were exactly the place names that were coming up in my reading at the time. It is an odd fact that just over 100 years ago, the Italians attacked Libya it was an unprovoked attack. Libya at that time wasn't called Libya, it was actually three different provinces, but it was an integral part of the Ottoman Empire. And it's the Italian attack on Libya that started this helter-skelter of opportunist assaults on the Ottoman patrimony that produces the two Balkan Wars and that make the First World War possible."
Over 165 Years of Excellence.
A Partnership is Forged
Horace Smith & D. B. Wesson form a partnership to manufacture a firearm that can fire a fully self-contained cartridge.
The Volcanic Pistol
The first American firearm capable of firing a fully self-contained cartridge was manufactured by Smith & Wesson in 1852. This repeating pistol fired as quickly as the shooter could operate the lever and it was dubbed “The Volcanic,” since the rapid-fire sequence appeared to have the force of an erupting volcano.
Model 1 Revolver
Originally called the Seven Shooter, the Model 1 was introduced in 1857. This .22 rim fire revolver was the first practical cartridge revolver and its introduction heralded the end of percussion firearms.
Model 3 American Revolver
Introduced in the summer of 1870, the Model 3 American was the first large caliber, centerfire, cartridge revolver manufactured in the United States.
.38 Double Action Revolver
By 1880, the demand for self-cocking revolvers was so great that Smith & Wesson introduced a complete series in three different caliber sizes.
● .38 Safety Hammerless Revolver
In the early 1880s, D.B. Wesson and his son, Joseph, began developing a revolver that didn’t have an external hammer. The Safety Hammerless, which debuted in 1887, was the world’s first double action concealed hammer revolver.
.38 Military & Police Revolver
In 1899, Smith & Wesson introduced what would become its most successful revolver, the .38 Military & Police. Everything about this firearm was innovative, from its solid frame and its hand ejector system to the cartridges it fired. The .38 Military & Police, now known as the Model 10 revolver, has been in continuous production since 1899, and over six million units have been produced.
.35 Automatic Pistol
After years of development and testing, Smith & Wesson produced its first automatic pistol on May 3, 1913. The .35 Automatic featured two safety devices and was available in blue or nickel for $16.50. The odd caliber and production stoppages due to the more important war time production of World War I, kept sales of the .35 Automatic relatively low. A total of 8,350 units were manufactured until 1922.
.357 Magnum® Revolver
Initially conceived of as a custom-built, heavy load, deluxe handgun in 1934, the .357 Magnum revolver quickly caught the interest of law enforcement agencies. Handgun cartridges of the day could not penetrate bulletproof glass and armor-plated vehicles, but the .357 Magnum cartridge could. Many of these revolvers were purchased by numerous law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Victory Model M&P® Revolver
During World War II, the British Commonwealth approached Smith & Wesson for revolvers. The guns, which were basically an updated version of the .38 Military & Police revolver, were eventually given a V prefix on their serial number and called Victory Models. By the war’s end, Smith & Wesson had made over 800,000 revolvers for Allied troops.
Model 36, Chiefs Special® Revolver
This small revolver, designed primarily for plainclothes and off-duty police officers, made its public debut at a police conference in 1950. At the conference, the Smith & Wesson sales force asked the police chiefs to vote on a name for the new revolver. The most commonly suggested name was .38 Chiefs Special.
Model 39 Pistol
In 1955, the first American-made double action auto-loading pistol, the Model 39, was introduced. In 1968, the Illinois State Police adopted it and the Model 39 became the first 9mm Double Action auto-loading pistol ever used by any state law enforcement agency in the United States.
Model 29, .44 Magnum® Revolver
At the urging of handgunner Elmer Keith, Smith & Wesson developed the .44 Magnum. Completed in 1955, the .44 Magnum revolver was originally available in two barrel lengths, 4 inches and 6 ½ inches. The model sold well and in a few years a third barrel length of 8 3/8 inches was added. Demand for the firearm decreased in the 1960s but skyrocketed in the 1970s after the release of the film, Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood. In 2005, Field & Stream rated the Model 29 revolver as the 5th best gun ever made, the only handgun to make their top ten.
Model 41 Pistol
Prior to World War II, most competitive shooters shot revolvers. After the war the trend to use autoloaders became more popular. Smith & Wesson began the development of a high-grade .22 caliber rim fire target pistol in the late 1940s. The pistols were heavily tested, adjusted and modified for almost ten years. Finally, in 1957, the Model 41 pistol was made available to the public.
Model 52 Pistol
In 1960, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Training Unit asked Smith & Wesson to build a pistol similar to the Model 39 pistol that could fire the newly developed .38 AMU cartridge. The Model 52 pistol was the most accurate target pistol of its day and featured an innovative ball-bushing barrel.
Model 60, Stainless Steel Chiefs Special® Revolver
The Model 60 revolver was the first stainless steel handgun manufactured by Smith & Wesson. Originally available in a highly polished finish, the finish was changed to a satin polish after law enforcement agencies objected to the bright finish.
Model 439 Pistol
Smith & Wesson debuts the first of the Second Generation pistols, updated and stainless steel versions of the semi-automatic pistol line. The Model 439 pistol is an updated version of the Model 39 pistol featuring an alloy frame. It is a Second Generation semi-automatic pistol, denoted by the three digit model number. First generation models have a two-digit model number, Second generation models have three digits, and Third generation models have four-digits.
Third Generation Semi-Automatics
With 42 models in 121 variations, Smith & Wesson’s Third Generation Semi-Automatics were the broadest handgun line in the world.
Model 4006 Pistol
The Model 4006 is a 3rd Generation pistol first introduced in January 1990 alongside the new .40 S&W cartridge. The .40 S&W cartridge was developed jointly with Winchester in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who had requested a 10mm cartridge loaded to less-than-full-power. The result was the shorter .40 S&W that allowed for a more comfortable grip when used in a double-stack magazine. Early detractors doubted the viability of the cartridge, but today it is one of the most successful law enforcement cartridges.
An entirely new frame size was developed to fire the new .500 S&W Magnum cartridge. The Model S&W500 revolver is the biggest, heaviest, most-powerful factory production, double action revolver in the world.
Smith & Wesson debuts the M&P Pistol Series, a new line of polymer-frame pistols. Championed by law enforcement officials, the new line is adopted by over 100 departments in its first year.
The M&P15 rifle, a modern sporting rifle, was introduced. It is first in the highly successful M&P® Rifle Series.
M&P®15 -22 Rifle
Introduced in 2009, the M&P15-22 rifle offers the fit and feel of the popular M&P15 rifle, while chambered in the more economical .22LR ammunition. In 2010, ground-breaking rifle received the “Rifle of the Year” award from the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.
M&P Shield® Pistols
This slim, concealable, lightweight, striker fired pistol is released. Within three years, one million of these pistols were manufactured.
SW22 Victory® Pistol
The SW22 Victory, a modular design, metal-framed pistol with fiber optic front and rear sights. This highly customizable and incredibly accurate blow back .22 pistol will keep you on target round after round, and provide years of unmatched performance.
M&P® M2.0™ Pistol
Building on the proven reliability and success of the M&P pistol series, M&P M2.0 pistol is the culmination of a decade of research and design. Designed for professional, personal and sporting use, the M&P M2.0 pistol features upgrades to nearly every aspect including trigger, grip, frame, and finish.