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Thread: Who said "Aeroplanes are of no practical use"?

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    Default Who said "Aeroplanes are of no practical use"?

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that someone (I think a French General) once stated, ca immediately pre-WWI, that he considered that aeroplanes were a gimmick and of no practical use.

    I might have the wording incorrect, but that was the general gist of the statement.

    Try as I might, though, I cannot find a reliable reference.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction, please, and/or provide the correct quote, the name of the person who said it, and when?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Re: Who said "Aeroplanes are of no practical use"?

    Steve,

    From Richard P. Hallion's, Taking Flight.

    (p.310)
    In August 1910 French General Ferdinand Foch attended the Circuit de l'Est ten-day aerial tour sponsored by the French newspaper Le Matin, watched the sputtering airplanes and remarked dismissively, "L'aviation pour l'armee, c'est zero". (fn.44*).

    * (p.484)
    Patrick Facon, "L'armee francaise et l'aviation (1891-1914)," Revue historique des armees, n. 164 (Sept. 1986): 7. Some sources suggest he said instead, "That's good sport, but for the army the plane is of no use." while others allege he stated, "Aviation is fine as a sport. I even wish officers would practice the sport, as it accustoms them to risk. But, as an instrument of war, it is worthless." he latter quote is attributed to March 1913. It is not unreasonable to assume that he expressed all these sentiments over the years from 1910 through mid-1914, but l have stuck with the 1910 attribution because it makes particularly good sense given the state of aviation technology and military interest at that time than the later suggested date. Foch as will be noted completely changed his views to a pro-aviation position by the middle of the war.
    See:
    Michael Dewar. ed. An Anthology of Military Quotations (London: Robert Hale, 1990), p.25.
    Morrow Jr. J. H., The Great War in the Air, p.35.
    Henry Serrano Villard, Contact! The Story of the Early Birds. (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968) p.98.

    See:
    Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity through the First World War.
    Hallion, Richard P.
    New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
    pp.310 & 484.

    (Apologies about the lack of accents/diacritics).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th November 2022 at 08:13.

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    Default Re: Who said "Aeroplanes are of no practical use"?

    Hi Col

    Merci beaucoup! Exactly what I was after. Thanks for taking the time to transcribe them.

    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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