The war of 1914-18 had transformed aviation from the sport of the few into a recognised military force with an established industry behind it.
The much-reduced budgets for peace-time air forces dictated a cautious approach to innovation; yet in these two decades aeroplane design under-went one of the biggest transforma-tions in its history. Rotary engines were discarded in favour of their more efficient radial and in-line counterparts; metal gradually re¬placed wood and fabric as the prin¬cipal structural material, bringing smooth-skinned machines with semi- monocoque bodies; and the mono-plane, first ushered in by Bleriot in the first decade of the century, at last came into its own. The speeds and the armament of military aeroplanes likewise increased in proportion. Twenty of the most eventful—and colourful—years in the history of military aircraft are represented in this volume by 80 fighters, attack and training aircraft. They range from twin-gunned, rotary-engined fighters like the Sopwith Snipe to such sleek monoplanes as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the eight-gunned Haw¬ker Hurricane, and are presented in the colours of many of the world’s air forces, both large and small.