This is the story of unarmed air observers from 1794 to 1986 and how they carried out tasks from unarmed aerial platforms.
Commencing from the balloon era which ended in 1918, it provides actual battle accounts in which, light aircraft, in combination with balloons, became the most effective means air observation in the vicinity of the forward area during World War I. The contribution of air observers to the success of battles in various campaigns during World War II has been described along with the Air Observation Pilots in the Indian Army, who lived up to the tradition of their pioneers in the battles fought in the sub-continent. This book also brings out evolution of Military Aviation leading to the creation of a separate Service, Air Force in UK and USA and subsequent creation of Naval and Army Aviation in all the modern Armies of the world.
About the author:
Maj Gen Atma Singh (Retd) was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery in 1955 and nominated for the Air OP Course in 1962. Later, he underwent the Flying Instructors Course. He commanded an artillery regiment, Air OP squadrons and artillery brigades. In 1982, he was posted as Brigadier Aviation to Army Headquarters.
Since 1975, he was involved in the ground work while preparing blueprints for the Army Headquarters regarding formation of Army Aviation, which finally resulted in the decision to form the Army Aviation. He also had an opportunity to visit France, Italy and the UK in this connection in 1984-85.
Following the formation of Army Aviation on 1 November 1986, he became the first Additional Director General.
Maj Gen Atma Singh (Retd) was awarded the Vir Chakra on 5 December 1971, for directing Hunter Fighters to the enemy tanks in the Battle of Longewala followed by an AVSM on 26 January 1987.