The Path to the Second World

From 1918 to the mid-1930s, fighters became heavier, more powerful and faster but for the most part still retained the classic biplane formula together with its twin rifle-calibre machine gun armament. The advent of fast, strongly constructed monoplane bombers and, subsequently, fighters, more difficult both to hit and to destroy, prompted a reappraisal of armament requirements which in turn led to a remarkably wide range of solutions.

Three separate but simultaneous lines of the development of heavy weapons can be discerned: the introduction of the heavy machine gun as an air-fighting (as opposed to anti-balloon) weapon, the development of medium calibre (mainly 20mm) guns, and the continuation of the large-calibre (37+mm) cannon, with various largely fruitless

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