The Charlotte News
Monday, December 3, 1935
That Death Squadron.
How completely the big bad man of Italy has been nailed up in a box is strikingly shown by his latest threat to the effect that, if the League imposes sanctions in the case of oil (as it is virtually certain to do), he'll launch a "death squad" of 125 bomb-freighted airplanes to dive headlong into the British fleet and destroy it
Such a bluff sounds for all the world like the large and portentous prophecies tearful small boys indulge in after taking a licking--and could have only come from a man who is so terrified and enraged by the prospect of complete frustration that he has lost all sense of proportion. To believe in it seriously, one has somehow to imagine the British fleet as being paralyzed and standing before these heroic young Italians literally "as the sheep before the shearers dumb." In sober fact, England has quite as many and quite as dangerous planes as Italy. And when the young men came out of the mists to their mission, they would have to run the gauntlet of an armada of the air as mighty--maybe even more mighty--and certainly as determined as their own.
Moreover, on those great ships fighting off Alexandria there are guns, a very great many guns, swinging in turrets and able between them to turn the air for fifteen miles about them into a solid inferno, streaming with projectiles at every conceivable angle.
What would happen in cold reality is that practically the whole body of the 125 devoted young flying men would die to know end at all.
And afterwards--? Why, afterwards the British host would inevitably lift anchor. Afterwards would come, with remorseless certainty, the reduction of the Italian battle fleet to kindling wood, the passage of Signor Mussolini to St. Helena, and the demotion of Italy from the status of a second-rate power to that of a fourth or fifth-rate one.
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