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Close support for the Army by the Royal Air Force evolved during World War II from a state of near non-existence to becoming a fully integrated part of the battle plan. Nowhere was co-operation more refined and better developed than in the Mediterranean theatre. In the first of two volumes, the author traces the evolution and development of close air support, beginning during the final year of the Great War, via the doldrums of the inter-war years, to the point where the RAF was criticised heavily because of its apparent absenceat Dunkirk. The rise and demise of Army Co-operation Command is examined in detail, followed by the first systematic close air support in East Africa and the various campaigns in the Western Desert.