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Airpower: End of WW I Through WW II. Overview. Background—The 1920s General Mitchell’s Crusade The Air Corps Act of 1926 Air Corps Tactical School WWII Begins The Battle of Britain The United States Prepares for War The Army Air Forces. Overview (cont’d).

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Airpower end of ww i through ww ii

Airpower:End of WW I Through WW II


  • Background—The 1920s

  • General Mitchell’s Crusade

  • The Air Corps Act of 1926

  • Air Corps Tactical School

  • WWII Begins

  • The Battle of Britain

  • The United States Prepares for War

  • The Army Air Forces

Overview cont d
Overview (cont’d)

  • The US Enters the Second World War

  • America and its Allies Plan Strategy

  • The United States on the Offensive

  • US Strategic Bombing Effort Against Germany

  • The Air War Against Japan

  • Tactical Airpower in the Pacific

  • Strategic Airpower in the Pacific

  • The End of the Second World War

  • Review CFD Model

Forming the army air force aaf
Forming the Army Air Force (AAF)

  • Army Air Corps and GHQ Air Force merged in June 1941 to form AAF

  • Merger resulted from decentralization of the War Department General Staff begun by General George Marshall in 1940

  • General Hap Arnold named commander

  • One step from full independence as a separate service

The united states enters ww ii
The United States Enters WW II

  • Relations between the United States and Germany deteriorate—USS Reuben Jamessunk in October 1941

  • Relations with Japan worsened in 1941

    • Japan continues Asian aggression

    • July 1941—Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in U.S. and halts all American trade with Japan

    • 7 Dec 1941—Japan attacks Pearl Harbor

Allied strategy for winning world war ii
Allied Strategy for Winning World War II

  • Priority One: Safeguard Britain and United States

  • Priority Two: Fight a decisive air offensive against the Axis powers in Europe and fight defensively in Asia

  • Priority Three: Sustained air offensive against Japan after the Axis powers weredefeated in Europe

    • Use land forces when, and if, necessary

I + II + III = Victory

First us offensive action of ww ii north africa
First US Offensive Action of WW II—North Africa

  • First use of US Ground forces against the Germans

  • Provided valuable combat experience for ground and air forces

  • Opportunity for British and US to fight a combined arms campaign

  • First defeat of the German forces since 1930

North africa cont d
North Africa (cont’d)

  • United States learned valuable lessons concerning the employment of airpower in tactical situations

  • Initial problems experienced by the Allies

    • Air units were split among ground units

    • Ground commanders didn’t share aircraft

    • Airpower used defensively

    • Airpower employment fragmented and inflexible

North africa cont d1
North Africa (cont’d)

  • Allied airpower reorganized in 1942

    • Command of the air forces went to Airmen

    • The air officer decided the missions and allocated forces

    • Missions became offensive in nature

  • Flexibility of Allied airpower was restored and air superiority was attained

  • Tactical missions followedand techniques refined

  • Allies achieve victory in North Africa in May 1943

North africa cont d2
North Africa (cont’d)

  • “Anyone who has to fight, even with the most modern weapons, against an enemy in complete command of the air, fights like a savage against modern European troops, under the same handicaps and with the same chances of success.”

  • ~ Field Marshal Erwin Rommell

  • Us strategic bombing of germany
    US Strategic Bombing of Germany

    • Heavily influenced by ACTS and bomber advocates

      • Some felt strategic bombing alone would defeat Germany

      • Others believed strategic bombing would weaken Germany and a ground invasion would be required for her surrender

    Us bombing strategy
    US Bombing Strategy

    • United States committed to high-altitude, daylight precision bombing

    • Believed heavy bombers, flying in formation, could fight their way to the target and back

      • Fighter escorts not necessary

    • Targets identified by AWPD-1 best hit in day time

    • US strategy ignored weather conditions, target obstruction, fighter opposition, and antiaircraft artillery

    Strategic bombing of germany early efforts
    Strategic Bombing of Germany—Early Efforts

    • Strategic bombing of Europe was Eighth Air Force responsibility

    • First raids were against marshaling yards in France—little effect

    • Late 1942 and early 1943: Eighth AF attacked small targets in Europe—good experience, little effect

    Strategic bombing becomes a major objective
    Strategic Bombing Becomes a Major Objective

    • Casablanca Conference (Jan 1943) established strategic bombing as a major objective

      • Destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial, and economic system

      • Undermining of morale of the German people

      • German aircraft industry was the top priority target

      • The ball bearing industry was a complementary target

      • Destruction of enemy aircraft industry would help achieve Air Superiority

    Strategic bombing of schweinfurt germany
    Strategic Bombing of Schweinfurt Germany

    • Eighth AF bombs the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt in Summer 1943

      • Aug 1943—Eighth AF inflicts heavy damage but loses 36 B-17s and 360 crewmen

      • Oct 1943—AAF loses 60 bombers and has 138 aircraft damaged and 600 men lost

    • Losses were unacceptable

    • No fighter escorts left bombers vulnerable to enemy fighters and antiaircraft artillery

    Strategic bombing of ploesti
    Strategic Bombing of Ploesti

    • Aug 1943—AAF launches attacks against oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania

      • 180 aircraft launched—55 lost

      • Raids were costly but needed to shorten the war

    • Attacks were designed to reduce Germany’s oil and lubricant production

      • Generally ineffective and deliveries increased until attacks were resumed in 1944

    Strategic bombing in europe cont d
    Strategic Bombing in Europe (cont’d)

    • Long-range fighter escorts arrived in theater December 1943

      • Took significant toll on German aircraft and their experienced pilot force

    • Eighth AF resumed raids into Germany in February 1944

      • Launched a 1000-plane raid by end of February 1944

      • Attacked Berlin in March 1944

      • German POL production was reduced to 25% capacity by September 1944

    European strategic bombing lessons learned
    European Strategic Bombing: Lessons Learned

    • Target list was not what it should have been

      • Attacks on sub pens and ball bearing plants were ineffective

      • Best targets were the POL production facilities and sources of electrical power

    • Terror bombing of civilians was ineffective and did little to lower morale

    • Bombers needed fighter escorts to and from the target