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1 Airpower: End of WW I Through WW II. 2 Overview Background—The 1920s General Mitchell’s Crusade The Air Corps Act of 1926 Air Corps Tactical School.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Airpower: End of WW I Through WW II. 2 Overview Background—The 1920s General Mitchell’s Crusade The Air Corps Act of 1926 Air Corps Tactical School."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Airpower: End of WW I Through WW II

2 2 Overview Background—The 1920s General Mitchell’s Crusade The Air Corps Act of 1926 Air Corps Tactical School Move To Autonomy in the 1930s WWII Begins The Battle of Britain The United States Prepares for War The Army Air Forces

3 3 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 Overview (cont’d)

4 THE INTERWAR YEARS 4

5 5 Rickenbacker Video

6 6 Background to the Interwar Years Following WW I, the United States returned to isolationism Army Air Service reduced from 20,000 officers in 1918 to 200 in 1919 Civilian aviation boomed; military budgets were cut Air service sought to develop an air doctrine Period marked by organizational changes and personality clashes Few saw the potential of the airplane

7 7 Deputy Chief of Air Service in 1919 Believed the airplane would change the defense establishment Believed the air service was an offensive force equal to the Army and Navy The Army and Navy strongly opposed these views Americans wanted no part of a service that looked offensive in nature Gen William “Billy” Mitchell

8 8 Mitchell Video

9 9 A visionary, fanatic, and prophet Alienated many due to constant attacks and need for 100% support Technology not capable of meeting his expectations—cost him credibility Tried to work within the System – Dickman Board of 1919 Assigned aviation units to ground control Identified aviation unit functions – Menoher Board of First nation to mobilize an air fleet in wartime would have the advantage Billy Mitchell (cont’d)

10 10 Passed by Congress in 1920 – Air Service raised in stature equal to the Infantry, Artillery, etc. – Air Service granted procurement, research, and training autonomy – Air Service units assigned to ground control (opposed by General Mitchell) – Army aircraft coastal defense mission specified and limited Army Reorganization Act

11 11 Claimed the battleship was obsolete Replaced by more effective and economical airplane Air Service planes bombed and sank three ships – Infuriated the Navy leadership – Sparked interservice feuding Air Service still not given the mission of coastal defense Gen Mitchell vs. Navy

12 —General Mitchell concentrated on developing doctrine; advocated strategic bombardment 1925—Demoted to colonel because of his unrelenting support for a separate air force After the crash of the dirigible “Shenandoah,” he accused military leaders of “incompetence and criminal negligence” Court-martial began on October 28, 1925 Mitchell’s Last Campaign

13 13 Focused attention on airpower Forced acceptance of the potential of airpower Mentored many aviators who would carry on his work—some became instructors at the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) Mitchell’s Legacy

14 14 Arnold Video

15 15 Can be thought of as being triggered by General Mitchell Army Air Service became Army Air Corps Additional Assistant Secretary of War appointed to oversee air units Air sections authorized in General Staff divisions Flying units to be commanded by rated officers Air Corp Act of 1926

16 16 Founded in 1920 at Langley Field, Virginia Renamed Air Corps Tactical School in 1926 Moved to Maxwell Field, Alabama in 1931 Original mission to teach air strategy and tactics Mission changed to developing and teaching air doctrine (principles and philosophy) Air Corp Tactical School (ACTS)

17 17 Future wars would be decided by airpower Airplane would be the primary offensive weapon of modern forces High-altitude, strategic, daylight bombing could paralyze and defeat an industrialized enemy without heavy losses ACTS (cont’d)

18 18 Preoccupation with bombers and their missions overwhelmed other teachings – Claire Chennault Led the Flying Tigers in WW II Taught pursuit aviation—advocated escorting bombers and strafing enemy rear areas – George Kenney Commanded the Pacific Air Force in WW II Taught attack aviation—strafing attacks on enemy troops and behind enemy lines ACTS (cont’d)

19 19 Chennault Video

20 20 Army Reorganization Act of 1920 – Air Service gained autonomy in R&D, procurement, personnel, supply, and training Air Corps Act of 1926 – Changed the name of the Air Service to Air Corps; implied the Air Corps was capable of independent operations Establishment of General Headquarters (GHQ) Air Force in 1935 – Placed all tactical units under the Commander, GHQ – Recognized an independent aviation branch within the Army Organizational Changes

21 21 1 Sep 1939—Germany attacks Poland – Luftwaffe aircraft were employed: To gain air superiority Cut supply lines Support ground forces Germany then easily conquered Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France The German Blitzkrieg

22 22 June 1940—Britain stands alone against German aggression Germany attacks in four phases – Attacks against shipping lines – Day and night bombing of RAF airfields – Daytime bombing of the cities – Nighttime bombing of the cities Battle of Britain

23 23 Phase I (10 July to 7 Aug) The Luftwaffe concentrated on offensive reconnaissance in Phase I. Specific actions included: Attacks on convoys in the English Channel Attacks on air defense, especially radar (radio detection and ranging) stations Attacks on coastal towns in the planned invasion area

24 24 Phase II (8 Aug to 6 Sept) Having tested and reconnoitered the defenses, the overall strategy was to focus on destroying aircraft of Britain’s Fighter Command, both on the ground and in the air.

25 25 Phase III (7 Sept-5 Oct) Massed attacks began against London and other major cities, as well as aircraft factories and other strategic targets When British fighters were successful against the day raids, the Germans switched to night bombing.

26 26 Phase IV (6-31 Oct 1940) Heavy night bombing raids against cities continued, while Luftwaffe fighter- bombers attacked airfields, coastal towns, and other strategically-significant targets.  As the winter weather approached, the raids became less numerous and produced less damage. By November it was apparent that the offensive had failed.

27 27 Reasons for Luftwaffe’s Defeat Luftwaffe not trained or equipped to conduct strategic bombing British had excellent command, control, and communication systems in place Luftwaffe had poor intelligence capabilities

28 28 Spaatz Video

29 29 Col Carl Spaatz’ Observations The Luftwaffe – Primarily a ground-supporting air force – Tactically ill prepared for strategic bombing – Lacked a strategic bombing doctrine

30 30 United States Prepares for War Army Air Corps was expanded – July 1940—Air Corps expands to 54 combat groups to include 14 heavy bomb groups – March 1941—Air Corps expands to 84 combat groups to include 24 heavy bomb groups Emphasis placed on bombers, not escort aircraft—hurts US bombing efforts B-17B-24

31 31 Air War Plans Division Plan # 1 Formulated in response to Roosevelt's call for American air doctrine Established independent operating objectives for the Air Corps Called for precision bombing of German industry and economy Flawed because it did not provide for long- range fighter escort P-51

32 32 Emphasized the offensive nature of the mission Ground support missions were secondary Four major targets were… – Electrical power facilities – Transportation assets and structures – Synthetic petroleum production plants – Aircraft industry facilities AWPD 1—Target List

33 33 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 Forming the Army Air Force (AAF)

34 34 The United States Enters WW II Relations between the United States and Germany deteriorate—USS Reuben James sunk 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

35 35 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 were defeated in Europe – Use land forces when, and if, necessary I + II + III = Victory

36 36 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

37 37 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’d)

38 38 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 followed and techniques refined Allies achieve victory in North Africa in May 1943 North Africa (cont’d)

39 39 “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 North Africa (cont’d)

40 40 Davis Video

41 41 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

42 42 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 US Bombing Strategy

43 43 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

44 44 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

45 45 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

46 46 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

47 47 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

48 48 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 European Strategic Bombing: Lessons Learned

49 Pacific Theater in World War II 49 “In our victory over Japan, airpower was unquestionably decisive. That the planned invasion of the Japanese Home islands was unnecessary is clear evidence that airpower has evolved into a force co-equal with land and sea power, decisive in its own right, and worthy of the faith of its prophets.” ~ General Carl A. Spaatz

50 50 Territorial expansion to reduce overcrowding at home and gain raw materials Fill the power vacuum in the Southwest Pacific created by German aggression in Europe Keep the U.S. out of the war for two years with a knockout blow at Pearl Harbor – Underestimated American resolve and anger Japanese Objectives

51 51 Tunner Video

52 52 Allied Strategy to Defeat Japan China-Burma-India—Japan’s back door – Campaign to re-supply troops in China and recapture Southeast Asia – AAF flew the “hump”—Supply route over the Himalayas—A logistics triumph South Pacific Offensive—Island- hopping campaign led by General MacArthur Central Pacific Offensive—Island- hopping campaign led by Admiral Nimitz C-47 Skytrain

53 53 Tactical Airpower in the Pacific Far East Air Force (FEAF)— formed to support the South Pacific campaign – Made up of the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces – Used innovative techniques, such as fragmentation bombs, to interdict enemy positions and troops – Employed fighters and medium bombers; P-38 was a huge success – Won air superiority through a war of attrition P-38 Lightning

54 54 Doolittle Video

55 55 18 April 1942—First strategic raid – Jimmy Doolittle led flight of 16 bombers from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet – 600-mile flight did little damage, but boosted morale of US forces and shocked the Japanese Twentieth Air Force formed in 1944 specifically to bomb Japan – Initial results were poor due to high altitude bombing techniques Strategic Airpower in the Pacific

56 56 LeMay Video

57 57 January 1945—General Arnold put Gen Curtis LeMay in charge of strategic bombing – Changed tactics to use incendiary bombs – Lowered bombing altitude to improve B-29s’ accuracy – 9 March 1945—Launched first firebomb attack of Tokyo 279 B-29s participated Burned 16 square miles, destroyed 267,000 buildings, and killed 85,000 people Strategic Airpower in the Pacific (cont’d)

58 58 President Truman authorizes nuclear strikes against Japan – 6 Aug 1945: Hiroshima bombed—70,000 killed – 9 Aug 1945: Nagasaki bombed—40,000 killed Japan surrendered 15 August 1945 WW II ended formally with ceremonies on the USS Missouri on 2 September 1945 End of the War

59 59 Distinctive Capabilities: Air and space expertise, capabilities, and technological know-how that produces superior military capabilities Functions: Broad, fundamental, and continuing activities of air and space power Doctrine: Fundamental principles that guide the actions of military forces in support of national objectives Review of CFD Model

60 60 CFD Model Time PeriodDistinctive Capabilities Functions (missions) Doctrinal Emphasis Pre- WW I  Information Superiority  Surveillance & Reconnaissance  Artillery Spotting  Gathering Military Info to support land forces Post WW I  Information Superiority  Precision Engagement  Surveillance & Reconnaissance  Counter Air  Strategic Attack  Theater Attack on military targets Pre- WW II  Precision Engagement  Information Superiority  Limited Air Superiority  Surveillance & Reconnaissance  Counter Air  Strategic Attack  Airlift  Strategic Attack on enemy homeland (enemy war machine) Post WW II  Precision Engagement  Information Superiority  Air Superiority  Agile Combat Support  Surveillance & Reconnaissance  Counter Air/Land  Strategic Attack  Airlift/Special Operations  Strategic Attack

61 61 a.Strategic Attack b.Air Refueling c.Counterair d.Spacelift e.Counterspace f.Special Operations g.Counterland h.Intelligence i.Countersea j.Surveillance and Reconnaissance k.Information Operations (IO) l.Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) m.Combat Support n.Navigation and Positioning o.Command and Control (C2) p.Weather Services q.Airlift Current USAF Functions

62 62 Background—The 1920s General Mitchell’s Crusade The Air Corps Act of 1926 Air Corps Tactical School Move To Autonomy in the 1930s WWII Begins The Battle of Britain The United States Prepares for War The Army Air Forces Summary

63 63 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 Summary (cont’d)


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