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Overview Know the role air power played in World War II (European Theater) and its significance Know the impact of the Allied air campaigns.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview Know the role air power played in World War II (European Theater) and its significance Know the impact of the Allied air campaigns."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Overview Know the role air power played in World War II (European Theater) and its significance Know the impact of the Allied air campaigns

3 Interwar Airpower Review Axis Powers Germany – Largely tactical in supporting the German Army’s Blitzkrieg strategy. Medium to light bombers; no heavy bombers Japan – Dysfunctional split between Army and Navy. Limited airpower in support of Japanese Army. Naval air was formidable, but was designed around the protection on the fleet, not a separate sustained air campaign Allies Russia – Air Force tied completely into supporting Russian Army. Great Britain – Reasonably balanced force of Fighters for defense and strategic bombers for attack – bombing for mass effect (industry/population) United States – Reasonably balanced force between the Army and Navy. Precision daylight strategic bombing would be key to victory. Strategic means designed to strike at the sources of an enemy’s military, economic, or political power

4 Blitzkrieg Germany began World War II using its Luftwaffe—the German air Force—in combination with ground troops Germany rolled over a number of countries in short order—including Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium

5 The Battle of Britain Britain held off a possible German invasion by maintaining air superiority over England, despite being outnumbered 4:1 in aircraft. How? Radar – Early Warning and Fighter Control to target Loiter time over England (German aircraft: roughly min) German bomber aircraft not designed for a strategic campaign, they might have been successful if focused solely on the RAF

6 Strategic Bombing Genesis of Strategic Bombing strategies were developed during the interwar years United States: Precision daylight strategic bombing designed to cripple German war machine through crippling key industries (golden bullet) Great Britain: Bombing strategy aimed at both destroying industry and the German people’s will to fight

7 Allied Strategic Bombers United StatesUnited Kingdom

8 United States Great Britain

9 Costs of Strategic Bombing High bomber aircrew casualty rate Schweinfurt raids in 1943 (unescorted fighters): bomber loses of nearly 30% of the entire force sent Bomber Command crews suffered an extremely high casualty rate in the war: 55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% death rate) Significant portion or the losses were due to unescorted bombers without long-range fighter protection Numbers dropped significantly following the introduction of long- range fighters with drop tanks

10 Effectiveness of Strategic Bombing? Planned Production Level Actual Production Level Engine Production United States Strategic Bombing Survey (1946) Analysis Aircraft Production

11 Effectiveness of Strategic Bombing? United States Strategic Bombing Survey (1946) Analysis Fuel

12 Effectiveness of Strategic Bombing? United States Strategic Bombing Survey (1946) Analysis The long and bitter battle for control of the skies over Europe culminated in victory in the spring of There was no German air opposition to the landings in Normandy, and the strategic air forces struck targets deep in Germany at will. The Germans lost more than 22,000 fighters.

13 Tactical Operations: Growing Pains In Africa, the United States and Britain used the same air policy at first It became clear that if the Allies didn’t change tactics, their huge losses would continue The solution was that Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and the US Army brought all their attack and support planes under centralized control This way, if a base were attacked, all Allied bases could defend it or retaliate together Common Strategy Developed: Step 1: Obtain Air Superiority Step 2: Air Interdiction Step 3: Close Air Ground Support

14 Overview The role air power played in World War II (European Theater) and its significance How air power was developed during World War II The impact of the Allied air campaigns


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