Airpower and Ground Armies: Essays on the Evolution of Anglo-American Air Doctrine - 1940-43
These four independent essays provide a perspective on airpower doctrine development that varies somewhat from the usual view. More
These four independent essays provide a perspective on airpower doctrine development that varies somewhat from the usual view. Essay 1 describes the organization, doctrine, operational practices, and personality of the air forces in the western desert from 1940 to 1943. Essay 2 describes and analyzes the events in northwest Africa during Operation Torch while the third analyzes the machination in policy development in Washington. Essay 4 analyzes the great tactical aviation exercise in northwest Europe, emphasizing the famous cooperation between George S. Patton and Otto P. Weyland.
Contents: GETTING TOGETHER: Tedder, Coningham, and Americans in the Desert and Tunisia, 1940-43. Vincent Orange * A GLIDER IN THE PROPWASH OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE? Gen Carl A. Spaatz, the RAF, and the Foundations of American Tactical Air Doctrine - David R. Mets * THE LEGEND OF LAURENCE KUTER - Agent for Airpower Doctrine, Daniel R. Mortensen * PATTON AND WEYLAND: A Model for Air-Ground Cooperation, David Spires.
Involvement in a joint world demands that Air Force people understand Air Force history. This basic requirement gives special purpose to the following commemorative account derived from four papers presented at the annual Military History Society conference that convened in April 1993 in Kingston, Canada.
The first paper, Essay 1 in this book, describes the organization, doctrine, operational practices, and personality of the British-led air forces in the desert west of Cairo from 1940 to 1943. The second paper, Essay 2, describes and analyzes the events in northwest Africa during Operation Torch and the Battle for Tunisia in the winter and spring of 1942-43. The third essay analyzes policy development in Washington, showing, among other things, how policy is a product of headquarters thinking as much as a result of practical experience. Essay 4 analyzes the great tactical aviation exercise in northwest Europe, emphasizing the famous cooperation between George S. Patton and Otto P. Weyland.
Some issues stand out.. Some of FM 100-20's concepts had a long history; some were new. The idea of coequality, for example, had been promoted successfully with the formation of US Air Force General Headquarters (GHQ Air Force) in 1935, the appointment of an assistant secretary of war for air in April 1941, the independent war planning of AWPD-l in mid-1941, and the autonomous and coordinate responsibilities associated with organizing the Army Air Forces in March 1942. 3 Indeed, formal doctrine, notably that in FM 31-35 (published in April 1942) and in Eisenhower's Operational Memo 17 (published in England in late 1942 for Operation Torch), acknowledged the independent basis of air-ground relations.
In spite of much written to the contrary, Eisenhower promoted independent air command in Africa from the very beginning. The failures in Tunisia and, especially, at Kasserine Pass in March 1943 occurred not because of improper doctrine, particularly not because of decentralized air command, but because of logistical bottlenecks-getting troops with adequate guns, trucks, planes, fuel, and service people, to the right place, in the right portions at appropriate times. In truth, inadequately trained and equipped American forces faced a superior enemy. Even the senior American airman, Carl A. Spaatz, said existing doctrine was satisfactory; only practice was needed to produce successful operations.