Airpower - Myths and Facts by P. meilinger

By P. meilinger

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As Gen Dwight Eisenhower later admitted, without air superiority Operation Overlord could not have taken place: The Normandy invasion was based on a deep-seated faith in the power of the air forces, in overwhelming numbers, to intervene in the land battle. That is, a faith that the air forces, by their action, could have the effect on the ground of making it possible for a small force of land troops to invade a continent. . Without that air force, without the aid of its power, entirely aside from its anticipated ability to sweep the enemy air forces out of the sky, without its power to intervene in the land battle, that invasion would have been fantastic.

Government Printing Office, 1939), 2; and Davis, 11. 11. DeWitt S. Copp, “Frank M. Andrews: Marshall’s Airman,” in Makers of the United States Air Force, ed. John L. : Office of Air Force History, 1987), 43–71. At the time of Pearl Harbor, the Air Corps still had fewer than 200 B-17s in the entire inventory. 15 THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK Myth 2 Entering World War II, the Air Corps’s unbalanced doctrine and force structure leaned too heavily towards strategic bombing. * The Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) is often depicted as a hotbed of radicalism, full of proselytizers for strategic airpower.

1 In addition, because ACTS was a staff college, it devoted much time to the rudiments of being a staff officer—writing, briefing, logistics, administration, intelligence, and so forth. Only part of the 50 percent of the curriculum devoted to air matters focused on strategic bombing since it also covered pursuit, attack, and observation. ”2 The school allocated far more time—158 periods—to “equitation” (horseback riding) that year. Certainly, ACTS took very seriously the budding doctrine of strategic bombardment and considered it the highlight of 18 the academic curriculum.

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