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By Matthew K. Rodman

This paintings makes an attempt to give a correct account of the character of the air struggle within the Southwest Pacific in the course of global warfare II, focusing usually upon the 5th Air strength. The examine doesn't presume to be an all-encompassing operational precis; as an alternative, it goals to supply a consultant photo of yank bombardment in that quarter. This was once a second in historical past while wrestle air energy performed a key position achieve victory. the writer recounts how the 5th Air strength quick built new strategies and tactics that "saved the day." The perfection of low-altitude bombing, strafing, and pass bombing made modifications that during hindsight are effortless to acknowledge and quantify. with no them the 5th could have stumbled on itself in an extended, more expensive struggle with an doubtful consequence. besides the fact that, those new strategies harm the enemy to the level that the Allies finally prevailed. the genuine price of this learn lies no longer lots in its retelling of vital advancements in air energy as in its pushing the necessity for the army to be versatile, adaptive, opportunistic, and entrepreneurial whereas safeguarding center values and capitalizing on center knowledge. Many elements ensure good fortune -- guidance, assets, wisdom, and backbone to call a couple of. yet none of those have approximately the significance of the artistic skill to evolve successfully to confront the danger and carry victory.

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Extra info for A War of Their Own: Bombers Over the Southwest Pacific

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21. , 5. 22. , 6. 23. Finney, History of the Air Corps Tactical School, 63. 24. Air Corps Tactical School, Attack Aviation, 63. 25. Finney, History of the Air Corps Tactical School, 57. Kenneth Walker and Robert Olds, both of whom served as aides to Mitchell, became perhaps the key figures in bombardment instruction at ACTS. 18 PREWAR DOCTRINE AND TACTICS 26. , 64. 27. Maj Anthony D. S. Strategic Bombardment Doctrine,” student paper (Charles Town, WV: American Military University, 2004), 21–22.

The A-20—a functional attack aircraft that easily doubled as a light bomber platform—met the requirements of both the Army and Air Corps. Whereas Bombardment advocated high-altitude attacks on ships, ACFM 1-10 came much closer to the practices actually used in the SWPA: “Naval objectives free to maneuver are bombed from the lowest altitude consistent with bombing accuracy and proper security measures. ”36 This, however, remained a point of contention. Through the 1930s, most of the Air Corps preferred high-altitude bombardment, but proper high-altitude employment against ships required large formations of bombers.

1 The AAF had not endeared itself either to the Army or MacArthur early on in the Southwest Pacific. It had suffered a sound defeat in the Philippines and proved almost totally ineffective against Japanese shipping targets in the first nine months of the war—a less than stellar performance. General Kenney’s assignment to the Southwest Pacific came in direct response to this situation. In the interim, MacArthur and his staff developed an almost inherent distrust of the AAF, and career Army officers positioned themselves to run the air war: MacArthur didn’t know anything about airpower—he was not satisfied with what the Air Force had done for him so far.

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