A War of Their Own: Bombers Over the Southwest Pacific by Matthew K. Rodman

By Matthew K. Rodman

This paintings makes an attempt to offer a correct account of the character of the air conflict within the Southwest Pacific in the course of international warfare II, focusing frequently upon the 5th Air strength. The examine doesn't presume to be an all-encompassing operational precis; as a substitute, it goals to supply a consultant photograph of yankee bombardment in that quarter. This used to be a second in historical past while wrestle air energy performed a key position in attaining victory. the writer recounts how the 5th Air strength speedy built new strategies and methods that "saved the day." The perfection of low-altitude bombing, strafing, and bypass bombing made ameliorations that during hindsight are effortless to acknowledge and quantify. with no them the 5th may have came across itself in an extended, dearer struggle with an doubtful end result. although, those new strategies damage the enemy to the level that the Allies ultimately prevailed. the genuine price of this learn lies now not lots in its retelling of vital advancements in air strength as in its pushing the necessity for the army to be versatile, adaptive, opportunistic, and entrepreneurial whereas safeguarding center values and capitalizing on center capabilities. Many parts ascertain luck -- training, assets, wisdom, and backbone to call a number of. yet none of those have approximately the significance of the inventive skill to evolve successfully to confront the possibility and bring victory.

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Understandably, this would prove to be a major challenge. Army leaders still saw the airplane as a subordinate weapon: The concept that the air force would not attack objectives on or in the immediate vicinity of the battlefield except in the most unusual circumstances was expressed far more positively [in 1930] than in earlier school manuals. The manual [ACTS text The Air Force] recognized that the air force on occasion would be required for direct support of the infantry, but warned that even an army was too small a unit to utilize to the maximum the great range and flexibility of an air force.

In the end, the battles over the creation of doctrine and the desire for independence created an Air Force more doctrinally balanced than is typically believed. Given a free hand, the Air Corps would have centered its force structure more thoroughly around the heavy bomber. Army officers, however, wanted an attack air force dedicated to the direct support of ground units in the field. By the time war became almost inevitable at the turn of the decade, the seeds of strategic bombardment had taken hold.

18 Although the Navy used its version of the A-24 (Douglas SBD Dauntless) well into the war, the AAF replaced it as quickly as possible. A limited number of these aircraft served with the 27th BG out of Australia and Java in early 1942. They experienced some success versus ships in Bali harbors and off the waters of Java, but the loss of or irreparable damage to most of the aircraft proved too much to overcome. Without a substantial amount of fighter support, the handfuls of A-24s were quickly decimated.

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