World War II Air Force History
12,400 pages of World War II Air Force History in 28 volumes. Official history compiled by United States Air Force historians. Maps, charts, and photos are used to help document the United States Air Force's role in World War II
In March 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget ordering each war agency to prepare "an accurate and objective account" of that agency's war experience. Soon after, the Army Air Forces began hiring professional historians so that its history could, in the words of Brigadier General Laurence Kuter, "be recorded while it is hot and that personnel be selected and an agency set up for a clear historian's job without axe to grind or defense to prepare." An Historical Division was established in Headquarters Army Air Forces under Air Intelligence, in September 1942, and the modern Air Force historical program began.
Titles in this collection include:
THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II SERIES
With the end of the war, Army Air Force Headquarters approved a plan for writing and publishing a seven-volume history. In December 1945, Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, Deputy Commander of Army Air Forces, asked the Chancellor of the University of Chicago to "assume the responsibility for the publication" of the history, stressing that it must "meet the highest academic standards." Lieutenant Colonel Wesley Frank Craven of New York University and Major James Lea Cate of the University of Chicago, both of whom had been assigned to the historical program, were selected to be editors of the volumes. Between 1948 and 1958 seven were published. With publication of the last, the editors wrote that the Air Force had "fulfilled in letter and spirit" the promise of access to documents and complete freedom of historical interpretation.
Like all history, The Army Air Forces in World War II series reflects the era when it was conceived, researched, and written. The strategic bombing campaigns received the primary emphasis, not only because of a widely-shared belief in bombardment's contribution to victory, but also because of its importance in establishing the United States Air Force as a military service independent of the Army. The huge investment of men and machines and the effectiveness of the combined Anglo-American bomber offensive against Germany had not been subjected to the critical scrutiny they have since received. Nor, given the personalities involved and the immediacy of the events, did the authors question some of the command arrangements. In the tactical area, to give another example, the authors did not doubt the effect of aerial interdiction on both the German withdrawal from Sicily and the allied landings at Anzio.
Editors Craven and Cate insisted that the volumes present the war through the eyes of the major commanders, and be based on information available to them as important decisions were made. At the time, secrecy still shrouded the Allied code-breaking effort. While the link between decoded message traffic and combat action occasionally emerges from these pages, the authors lacked the knowledge to portray adequately the intelligence aspects of many operations, such as the interdiction in 1943 of Axis supply lines to Tunisia and the systematic bombardment, beginning in 1944, of the German oil industry.
All historical works a generation old suffer such limitations.New information and altered perspective inevitably change the emphasis of an historical account. Some accounts in these volumes have been superseded by subsequent research and other portions will be superseded in the future. However, these books met the highest of contemporary professional standards of quality and comprehensiveness. They contain information and experience that are of great value to the Air Force today and to the public. Together they are the only comprehensive discussion of Army Air Forces activity in the widest air war this nation has ever waged.
The Army Air Forces In World War II Series includes the seven volumes:
Volume One - PLANS AND EARLY OPERATIONS JANUARY 1939 TO AUGUST 1942
Volume Two - EUROPE: TORCH TO POINTBLANK AUGUST 1942 TO DECEMBER 1943
Volume Three - EUROPE: ARGUMENT TO V-E DAY JANUARY 1944 TO MAY 1945
Volume Four - THE PACIFIC: GUADALCANAL TO SAIPAN AUGUST 1942 TO JULY 1944
Volume Five - THE PACIFIC: MATTERHORN TO NAGASAKI JUNE 1944 TO AUGUST 1945
Volume Six - MEN AND PLANES
Volume Seven - SERVICES AROUND THE WORLD
U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY 1941 - 1945
This 743 page chronology is concerned primarily with operations of the US Army Air Forces and its combat units between December 7, 1941 and September 15, 1945. It is designed as a companion reference to the seven-volume history of The Army Air Forces in World War II, edited by Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate. The research was a cooperative endeavor carried out in the United States Air Force historical archives by the Research Branch of the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center.
AIR FORCE COMBAT UNITS OF WORLD WAR II
Like all chronologies, bibliographies, and encyclopedias, Air Force Combat Units of World War II serves a very special historical function. It traces the lineage of each Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force combat group or higher organization active in World War II, from its origins to 1956. It is a concise official record of those units: their assignments, subordinate organizations, stations, commanders, campaigns, aircraft, anddecorations. But it is more than that. As an important source of ready information, this volume not only serves as a reference tool for historians and researchers; but it also provides commanders with a corporate memory of vital statistics. With these facts, a unit documents its heritage, the basis for unit esprit de corps. Originally this volume had been printed in 1961.
THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: PREEMPTIVE DEFENSE ALLIED AIR POWER VERSUS HITLER'S V-WEAPONS, 1943–1945
In 1943, the Allies knew that Germany was developing Vergeltungswaffe (vengeance) or "V" weapons that threatened to reverse the course of World War II. But the Allies did not know exactly what the weapons were or how to defend against them. Eventually, Allied intelligence and aerial reconnaissance identified two separate programs, a pilotless aircraft bomb (V–1) and a ballistic missile bomb (V–2), that endangered London and other sites in southern England. The Allies decided that the best defense was preemptive strikes against any targets identified with the V-weapons programs, including launch sites and supply depots. Allied leaders disagreed on how much and what kind of air power should be diverted to the strikes, and on how long such strikes should continue. Germany withheld launching V–1s until after D-Day and did not launch V–2s until September 1944. With Allied ground forces having returned to Western Europe in strength, the German bombardment of London and other European cities proved to be too little and too late to affect the outcome of the war.
CONINGHAM: A BIOGRAPHY OF AIR MARSHAL SIR ARTHUR CONINGHAM
Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham was the architect of modern air power doctrine regarding tactical air operations. This volume is a reprint of a classic study of Coningham and his impact on air power thought.Author Vincent Orange paints a memorable portrait of this remarkable and celebrated air officer. Born in Australia and raised in New Zealand, Coningham gained fame as a fighter pilot during World War I, an instructor and innovator in the interwar years, and a heavy bomber group commander early in World War II. In 1941, he assumed command of Allied tactical air forces in the Western Desert, soon pummeling Rommel's Afrika Korps mercilessly, and drawing from the famed "Desert Fox" the complaint that he was "pinned in place" by Coningham's air attacks
GENERAL KENNEY REPORTS - A PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE PACIFIC WAR
General Kenney Reports is a classic account of a combat commander in action. General George Churchill Kenney arrived in the Southwest Pacific theater in August 1942 to find that his command, if not in a shambles, was in dire straits. The theater commander, General Douglas MacArthur, had no confidence in his air element. Kenney quickly changed this situation. He organized and energized the Fifth Air Force, bringing in operational commanders like Whitehead and Wurtsmith who knew how to run combat air forces. He fixed the logistical swamp, making supply and maintenance supportive of air operations, and encouraging mavericks such as Pappy Gunn to make new and innovative weapons and to explore new tactics in airpower application.
The result was a disaster for the Japanese. Kenney's airmen used air power, particularly heavily armed B-25 Mitchell bombers used as commerce destroyers, to savage Japanese supply lines, destroying numerous ships and effectively isolating Japanese garrisons. The classic example of Kenney in action was the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, which marked the attainment of complete Allied air dominance and supremacy over Japanese naval forces operating around New Guinea. In short, Kenney was a brilliant, innovative airman, who drew on his own extensive flying experiences to inform his decision making. General Kenney Reports is a book that has withstood the test of time, and which should be on the shelf of every airman.
Few men contributed more to the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II, or to the innovation in warfare known as air power, than General George C. Kenney. From the day in August 1942 when he assumed command of U.S. Army and Allied air forces in the Southwest Pacific Area to the final battles of the war against Japan in 1945, Kenney succeeded in providing the aerial support without which the land and naval campaigns could not have been won.
CARL A. SPAATZ AND THE AIR WAR IN EUROPE
Carl A. Spautz and the Air War in Europe offers the first detailed review of Spaatz as a commander. It examines how the highest ranking US. airman in the European Theater of Operations of World War II viewed the war, worked with the British, and wielded the formidable air power at his disposal. It identifies specifically those aspects of his leadership that proved indispensable to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
As Chief of the Air Corps Plans Section and, beginning in 1941, as first Chief of the Air Staff, Spaatz helped prepare the United States for war by overseeing an unprecedented buildup of military air capability. As Commander of the Eighth Air Force, he expanded and maintained a network of bases from which his bombers could strike at Germany from England.
THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: CONQUERING THE NIGHT ARMY AIR FORCES NIGHT FIGHTERS AT WAR
The author traces the AAF's development of aerial night fighting, including technology, training, and tactical operations in the North African, European, Pacific, and Asian theaters of war.
THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: ARMY AIR FORCES MEDICAL SERVICES IN WORLD WAR II
This history summarizes the Army Air Forces (AAF) medical achievements that led to the creation of the Air Force Medical Service in July 1949.
ULTRA AND THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II
This volume focuses on intelligence, the collected and interpreted information about adversaries, which is the basis of wise decision making in war. While intelligence is important to all military operations, it is especially significant to air forces, for the targets chosen and the ability to reach and destroy them often determine whether the speed, flexibility, and power of the aerial weapon is used to its utmost capacity to affect the outcome of combat.
The late Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Lewis F. Powell, Jr., was one of a small group of people specially selected to accept and integrate ULTRA, the most secret signals intelligence from intercepted and decoded German military radio transmissions, with intelligence from all other sources. From May 1944 to the end of the war in Europe, he served as the ULTRA officer on General Carl Spaatz's United States Strategic Air Forces staff.Earlier, Colonel Powell had served as an intelligence officer with the 319th Bomb Group, the Twelfth Air Force, and the Northwest African Air Forces.He finished the war as Spaatz's Chief of Operational Intelligence in addition
During World War II, the Americans and British intercepted and read hundreds of thousands of their enemies' secret military and diplomatic messages transmitted by radio. ULTRA was the designation for the signals intelligence derived from the radio communications which the Germans encrypted on their high-grade cipher machine called ENIGMA. The British Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park, England, deciphered, analyzed, and evaluated the intercepted ENIGMA communications, produced ULTRA intelligence, and transmitted ULTRA to operational headquarters.
GREEN LIGHT!: A TROOP CARRIER SQUADRON'S WAR FROM NORMANDY TO THE RHINE
The history of air warfare is replete with accounts of derring-do and courage by fighter pilots, bomber pilots, and crews. Their exploits are exciting, often very colorful, and capture the imagination of the public. But air warfare does not consist of only fighter and bomber combat. It is a mélange of disparate elements fighters, bombers, airlifters, tankers, and a remarkable variety of ground support activities, combining to form an effective whole.
In Green Light!, Martin Wolfe tells the World War II story of the 81st Troop Carrier Squadron, as its name implies, carried and dropped paratroopers onto the battlefield, often in the face of heavy enemy fire. This book relates the exploits of the 8lst, which mirror the combat experience of all World War II troop carrier units.
A PATTERN FOR JOINT OPERATIONS: WORLD WAR II CLOSE AIR SUPPORT, NORTH AFRICA
This study examines the origin and development of American close air support doctrine and practice in World War II. The idea for the study resulted from a review of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Army and Air Force chiefs of staff, concluded on 22 May 1984, and of the initiatives that emerged from that historic document, particularly Initiative 24, which reaffirmed the Air Force's mission to provide close air support to the Army. The concentration is on the North African campaign because that was the first major large-unit test of American ground armies in World War II, and in that campaign the basic system of close air support for American ground and air forces in World War II was first worked out.
THEY FOUGHT WITH WHAT THEY HAD: THE STORY OF THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC, 1941 - 1942
This book is the story of the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Philippines and Java in the last days of 1941 and 1942. It is the story of defeat during the early months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Unable to replace the loss of planes suffered in the Japanese attack, the AAF fought on "with what they had" in the Philippines and the Dutch Indies, subsequently becoming part of the American British Dutch Australian Command (ABDACOM) under British General Sir Archibald P. Wavell, with AAF Major General George H. Brett. Relying on interviews and diaries, the author reconstructs a holding action gaining time, as the badly outmanned and outgunned AAF modified planes and made innovations in fighter and bomber tactics that subsequently became standard practice in the Southwest Pacific.
CONDENSED ANALYSIS OF THE NINTH AIR FORCE IN THE EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS
Condensed Analysis of the Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations is an analytical study of the operating procedures and functional organization of tactical air power as developed by the Ninth Air Force in the war of Western Europe. The Condensed Analysis contains a short history of the Ninth Air Force in World War II, from the build-up before the invasion of the European continent through subsequent combat operations in 1944 and 1945. More than a narrative history, the study examines the problems that Ninth experienced in conducting joint combat operations with ground forces across the rapidly moving battlefront in France and Germany. Some of its commendations were implemented after World War II, others involve issues still current today: The need for a theater level air headquarters, command and control of tactical air forces, the importance of air-ground cooperation (including the co-location of headquarters), and the absence of the capability to mount night and all-weather operations-the lack of a "real and effective 24-hour-a-day operation."
Also included on the disc are:
WITH COURAGE: THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE IN WORLD WAR II: A COMMEMORATIVE HISTORY
THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: WEAPON OF DENIAL: AIR POWER AND THE BATTLE FOR NEW GUINEA
THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: AFRICA TO THE ALPS- THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN THEATER
THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: AIRLIFT AND AIRBORNE OPERATIONS IN WORLD WAR II
THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: AIR POWER VERSUS U-BOATS - CONFRONTING HITLER'S SUBMARINE MENACE IN THE EUROPEAN THEATER
THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: LEAPING THE ATLANTIC WALL ARMY AIR FORCES CAMPAIGNS IN WESTERN EUROPE, 1942–1945
PLANNING AND ORGANIZING THE POSTWAR AIR FORCE 1943-1947
THE STRATEGIC AIR WAR AGAINST GERMANY AND JAPAN: A MEMOIR