A History of Air Warfare

A History of Air Warfare

Language: English

Pages: 522

ISBN: 1597974331

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

***Selected for the 2010 Chief of the United States Air Force's Reading List*** This one-volume anthology provides a comprehensive analysis of the role that air power has played in military conflicts over the past century. Comprising sixteen essays penned by a global cadre of leading military experts, A History of Air Warfare chronologically examines the utility of air power from the First World War to the second Lebanon war, campaign by campaign. Each essay lays out the objectives, events, and key players of the conflict in question, reviews the role of air power in the strategic and operational contexts, and explores the interplay between the political framework and military operations proper. The concluding section offers wider perspectives by focusing on air and space power in both unconventional and conventional warfare from 1913 to the present. More than a simple homage to air power, A History of Air Warfare exposes air power’s strengths and weaknesses and, where relevant, illuminates the challenges of joint operations and coalition warfare. Because of its critical approach, even treatment, and historical background, the book will appeal to modern warfare scholars, air power specialists, and general readers interested in military history alike.
















operations of the rest of the armed forces. Although both the British and the Americans viewed bombing as a campaign that could fatally weaken Axis forces at the front by sapping the supply of munitions, the assumption was that an enemy nation would be more likely to succumb if the armed forces in the field were simply bypassed and the “vital centers”—the economic and military structures on the home front and the morale of the enemy population— struck instead. These views were fully developed in

bombing. He forbade attacking most leadership targets, and few targets of any kind were approved in or near Hanoi until mid-1966. Since North Vietnam had little manufacturing and depended on imports of weapons, trucks, and oil from communist allies, Rolling Thunder was primarily an interdiction campaign. But it was an interdiction campaign from which Johnson subtracted key targets. He ruled out the mining or bombing of ports, including the principal port of Haiphong. Large portions of the

negotiations. These peace overtures failed until early 1968, when communist insurgents throughout South Vietnam went on the offensive during Tet, the lunar New Year holiday. Although the insurgents were badly defeated by American ground and air forces, popular opinion in the United States turned against the war. On national television, President Johnson announced that he was cutting back the bombing of North Vietnam to the panhandle well south of Hanoi. The seriousness of this peace overture was

VIETNAM, 1965–1973 119 services sent a newer mix of aircraft. The Air Force had almost entirely replaced F–105s with F–4s, except in the Wild Weasel’s anti-SAM role (and even in that role there were now some F–4s). Navy A–7s replaced A–4s, and F–8s had mostly given way to F–4s. Late in the year, the Air Force version of the Navy A–7 also joined the fight, and the Air Force’s F–111 rebounded from its dismal debut in 1968 to be an effective night and all-weather bomber. Navy and Marine A–6s

northwest of Hanoi. That plant could supply half of North Vietnam’s electricity requirement. In this case, Nixon made the bold decision to attack the Lang Chi generators, even though they sat on top of the dam’s spillway. The Seventh Air Force was told to destroy the generators and leave the dam intact. General Vogt visited Ubon Air Base in Thailand to make sure that the commander of the Eighth Tactical Fighter Wing, Colonel Carl Miller, and his aircrews understood the importance of sparing the

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