Plotting a True Course: Reflections on USAF Strategic Attack Theory and Doctrine : the Post-World War II Experience
Examining wars from the allied victory in World War II to the conflict in Viet Nam, and finally to the operations in the Gulf and Kosovo, this book presents a comprehensive look at the evolution of strategic air attack theory and doctrine over the years.
This work analyzes the evolution of the U.S. strategic air force from 1945 to 1955. As commander of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) from 1948 through 1955, Curtis LeMay shaped U.S. strategic forces to survive the new world. He insisted that the Air Force have access to atomic energy information for strategic planning. He struggled to find, promote, and retain the most qualified pilots and support personnel in the Air Force. This work describes the evolution of Air Force strategic forces, describes the importance of personnel to the SAC mission and how LeMay addressed the problem, examines the development of specialized maintenance in SAC, traces the transition from the B-47 to the B-52, and explores the importance of intelligence and targeting.
The little-known American Balloon Service worked in combat to help direct artillery fire more accurately and provide essential intelligence on enemy troop movements during World War I. German use of observation balloons to direct artillery fire in August of 1914 forced the Allies to develop a similar force. With the U.S. entry into the war in 1917, the balloon service, starting from scratch, evolved into an effective, disciplined fighting unit, whose achievements are unfortunately overshadowed by those of the flying aces. Reminiscences from balloon veterans form the basis of this book, the first to picture life as a gasbagger in the three major American engagements of the war.
Amazingly, life as an observer suspended in a wicker basket under an elephantine hydrogen balloon proved less deadly than piloting an airplane. From his grandstand seat, the observer kept tabs on the war below him and telephoned vital information to headquarters command. These reports were often the only accurate intelligence available. Balloonists remember the war as a great adventure, one which many of them lived to tell about.
The author was drawn into the United States Army through ROTC, and went through training to fly helicopters in combat over Vietnam. His experiences are notable because he flew both Huey "Slicks" and Huey "Gunships": the former on defense as he flew troops into battle, and the latter on offense as he took the battle to the enemy. Through this book, the author relives his experiences flying and fighting, with special attention given to his and other pilots' day-to-day lives--such as the smoke bombing of Disneyland, the nickname given to a United States Army-sponsored compound for prostitution. Some of the pilots Joyce served with survived the war and went on to have careers with commercial airlines, and many were killed.
Flying through Time is the story of these experiences, told within the framework of the author's own challenging flight retracing the wartime journeys of his plane - a restored 1941 Stearman. Twice crossing the country and touching down on each of the eight bases at which it served, Doyle recounts the uncertainties of piloting a sixty-year-old biplane almost 8,000 miles, as well as his experiences in meeting, talking to, and flying with the men who piloted a Stearman and went on to fight the war.
A loyal German, von Boetticher had strong ties to America. His mother was American-born, he spoke English fluently, and he was enamored of American military history. He was also anti-Semitic and believed that “Jewish wire-pullers” had undue influence over the U.S. government and its policies. His professional ties to U.S. Army officers in the War Department were so strong—supplying them, for example, with details on German air strength and operations during the Battle of Britain in 1940—that they survived until August 1941 and long after the German ambassador himself had been recalled. Torn between his duty to Germany (though the Nazi regime had attempted to harm his son) and his deep affection for America, von Boetticher stood among the broad middle range of German officials who were neither perpetrator nor victim.