Category German Jets, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

The jet aircraft was hailed as Germany’s best chance of turning round a lost war, at a time when Allied armies were already on German soil, fighting in what – to them – was clearly a devastated country. The advent of jet-propelled aircraft, especially the Me 262 A and the larger Ar 234 В in 1943, became a symbol of advanced technology. They were believed powerful enough to be developed both as close-support bombers against Allied forces on the ground, and as a lethal weapon against the Allies’ four – engined bombers and fast fighters. However, only a few small units were established at first, to compile data and introduce new strategies for jet missions. Poor production rates made it impossible to send a sufficient number of Me 262s and Ar 234s to Luftwaffe units.

Operational evaluation was initially carried out by Erprobungskommando 262 (EK 262 – Tri­als Unit 262) and Kommando Nowotny. EK 262 was established on 19 December 1943 at Lech – feld under the command of Hauptmann Thier – felder, but did not receive its first jets until May 1944. Thierfelder died in a Me 262 crash on 18 July 1944. Hauptmann Geyer then became the commanding officer of the Erprobungskom­mando, small detachments of which operated from different airfields to gain operational experience. The Kommando Nowotny was built up mainly from elements of EK 262 and achieved a number of air victories. It was cred­ited with twenty-two Allied aircraft destroyed, including fast reconnaissance aircraft and Mos­quito bombers. Most of the pilots belonging to these units were later sent to Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7), to train a new generation of pilots to sur­vive jet-propelled missions over the Reich while the Allies enjoyed air superiority.

A first small Me 262 jet bomber formation was already available in late summer 1944. After Willy Messerschmitt had told Adolf Hitler, on several occasions, that his revolu­tionary Me 262 could carry bombs up to 500 kg, Hitler decided that jet bombers would be able to destroy the advance spearheads of Allied ground forces. However, the limited number of Me 262 A-la/Bos operated by Kom­mando Schenk (part of Kampfgeschwader 51 – KG 51) meant that only local attacks could be carried out over western Europe at that time, to combat the Normandy landings and cover the German retreat from France.

Hitler thought he could win the war on the ground with the help of ‘Wunderwaffen’ (‘won­der weapons’), and did not heed General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland, who pleaded with him that the Me 262 should be produced solely as a fighter. Hitler insisted that both the Me 262 and the Ar 234 were suitable for use as low-level attack aircraft. But during the early period of jet bombing they were prohibited from flying low-level attacks because the Luft­waffe High Command (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe – OKL) wanted to prevent high-tech aircraft falling into enemy hands. Furthermore, the ‘Identification Friend/Foe’ radio equipment, FuG 25, was removed from many German bombers operating over Belgium and the Netherlands, causing German anti-aircraft (AA) batteries close to the front lines to shoot down their own aircraft by mistake.

British and American air raids on the Reich, and several missions flown against key German industries, caused the destruction of many important factories engaged in jet develop­ment. In particular, sites all over Bavaria were

hit by strongly escorted four-engined bom­bardment aircraft. The Allies’ air superiority in late 1944 and early 1945 made it possible for them to carry out air attacks on German fuel refineries and the transport system. This led to the fuel shortages that would increasingly cur­tail German air and ground activities. Neverthe­less, many Me 262s were produced in dispersed factories and underground production sites near Augsburg, Regensburg and elsewhere, especially in central Germany. Under SS super­vision, jet production was increased by an army of slave workers (ie concentration camp inmates). Factories manned by slave labour were the last stronghold of German aircraft production by the end of World War II. How­ever, the loss of important resources and the lack of experienced manpower ensured that the ‘wonder weapons’ remained but paper dreams.

Operational policy remained entirely defen­sive because of the lack of new tanks, ammuni­tion and fuel after the Wehrmacht retreated from France and Belgium. Until the start of the Ardennes offensive the German High Com­mand (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht – OKL) tried to conserve its strength for an effective response to the advancing Allied forces on the north-western German border. The majority of day fighter forces, including II. Jagdkorps and 5. Fliegerdivison, were transferred from Luft – waffen-Kommando West (the command in charge of air operations against the advancing Western Allies) to other parts of Germany. Among those forces remaining in the north­west were the bulk of the jet bombers. Their crews operated at minimum strength over Bel­gium and the Netherlands, to little effect. Most of Germany’s Me 262 fighter units were oper­ated by I. Jagdkorps, 2. Jagddivision or 7. Jagddivision. Their main task was the defence of central Germany and its industries, espe­cially the vital oil targets in the east.

At the end of October 1944 the Luftwaffen – Kommando West comprised fewer than twenty – five operational Me 262 bombers and some 620 more fighters, bombers and other military air­craft. For home defence the Luftflotte Reich (responsible for internal defence against bomb­ing raids) and all of its subordinated Luftwaffe formations could field approximately 900 sin­gle-engined fighters, 830 night fighters, and, lastly, only about ninety jet – and rocket-pro­pelled single-seat aircraft. In addition, some 1000 single-engined fighters were still in oper­ation along the Eastern Front.

During November and December 1944 Reichsmarschall Goring ordered the establish­ment of a massive defence against the Allied bombardment forces, and some more units were transferred to western Germany. Despite the concentration of about 650 fighters, the Allies’ overwhelming strength prevented the Luftwaffe achieving even limited air superior­ity, and Allied heavy bombers remained fairly safe from attack. There were too few available Me 262 fighters to have any noticeable effect during the final stage of the air war over the Reich. The same applied to the few Me 262 close-support aircraft operating over western territory now retaken by strong Allied divi­sions.

By late November the German ground forces had lost major towns in the west, including Metz and Strasbourg. During that desperate time the Wehrmacht leadership was planning a big offensive in the Ardennes. The famous Ger­man Panzerdivisions, supported by as many Panzergrenadierdivisons as possible, would attempt to destroy all Allied forces north of the Antwerp-Brussels-Luxembourg line. The Luft­waffe command was ordered by Hitler to pro­vide close air support for the ground operations. At that time some thirty Me 262 bombers had been transferred west to forward airfields. This was far too few to achieve more than a very limited success. Although a second Me 262 bomber unit had become operational, the strength of German airpower was broken. But a last offensive was opened early in the morning of 16 December. The Luftwaffe sup­ported the ground operations with 2360 air­craft, of which only forty were Ar 234 and Me 262 jet bombers. Most of the aircraft belonging to Luftwaffen-Kommando West were single – engined day fighters (1770 of them). Addition­ally, about 190 day and night ground-attack aircraft (Fw 190s and Ju 87s) were deployed around the German airfields.

Despite gaining some ground in late Decem­ber, the German forces were pushed back again and could not prevent the Allied advance early in 1945. The devastating Soviet offensive launched in the east in mid-January 1945 also caused the withdrawal of many day fighter for­mations from the west.

Meanwhile, more Me 262s had been pro­duced and were handed over to front-line Luft­waffe units. Between January and February 1945 the Allies kept up the pressure on the Reich. Only occasionally were the Allied spear­heads attacked by Me 262 A-l and A-2 bombers, mainly equipped with fragmentation bombs carried in AB 250 containers. Important bridges which had been captured by the Allies were attacked with larger SD 500 bombs, with mostly limited success. During March 1945 some fifty to sixty operational missions were carried out by German jet bomber forces, with many more being mounted by Fw 190 F fighter – bombers acompanied by the Ju 87 D ground – attack units by dawn or by night.

The number of jet fighters was too low to mount a powerful air attack on a bomber divi­sion of the Eighth USAAF over central Germany. But several small attacks carried out by pilots of JG 7 ‘Nowotny’ resulted in German jet pilots claiming some four-engined bombers destroyed. To enlarge the number of jet fighter units within a short period of time the German supreme Luftwaffen staff started the reorgani­sation of their own forces. The II. Jagdkorps was disbanded and replaced by both the 14. and the 15. Fliegerdivision. The strategic air defence of Germany was similarly reorganised. After the I. Jagdkorps was also disbanded, its function was taken over by IX. Fliegerkorps (Jagd), which was to be equipped at first with single-engined day fighters, but then increas­ingly with fast and powerful Me 262 jets.

The final Russian offensive was aimed at the German capital. By the end of February 1945 the Red Army had reached the general line of the Oder River not far from Berlin. The meagre remaining strength of the German forces was no match for the concentrated enemy attacks. Only a few German jets ever operated against the Eastern Allies, and only shot down a hand­ful of Soviet aircraft.

Attacks on the bridge of Remagen failed despite many desperate low-level raids carried out by Luftwaffe pilots flying all kinds of air­craft. Bombs dropped by Me 262s and Ar 234s scored a number of near misses but Allied ground forces continued to cross the Rhine until the bridge collapsed into the river. Fur­ther south, some of KG 51’s jet bombers were concentrated at the main Frankfurt airfield to fly attacks on the bridgehead in the Oppenheim area.

While these bombing actions were being car­ried out, Me 262 jet fighters were engaged in attacking four-engined bombers all over central Germany. By April і 94 5, hopelessly outnum­bered and suffering from fuel shortages, only a limited number of Me 262s of JG 7 could con­tinue the home defence. At this time, the forces operated by JG 7 were supported by the first Kampfgeschwader (Jagd), the KG (J) 54. But the unit was severely hit by many Allied air raids during its working up. Furthermore, it lost many poorly trained fighter (ex-bomber) pilots in action due their lack of operational experi­ence of fighter tactics, most having previously piloted medium bombers, such as the He ill or the Ju 88 A-4.

Other Kampfgeschwader (Jagd) units were established early in 1945, but there were not enough Me 262 A-la fighters to supply more than a few jets to these formations. Therefore most of the new KG (J)s received Bf 109 G-6, G – 10 and G-14 aircraft instead to carry out day fighter operations until more Me 262s could be produced. Only a few Me 262 jets were handed over to KG (6). Parts of III. Gruppe became oper­ational in April 1945. KG (J) 30 had started jet training early in 1945, but possibly never flew missions in action.

Despite the output of Me 262s and of the Ar 234 bombers, the Allied forces were never opposed by strong formations of either Ger­man jet type. The operational roles, the air-to – air combat and low-level attacks split the weak forces of the Luftwaffe once more. Hitler’s early obsession with close-support action hindered a more successful air strategy, as did Goring’s failure to support Adolf Galland’s requests for a large-scale concentrated piston-fighter attack against one of the Eighth USAAF raids and for the employment of the Me 262 solely as a defensive fighter aircraft. Late in the war Hitler changed his mind and ordered as many jet fighters as possible to be built. Germany’s war power had been virtually destroyed, but the last resources were thrown into the battle.

However, early in 1945, Reichsminister Speer issued a secret report which forecast the ulti­mate defeat of German power in April 1945 without Allied forces having to occupy the remaining territory held by the Wehrmacht.

The first very clear signs of the dissolution and disintegration of the German Luftwaffe forces in the remaining war theatres were seen early in April 1945. The further course of the war split German forces into a southern and a northern region. More and more Luftwaffe air­fields were being overrun. Retreating supply units were overtaken by enemy ground forces. On 26 April, the Western and Eastern Allies met near Torgau on the Elbe.

Meanwhile, two new Luftwaffe formations had entered the jet war. In the north the first Staffeln of Jagdgeschwader 1 (JG 1) had handed over their Fw 190 As to other units and received their first He 162, the ‘Volksjager’ (‘people’s fighter’). The lack of jet fuel (J2) meant that this single-engined jet fighter could only be used for a very few missions against RAF intruder and low-level attack aircraft. The surviving parts of JG 1 surrendered during the last days of May 1945. Most ‘Volksjager’ were handed over to the RAF authorities.

General Adolf Galland had meanwhile taken over the command of JV 44 (‘Jagdverband’ – ‘fighter formation’ – because it was not a stan­dard ‘Jagdgeschwader’ – ‘fighter unit’), and gave many pilots the opportunity to fly a supe­rior jet aircraft during the last days of a lost war. His unit operated – as did many others – from the Reichsautobahn near Munich, and was quickly withdrawn to Salzburg airport in May 1945. Before American ground forces overran the unit’s new airfield some Me 262s had been evacuated to meadows near Inns­bruck, and later became war booty. The order sent to JV 44 to join JG 7 as a fourth jet fighter Gruppe and to move to Prague-Rusin was never carried out.

The last, weak German jet formations were concentrated around Prague. These forces com­prised parts of JG 7, KG (J) 6 and KG 51. Fate in April 1945 the jet pilots carried out low-level attacks against Russian ground forces in cen­tral Germany but suffered many losses due to a high concentration of AA units operated by the Red Army. Fate in April 1945 the Gefechtsver – band (‘battle unit’) Hogeback (operating the remaining aircraft of KG (J) 6, minor parts of I. and II./KG (J) 54 and the KG 51) was ordered to support German ground forces after Czecho­slovakian resistance fighters had attacked all German-held positions in the Prague area. After the final ground attack sorties had been carried out early in May 1945, the last jet planes took part in a final mission. Then the pilots flew to British-held positions in northern Germany near Fassberg.

Apart from the units already mentioned, a number of others had been established by the OKF. Besides the Erganzungsjagdgeschwader 2, a training unit for jet pilots, the III. (Erganzungsgruppe)/Kampfgeschwader was set up in order to train more jet fighter-bomber pilots. In addition, some more experimental units flew the Me 262 or other German jets. For example, the Kommando Stamp tested the bombardment of Allied bomber formations with the help of small fragmentation bombs or larger GP bombs towards the end of 1944. The results were poor, and so the pilots and aircraft were given to other units.

The 1 ./Versuchsverband of OKF started experiments to carry out short-range recon­naissance missions. Eater on, the Nahauf- klarungsgruppe 6 was established in Herzogenaurach in November 1944. One of its two Staffeln was commanded by Hauptmann Braunegg, the commanding officer who oper­ated the Kommando Braunegg from the Mun­ster area early in 1945. The establishment of other short-range units was ordered early in 1945, but these units saw only limited opera­tional deployment.

These formations and all of the fighter and jet bomber units were dissolved during the last days of World War II. The operational experi­ence of the personnel was not lost, despite the War’s disastrous end for Germany, as it was taken over by the Allies and used for combat training by all the victorious nations. Most of the jet aircraft still airworthy were sent to France, Great Britain and the USA. Many paper projects and jet engines were also captured by advancing Allied ground formations. These war prizes formed the basis for the construction of more powerful jet aircraft in the following years.

Подпись: LUFTWAFFE AT WAR: GERMAN ) ETS 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

The new Me 262 V7 (WerkNr. 170303), which joined the Messerschmitt flight evaluation on 19 October 1944. This was the prototype for the rebuilt conversion Me 262 A-
la/Bo. The aircraft was tested at Lager Lechfeld with і 000 kp take-off assistance rockets and different heavy military loads. Two rocket propulsion units can be seen

Подпись: sO(left) under the camouflage netting.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: Another Me 262 A awaits trials at Lager Lechfeld, where most of the Me 262 test programme was carried out. The flight test programme was worked out in close co-opera­tion with the Kommando der Erprobungsstellen (KdE) at Rechlin, the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) and the air­craft producer to save time. In the meantime the develop­ment of the Ar 234, Ju 388 and a few other aircraft was also being undertaken at Rechlin.

Below: One practice GP bomb, in the size of a SC 500 but without explosive load and fuse, is prepared for loading action by employees of the Messerschmitt works at Lager Lechfeld. The air base was bombed several times by Allied bombers, and most of the buildings were severely hit, but this did not stop the work on the new generation of jet fighters.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Right: A view into the cockpit of a Me 262 A – la single-seat day fighter which was cap­tured by American forces at Lager Lechfeld in April 1945. On the left side of the panel are the flight instruments, and on the right side are two rows of instruments to monitor both Jumo 004 В turbo-jets. The engine controls were installed on the left console, the electric systems on the right.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Left: After a flight with a performance of more than 1000 km/h the Messerschmitt fac­tory pilot Heinz Herlitzius enjoys a cig­arette. Together with Herlitzius, Dr Hermann Wurster, Fritz Wendel, Wilhelm Ostertag and many other experienced fly­ers succeeded in com­pleting the ambitious test programme in a remarkable period of time, considering the handicaps imposed by wartime conditions.


GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Early in 1945 two Me 262 A-las of III. Gruppe of Erganzungsjagdgeschwader 2 (III./EJG 2), ‘White 6’ and ‘White 13’, take off to intercept bombers of the Fifteenth USAF
approaching the area of Munich-Augsburg-Landsberg. As well as training new jet pilots, the instructors, under the command of Oberstleutnant Heinz Bar, also flew oper-
ations against enemy planes over Bavaria.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: This fin section, fitted with woollen tufts, was tested at Lager Lechfeld. As well as the prototype Me 262 V2 (WerkNr. 170056), which was tested there to check improved side rudders, eight other re-designated prototypes were also used for different evaluations. These included the new Me 262 VI with various wooden tail surfaces, and both Me 262 A-2a/U2 two-seat bombers.

Below: A close-up view of the Jumo 004 В turbo-jet engine c a Me 262 A-la. The first Jumo 004s were installed under thf wings of a Me 262 prototype, the V4, which took off for the first time with two Jumo 004 А-Os on 15 May 1943. On 17 October 1943 the Me 262 V6 took off with the help of two improved Jumo 004 В-Os. After first series Jumo 004 B-ls had arrived at Lager Lechfeld, trials were carried out with the Me 262 V8 on 18 March 1944.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Подпись: LUFTWAFFE AT WAR: GERMAN |ETS 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

The night fighter prototype Me 262 V2 (WerkNr. 1700S6) was tested with FuG 216 and FuG 218 radar installations and a complete weapons bay to evaluate the influ­ence of the fire power resulting from four 30 mm machine cannon. There is no proof that this prototype was ever used in combat action against British night bombers

or fighters.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

The fin and rudder of a He 162 single-seat day fighter captured by British forces at Leek in northern Germany and later hand
ed over, together with a few more ‘Volksjagerto the French Allies. The Allies had their own jet-propelled designs, and used
the He 162s solely to examine Germany’s military jet aircraft technology.


GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The He 280 prototype jet fighter, which joined flight development on 22 September 1940, and crashed, after sixty-four towed flights, on 13 January 1943. The He 280 VI had no tendency to flutter and attained a maximum speed of 800 km/h. The installation of four Argus As 014 units under the He 280’s wings was later proposed.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Right: Under the leadership of Mach and Regner, this mock-up and one other had been constructed by June 1939. As of July 1939 more studies were carried out featuring a twin – engined jet aircraft with a nose wheel. At that time the future He 280 was still designated He 180. By late summer 1940 numerous details had been resolved and Heinkel offered the hitherto private project to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM).

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Left: The third prototype, with the registration GJ+CB, which joined the evaluation phase on 30 March 1941. It was propelled by two Heinkel He S8A jet engines, but these did not perform well and were replaced by more powerful Jumo 004 jets. On 26 June 1943 the aircraft was very badly damaged on a test flight, due to the failure of one engine.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Opposite page, bottom: During the weapons adjustment the forward section of the He 280’s fuselage was fixed on a movable trestle in order to check the behaviour of all three MG 151 machine guns being installed in the nose. Several attempts had to be carried out before a sufficient ammunition supply was finally achieved.

Below: The He 280 V3, towed by an old tractor and accompanied by several maintenance personnel. The He 280 V3 (GJ+CB) was first flown on 5 July 1942. At the end of World War II parts of the prototype were captured at Schwechat near Vienna.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Above: As well as the He 280 VI to V3, two other He 280 aircraft were assembled. The He 280 V7 (D-IEXM, NU+EB), seen here, am the He 280 V8 (NU+EC), joined flight testing by April and July 1943 respectively. The seventh Hi 280 had made 115 towed flights by early 1945. The He 280 V8 was also tested with a V-tail unit with the help of the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fur Segelflug (DFS) near Vienna.

Left: The experimental department of the Messerschmitt works in Augsburg-Haunstetten. Behind a Bf 108 (TJ+AY) liaison aircraft is the first prototype Me 262 powered by a Jumo 210 G piston engine (production numbe – WerkNr. – 42 012). A Caudron ( 445 belonging to the factory is in the background. On 4 August 1941 the Me 262 VI prototype (PC+UA, WerkNr. 262 00 001) wa flown by two pilots, Bader and Beauvais, from Rechlin.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The second prototype Me 262 jet aircraft, which had the registration PC+UB (WerkNr. 262 00 002). The aircraft was still named ‘P 1065’, although it received its official number 262 by February 1941. The aircraft, which was fitted with two Jumo 109- 004 turbo-jets, crashed on 18 April 1943, killing factory test pilot Ostertag.

Below: The third prototype Me 262, which was completed early in 1942. The lack of turbo-jets kept it at the factory while production of the Me 262 V4 and V5 continued. On 18 July 1942 the first jet – powered take-off was made, by Fritz Wendel at Leipheim air base. The factory pilot returned to Leipheim with no difficulty some ten minutes later. In the background of this picture a Me 321 transport glider can be seen.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: Another view of the third prototype Me 262, placed before one of the huge Me 321 gliders being built at Leipheim near the Reichsautobahn leading to Munich. The third Me 262 was damaged on 11 August 1942 during take-off on its seventh flight, with Dipl.- Ing. Heinrich Beauvais at the controls. The engines overheated and neither delivered the necessary thrust for take-off. The aircraft was repaired and flew again on 5 March 1943.

Below: Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring (in light uniform, left) visiting Lager Lechfeld near Landsberg/Bavaria on 2 November 1943, accompanied by Willy Messerschmitt and General Adolf

Galland. The evaluation of the Me 262 continued at this air base until April 1945, with only minor interruptions despite several Allied air raids.

Opposite page: A detail of the forward landing gear of the Me 2( V6 (VI+AA, WerkNr. 130001), which could be fully retracted by і hydraulic system. This picture was taken at Augsburg – Haunstetten. In the background, artificial trees camouflage the factory airport. The V6 was first flown on 17 October 1943 and crashed after twenty-eight test flights during a further test by Ku Schmidt on 8 March 1944.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Left: Gerd Lindner brings I his flight demonstration ol the grey-painted Me 262 VI to an end, observed by a I group of Luftwaffe officers I inspecting the factory site! Lager Lechfeld. G5ring ami many officers sent by the I RLM were reportedly amazed bv the performam and manoeuvrability of th twin-engined jet plane, which was fitted with two Jumo 004 B-0 turbo-jets.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Below: The Me 262 S3 (VI+AH, WerkNr. 130008) which was first flown on 1 April 1944. It was the thiri pre-production series aircraft and differed not much from the later Me 2( A-lb aircraft, which was also fitted with four heavj MK 108 machine cannon. I The Me 262 S3 was handeA over to Erprobungs – v kommando 262 (EK 262) anf] was damaged after shedding a turbo-jet v following a nose-gear n collapse.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The sixth Me 262, called S6 (VI+AK, WerkNr. 130011), which was first flown in April 1944 and crashed on 18 July 1944. The aircraft was given to EK 262, an experimental fighter unit formed at Lager Lechfeld on 19 December 1943. Its first commander was Hauptmann Werner Thierfelder who was killed on 18 July 1944 and was replaced by Hauptmann Horst Geyer in August 1944.

Below: A few Me 262 fighters and bombers were evaluated not at Lager Lechfeld but at Rechlin near Lake Muritz near Neustrelitz. In the latter war years almost all evaluation took place at Lager Lechfeld, and in early 1945 only one Me 262 (WerkNr. 111609) was operated by the Kommando der Erprobungsstellen (KdE) at the Rechlin Luftwaffe base. The aircraft was used to compile performance data.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Left: Herr Luttgau, the main factory photographer, took this photograph during the flight evaluation of the third prototype Me 262. Many additional installations increased the flight weight of the early prototypes too much and resulted in the development of larger retractable landing gears.

Opposite page, bottom: Oberstleutnant Heinz Bar, the commanding officer of III. Gruppe of Erganzungsjagdgeschwader 2 (III./EJG 2) based at Lechfeld, flew the ‘Red 13’ several times to intercept Allied war planes over southern Germany. He invariably numbered his machines (from Bf 109 and

Fw 190 to Me 262) ’13’ for good luck. Bar shot down his last P-47 on 28 April 1945. He claimed a total of 220 air victories and completed over 1000 missions.

Below: Heinz Bar sitting on the wing of his famous jet fighter. He made his first jet flight in September 1944 at Wenzendorf near Hamburg. Then he took over the command of III./EJG 2 and additionally tested rocket-armed Me 262s and also wing bombs and other new weaponry. His first air victory flying a Me 262 A-la was on 19 March 1945 when he succeeded in destroying a P-51 fighter.

Below: Another view of Oberstleutnant Bar’s Me 262 at Lager Lechfeld. By the time he took over the command of Jagdverband 44 after General Galland was wounded in action, he had shot down, in the Me 262, one P-51, three P-47s, two B-26s and two B-24s. As commander of JV 44 he claimed his next B-26, two P-47s and two P-51s over Bavaria. Heinz Bar died after the war, when his light – plane crashed near Brunswick, on 28 April 1957.

Bottom: A Me 262 A-la of Jagdverband 44. JV 44 existed from 24 February 1945 to 1 May 1945. Commanded by Generalleutnant Adolf Galland, the former General der Jagdflieger (GdJ), it had a provisional strength of sixteen Me 262 A-la fighter aircraft. The ground personnel was taken from 16./JG 54, Industrieschutzstaffell (Industrial Defence Squadron 1) and from III./EJG 2. After operating from the Munich region the JV 44 moved to Salzburg fd its final missions.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The junk yard at Prague after the end of World War II. Most of the Me 262 fragments seen in the foreground would formerly have belonged to aircraft operated by the Gefechtsverband (‘battle unit’) Hogeback, which was responsible for attacking enemy positions around the Czech capital early in May 1945. As long as supplies lasted, the strongholds were bombed with small fragmentation SD Is. Several low-level attacks were also flown.

Below: During the Allied advance through Bavaria there were a lot of displaced Me 262 A-la jets captured along the roads. This one was found near Leipheim before taking off from the local Reichsautobahn.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: A jet at the Neuburg air base belonging to Kampfgeschwader (Jagd) 54, a former bomber unit which had to change its operational role at the end of 1944. Enemy action also forced KG (J) 54, which consisted of three Gruppen, to change its bases.

Flying from Gardelegen, Kitzingen, Neuburg and Munich-Riem, the unit suffered many losses to Allied P-51 and P-47 piston fighters during take-off and landing.

Opposite page, top: This Me 262 A-la was operated from Neuburg by KG (J) 54. The air base was hit by fragmentation bombs during many Allied air raids, and several Messerschmitt jets were damaged. This one stood at Neuburg until summer 1945, waiting to be scrapped.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Right: These jets belonged to KG (J) 54, commanded by Oberstleutnant Volprecht Riedesel Freiherr zu Eisenbach. On 9 February 1945 he and many others were killed in action against American bombers. Major Hans-Georg Battcher became the new commanding officer on 27 February 1945. Enemy action forced his Geschwaderstab to move from Giebelstadt to Zerbst and Ftirstenfeldbruck. It was finally disbanded at Holzkirchen in Bavaria.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Opposite page, top: To avoid destruction during Allied raids, many Me 262 were dismantled and put beside the air bases all over the Reich in order to replace the casualties occurring on the ground or in the air. The aircraft shown had been part of the KG (J) 54 and were formerly operated by the 2. Staffel at Prague.

Left: Together with five to ten instructors, Oberstleutnant Bar carried out final attacks over Bavaria at the end of World War II, flying the Me 262 A-la series as shown. He was said to be one of the few pilots to fly the rocket-assisted Me 262 C-l conversion.

Above: The ‘Green V was operated by staff of III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 7 ‘Nowotny’ (III./JG 7), which was based at Parchim in March 1945. There, a few Me 262 had been tested with rocket launchers fitted under the forward part of the fuselage. Note the small trolley (left) delivering more rockets to the aircraft.

Many more Me 262 A-las were equipped with R4M-missiles fixed under the wings.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The huge tent behind the Me 262 A-la had formerly belonged to a circus. After British and American bombers of the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Force had damaged the Luftwaffe infrastructure early in 1945, provisional shelters like this were utilised, but it became impossible to maintain and service the remaining Me 262 jets in central Germany and Bavaria.

Below: During the final weeks of World War II the improved airport of Munich-Riem, together with Erding and Fiirsten – feldbruck, became the home of German jets. The taxiing Me 262 A – la is here returning to Riem from an interception mission over Bavaria in April 1945.

Opposite page, top: Hermann Goring, accompanied by Adolf Galland (left), visited units in Bavaria which were chosen to
become a part of German jet fighter forces. The first Me 262 units were set up from the III. Gruppe of the Zerstorergeschwader 26, whose pilots were familiar with twin-engined aircraft (Bf 110s and Me 410s). This was considered an advantage when converting to the Me 252 twin jet.

Opposite page, bottom: Rear view of a Me 262 fighter-bomber with two bomb racks. Orders were issued late in 1943 for the development of fast jet-propelled aircraft other than the Me 262 fighters. On 12 December 1943 Adolf Hitler had called for commitment of the Me 262 as a single-seat fighter-bomber to counter the long-awaited invasion of the Allies in western Europe.: On 8 June 1944 the Fiihrer restricted the further development of day fighter versions of the Me 262, as he intended it to be used as al retaliatory bomber.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: In July 1944 the delivery of the new jet-propelled fighter-bombers like this one began. Under the designation ‘Stormbird’, the first ones were delivered to Kommando Schenk, which was ordered to launch bombing raids with only a few Me 262 As fitted with ETC pylons to carry SC 250 bombs or AB 250 bomb containers. The Allied forces had won a large bridgehead along the Normandy coast and concentrated a lot of AA forces to protect their own positions against Me 262s.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Opposite page, top: A Me 262 A-la/Bo carrying a SC 250 general purpose bomb on ETCs commonly called ‘Wikingerschiffe’ (‘viking ships’). Bombing raids had little effect at this point, because Adolf Hitler prohibited low-level raids behind the front lines in western Europe, and from an altitude of several thousand feet there was no chance of hitting important individual targets such as bridges.

Right: A close view of a Me 262 A-la/Bo with two SC 250 bombs hanging beneath the forward fuselage. In order to reduce weight two of the MK 108s have been removed. The openings were later faired over to reduce air drag. German resources had diminished to the extent that only a limited number of jets were converted into fighter bombers. The planned definitive series, called A-2a, was also built only in limited numbers.


GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: This photograph was taken in Bavaria late in 1944 during the evaluation of the Me 262 jet bomber. Trials were undertaken to service the jets outside well equipped bases, with a minimum of materiel and special equipment. The small starter trolley was needed to charge the batteries of this Me 262 A-la/Bo and to enable the ignition of both Jumo 004 turbo-jets.

Below: On 5 December 1944 Major Wolfgang Schenk, the former operational leader of’Sonderkommando Edelweiss’ who had tested Me 262 fighter-bombers like this one, became the new command­ing officer of Kampfgeschwader 51. During winter 1944/45 the operations of KG 51 were limited by many factors, including weather conditions and the lack of fuel and spare parts. From Rheine and Flopsten the Me 262 A-l and A-2 jet bombers had to attack Allied positions all over Belgium and the Netherlands.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The Me 262s were maintained under poor conditions before being involved in operations when the German offensive in the Ardennes began on 16 December 1944. Six days later Me 262 pilots of KG 51 started their attacks against Allied supply lines leading to the battlefields in the Ardennes. In mid-December 1944 the preparations for ‘Unternehmen BODENPLATTE’ entered an important phase. On 1 January 1945 some of these aircraft took off to attack targets in the Brussels and Arnhem-Eindhoven area.

Below: Several low-level attacks were carried out after Hitler finally gave permission for them. In the meantime some parts of KG 51 had been moved back to Giebelstadt and Frankfurt, to mount bomb attacks against targets in Alsace where French units moved forward to the Rhine and threatened southern Germany.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: One of tFie rare Me 262 A-2a/U2 two-seat high-speed jet bombers, and a second Me 262 aircraft behind it, are towed into position by an Opel ‘Blitz’. Note the (partially covered) new glazed nose designed to accommodate a prone bomb aimer. Only two prototypes of this aircraft were constructed, and they never saw any operational usage with the Luftwaffe. During a test flight, one of them, designated Me 262 V 555, crashed near Marburg and was later captured by American ground forces.

Below: The abandoned ‘White 14’ early in 1945 after being captured by American troops. A training aircraft, this was possibly
operated first by Kommando Nowotny, then by JG 7 and finally by III./EJG 2. Structural defects finally prevented any further operational missions.

Opposite page, bottom: Selected high-ranking NSDAP leaders in autumn 1944 were invited to visit a Luftwaffe base to see the new ‘Wunderwaffen’ that would supposedly win the War. The aircraft shown here is coded E2+02. It was part of the inventory of the Erprobungsstelle Rechlin near Lake Miiritz in central eastern Germany.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: Me 262 aircraft marked with a small or large ‘S’ (seen here within the fuselage cross) could only be used for training missions. Several of these were former operational aircraft which had been

damaged. Such aircraft were handed over either to III./EJG 2 or to the Erganzungskampfgeschwader which was responsible for training jet bomber pilots at the end of World War II.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: A small number of two-seater Me 262 training aircraft like this one were produced by Blohm & Voss at Wenzendorf near Hamburg after it became clear that the Deutsche Lufthansa at Staaken could not fulfil the task. First a pre-series aircraft (WerkNr. 130010) was built, followed by other B-ls rebuilt from A-ls despite a severe air raid in January 1945.

Below: The production of Me 262 aircraft continued in 1945, despite severe Allied air raids. The former production sites were split up into several smaller ones which were dispersed around Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg, Munich and Regensburg. One of these,
shown here, was the ‘Waldfabrik Obertraubling’ (‘Obertraubling forest factory’) east of Regensburg, where the final assembly took place.

Opposite page, top: At Obertraubling Me 262 A-la fighters were produced in a well-camouflaged woodland assembly site called ‘forest assembly’, which was finally captured by American ground troops late in April 1945. In the course of the War some 1430 Me 262s were built, of which more than 800 reached the Luftwaffe’s front line units.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Right: The first stage of his huge construction, rear Landsberg on Lech, was finished early in 1945. Two huge bunkers, railed ‘Weingut Г and Weingut ІГ were planned, for the production of greater :han ever numbers of Me ’62s, under safe ronditions and a thick ayer of concrete. Slave abour was used in a bid о finish the work, but he Allies ended all such ittempts in April 1945. ГЬе completed parts vere later used as upply stores by the lew, post-war German Ur Force.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The right combustion chamber of the composite engine explodes during testing of the sole Me 262 C-2b interceptor at Lechfeld on 25 February 1945. The first flight of the C-2b took place on 26 March 1945. Climbing at a speed of 120 m/s the home defence aircraft reached an altitude of 8200 m in not more than V/z minutes.

Below: American specialists checked the remains of the Lechfeld testing site at the end of April 1945. Besides several other Me 262 prototype and series aircraft, the former Me 262 V074 (WerkNr. 170074) was captured. Its engines had been removed. Additional material was found describing a third
home defence aircraft, ‘C-3a’, a Me 262 A-l fitted with a jettisonable rocket engine and two 600-litre drop tanks.

Right: The Me 262 V083 was captured at Lechfeld in April 1945. This and another jet fighter were designed as ‘Piilkzerstorer’ (‘pack destroyers’), equipped with a huge 50 mm Mauser cannon in the nose designed to attack and break up ‘boxes’ of American bombers. By 21 March 1945 the first of these prototypes had made nineteen flights. When a second aircraft became available, Major Wilhelm Herget did in fact attack a pack of B-26 bombers, on 16 April 1945.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Below: The first photo-reconnaissance unit equipped with Me 262 A-la/U3 aircraft, like the one shown here, was set up in November 1943 at Herzogen- aurach near Nuremburg. It was decided to form a Gruppen-staff together with two Staffeln under the

command of Major Heinz Schiitze. A small evaluation unit, Kommando Braunegg, was also established to gain operational knowledge for future combat action over western Europe.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Opposite page, top: In February 1945 the Kommando Braunegg, perating under the command of Oberleutnant (later Hauptmann) [erward Braunegg, saw combat action over north-west Germany rbordinated under the command of Versuchsverband OKL. The ommando was integrated with its few Me 262 A-las and Me 262 – la/U3s into the short-range reconnaissance unit 2. Nahauf – arungsgruppe 6 (2./NAG 6).

Opposite page, bottom: The NAG 6 operated from Kaltenkirchen ear Hamburg, Hohne in Schleswig, Burg near Magdeburg, and issberg. The unit was then forced to retreat to Bavaria, where the rst reconnaissance Me 262s of 2./NAG 6, like this one, landed on 5 April 1945 at Lechfeld, where staff and the first Staff el had been ationed since 27 March 1945. The last missions were flown in pril 1945.

Above: This Me 262 A-la/Ul possibly belonged to l./NAG 1, the second short-range reconnaissance unit. A few Me 262 A-la/Uls were delivered to the unit in March 1945 and flew a limited number of operational missions from Zerbst in central Germany. Only about thirty aircraft were handed over to l./NAG 1, NAG 6 and 3./NAG 13 in the closing days of the War.

Below: To secure the close defence of the Me 262 key production sites some small Industrieschutzstaffeln (ISS) – Industrial Defence Squadrons – were raised. The first was established in late 1944. One of them was based at Lager Lechfeld, shown here. The aircraft were flown by factory pilots from the local Messerschmitt works.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: Aircraft outside one of the huge hangars at the Erding air base. The Allied forces found the Me 262s gathered before one of these severely damaged hangars in May 1945. Several Luftwaffe aircraft were made operational at Erding. The ‘Frontschleuse’ (Forward Air Depot) there was responsible for installing the weapons and the wireless operation systems. Another task was rebuilding operational aircraft.

Below: The shattered remains of the Luftwaffe filled many air bases. Only a few Me 262s could be taken to America for further evaluation.

Right: A old wooden mock-up of the Ar 234 B-2 twin-engined jet bomber, with the cockpit roof removed to reveal the interior to visiting officers sent by RLM and the Kommando der Erprobungs – stellen (KdE), the main evaluation unit of the Luftwaffe.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: Jettisonable rocket sets greatly aided taking off with heavy bomb loads. At smaller bases these packs assumed an added significance because Allied bomb raids caused the demolition of the main runways. In order to secure a limited operational action over western Europe it was necessary for all forward air fields to have rocket sets in stock.

Below: The ground crew of III./KG 76 carries a 1000 kg GP bomb to one of the Ar 234 Bs hidden in a forest near Rheine. Loads like this were often towed with the help of a Kettenkrad (tracked motorcycle combination). The bomber in the background is already loaded for its next action over the front.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

ove: An Opel ‘Blitz’ lorry, used also as a refuelling vehicle, here re an Ar 234 В photo-reconnaissance aircraft to the runway, long the first experienced reconnaissance pilots were Horst tz, Erich Sommer and Werner Muffey. Oberleutnant Muffey flew th the Kommando Sperling. His Ar 234 В had the designation ■tKH. It was often fitted with two drop tanks to enlarge its ^rational range in combat.

Below: Refuelling one of the Ar 234s of Kommando Sperling from an Opel truck. These reconnaissance jets became the sole source of up-to-date information about Allied supply lines behind the front. They were also called upon to watch British harbours and monitor hits by the German Vergeltungswaffen, the Vis and V2s, all over southern England, and especially in the London area.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

ft and above: Two views of the wooden mock-up of the camera itallations inside the rear section of the Ar 234’s fuselage. These lOtographs may have belonged to a series of prints sent to the, M before a first prototype jet reconnaissance aircraft was rebuilt
from the Ar 234 V5 (taking off with the aid of a pair of jettisonable wheels, and landing on a sprung skid attachment). A ‘Rustsatz (conversion kit) later became available, comprising two cameras (Rb 50/30 or 75/30).

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: An Ar 234 В of the first Staffel of Femaufklcirungsgruppe 123. This was one of the few jet reconnaissance aircraft that took part in the last retreating action from northern Germany and Denmark to Norway. On 1 May 1945 it was flown from Rendsburg near Kiel to Stavanger, where it was captured by British and Norwegian forces shortly after.

Below: One of the late Ar 234 C prototypes – the V21 – powered by four BMW 003 A-l turbo-jets. This aircraft (WerkNr. 130061, PI+WZ) first took off on 24 November 1944 and was still in action in February 1945. It was mainly used for testing the flight behaviour and performance of the four-engined conversion, until 18 February 1945.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

rve and below: The exterior of the wooden mock-up of the jected Ar 234 C-5, which differed from the series C-3 cabin in iy ways. The main instrument board was now located in front he pilot. The C-5 was a two-seat bomber whose second crew
member could perform the duties of a wireless operator, navigator and bomb aimer. This enabled the pilot to concentrate on his own task, flying the bomber to the assigned target.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

iposite page: Two further •ws into the cockpit of an 234 bomber mock-up. In ier to improve the abilities the two – and four-engined mbers, ever more modern itruments were installed, ch as the FuG 101, a very act altimeter for precise v-level attacks. A rear irning system, improved mb sight and fixed •ward firing armament ;re also proposed.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945ght and below: Constant :empts were made to iprove the range of vision a second crew member, ting not far behind the lot in the Ar 234 C’s ckpit. The radar stallation is near the bulge r the observer, who would iter his compartment from eps at the side of the rward fuselage while the lot took his seat from the her side of the cabin. This rangement differed not uch from the night fighters : the proposed P-series.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: The damaged Ar 234 prototype, which was hit during the American air raid at Wesendorf on 4 April 1945. The aircraft belonged to a new series of prototypes equipped with four BMW 003 engines. The Ar 234 V20 was first flown on 5 November 1944 with Ubbo Janssen at the controls. On 28 March 1945 it was transferred to Warnemiinde and then Wesendorf.

Opposite page, top: This badly damaged Ar 234 C crashed near Bad Worishofen, probably in late April 1945. It is believed that this was one of the C aircraft flown to Bavaria to prevent them falling
into the hands of Allied forces in northern Germany. Others landed at Munich-Riem, and were captured a few days later.

Opposite page, bottom: The Ju 287 VI was the first prototype of a German heavy jet bomber. The lack of more powerful turbo-jets forced Junkers to install four Jumo 004 engines. The prototype was rebuilt from the fuselage of an He 177 and utilised parts from many other aircraft. The landing gear of an American B-24 heavy bomber was used to enable it to begin flight evaluation as quickly as possible.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945
Above: A front view of the first Ju 287 prototype. It was flown for eggs’) fixed under the wing nacelles and one of the forward turbo-

the first time on 8 August 1944, propelled by four Jumo 004 В jet engines. This huge jet bomber had a top speed of 370 km/h. The

engines and three rocket engines called ‘Krafteier’ (literally ‘power Ju 287 VI was flown by Flugkapitan Siegfried Holzbauer.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Left: Two Ju 287 prototypes were destroyed by German soldiers at Brandis air base. The aircraft in this picture was the second prototype, equipped with double engine nacelles under both wings and single turbo-jets side by side on the forward fuselage. In September

1944 it was ordered that all Jumo 004 В jet engines should be removed and brought to Rechlin, to provide propulsion for Me 262 aircraft being evaluated. In February

1945 both Ju 287 prototypes were blown up.

Below: The unpowered Horten H IX VI was towed to its start position by a heavy truck before its first flight over Gottingen. On 5 March 1944 the prototype was towed by a He 111 up to an altitude of some 4000 m. It was later transported for testing at Oranienburg on 23 March 1944.

Bottom: The H IX V2 taking shape in a hangar at Gottingen in November 1944. The aircraft was fitted with two Jumo 004 В turbo­jets. The first take-off was on 18 December 1944 at Oranienburg with Erwin Ziller at the controls. A few months later the aircraft was captured by advancing American soldiers at Brandis near Leipzig.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: TFie second FF IX was flown for the first time by test-pilot Leutnant Erwin Ziller at Oranienburg air base near the German capital. On 2 February 1945 one of the two Jumo 004 В engines failed. During the emergency landing the H IX V2 crashed, killing Ziller.

Below: There were further proposals to build as many of the improved Gottinger Ausfuhrung (‘Gottingen Variant’) as possible. Now built by the Gothaer Waggonfabrik, it was known as the Go 229 A-l. The third prototype was captured before flying and was brought to the USA after Germany’s unconditional surrender in May 1945. The Go 229 V5 shown here was under construction at Friedrichsroda near Gotha and was scrapped in 1945.

Opposite page, top: The early He 162s, like this one, were constructed by Heinkel Stid in the Vienna region in October 1944. The first of these, the He 162 VI (WerkNr. 200001, VI+IA), had its maiden flight on 6 December 1944. It was followed by more than twenty prototypes until a first series He 162 A-l was ready on 25 March 1945. It was built by the Heinkel works at Marienehe.

Opposite page, bottom: During the first part of the He 162 flight evaluation three pilots crashed. Fhigkapitiin Dipl.-Ing. Gotthold Peter (here in the cockpit) was killed in the first prototype on 10 December 1944. On 4 February 1945 Oberleutnant Wedemeyer’s He 162 M6 was lost, followed by Flugzeugbaumeister Full’s He 162 М2 on 25 February 1945 while testing an enlarged fin section. The Heinkel works also reported other, lesser, damages during the testing phase.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Below: The Erprobungskommando 162 at Ludwigslust. On 1 January 1945 EK 162 was established by the Generalquartiermeister of the Luftwaffe, with the principal aim of allowing Luftwaffe pilots to test the new jet fighter. On 25 February 1945 the OKL ordered it to raise a first operational Gruppe, the I. /Jagdgeschwader 1. The unit was sent to Parchim to take over the first "Volksjager’ in March 1945. The first series He 162 was not available until 1 April 1945.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Right: A front view of one of the new Heinkel jet fighters being delivered to Jagdgeschwader 1 ‘Oesau’ at Ludwigslust. The first Gruppe of JG 1 was stationed there in April 1945 while the second one was due to be based at Garz. Lack of fuel made the jet pilots’ training phase very short and caused further losses. The commanding officer of II./JG 1, Knight’s Cross holder Hauptmann Paul H. Dahne, was killed during a training flight.

Opposite page, bottom: Lined up at Leek in Schleswig-Holstein, the He 162s of Einsatzgruppe Jagdgeschwader 1 await the arrival of British soldiers after news of the unconditional surrender. The explosive loads had been removed from the aircraft the previous night, by the order of the commanding officer Oberstleutnant Herbert Ihlefeld. At that time the entire Jagdgeschwader comprised just two Einsatz – Staffeln.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945



GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Подпись: шит

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Opposite page, top: Another view of the He 162s at Leek. During the last days of the War little flight action had been reported. A few pilots had been ordered to shoot down British piston fighter-bombers over the Flensburg – Heide-Schleswig region since 25 April 1945. They were also ordered to intercept DH Mosquitos which operated over northern Germany.

Left: A few days earlier, Leutnant R. Schmitt had damaged an RAF fighter in action; now the Luftwaffe officers looked back on a lost war and contemplated new professions. Here in front of their former fighters are (left to right) Major Zober, Oberleutnant Demuth and Hauptmann Kiinnecke.

Above: This He Д62 A-2 was one of those handed over to the RAF for flight evaluation. Two of the ‘Volksjdger’ could be transported without wings and fin sections on captured Reichsbahn twin-bogie flatcars. The Geschwader, Gruppe and Staff el emblems have been painted on the side of this aircraft’s fuselage.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945Above: In 1944 Allied air raids made it necessary to disperse all major aircraft factories across the country. Key industries were also moved into the natural or artificial caverns of former mining companies. At Modling, near Vienna, an underground factory called ‘Languste’ had been established in this way. He 162 fuselages and wings could be transported on little trolleys through this narrow drift.

Left: A view into the underground production site at Modling. Slave labourers had to construct wooden spare parts for the ‘Volksjager’ programme on these wooden working tables. After German forces retreated the underground factory was destroyed by its own personnel. Most of the assembled He 162s were flown to Linz and then to Memmingen.

Opposite page: A couple of these training systems were constructed to teach ‘Volksjager’ pilots to handle the propulsion, since they were familiar only with the flight behaviour of piston engines. The static training rig presented the main instruments of the He 162 A aircraft and the BMW 003 turbo-jet. A glider conversion of the ‘Volksjager’, without propulsion, was proposed for actual flight training.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Above: Members of the ground crew of Jagdgeschwader 1 work on an early He 162 A-2 jet fighter on 15 May 1945. Under Oberleutnant Wolfgang Wollenweber’s supervision the men prepare the jet fighter carrying a ‘White 3’, still armed with two 20 mm guns, for future flight training of RAF pilots. At that time most of the crews were in a camp near Schmorholm, from which most of the former JG 1 officers were discharged early in July 1945.

Below: Most of the airworthy He 162s like this one were captured by British ground forces at Leek; some others were found by American soldiers in the Kassel region and at Munich-Riem. Soviet troops also found several aircraft in central Germany, where the He 162 was constructed by Heinkel, Junkers and the Mittelwerke.

GERMAN JETS, 1944-1945

Technological Developments

By the mid-i930s many air power advocates believed that aerial technology had finally begun to catch up to air power theory. The outdated Keystone в-4, a two-engine, fabric-covered biplane that served as the Army’s primary bomber when the decade began, gave way to all-metal monoplanes, the Boeing в-9 and Martin b-io. The open-cockpit в-9 could fly at 186 miles per hour at six thou­sand feet, which made it 60 miles per hour faster than any cur­rent Air Corps bomber when it first flew in April 1931. At above twenty thousand feet—the estimated maximum range of antiair­craft artillery—it was faster than the Air Corps’ primary fighter aircraft, the P-26! The b-io was faster still, recording a speed of 207 miles per hour at twenty-one thousand feet in 1932, plus it sported internally carried bombs, enclosed crew compartments, and a retractable landing gear.6 Both aircraft had only two en­gines, however, which precluded them from carrying heavy bomb loads for long distances.

To overcome this deficiency, Air Corps Chief Major General Benjamin Foulois submitted a request to aircraft manufacturers for a design capable of flying 2,000 miles with a ton of bombs at a speed of 250 miles per hour. Three companies responded to the request, and one, Boeing, built a four-engine model designed for an eight-man crew. That prototype, the хв-17, could reach 250 miles per hour at fourteen thousand feet, could operate as high as thirty thousand feet, and could carry 2,500 pounds of bombs 2,260 miles or 5,000 pounds for 1,700 miles.7 For airmen it was the manifestation of nirvana. Hap Arnold recalled that the в-17 was “the first real American air power…. Not just brilliant proph­ecies, good coastal defense airplanes, or promising techniques; but, for the first time in history, Air Power that you could put your hands on.”8 The Air Corps wanted to purchase sixty-five B-17S, but the prototype’s crash in October 1935, stemming from locked flight controls—and the War Department’s desire for a bomber better suited for supporting ground troops—limited the order to thirteen. They began arriving at Langley’s Second Bombardment Group in March 1937.

Complementing the в-17 was a device that significantly im­proved bombing accuracy—the Norden bombsight. In October 1931 Air Corps observers witnessed use of the Navy’s new bomb – sight, the Mark XV. Carl L. Norden, a civilian consultant, and Navy Captain Frederick I. Entwistle had developed the device, and in 1932 Foulois requested twenty-five of them for the Air Corps. The main feature of the black metal bombsight was a gyro – stabilized, motor-driven telescope. The bombardier looked through it during the bomb run, after having inserted the wind speed, al­titude, and bomb ballistics information into the bombsight. Its primitive computer updated the aircraft’s speed over the ground, which enabled the bombardier to control lateral aircraft move­ments via an autopilot. Meanwhile, he synchronized the telescope’s vertical and horizontal crosshairs on the target. If he had inserted the proper data and aligned the crosshairs over the proper spot, the bombsight would identify the correct point to release bombs and drop them automatically. Under ideal conditions at twenty – one thousand feet, he might place one bomb out of all those that he dropped into a hundred-foot-diameter circle surrounding the center of the target, although conditions in combat would rarely be ideal. Still, the Norden bombsight dramatically increased the possibility that an air offensive could sever the strands of an in­dustrial web. In 1933 the Air Corps ordered seventy-eight more of the devices, and by the late 1930s the Tactical School had its stu­dents estimating the number of Norden-equipped bombers needed to destroy particular targets. The bomber type used in those ex­ercises was the в-17.9

Fire from the Sky

Japan, 1944-45

Results of incendiary attacks have been tremendous. The first areas assigned were select­ed on the basis of a compromise between industrial importance and susceptibility to fire. With a greater respect we now have for our fire-making ability and the greater weight that we are able to lay down, these new areas which have just been sent to you repre­sent more nearly the top industrial areas. They also appear to be most susceptible to fire attack, but they do not represent any compromise.


I am influenced by the conviction that the present stage of development of the air war against Japan presents the aaf for the first time with the opportunity of proving the pow­er of the strategic air arm.


Night of 9-10 March 1945

As midnight on 9 March passed into the wee hours of the next day, Major General Curtis LeMay could not sleep. Instead, he paced back and forth through the Quonset hut that served as the oper­ations control room of Headquarters XXI Bomber Command on Guam, nervously smoking his trademark cigars. The thirty-eight – year-old LeMay had reason to be anxious. That afternoon he had watched 54 в-29 “Superfortresses” take off from Guam for To­kyo, to be joined by 110 B-29S from Tinian, and another 161 from Saipan.1 As the Commander of XXI Bomber Command in Twen­tieth Air Force, LeMay had ordered the raid, and every aspect of it contradicted the fundamental tenets guiding the American ap­proach to strategic bombing: the heavy bombers would attack at night, without any defensive armament, at extremely low al­titudes between 4,900 and 9,200 feet, and they would target the most densely populated part of the world’s most populous city with an enormous amount of incendiary bombs.

About an hour before the first bombing results were to arrive, Lieutenant Colonel St. Clair McKelway, the public relations offi­cer of XXI Bomber Command, wandered into the Quonset hut. LeMay had given McKelway notice of the raid only a few days before and, in fact, had not notified General “Hap” Arnold, the Commander of Twentieth Air Force as well as Commanding Gen­eral of the Army Air Forces, until less than thirty-six hours before the attack.2 LeMay grimaced at McKelway through cigar-clenched teeth, which was actually his way of smiling—an attack of Bell’s palsy years earlier had frozen the corners of his mouth so that he could not raise them. After rhetorically asking McKelway why he was still awake, the man who had found the Rex in the At­lantic, designed the Eighth Air Force’s formation tactics, and led the grueling August 1943 mission against Regensburg, admitted: “I’m sweating this one out myself. A lot could go wrong.” Yet LeMay also believed that his new approach would pay dividends that made the risks worthwhile. “If this raid works out the way I think it will,” he told McKelway, “we can shorten this war. .. . I think we’ve figured out a punch he’s not expecting this time. I don’t think he’s got the right flak to combat this kind of raid and I don’t think he can keep his cities from being burned down— being wiped right off the map…. I never think anything is going to work until I’ve seen the pictures after the raid, but if this one works we will shorten this damned war out here.”3

LeMay’s progressive desire to end the Pacific War quickly and decisively with air power mirrored that displayed in Europe by Tooey Spaatz. Like Spaatz’s 3 February attack on Berlin, LeMay’s raid a month later against Tokyo was an attempt to speed the end of the war by obliterating the center of the enemy’s capital city.

The progressive notion that bombing would limit enemy civilian casualties had faded after more than three years of war; “pro­gressive” now meant hastening the war’s end and saving Ameri­can lives in the process. LeMay still believed that the precise de­struction of the key elements of enemy industrial power would end the war more quickly—and inexpensively in terms of Ameri­can lives lost—than any other approach. “If you don’t destroy the Japanese industry, you’re going to have to invade Japan,” he re­flected. “And how many Americans will be killed in an invasion of Japan?”4 Unlike Germany, though, targeting Japan’s industry posed a much different problem. Japanese cities contained few factories set apart from residential districts. Instead, a multitude of “cottage industries,” each employing fewer than 250 work­ers, spread throughout most urban areas. Despite this blending, Army Air Forces planners divided Japan’s largest cities into sep­arate zones that they thought contained the most factories, the most residences, and the most commercial enterprises.

In Tokyo, the city’s most densely populated residential district, not its primary industrial area, was the target for the B-29S on the night of 9 March. That guidance came from Brigadier General Lauris Norstad, who served from the Pentagon as the Twentieth Air Force’s Chief of Staff.5 Arnold had vetoed Norstad’s plan to firebomb Tokyo’s Imperial Palace on 8 December 1944 as retribu­tion for Pearl Harbor, though he disagreed more with the choice of target and its political ramifications than with the desire to bomb Japanese urban areas intensively. Since Arnold’s heart at­tack on 17 January, and his subsequent recuperation in Florida, much of the real power driving Twentieth Air Force operations now came from Norstad. When Arnold’s impatience with poor bombing results had led him to relieve LeMay’s predecessor, Brig­adier General “Possum” Hansell, from command in early January, he had sent Norstad to Guam to convey the news. On the night of 9 March Norstad was on Guam once again, asleep in LeMay’s quarters after having arrived from Washington DC that morning. LeMay viewed the visit as a threat since his own bombing had thus far produced results mirroring Hansell’s.6 “There are plenty of wolves around who were looking for the job—Norstad one of them,” LeMay recalled.7 In the meantime, Norstad and Arnold had called for a “maximum effort” against Japan, and LeMay planned to provide it. He would attack the target that he had re­ceived with as much strength as he could muster, although, as he informed Norstad, he would continue “working on several very radical methods of employment of the force.”8

Many of LeMay’s crews—who had regularly flown high altitude, daylight missions—were dumbfounded upon learning of his “rad­ical” tactics at their pre-mission briefing on 9 March, but as they began arriving over Tokyo shortly after midnight, Japanese time, they gained an appreciation for his approach.9 For the next three hours the 279 B-29S reaching their target dropped 1,665 tons °f incendiaries on a city constructed largely out of wood.10 The crews at the end of the two-hundred-mile-long bomber stream beheld an awesome sight—from more than one hundred miles away, the ho­rizon glowed a bright yellow. The B-29S razed sixteen square miles of Tokyo, including the area of the greatest population density, and, with the help of 30 mph winds, created a firestorm so intense that glass melted and water boiled from temperatures in excess of five hundred degrees.11 At least eighty-three thousand people died and more than one million survivors lost their homes.12 Sev­eral crewmen reported the smell of charred flesh in the cabin; the assault remains the world’s most devastating air attack.

Yet the comparative cost of rendering such massive destruction was much less than many airmen had feared. While LeMay had dismissed the negligible Japanese night fighter force, his antiair­craft experts and several squadron commanders had estimated that low altitudes might result in the loss of 70 percent of his bombers to flak.13 LeMay disagreed, contending that the heaviest amount of Japanese antiaircraft artillery was the high altitude variety, and that the remainder was ill-suited for aircraft flying between five thousand and ten thousand feet. His instincts proved correct, and flak claimed only two B-29S, with another twelve lost to reasons other than enemy defenses.14

LeMay and McKelway received initial word of the attack’s progress via radio from Brigadier General Thomas Power, the 314th Wing Commander, who orbited Tokyo at twenty thousand feet and colored in areas of a city map as fire consumed them. LeMay, his staff, and Norstad met Power at his aircraft and com­plimented him upon his return to Guam, but LeMay waited for more definitive results from в-29 photoreconnaissance aircraft dispatched to Tokyo on 10 March before proclaiming success. When the post-strike photographs arrived, LeMay and Norstad reviewed them and confirmed the enormity of the destruction that the B-29S had inflicted.

LeMay then issued a press release exemplifying his conviction that air power was the key to a rapid defeat of Japan: “I believe that all those under my command on these island bases have by their participation in this single operation shortened this war…. They are fighting for a quicker end to this war and will continue to fight for a quicker end to it with all the brains and strength they have.”15 Norstad added his praises as well. “After study of post at­tack photographs, it is very apparent that this last operation was most successful,” he wired Arnold. “The results far exceed my optimistic expectations.”16 Arnold notified LeMay: “I am excep­tionally well pleased with the March Ninth attack upon Tokyo. This mission, flown under the most difficult operating conditions, proves again the courage and efficiency of your command.”17

The great raid against Tokyo set the pattern for the next week of bombing, with the emphasis on incinerating the main residen­tial areas of Japan’s four largest cities. Coming on the heels of the Eighth Air Force’s pounding of Berlin and Dresden, LeMay’s at­tacks resembled Spaatz’s in terms of fury and destructiveness. They also demonstrated a willingness to target civilians directly rather than relying on the complementary pain caused by targeting nearby government offices (Berlin) or rail yards (Dresden). Norstad noted that in the Japanese case, the target “areas assigned were selected on the basis of a compromise between industrial importance and susceptibility to fire.”18 He would later provide LeMay with targets that stressed industrial production, yet for now, Norstad thought that destroying urban areas would wreck Japan’s will to fight and produce victory in the shortest amount of time.

While the revenge motive missing from the European war might have contributed to the targeting shift, the main reason for it was the same one that had led Spaatz to demolish the center of Ber­lin—the desire for a rapid end to the war.19 Despite their “preci­sion bombing” rhetoric, air commanders did not aim the Tokyo raid and those that followed in its immediate aftermath at Japa­nese industry. Their intent was to kill people and destroy homes, which would indirectly affect industrial production—an argu­ment that stood one of the chief bombing tenets of Maxwell Field’s Air Corps Tactical School on its head. Air commanders believed that the attacks would demonstrate to Japanese leaders that they could not stop the urban annihilation and cause them to end a futile conflict. If they failed to yield, the devastation would con­tinue unabated until bombing wrecked any remaining capacity to resist. Either way, air commanders surmised, air power prom­ised to save American lives.

To guarantee that promise, though, air chiefs had to produce rapid success—and produce it quickly enough to prevent the in­vasion of Japan. “The factor of time was taking on a new insis­tence,” Hansell reflected. “The invasion of the Japanese home is­lands—whose necessity had become an obsession with the Army planners—had been agreed upon. If air power was to end the war without a massive bloodletting on the ground, its applica­tion could not be delayed.”20 Victory via bombing would not only save American lives, it would also go a long way toward vindi­cating the quest of Army Air Forces leaders to make their orga­nization an independent service. The emphasis on speed, when combined with the overarching goal of unconditional surrender, would again produce enormous suffering for those on the receiv­ing end of American air power.

Still, the prewar progressive belief endured that destroying key elements of production would collapse the dominos connecting the enemy’s war effort. While targeting Japan’s densely populated districts, air leaders never abandoned their conviction that the precise destruction of industry would yield the quickest, most in­expensive path to success. McKelway referred to the Tokyo raid as “pin-point incendiary bombing from a low level, designed not simply to start fires or destroy a single factory but to start one great conflagration whose fury would double and redouble the destructive force of the bombs.”21 LeMay continued to stress the damage to industry even though Tokyo and the four raids that followed primarily targeted residential districts. Indeed, the tar­get description given to crews on 9 March referred to the “Tokyo Urban Industrial Area” and highlighted that the average popu­lation density of 103,000 people per square mile was “an aver­age probably not exceeded in any other modern industrial city in the world.”22

Army Opposition

The Air Corps’ emphasis on the bomber’s independent mission continued despite the Army’s growing opposition to it. In the early 1930s, the Air Corps received some promising signals that the Army might support long range bomber operations. In 1931 Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur obtained from his naval counterpart, Admiral William V. Pratt, an agreement that the Air Corps would conduct the air defense of the United States and its possessions. Two years later, following Lieutenant Colo­nel Hap Arnold’s nonstop flight of five b-ios from Alaska to Se­attle, the War Department endorsed an Air Corps request for a bomber with a five-thousand-mile range, two-hundred-mile-per – hour speed, and two-thousand-pound bomb load that could take off from American soil to defend Hawaii, Alaska, and Panama.10 In 1936 the War Department also approved a request for a bomber with an eight-thousand-mile range.11

The War Department’s failure to sanction the в-17, however, indicated that the Army’s fundamental view of air power had changed little from the Mitchell era. The Air Corps received a har­binger of Army sentiments in late December 1934, when Brigadier General Charles Kilbourne, chief of the General Staff’s War Plans Division, sent a proposed Air Corps doctrinal manual to General

Foulois. Drafted by General Staff officers, the manual stated that success on the battlefield was the decisive factor in war and chal­lenged the notion that air power could win an independent vic­tory. “The effectiveness of aviation to break the will of a well – organized nation is claimed by some,” the manual observed, “but this has never been demonstrated and is not accepted by mem­bers of the armed services of our nation. So far, well-organized na­tions have surrendered only when occupied by the enemy’s army or when such occupation could no longer be opposed.”12

Foulois sent the document to Maxwell for comment by the Tac­tical School. Its faculty responded that the proposed doctrine was neither “reasonable” nor “progressive,” and returned aphorisms of industrial web theory to the War Department.13 Most General Staff officers dismissed such maxims, but when word reached them in 1936 that the school advocated strategic bombing free from ground commanders’ control, an Army team came to Maxwell to investigate. Led by Brigadier General Lesley J. McNair, the offi­cers received detailed briefings from Harold George, Larry Kuter, and other instructors on the Tactical School approach to proper bomber employment. McNair concluded that the presentations went far beyond the scope of instruction at other Army schools but refused to revamp Maxwell’s curriculum.14

Rather than trying to curb the airmen’s desire for independent operations, War Department officers restricted the airmen’s ca­pability to conduct missions other than Army support. Between October 1935 and June 1939, the Air Corps requested 206 B-17S. Only 14—one more than the original number approved by the War Department in 1935—were in service when Hitler’s Ger­many attacked Poland on 1 September 1939.13 Major General Hugh Drum, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff in 1934, reflected the views of many Army senior officers by stating that he saw no reason why an airplane’s range should exceed “three days’ march by the Infantry.”16 Drum’s successor, Major General Stanley D. Embick, was even more vocal in his opposition to heavy bombers such as the в-17. Together with his like-minded Assistant Chief of Staff, Brigadier General George R. Spaulding, Embick in October 1937 persuaded Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring to prohibit further procurement of four-engine bombers. Spaulding decreed that the Army would purchase only equipment that supported a current Army mission, and the в-17—which could be used defen­sively against a naval force, or offensively against an enemy’s vital centers—did not fit that criterion. He dubbed the proposed eight – thousand-mile-range bomber “a weapon of aggression.”17

Preparations for an Air Campaign

Much like the European air war, the shift away from precision bombing against Japan resulted more from happenstance than de­sign. Despite Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall’s No­vember 1941 warning that Americans would “fight mercilessly” in the event of war, and that B-17S from the Philippines would “be dispatched immediately to set the paper cities of Japan on fire,” Marshall intended his admonition to deter Japanese mili­tary activity rather than to provide a blueprint for American ac­tions.25 The United States had only thirty-five B-17S on the Phil­ippines when Japan attacked on 8 December, and by March 1942 had fewer than thirty “Flying Fortresses” in Australia.24 The dra­matic raid by Lieutenant Colonel “Jimmy” Doolittle’s sixteen b – 25s, launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet on r 8 April 1942, was an effort to bomb specific industrial and military targets in Tokyo even though most of the bombs fell on residential areas. Hap Arnold and his Army Air Forces commanders intended to conduct a sustained, high altitude, daylight, precision bombing campaign against Japanese industries once they could place a sub­stantial bomber force within range of Japan’s home islands. The guiding strategy for a bomber offensive, Arnold insisted, would be the “destruction of Japanese factories in order to cripple pro­duction of munitions and essential articles for maintenance of eco­nomic structure in Japan.”25 Yet Arnold and his cohorts had lit­tle information on the nature of the Japanese industrial complex and its key components.

To fill that void, in March 1943 Arnold asked the Committee of Operations Analysts (coa) to identify the appropriate targets for an air campaign against Japan that “would knock [it] out of the war.”26 The coa, composed of civilian “experts” that included bankers and economists, as well as Army Air Forces officers, had directed their previous efforts to dissecting the key war-making components of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. The committee mem­bers began their examination of Japan in similar fashion by listing industrial linchpins that, if destroyed, would negate Japan’s capa­bility to fight. By November, they determined that steel was a key strategic target, and noted that the destruction of six coke plants, essential to the production of steel, would “cause a reduction of 30 percent of total Japanese steel capacity for several months un­til new sources of fuel could be found.” Moreover, “the immedi­ate effects upon the industrial process would be substantial. . . . It is believed that Japan’s power to wage war effectively would be gravely impaired probably within six months and certainly within one year after the destruction had occurred.”27

Steel was one of the six most important strategic targets iden­tified by the coa; others included merchant shipping, aircraft fac­tories, ball bearing plants, radar and radio facilities, and urban industrial areas. The coa did not stress one set of targets over the other, and the inclusion of “urban industrial areas” recognized the important contribution made by cottage industries to Japan’s war production—as well as the susceptibility of those areas to fire. “Japanese war production (aside from heavy industry) is pe­culiarly vulnerable to incendiary attack of urban areas because of the widespread practice of subcontracting to small handicraft and domestic establishments,” the coa report stated. “Many small houses in Japan are not merely places of residence, but workshops contributing to the production of war materials.”28 The coa rec­ommended attacks against urban industrial targets between De­cember and May to take advantage of probable weather condi­tions such as high winds that would maximize the damage from firebombs. The analysts also noted that striking many urban ar­eas simultaneously might “overwhelm the relief and repair facil­ities of the country as a whole.”29

At first glance, the coa recommendation of “urban industrial areas” as targets appeared inconsistent with the notions of strate­gic bombing that had guided America’s initial planning for World War II air campaigns. Both awpd-i, developed before the United States entered the war, and AWPD-42, designed soon after the Eighth Air Force had begun bombing Hitler’s Europe, stressed precision attacks against key centers of production to wreck Axis war-mak­ing capability. Army Air Forces planners intended those raids to achieve rapid, efficient results once the bomber force received the desired number of aircraft, crews, and logistical support. Japan’s industrial pattern, though, did not match Germany’s, and both awpd-i and AWPD-42 focused on the European war. The coa de­termined that Japan’s cottage factories were an important part of its industrial complex, and the only way to attack that compo­nent successfully would be through area bombing, awpd-i had not completely dismissed area attacks, and in fact had stated that such raids might occur late in the European war when German morale reached the breaking point.

By the time of the coa report on Japan, Ira Eaker’s Eighth Air Force—with Hap Arnold’s blessing—had begun using radar to area bomb German cities in attacks ostensibly aimed at industrial targets but actually designed to break German morale. In the case of Japan, the primary purpose of the coA-recommended attacks would be to wreck industry, although the raids would also kill large numbers of civilians. If the bombing worked as intended, it would provide the most efficient means possible to eliminate a key element of Japan’s production capability.

While the coa tried to identify Japanese targets, Brigadier Gen­eral Orvil Anderson, the chief of the planning section of Arnold’s air staff, asked the intelligence branch to investigate how the Army Air Forces might best attack them with incendiary bombs. The subsequent October 1943 report compared German cities to those in Japan, observing that Japanese cities were more congested than their German counterparts and that Japanese residences were much more flammable. Combustible material in residential construction could serve as “kindling” for attacks that would also destroy fac­tories and other necessities of war. The report created three cate­gories of vulnerability that applied to Japan’s twenty major cities:

Zone I—Most Vulnerable Zone, the commercial center of the in­ner city containing the most residential congestion, greatest mix of residences and cottage industries, and an average population density of ninety thousand people per square mile; Zone II—Less Vulnerable Zone, less congested residential areas containing port facilities, rail yards, warehouses and some completely industrial areas with a population density of fifty-four thousand people per square mile; and Zone III—Non-Incendiary Zone, the suburban residential, park, and completely industrial areas, containing fac­tories vulnerable to incendiaries but with fire-resistant business districts and low population density.30

aaf intelligence officers also estimated how many tons of bombs were required to destroy the two incendiary zones. They calcu­lated that six tons of incendiaries per square mile would suffice to destroy Zone I completely, while the total destruction of Zone II would require ten tons per square mile. They did not consider Zone I more important than Zone II, because Zone II contained more factories that would affect war production. Zone I, though, contained more people, and its destruction would produce a sig­nificant indirect effect on Japan’s war effort by killing and dislo­cating its work force.31 The recommended instrument of destruc­tion was the м-69 incendiary bomb, a 6.2-pound gasoline gel device tested against simulated German and Japanese residences at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, between May and Septem­ber 1943.32

Despite the attention given Japan’s “Urban Industrial Areas” as potential targets in late 1943, they were only one of many possible target categories, and the emphasis remained on precision bomb­ing with that marvel of air power technology created by Ameri­can engineering prowess, the в-29 “Superfortress.” The в-29 was the war’s most expensive weapon system at $3 billion, compared to the next costliest arms project, the $2.2 billion atomic bomb.

The Superfortress traced its roots to a 1939 Army Air Corps pro­duction board that had included Charles Lindbergh. Board mem­bers called for a heavy bomber with twice the range of а в-17, while Arnold demanded an aircraft that could attack targets two thousand miles away from its home base. Boeing won the con­tract and took two years to build a prototype, which first flew in September 1942.

The в-29 suffered from production delays and design prob­lems, including four Wright R-3 50 engines prone to overheating, but contained unique features that made it a truly revolutionary design. The bomber sported the world’s first pressurized cabins (it had three—the cockpit, gunners’ compartment, and tail gun­ner’s compartment), enabling its eleven-man crew to fly at alti­tudes in excess of twenty-five thousand feet without having to wear the cold weather gear required by crews on B-17S or B-24S. The high operating altitude made the в-29 difficult for slow-climb­ing Japanese fighters to intercept. It had a top speed of 3 50 miles per hour, and a combat radius of 1,600 miles with twenty thou­sand pounds of bombs (roughly three times the bomb load of a в-17), which allowed it to attack targets in Japan from bases in the Marianas. It further possessed four gun turrets, remotely con­trolled via four General Electric analog computers, containing a total of twelve.50-caliber machine guns, plus a high-velocity 20 mm long-range cannon in the tail.33 awpd-i and AWPD-42 had both envisaged the в-29 for the European war, flying against Ger­many from bases in the United Kingdom and Egypt. The need for a heavy bomber that could fly the vast distances required to bomb Japan, combined with lagging в-29 production and the build-up of B-17S and B-24S in Europe, relegated the Superfortress to the Pacific theater.

There, the в-29 formed the mainstay of the Twentieth Air Force, created in April 1944 and directed from Washington DC, by Flap

Arnold. Arnold later claimed that the genesis for an independent bombing force in the Pacific under his command stemmed from his visit to bases in the region in autumn 1942.. “There was noth­ing else I could do, with no unity of command in the Pacific,” he contended. “It was something that I did not want to do.”34 That admission rang hollow, however. Arnold had no intention of al­lowing Army generals and Navy admirals to direct his high-priced bombers as auxiliary support for surface forces and divert them from their primary mission of destroying Japan’s vital centers.

The prospects for the B-29S to accomplish that independent goal received a substantial boost in late 1943 at the Sextant Con­ference of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. At this Cairo gathering, the Combined Chiefs approved the “Overall Plan for the Defeat of Japan,” which outlined grand strategy for the conclusion of the Pacific War. The document noted “the possibility that the inva­sion of the principal Japanese Islands may not be necessary and the defeat of Japan may be accomplished by sea and air block­ade and intensive air bombardment from progressively advanced bases.” Planning for a possible invasion would continue “if this should prove necessary.”35 Arnold was determined that it would not be. After several discussions with his Joint Chief counterparts— including a session with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Ernest J. King, in which Possum Hansell argued for an independent в-29 force36—the Joint Chiefs sanctioned the Twentieth Air Force. The new air force would operate directly under the Joint Chiefs with Arnold serving as “executive agent” to implement their di­rectives. In actuality, the Army Air Forces Commanding General had secured control over his prized B-29S with minimum oversight, and had gained for himself his first ever combat command.

While he received limited interference from the Joint Chiefs in directing Twentieth Air Force, Arnold did have to contend with one higher authority—Franklin Roosevelt. In February 1943, the president proclaimed his progressive hope that air power might provide a relatively inexpensive victory in the Pacific. He called for the bombing of Japan to begin soon to prevent an American advance “inch by inch, island by island” that “would take about fifty years before we got to Japan.”37 Arnold promised that B-29S would begin bombing from China no later than March 1944, but that deadline did not satisfy Roosevelt. On 15 October 1943 the president wrote Marshall that he was “pretty thoroughly dis­gusted with the India-China matters. The last straw was the re­port from Arnold that he could not get the B-29S operating out of China until March or April next year.”38 Roosevelt contin­ued to press for an air campaign against Japan from China that he thought would bolster the Chinese war effort. At the Sextant Conference in late November, the president formally committed American support to Chiang Kai-shek and his Chinese army, and the impetus for а в-29 campaign from Chinese bases increased. However, production delays and logistical difficulties shifted the new proposed start date for bombing to 1 May 1944.

Arnold was desperate to fulfill Roosevelt’s wishes, not just be­cause they came from the president but also because he believed that the в-29 could make the decisive contribution to ending the Pacific War. His preference was to begin bombing from the Mari­anas once the Navy and Marines secured those islands. Roosevelt, though, had promised Chiang that American bombers would soon head his way. Until the capture of the Marianas, China offered the only friendly location from which B-29S could attack Japan—and even then, they had the range to strike only Kyushu, the south­ernmost main island.

When Arnold briefed Roosevelt in February 1944 on “Opera­tion Matterhorn,” the projected в-29 assault on Japan from China, as well as on his plans to bomb from the Marianas, he noted that Japanese cities were especially vulnerable to fire. Yet he also re­marked that he aimed to do more than simply create “uncontrol­lable conflagrations in each of them.” “Urban areas are profitable targets,” he observed, “not only because they are congested, but because they contain numerous war industries.”39 Roosevelt ap­proved Arnold’s plan, as well as the provision that would make the Army Air Forces leader the Twentieth Air Force Commander.40 The president’s action heightened the increasing momentum to get the Superfortress into combat—and to obtain rapid results with it once it finally began operations. But as with the European war, the desire for fast results would ultimately overcome the progres­sive desire to minimize casualties among enemy civilians. From the perspective of those on the ground, a quick victory did not necessarily equate to fewer lives lost.

Despite Arnold’s zeal to begin bombing, numerous difficulties delayed the start of “Matterhorn.” Mass production of B-29S had finally begun in autumn 1943, yet deliveries occurred slowly, and many of the new bombers suffered from problems because of con­stant design changes. Only sixteen of the ninety-seven B-29S pro­duced in January 1944 were flyable.41 To remedy the situation, Arnold created an array of “production modification centers” in central Kansas where design updates occurred en masse to the newly produced bombers; Boeing provided six hundred mechan­ics to assist. Once the B-29S received the necessary modifications to make them operational, their combat crews arrived and flew them to India—where they faced a new set of challenges to pre­pare them for their missions against Japan.

Andrews’s Advocacy with ghq Air Force

Brigadier General Frank Andrews, the newly minted commander of the ghq Air Force, had no intention of allowing the attitude of Embick and Spaulding to prevail. Handsome, athletic, and artic­ulate, Andrews graduated from West Point in 1906, served in the cavalry for eleven years before transferring to the Air Service, and directed the Air Service’s postwar European contingent for his fa- ther-in-law, General Henry Allen, who commanded American oc­cupation troops in Germany. The Allen connection gave Andrews an inside track into Washington DC social circles, and he used it to further his advocacy of an independent air force. After com­pleting the Air Corps Tactical School in 1928, he served in Wash­ington dc as Air Corps Chief of Training and Operations, where he befriended Florida Congressman Mark Wilcox, a fellow sup­porter of air force autonomy. Andrews then attended the Army War College and commanded the First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan. While at Selfridge he was a ghostwriter for Wil­cox, producing a pro-air power op-ed for the congressman that appeared in the Washington Star. n In 1934 Andrews returned to Washington DC to help draft plans for the ghq Air Force. Douglas MacArthur liked his work and selected him to command the new force that would contain all of the Air Corps’ combat aircraft— with a jump in grade from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general. General Drum concurred with the appointment. Ironically, he de­scribed Andrews as an efficient flyer who “has been in harmony with all the War Department has been trying to do.”19

In many respects, Andrews’s fight for air force autonomy par­alleled Billy Mitchell’s. Andrews had not been in Mitchell’s inner circle, but after Mitchell left the service Andrews became one of his closest confidants.20 Both men believed that the bomber was the key to obtaining service independence, and both jumped the chain of command and appealed directly to the public to secure a bomber-oriented air force. Andrews was perhaps the more re­strained of the two. Initially, he refused to proclaim his ideas too loudly, and he also developed contacts who helped him convey his message. In December 1936 he told General Embick that the heavy bombers under development were for defensive purposes only and that it was “utterly absurd to consider them as anything else.”21 One month later he provided Army Chief of Staff Gen­eral Malin Craig with a poker-faced endorsement of Representa­tive Wilcox’s bill advocating an autonomous air force—when in fact Andrews had drafted the proposal himself.22

The ghq Air Force Commander possessed ties to the govern­ment’s executive branch as well as its legislative. In late 1937 An­drews sent copies of confidential Navy reports complimenting в-17 bombing accuracy to Colonel Edwin M. “Pa” Watson, military aide to President Franklin Roosevelt. Andrews pleaded to Watson for additional B-17S, noting that the two engine b-i8s lacked suf­ficient range for coast defense.23 Ultimately, Andrews’s zeal for the в-17 resulted in a Mitchell-like banishment to an obscure Texas assignment. But unlike Mitchell, Andrews found support for his beliefs from among the Army hierarchy, and that backing rekin­dled his air power crusade.

Shortly after taking charge of the ghq Air Force at Langley

Field, Virginia, Andrews told his staff that unified Air Corps ac­tion was essential to convince the public that his new organiza­tion was viable; he desired “publicity that can’t be beat.”24 The creation of the ghq Air Force severed the Air Corps into two dis­tinctive units, with reduced authority for each air commander. The Chief of the Air Corps was now responsible only for supply and procurement, and developing doctrine. Meanwhile, Andrews reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff (or the theater com­mander in time of war), commanded all Air Corps combat air­craft in the United States, and assumed responsibility for training his forces. Those forces consisted of three wings: the First, com­manded by Brigadier General Hap Arnold at March Field, Cali­fornia; the Second, commanded by Brigadier General Conger Pratt at Langley; and the Third, commanded by Colonel Gerald Bryant at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Each wing contained a mixture of bomber, fighter, and ground attack aircraft; observation units re­mained assigned to ground commanders.

Yet establishing a new command did not mean that it possessed its full complement of airplanes. The authorized strength of ghq Air Force was 980 aircraft, but Andrews complained to newsman Lowell Thomas in a 1936 national radio broadcast that his com­mand had only 350 combat airplanes, of which 190 were obsolete. The aircraft that Andrews desperately wanted were в-17s. After the crash of the хв-17 prototype in October 1935, he persuaded Brigadier General Augustine W. Robins, Chief of the Army’s Ma­terial Division, and Major General Oscar Westover, Chief of the Air Corps, to secure War Department approval to buy thirteen B-17S on an experimental basis. Andrews viewed the в-17 as the epitome of American air power, and on radio he voiced views on bomber invincibility that parroted those of the Tactical School. “I do not believe that air attacks can be stopped by any means known,” he told an nbc audience in May 1937. “The best defense is a strong offense. We must have an air force capable of going out and meeting an enemy before he can get under way.”25

Like Mitchell, Andrews stressed the bomber’s ability to de­fend America against a seaborne invasion, and he also revealed a progressive mindset regarding the bomber’s capacity to trans­form war. “The four-engined bombardment airplane, as a coast defense weapon, is one of the greatest steps forward in our air­plane development in recent years,” he told Air Corps Tactical School students in September 1937.26 One month later at the Army War College, he elaborated on how air power could best accomplish coast defense—by attacking the enemy “as far from our shores as we can reach him.” Only bombers such as the в-17 could accomplish that goal. “Bombardment aviation is, and will always be, the principal force employed in independent air opera­tions,” he remarked. “The measure of air power of a nation is re­ally that of its bombardment. It is the striking arm—the arm with punch.” Andrews then noted that the application of air power “was a new and entirely different mode of warfare” that sought the same objective as land or sea power—“the destruction of the enemy’s will to fight.” Given his audience, he avoided saying that bombers could independently achieve victory by destroying en­emy morale. Instead, Andrews observed that they could attack enemy will directly, without having to tackle austere terrain or enemy surface forces.27

Andrews repeated this mantra to Secretary of War Woodring soon after the start of the new year. He further told Woodring that the Army and Navy “have an important requirement for auxil­iary aviation to complete their combat teams, but… it must be remembered that the airplane is more than just another support­ing weapon.” Andrews called for the development of additional bombers as well as auxiliary aircraft for the Army and Navy. “Bombardment is the basic element of air power,” he insisted.

“Air power is as vital a requirement to the military efficiency of a great nation as land power and sea power, and there is no hope for victory in a war for a nation in which it is lacking.” He con­cluded by observing: “I cannot escape the conviction that the pro­gram I have proposed as a compromise to expediency, instead of being too progressive, is really not progressive enough.”28

Besides preaching the Tactical School’s gospel of air power, An­drews displayed his faith through flying demonstrations. He sent part of his fledgling в-17 force to the West Coast to participate in an August 1937 Army-Navy exercise simulating a seaborne in­vasion of the United States. In it, seven of his bombers success­fully attacked the battleship Utah by flying underneath a thick fog. When Navy umpires complained that the overcast prevented sailors from seeing the в-17s and taking evasive action, the bomb­ers attacked in clear weather at altitudes between eight and eigh­teen thousand feet. They scored hits with 12 percent of the bombs dropped—a higher percentage than Navy aircraft had scored in tests from lower altitudes.29

Andrews also used his bombers to convey political messages. In February 1938 Lieutenant Colonel Robert Olds led six B-17S to Buenos Aires for the inauguration of Argentine President Rob­ert Ortiz. The flight demonstrated America’s resolve to uphold the Monroe Doctrine in light of fascist encroachment in the area. De­spite strong General Staff opposition, Andrews secured the mission by having a journalist friend recommend it to Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson, а в-17 proponent. Afterward, the General Staff reiterated its opposition to further long-distance в-17 flights, and General Craig vetoed a request from the Army commander on Hawaii to fly bombers there from the West Coast.30

Such resistance did not keep Andrews from striking a blow for air power if the opportunity arose, and the Rex intercept in May Г938 was a notable opportunity. The morning after the flight, he received a telephone call from Craig, who told him that future flights over water by the ghq Air Force would not exceed a dis­tance of one hundred miles from land. The spark for Craig’s ac­tion perhaps emanated from Navy Secretary Claude Swanson. The Navy had downplayed the success of Andrews’s bombers in attacking the Utah, and the final report of those maneuvers drafted by Swanson and Secretary of War Woodring discounted the B-i7’s ability to navigate in clouds or accurately bomb a tar­get.31 The Rex intercept portrayed—for the whole world to see— a surface fleet at the mercy of long-range bombers despite das­tardly weather. That vision might cause the American public to question—as had Mitchell seventeen years earlier—the Navy’s viability as a first line of defense. If such logic produced an inde­pendent air force, the sea service could expect to lose not only its foremost mission, but also a large chunk of its budget.

Such rationale might also cause the Army to lose its air support for ground troops. An autonomous air force founded on strate­gic bombing as a war-winning instrument would provide little in­centive to devote money to ground support. Soon after the Rex incident, Secretary Woodring directed that no B-17S in produc­tion would be procured during fiscal year 1940. Instead, the Air Corps would confine its 1940 projections to light, medium, and attack bombers. General Embick barked that “our national pol­icy contemplates preparation for defense, not aggression…. The military superiority of… а в-17 over the two or three smaller planes that could be procured with the same funds remains to be established.”32 Embick asked for a joint Army-Navy board to study the whole issue of heavy bombers and to recommend lim­its “beyond which Army planes should not be developed.”33 In the spring of 1938, with the Great Depression continuing to rav­age America, neither the Navy nor the Army could be complacent about any issue that might affect service budgets. Thus, the im-

petus for Craig’s directive to Andrews may have stemmed solely from within the General Staff.

Bombing from China

The first B-29S began arriving at Indian bases near Kharagpur in April 1944, and from there they would fly east for one thou­sand miles to their advanced airfields at Chengtu, China, the site of four 8,500-foot runways that more than three hundred thou­sand Chinese peasants had constructed by hand. Major General Kenneth “К. B.” Wolfe commanded the force of roughly one hundred Superfortresses, their crews, and support personnel that comprised the XX Bomber Command of Arnold’s Twentieth Air Force. Wolfe, a pilot from Denver and one of the Army Air Forces’ top engineers, had supervised в-29 flight tests and had organized, trained, and led XX Bomber Command from its inception. Still, he never anticipated the logistical nightmare that he would face to get his bombers positioned to raid Japan. To provide the nec­essary fuel and munitions, c-46 cargo aircraft typically carried one thousand pounds of gasoline and three thousand pounds of bombs on resupply missions across the “Flump” of the Himala­yas. B-29S had to shuttle fuel as well, and required seven flights from India to China just to build up the needed gasoline for one flight from Chengtu against Japan.42 As Twentieth Air Force Com­mander, Arnold tried to provide as much assistance as he could from his office half a world away. The stress took its toll, how­ever, and helped trigger his third heart of attack of the war on 10 May. For the next month Possum Hansell, who served from the Pentagon as Twentieth Air Force Chief of Staff, provided Wolfe with guidance while Arnold recuperated.

On 15 June 1944, after a preliminary raid from Indian bases against a Bangkok rail junction, XX Bomber Command finally launched the aptly named “Operation Matterhorn.” The attack against the Yawata Iron and Steel Works on Kyushu revealed that the beginning of the bomber offensive did not mean the end of adversity for the в-29 force. To conserve fuel the Superfortresses attacked at night in a bomber stream flying one behind the other; formation flying in daylight would have burned more gasoline. Ninety-two B-29S departed India for Chengtu; seventy-five made it to China; sixty-eight managed to get airborne for the 1,600- mile flight to attack the Yawata factory; of those, only forty-seven dropped their bombs against it—and most of the bombs missed. Darkness, smoke, and haze combined with inexperienced в-29 radar operators to produce the inaccuracies. Only one bomber fell to enemy defenses, though various malfunctions claimed an­other seven.43

Matterhorn continued, but persistent logistical difficulties and dismal weather caused it to occur in fits and starts. Most attacks occurred against steel production facilities, the only significant targets in range from the Chinese bases. Not until 7 July did XX Bomber Command again bomb Japan, and only fourteen bombers completed the mission. The next major raid did not transpire until 29 July, an attack on coke ovens at the Showa steelworks in An – shan, Manchuria, responsible for a third of Japan’s steel supply.

Arnold was grateful for the positive response that the B-29S raids elicited from the American press and public, especially in the aftermath of the acclaim received by the Army and Navy for the Normandy invasion, but he could not tolerate a feeble effort that produced minimal bombing results.44 He decided to replace Wolfe with an innovative bomber commander from the Euro­pean theater who had a sterling reputation but whom Arnold had never met—the Army Air Forces’ youngest major general, Curtis LeMay. Wolfe possessed an excellent engineering background, yet he lacked combat experience. Arnold wanted a combat leader—an “operator”—and LeMay ably fit the bill. He took control of XX Bomber Command on 29 August. A week later, he participated in a renewed attack against the Showa steelworks at Anshan by ninety-five B-29S that produced significant damage.

LeMay was not impressed by the success and instituted a rig­orous training program for his crews. It included daylight forma­tion tactics similar to those he had devised for Eighth Air Force, with an emphasis on “lead crews” to guide the formations and signal the remaining crews when to drop their ordnance. To as­sure that such “pattern bombing” could occur in all weather con­ditions, both the bombardier and radar operator in the lead air­craft monitored the bomb run so that either could take control of the aircraft depending on the amount of visibility present over the target. By carefully managing his supplies, LeMay increased the frequency and intensity of XX Bomber Command raids. He also increased bombing accuracy. “We are now ten times more efficient than we were in August,” he boasted to Arnold at the end of November.45

Pleased by the results, Arnold wrote Tooey Spaatz in Europe: “With all due respect to Wolfe he did his best, and he did a grand job, but LeMay’s operations make Wolfe’s very amateurish.”46 Ar­nold’s letters to LeMay transitioned from a salutation of “Dear LeMay” on 2.2 September to “Dear Curt” on 17 November.47 A month later, Arnold complimented LeMay for a recent attack on Singapore that placed 41 percent of the bombs within one thou­sand feet of the aiming point. “I follow the work of the XX Bomber Command in far greater detail than you probably think,” Arnold remarked. “The в-29 project is important to me because I am con­vinced that it is vital to the future of the Army Air Lorces.” In a handwritten note at the end of the letter, he added: “Tell all con­cerned how much the good work being done is appreciated.”411

By December 1944, questions of “where” and “how” to ac­complish good work against Japan loomed large. Ten months ear­lier the coa had examined target possibilities for Chengtu-based B-29S, and listed shipping concentrations, coke and steel produc­tion, aircraft factories, radar and radio installations, petroleum facilities, and urban areas. The coa cited seven urban areas in Kyushu, with a total population of 1,182,000, and noted that in raids against them, the “essential public utilities and thousands of small plants, as well as a number of large plants, would be destroyed.”49

In August 1944, though, coa members changed their minds. Based on their examination of attacks against German “urban in­dustrial areas,” they concluded that “the economic consequences of attack upon such areas [in Japan] are not likely to be large.” Acknowledging an inability to estimate the psychological effects of area raids, they pointed to “the successful results achieved in Europe by concentration upon precision target systems,” and rec­ommended that the в-29 force do the same. “Attacks upon ur­ban industrial areas should be postponed until ample forces are available after completing the attack on precision targets,” the coa advised. “The attack should then be concentrated upon the most important industrial areas which are Tokyo, Kobe-Osaka and Nagasaki.”50

Progressive Proponents: Marshall, Arnold, and Roosevelt

The War Department’s efforts to curb Andrews’s emphasis on heavy bombers intensified during 1938, until the combination of three events abruptly halted the trend: the appointment of Brig­adier General George C. Marshall as Chief of the General Staff’s War Plans Division, Hap Arnold’s appointment as Chief of the Air Corps, and President Roosevelt’s growing fear of German aggression.

Unlike many members of the Army’s hierarchy, George Mar­shall was not an opponent of strategic bombing. Andrews would make him an advocate. After assuming his new duties in August, Marshall visited Langley for an update on the ghq Air Force. Although they had never met, Andrews (now a temporary ma­jor general) was not unknown to Marshall, who had once served as chief of staff for Andrews’s father-in-law. In addition, the two shared southern backgrounds—Andrews hailed from Nashville; Marshall had attended Virginia Military Institute—and both men possessed an “old-world” sense of courtesy.14 Andrews told his guest that the в-17 was the essence of his organization, but added that he could not obtain additional bombers. To demonstrate the B-t7’s fundamental importance, he offered to take Marshall on a nine-day inspection of the ghq Air Force and aircraft production facilities. Marshall agreed, and afterward wrote his host: “I want to thank you again more formally and definitely for the splendid trip you gave me, and especially for your personal efforts to make it a pleasant one and highly instructive. I enjoyed every moment of the trip and my association with you, and I really think I acquired a fair picture of military-air activities in general.”15

In October, Marshall replaced Embick as Deputy Chief of Staff and immediately began working to erase his predecessor’s hostil­ity to airmen. Kuter, assigned to the General Staff’s War Plans Di­vision, recalled that Marshall wanted officers assigned to the staff who “were young, aviators, and not molded into standard con­formity by any preceeding [s/c] series of Army schools.”36 He ar­rived at his new job from the Tactical School on 1 July 1939, the day that Marshall became Acting Chief of Staff of the Army. Two months later Marshall became the official Chief of Staff. The Air Corps—and its emphasis on independent air power—finally had a friend in a high place.

Marshall’s march through the Army hierarchy complemented the appointment of Hap Arnold to replace Major General Oscar Westover as Chief of the Air Corps. After Westover died in an airplane crash on 21 September 1938, Craig originally offered Westover’s position to Andrews—provided that he quit promot­ing the в-17. When Andrews refused, the job went to Arnold.37 At­tempting to assuage the growing split between the Air Corps and the ghq Air Force, Westover had taken Arnold from command of the ghq Air Force’s First Wing as a temporary brigadier gen­eral in January 1936 and made him his Assistant Chief of the Air Corps as a permanent brigadier. Arnold, forty-nine, would serve the final ten and a half years of his career in Washington DC and direct what ultimately became—in terms of men and aircraft— the largest military air organization in history. Leading that force would eventually cost him his health. The cherubic face and fre­quent smile that earned Arnold his nickname belied a relentless, often chaotic, energy that made him difficult to work for on the best of days. He commanded by relying on instinct and experi­ence, and possessed a diverse military background on which to base his decisions.

Arnold’s career did not, however, include combat experience. Af­ter graduating from West Point, he learned to fly from the Wright brothers. He twice won the prestigious MacKay Trophy for out­standing feats of airmanship—despite having suffered a severe case of fear of flying that grounded him for four years. During World War I he gained invaluable expertise about the intricacies of American aircraft production—and Washington DC politics— that would serve him well in the next war. His avid backing of Billy Mitchell led to temporary “banishment” at Fort Riley, Kan­sas, where he commanded a squadron and perfected ground sup­port techniques. He then gained experience in supply and main­tenance at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. From Dayton he went to March Field.

Arnold did not attend the Air Corps Tactical School, but as a close friend of Mitchell he absorbed the notion that bombing could win wars by destroying the enemy’s capacity and will to re­sist.!S Arnold, though, was more judicious than Mitchell—or An­drews—in parading the merits of independent air power.39 He was also more pragmatic. While firmly committed to the goal of air force autonomy, Arnold did not want to press forward until all the pieces were in place. He fully appreciated that the Air Corps consisted of more than simply men and airplanes. “The ghq Air Force is as much of a revolutionary step as should be tried at this time,” he told a congressional committee in July 1936. “We can’t at this stage stand on our own two feet.”40 Two years later he still thought that the time for autonomy was not ripe. To avoid an­tagonizing President Roosevelt and the War Department, he sup­ported Secretary Woodring’s limitations on в-17 production. Once rearmament began in 1939, he then shunned “any drastic organi­zational change” that might hinder the process.41

Andrews meanwhile continued his crusade for the в-17, which Army opponents had dubbed “Andrews’s folly.” His inability to increase the bomber force made him despondent. “I have only a few months in this job of mine and I will be glad to get out of it, for as it works out, I carry the responsibility and very little author­ity,” he lamented to Marshall in October 1938. “There is no fu­ture in it, and it is like sitting all of the time on a powder keg.”42 In January 1939, after Secretary Woodring boasted of American air strength, Andrews publicly declared that the United States was a sixth-rate air power. When Andrews’s tenure as ghq Air Force commander expired one month later, Woodring personally ap­proved his assignment to Fort Sam Houston as district air offi­cer.43 Andrews reverted to his permanent rank of colonel and was given an office that included an open latrine—the same office that Mitchell occupied when banished to Fort Sam Houston in 1925.44 Yet the penance proved short-lived. In July, one of Marshall’s first moves as Acting Chief of Staff was to promote Andrews to brig­adier general and make him Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Operations—the first time that an airman became one of the four assistant chiefs on the Army’s General Staff.

Although Marshall’s air power advocacy and Arnold’s air power discretion helped curb the Army’s resistance to a heavy bomber force, the third—and most important—factor that made Andrews’s vision a reality was Roosevelt. The president watched with grow­ing apprehension as Adolf Hitler began rearming Germany and then marched into the Rhineland and Austria; Spain appeared des­tined to fall to fascism; the Japanese had invaded China proper. Despite the isolationist sentiment that still gripped the American public (and Congress) in 1938, Roosevelt saw Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan as direct threats to the United States. The former Assistant Secretary of the Navy was no longer certain that the sea service could protect American shores if war occurred. He realized that air power facilitated much of ongoing fascist aggression, and Andrews’s long-range exhibitions with B-17S had caught his eye as well.4’ On 12 September 1938, as the Czechoslovakian crisis intensified, Roosevelt listened to a radio broadcast of Hitler rant­ing at a Nuremberg party rally. The president was fluent in Ger­man and concluded that war was imminent. He dispatched Works Progress Administration (wpa) director Harry Hopkins on a secret tour of American aircraft factories, telling him that he was “sure then that we were going to get into war and he believed that air power would win it.”46 As the British and French cowered before Hitler at Munich, Hopkins reported that the rate of American air­craft production was almost 2,600 airplanes a year.4 Roosevelt determined that it was not enough.

On 14 November 1938 the president assembled key military and civilian leaders and their assistants, including Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr., Assistant Secretary of War Louis Johnson, Army Chief of Staff Craig, Army Deputy Chief of Staff Marshall, Arnold, and Hopkins in his office for what Ar­nold called “a bolt from the blue”: he wanted an Army Air Corps of 24,000 airplanes, with 10,000 more a year rolling off the as­sembly line and an “all-out” capacity to produce 20,000 a year. Roosevelt stated that a new regiment of field artillery or a new bar­racks in Wyoming or new machine tools in an ordnance arsenal would not scare Hitler one goddamned bit; he wanted airplanes— now—and lots of them! He wanted a large force of Army strike aircraft to protect the Western hemisphere; the Navy should also receive additional airplanes. The president confessed that the iso­lationist Congress would probably approve only 10,000 aircraft, of which 7,500 should be combat airplanes (with half of those being reserves), and the remaining 2,500 serving as trainers. He then outlined a construction scheme that he likely based on in­formation from Hopkins’s travels. Government factories would build one-fifth of the aircraft while commercial factories built the rest. The WPA would construct seven factories, with five of those remaining idle until needed for more expansion. Arnold left the White House believing that the Air Corps had finally “achieved its Magna Carta.”48

In his January 1939 address to Congress, Roosevelt asked for $500 million for defense spending, with $180 million of it to pur­chase three thousand airplanes. Several congressmen had accused the president of creating a “pump-priming” spending program when Assistant Secretary Johnson publicly called for increasing the Air Corps after the 14 November meeting, causing Roosevelt to trim his estimate of an acceptable air expansion. The president maintained that government-owned factories, which would also produce aircraft along with commercial aircraft companies, would provide a yardstick for measuring prices charged by the commer­cial aircraft industry.49

Gradually, though, the stark reality of an impotent American military matched by the darkening situation in Europe eclipsed New Deal limits on military spending. Boeing was geared to pro­duce only thirty-eight B-17S a year to add to the thirteen already in operation, and its production rate typified that of other Amer­ican aircraft manufacturers.50 Roosevelt, however, now privately indicated that he wanted airplanes available to send to Britain and France as well as to boost Air Corps totals. Envisioning an exten­sive growth in aircraft production, Arnold asked companies to prepare for it without giving them firm commitments, and many developed machine tools and prepared contracts. Meanwhile, Eu­rope’s slide toward war continued as German troops gobbled up the remainder of Czechoslovakia in March. One month later Con­gress passed Roosevelt’s appropriations bill. It raised the autho­rized strength of the Air Corps to 5,500 aircraft, 3,203 officers, and 45,000 enlisted men. Although not the increases the president had envisioned in November, they were nevertheless dramatic—the allocated money equaled half as much as the Air Corps received in the proceeding fourteen fiscal years, while officer strength dou­bled and enlisted strength increased by 150 percent.51

The outbreak of war in Europe heightened the prospects that a global struggle might engulf America and caused Air Corps’ plan­ning to shift away from the Japanese threat in the Pacific. On i September 1939—the day that the German attack on Poland com­menced—Lieutenant Colonel Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, chief of the Air Corps’ Planning Division, presented Arnold with an outline for a prospective air campaign against Japan.52 Spaatz maintained that an invasion of the Japanese home islands would be imprac­tical and unnecessary, while a sea blockade would achieve results too slowly. Independent air power, in the form of heavy bomb­ers from the Philippines, would wreck Japan’s vulnerable indus­try and achieve victory alone. Moreover, the presence of Amer­ican bombers in the Philippines might restrain further Japanese aggression.53 Ten days later, in an assertion that recalled the Rex intercept, Spaatz insisted that two groups of B-17S (eighty-four aircraft) on Hawaii would wreck any carrier force that Japan sent against the islands long before the carrier aircraft launched an attack.54

Although he deemed Spaatz’s observations valuable, Arnold focused his attention on Europe and sent handpicked observ­ers to Britain and France. Spaatz joined the group on the eve of Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain provided him with a firsthand appreciation for the difficulties of applying independent air power against a nation’s capability and will to resist. He concluded that the Luftwaffe would not win daylight air superiority—or wreck British will—by waging a poorly coordinated offensive against the city of London. In addition, because the Luftwaffe was de­signed to support ground troops, it lacked a four-engine heavy bomber and an accurate bombsight, and its bombers had mea­ger defensive armament and failed to maintain tight formations. They were no match for the Royal Air Force’s combination of a sophisticated command and control system based on radar; ma­neuverable, high-speed fighters flown by skilled, dedicated pilots; and astute leadership.55

From across the Atlantic, Roosevelt watched warily as the Luft­waffe spearheaded Hitler’s assaults on Poland, Denmark, and Nor­way. On 16 May 1940, after the blitzkrieg began to knife its way through France and the low countries, the president asked Con­gress to raise Army and Navy air arms to a total of fifty thousand airplanes with the capacity to produce fifty thousand more a year. Three days earlier, Arnold had asked the president for $80 million to purchase two hundred B-17S and $106 million for pilot train­ing—a brave request, given that two months before, Roosevelt threatened Arnold with an assignment on Guam if he did not sup­port the planned dispatch of aircraft to Britain and France.3’’ Ar­nold dragged his feet because he believed that the Air Corps’ needs outweighed those of the potential allies. He realized that aircraft production took time, and he knew that bombers were necessary to defend the United States and its possessions if war came.

For Roosevelt, an appreciation for the intricacies of bomber production would not occur until late 1940. At a 27 September White House meeting without Arnold—he remained “in the dog­house” for his stand against sending aircraft overseas—the presi­dent demanded that B-17S be sent to Britain. Marshall responded that, aside from a few squadrons stationed on the Philippines and Hawaii, the United States possessed a grand total of forty-nine of the heavy bombers for its own defense. “The President’s head went back as if someone had hit him in the chest,” recalled new Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who believed that Roosevelt “fi­nally saw the situation we were in.”-57 On 4 May 1941, the pres­ident ordered the production of five hundred heavy bombers per month. He told Stimson that the active defense of the United States required a fleet of heavy bombers, and added: “I know of no sin­gle item of our defense today that is more important than a larger four-engine bomber capacity.”38

Roosevelt’s emphasis on the bomber complemented Air Corps organizational changes that made air power’s independent appli­cation possible once America entered the war. After Andrews’s transfer to Fort Sam Houston, control of the ghq Air Force re­turned to the Chief of the Air Corps. The change thrilled Arnold, but it proved transitory. The buildup of Army ground forces that occurred concurrently with Air Corps expansion caused Mar­shall difficulty in getting his decisions through the General Staff. To decentralize the War Department, he established the ghq U. S. Army in July 1940. Brigadier General Lesley McNair—who had critiqued the Tactical School’s curriculum four years earlier— directed the new organization, which was slated to control the ghq Air Force. But Arnold believed “it would be suicidal,” as he told Marshall on 6 July, “to separate the G. H.Q. from the Air Corps right in the middle of an expansion program.”59

Arnold instead proposed establishing three Army deputy chiefs of staff—one each for ground, air, and service forces. General Staff officers rejected the idea, and their rationale revealed that many still harbored a hostile view of the Army’s air component. “The Air Corps believes that its primary purpose is to defeat the en­emy air force and execute independent missions against ground targets,” they wrote. “Actually, its primary purpose is to assist the ground forces in reaching their objective.”60 On 19 Novem­ber ghq U. S. Army consumed the ghq Air Force. Marshall, how­ever, had not discounted Arnold’s proposal. He made Arnold his deputy chief of staff for air on 30 October, and by March 1941 he gave Arnold authority to direct all air matters not pertaining to war plans or intelligence. Secretary Stimson believed that smooth air operations demanded even greater authority. As a result, on 20 June 1941, Arnold became Chief of the Army Air Forces (aaf), which comprised the Army Air Corps, the ghq Air Force (redes­ignated as Air Force Combat Command), and all other Army air units. He also remained Marshall’s deputy chief of staff for air.

The holy grail of autonomy now rested tantalizingly close to Ar­nold’s fingertips. The key to embracing it, Arnold believed, was independent air power.

The Offensive Begins from the Marianas

The August coa study went not only to Arnold, but also to Han – sell, the Twentieth Air Force’s Chief of Staff. As an early disciple of high altitude, daylight, precision bombing, Possum Hansell took its progressive message to heart. He had taught strategic bomb­ing theory at the Air Corps Tactical School during the 1930s; he was a principal architect of awpd-i and the primary architect of AWPD-42, both of which called for precision bombing offensives to forestall an invasion of Europe and knock Germany out of the war; and he had put theory into practice as commander of Eighth Air Force’s First Bomb Wing from 1 January to 30 June 1943. He had also served as de facto commander of Twentieth Air Force when Arnold had been incapacitated with his third heart attack. Arnold’s selection of Hansell to lead XXI Bomber Command from the Marianas came as no surprise. When he landed on Saipan at the controls of Joltin’ Josie, the Pacific Pioneer on 12 October, Hansell prepared to initiate the main в-29 offensive against Japan that Arnold had long counted on to produce decisive results.

From the Marianas, XXI Bomber Command could attack most of Japan’s major cities, but Hansell faced an array of problems before a raid against them could occur. Tokyo was the obvious choice for the first attack, and the coa had designated the Naka – jima aircraft engine plant at Musashino, in the northwest part of the capital, as the initial target in a series of raids designed to de­stroy the aircraft industry. Hansell, though, possessed only one partially finished runway on Saipan while Army engineers strug­gled to complete complementary airfields on Tinian and Guam. The prospect of constant long-range, high altitude attacks in for­mation also presented challenges. In stateside practice missions, flown from Kansas to Batista Field in Cuba (the same 1,400-mile distance as from Saipan to Tokyo), engines had caught fire after exhaust valves burned out, and the gunners’ plastic viewing bub­bles had frosted over above twenty-five thousand feet. Hansell had asked to fly his bombers from the United States to Saipan in for­mation to gain additional experience. Air Transport Command denied his request, he later observed, “on the grounds that the air­plane lacked the range to fly from Sacramento to Hawaii in for­mation, even without a bomb load and in good weather. The dis­tance was 2,400 miles. We would have to fly 3,200 miles, with a bomb load, in the face of enemy fighters, without weather report­ing or navigation aids.”51

Besides the difficulties encountered in long-range formation fly­ing, Hansell faced a dearth of target information, plus he also had to deal with crews and aircraft unprepared for the missions ahead. His initial orders were to destroy Japan’s aircraft industry, but he had no target folders to guide his mission planning. “Our strate­gic air intelligence was simply non-existent in regards to Japan,” he recalled.52 Not until the 1 November arrival of two B-29S spe­cially modified for photographic reconnaissance did Hansell ob­tain the needed targeting clues; the aircraft took seven thousand photographs from thirty-two thousand feet, beyond the range of

Japanese flak.53 More reconnaissance missions followed. Han – sell and his staff then had to review the photographs and prepare for the first raid, which Arnold wanted by the middle of Novem­ber.5’1 Hansell scheduled it for the seventeenth. In the meantime, the Seventy-third Wing, originally slated for General Wolfe’s XX Bomber Command in China and trained in radar bombing at night, had begun arriving at Saipan at the rate of two or three aircraft per day. Japan’s aircraft factories were precision targets that demanded visual bombing with the Norden bombsight. The Seventy-third’s B-29S had APQ-13 bombsights designed for radar attacks and ill-suited for precision bombing.55 Limited time was available for training, and with the first mission looming, several crews would fly against Tokyo without any practice flights in the combat theater at all.

Arnold’s impatience for a rapid start to the Marianas offensive stemmed in part from high-level developments in the orchestration of Allied strategy. At Quebec’s Octagon Conference in September 1944, the Combined Chiefs of Staff foreshadowed an invasion of Japan’s home islands by stating that the Allied mission in the Pa­cific included seizure of “objectives in the industrial heart of Ja­pan.”36 Once the invasion began, Arnold would lose his chance to score “decisive” results with air power in the Pacific. He knew that the clock had begun ticking for the B-29S to achieve indepen­dent success—much as it had for Eighth Air Force in May 1943 after the Combined Chiefs of Staff selected a projected date for Overlord. Three weeks before Hansell took XXI Bomber Com­mand from its training location in Colorado Springs to the Mar­ianas, Arnold wrote him:

As you well know the original conception of the в-29 was an air­plane that would carry tremendous loads for tremendous distances. We have not to date fulfilled this promise. We have flown great dis­tances but we have not carried any sizeable bomb loads. In fact we have not carried any more bombs and in most cases considerably less than the B-24S and в-17s carry. One of the greatest factors in the de­feat of Japan will be the air effort. Consequently every bomb that is added to each airplane that takes off for Japan will directly affect the length of the war. . . .

1 know that you, in your position as commander of one of our great striking forces, will do your utmost to help accomplish the ear­liest possible defeat of Japan. This can only be done by making the best possible use of the weapon at your disposal.57

In November, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a tentative plan for invading Kyushu in September 1945. Hansell’s race against the clock had officially begun.

On 24 November hi B-29S took off to attack Tokyo’s Naka – jima aircraft engine factory, responsible for an estimated 30 to 40 percent of all Japanese combat aircraft engines.58 Brigadier Gen­eral Emmett “Rosy” O’Donnell, the Commander of the Seventy – third Wing, led the mission, with Major Robert K. Morgan, who had commanded the famed Memphis Belle in the European the­ater, flying as his co-pilot. Vile weather had compelled Hansell to cancel the mission five times. Shortly before it finally occurred, he received a portent that it might not go well. O’Donnell, a Brooklyn native who had commanded а в-17 squadron in the Philippines after Pearl Harbor, and who had also served as a favored colo­nel on Arnold’s Advisory Council, came to Hansell with a hand­written letter. It concerned the forthcoming mission and warned that “the hazards and the lack of training produced risks which exceeded the limits of prudent military judgment.” O’Donnell thought that the raid could produce a “disaster,” and urged Han­sell to forego a daylight attack and instead bomb at night “until the command had a chance to build up its competence.”59 Han­sell thanked Rosy for his views, and then burned the letter in his presence to prevent misinterpretation if the raid succeeded.

The attack was far from successful, though not for the reasons that O’Donnell had suspected. Only twenty-four B-29S bombed the engine factory, while another sixty-four dropped their bombs on the city and its docks. An additional seventeen aborted en route to the target, and mechanical difficulties prevented the re­mainder from bombing at all.60 The chief problem encountered was unforeseen—jet stream winds of more than 150 mph that whipped through the high altitudes above Tokyo and tossed the bombs randomly across the city. Out of more than one thou­sand bombs dropped, only forty-eight landed within the Naka – jima plant’s boundaries.61 Two bombers were lost, one to a Jap­anese fighter that rammed it, and the other ditched after running out of fuel on the trip back.

On 27 November eighty-one bombers again took off for the Nakajima factory, but clouds obscured the target and none hit it; on 3 December seventy B-29S attacked it, again with dismal re­sults. Hansell’s crews had few answers for the jet stream, which pushed the Superfortresses along at a staggering 445 mph over the ground—much too fast for the Norden bombsight to compensate for its effects.62 If the crews flew perpendicular to the winds, they still could not correct for the wind velocity. If they flew into the winds, they risked flying so slowly that they would become easy prey for antiaircraft batteries. Hansell tried flying upwind during a 13 December raid against the Mitsubishi aircraft engine factory at Nagoya and had thirty-one bombers damaged by flak, although bombing accuracy showed marked improvements.63

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Providence soon handed Arnold the opportunity to map out a wartime strategy based on strategic bombing. The new Chief of the aaf quickly formed an “air staff” that resembled the Army’s General Staff. He asked forty-eight-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Harold Lee George, who commanded the Second Bombardment Group and its B-17S, to leave Langley in early July 1941 and come to Washington DC to establish an Air War Plans Division (awpd). George agreed and notified Arnold that his division was open for business on 10 July—with a grand total of four people.61 The pre­vious day, the president had sent a letter to the Secretaries of War and the Navy requesting their estimate of production requirements if the United States fought the Axis. To George, the president’s re­quest was a godsend. He asked Arnold to obtain permission for the Air War Plans Division to draft the air portion of the plan.

Arnold agreed that the time was ripe to make a concerted bid for the independent application of air power. He convinced Brig­adier General L. T. Gerow, chief of the Army War Plans Division, that George’s office was the best suited to determine Army Air Forces requirements. The significance of Arnold’s action was not lost on those around him. “We realized instinctively that a ma­jor milestone had been reached,” recalled then Major Haywood Hansell, who joined George’s group from the office of Strategic Air Intelligence. “Suddenly, without anywhere near the opposi­tion we expected, we found ourselves able to plan our own fu­ture. How well we would plan and what success we would have in getting that plan past the Army General Staff remained a mat­ter of uncertainty, but for the moment one of our fondest dreams had been realized.”62 On Monday, 4 August, Lieutenant Colonel George informed his officers that they would develop a plan for a prospective air war against Germany and Japan—and that they would complete the plan in nine days.

To guide the effort George assembled an extraordinary group of talented men. Lieutenant Colonels Orvil Anderson, Max F. Schneider, and Arthur W. Vanaman, and Majors Hoyt S. Vanden – berg and Samuel E. Anderson were among those who worked on developing the plan’s eighteen separate tabs.65 Yet the responsi­bility for the most important of those tabs, analyzing such top­ics as “Bombardment Operations against Germany” and “Bom­bardment Aviation Required for Hemispheric Defense,” went to George himself and the three men whom he handpicked to guide the plan’s development: Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth N. Walker, Major Haywood Hansell, and Major Laurence Kuter. George, Walker, Hansell, and Kuter knew each other well. All had taught at the Air Corps Tactical School, and all were stalwart disciples of the school’s strategic bombing theory. “We had one valuable asset going for us,” Hansell recalled. “We embraced a common concept of air warfare and we spoke a common language.”64

The red-haired Hansell, who bore the nickname “Possum” be­cause of a scoop-shaped nose and a pointed chin, had already be­gun analyzing Germany’s industrial web. As an officer in Arnold’s Strategic Air Intelligence office since 1940, his job had been to gather information about the economic structure and air forces of Germany and Japan. After receiving minimal help—and even active resistance—from individuals in the War Department’s In­telligence office, he turned to specialists from the civilian commu­nity who had recently entered the military in the wake of Hitler’s aggression.65 Hansell relied on “the services of a PhD in industrial economics and an expert in oil” to pinpoint the vital links con­necting the German war machine.66 He also benefited from the suggestion of Major Malcolm Moss, a former international busi­nessman who knew that American banks had provided the Ger­mans with most of the capital to construct their electric power system, and thought that those banks might possess drawings and specifications of the German facilities. The hunch proved correct, and also yielded diagrams of oil refineries. Using those materials, as well as information from scientific journals, the advice of his experts, and his own detailed knowledge of production require­ments, Hansell prepared target folders for the German electric power and petroleum systems.

The “abc” discussions between British and American military staffs in early 1941 triggered a summer visit to Royal Air Force (raf) intelligence offices in Great Britain. While there, Hansell ex­changed information on German targets. He found that his stud­ies on oil and electric power were superior to the raf’s but that the British information on transportation, aircraft production, and Luftwaffe organization eclipsed his own findings. The British allowed him to take copies of their reports, and Hansell eagerly did so. He departed in mid-July with a collection of target fold­ers weighing almost a ton, which he crammed into an American bomber. Upon returning to the United States, he joined George’s Air War Plans Division.

Ken Walker’s operational expertise, and Laurence Kuter’s staff work, complemented Hansell’s bent for technical data. A quick­tempered chain smoker from Cerrillos, New Mexico, Walker barely missed combat in World War I, earning his wings nine days before the war ended. His work in developing formation tactics at Lang­ley convinced him that defenses could not deter a well-orches­trated bomber attack, and he instilled this belief in his classes at Maxwell. After leaving the Tactical School faculty, he flew bomb­ers in California and Hawaii. George considered him “one of the most brilliant and far-sighted officers in the United States Army.”67

The restrained Larry Kuter provided a stark contrast to Walker’s nervous intensity. Kuter also possessed considerable experience in bombers and had followed Walker as operations officer for Lang­ley’s Second Bombardment Group. After his assignment to the Gen­eral Staff in the summer of 1939—as the sole Air Corps officer in the Operations and Training section—he worked on tripling the size of the Air Corps into a 5,500-plane force adequate to defend the Western hemisphere. Walker deemed his expertise essential to designing a viable plan for a potential air war, and persuaded Spaatz—now Arnold’s chief of staff and a brigadier general—to obtain Kuter’s temporary relief from the General Staff.68 Kuter arrived for duty in the War Plans Division on 4 August—the date that George notified his staff of their nine-day deadline.

George’s group accomplished their marathon planning session in the recently constructed penthouse on top of the eighth wing of the old Munitions Building, located on Constitution Avenue be­tween the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. Hastily constructed during World War I as a temporary facility, the three – story, steel-and-concrete structure contained cramped offices sep­arated by numerous partitions and concrete pillars. The daytime temperature in Washington DC that August hovered near ninety, and the penthouse absorbed the heat.69 Oscillating fans did little to relieve the oppressive conditions. Hansell later described the penthouse as “intolerably hot,” and recalled that “literally, when you put your hand down on your desk, your papers would stick to it.”70 Despite the heat, the short deadline kept George and his staff working in the penthouse until nearly midnight every night, and on two evenings they did not go home.71 The heat and the long hours frayed nerves and led to angry confrontations. On one oc­casion Walker railed at George that he could no longer work with Hansell, precipitating a similar outburst from Hansell/2 George smoothed the ruffled feathers, and throughout the nine-day or­deal he worked to promote harmony through a mixture of hu­mor, aplomb, and dogged determination.

According to President Roosevelt’s directive, George and his staff were to determine Army Air Forces requirements that would guide American industry if war occurred between the United States and the Axis powers. The only restriction given George was that his proposal had to conform to rainbow 5, the overall war plan agreed to by the British and American staffs in May 1941. rainbow 5 designated Germany as the major Axis threat and stated that Anglo-American efforts would focus on defeating Germany first while maintaining a strategic defensive against Japan. Like Nap Gorrell in 1917, George realized that he could not estimate the number of aircraft needed without first determining bow air power would he used. In that regard, he faced a dilemma. Although he and his staff were convinced that strategic bombing could inde­pendently defeat Germany, they also had to submit a plan that was palatable to the Army hierarchy.

Just as Pershing had expressed concern over the airmen’s em­phasis on independent air operations in World War I, Marshall, while favorably disposed toward strategic bombing, was likely to reject a plan making no reference to air support for the ground forces. The Chief of Staff had recently called for twelve groups of “Stuka-type” dive bombers in a proposed air expansion to eighty – four groups.73 Accordingly, George listed the American air mis­sion as: “To wage a sustained air offensive against German mili­tary power, supplemented by air offensives against other regions under enemy control which contribute toward that power; to sup­port a final offensive, if it becomes necessary to invade the con­tinent; in addition, to conduct effective air operations in connec­tion with Hemisphere Defense and a strategic defensive in the Far East.”74

By stating that an invasion of continental Europe might not be required, George acknowledged the planners’ faith that strategic bombing would eliminate the need for it. Yet George also acknowl­edged that air power would be available to guarantee an invasion’s success if the need arose. Six years earlier, as an Air Corps Tacti­cal School instructor, he had asked his students whether air power could achieve a solo victory in war. He now aimed to construct an air campaign that answered that question with a resounding yes. The progressive notions of Tactical School theory formed the plan’s underpinnings; the challenge was to translate accepted be­liefs, based on hypothetical applications against generic enemies, into a specific design against an enemy that was very real. Ger­many—a “modern” nation waging “modern” war—appeared to be an especially apt choice for testing Tactical School principles. If the test proved successful, the bomber offensive would yield vic­tory—and serve as a vindication for air force autonomy.

Having determined that strategic bombing would be the es­sence of America’s air effort, George and his planners worked to identify those parts of Germany’s industrial web that contributed the most to Hitler’s war effort. Hansell’s studies while assigned to the Strategic Air Intelligence office were invaluable in this en­deavor. Using them, planners concluded that the electric power, transportation, and oil production systems were the key compo­nents of the German economy. They decided that those systems could be wrecked by destroying 124 vital targets—fifty electric power plants, fifteen marshalling yards, fifteen bridges, seventeen inland waterway facilities, and twenty-seven petroleum and syn­thetic oil plants. This bombing would not only destroy German war-making capability, but also the “means of livelihood of the German people.” George’s group noted that civilians might also be attacked directly once their morale had weakened due to sus­tained suffering and a lack of faith in Germany’s ability to win the war. “However, if these conditions do not exist,” the planners cautioned, “then area bombing of cities may actually stiffen the resistance of the population, especially if the attacks are weak and sporadic.” If the industrial web theory was correct, German mo­rale would crack without targeting residential districts.75

George and his planners realized that the destruction of Ger­many’s industrial apparatus would be no easy task. German air defenses—which now included radar—were formidable, causing the group to list “neutralization of the German Air Force” as an “intermediate objective, whose accomplishment may be essen­tial to the accomplishment of the principal objectives.”76 With­out achieving control of the air, the ability to wreck German war­making capacity remained problematic; moreover, an invasion of France could not occur unless the Allies first obtained air superi­ority. George’s planners determined that air control through at­trition was unlikely. Many industrial targets lay beyond the range of escort fighters, requiring bomber squadrons to rely on Walk­er’s formation tactics as they fought their way across Germany. “We knew that defensive firepower in the air would not suffice to defeat the Luftwaffe,” Hansell recalled/7 Neither would attack­ing German air bases, which were well dispersed and heavily de­fended. As a result, planners decided to attack the Luftwaffe be­fore it left the assembly line. They designated eighteen aircraft factories, six aluminum plants, and six magnesium plants as es­sential to aircraft production, and added them to the list of vital centers earmarked for destruction.

Until negated, German air defenses would likely hamper bomb­ing accuracy, and accurate bombing was essential to wreck Ger­many’s industrial web. Marginal weather also threatened to dis­rupt the precision bombing effort. Based on studies that Hansell obtained from the British, George’s group estimated that an av­erage of only five days a month would be suitable for daylight operations over the Reich.78 The best weather occurred between

April and September. The prospect of stiff defenses and poor fly­ing conditions, combined with George’s own experience from Ab­erdeen Proving Ground, caused planners to predict that raids on Germany would be 2.25 times more /«accurate than peacetime practice bombing.79 George demanded that bombers had to attack each target in sufficient force to achieve a 90 percent probability of destroying it—the same percentage deemed acceptable in sim­ilar problems at the Air Corps Tactical School.80 In addition—as Gorrell had pointed out in 1917—bombers would have to attack many targets more than once to prevent the Germans from repair­ing the damage. The planners anticipated that the Germans could repair most targets other than electric power facilities within two to four weeks; power plants would take longer to restore.81

George’s group next calculated the number of bombers required to guarantee a 90 percent level of destruction to the 154 key tar­gets selected, given the expected accuracy and the need for re­peated attacks. They determined that 1,100 bombers were nec­essary to ensure a 90 percent probability of destroying a single hundred-foot-by-hundred-foot target under combat conditions.82 A like number of aircraft would have to return to that target in two weeks to keep it out of action. Planners quickly realized that the aaf needed an enormous number of bombers to destroy the German war effort through constant pounding. George thought that dismantling German industry required at least six months of non-stop bombing, and planners anticipated an April-Septem – ber offensive to coincide with the most favorable flying weather. Given weather, maintenance, and crew rest limitations, they esti­mated that a bomb group containing seventy aircraft could send thirty-six of its bombers against Germany eight times a month.83 Thus, to wreck the 154 key targets in a six-month span would re­quire ninety-eight bomb groups—or 6,860 bombers—at the start of the offensive.

Those bombers would consist of ten groups of B-25S and B-26S, twenty groups of B-17S and B-24S, twenty-four groups of B-29S, and forty-four groups of B-36S. Planners noted that the ideal type of bomber for the offensive was the в-29, a recently designed four-engine marvel; two-engine в-25 and в-26 “medium bomb­ers” would suffice “only because they were available.”84 The vast numbers would swamp airfields in Great Britain, which would serve as home base for the B-17S, B-24S, B-25S, and B-26S. B-29S would operate against Germany from Northern Ireland and the Middle East. The в-36, a proposed behemoth with a four-thou­sand-mile range, could fly from Newfoundland, Greenland, Af­rica, India, or the northeastern United States. George’s staff antic­ipated that each group engaged in combat would lose 20 percent of its aircraft (and 15 percent of its flying personnel) per month, creating a requirement for an additional 1,272 bombers.8:1

Although the estimate of bombers needed to assault Germany dwarfed previous aircraft projections for the entire Army Air Forces,86 those bombers were by no means the only airplanes George and his planners envisioned. The massive air offensive against the Third Reich required fighters to defend air bases and support aircraft. Moreover, substantial numbers of fighters and bombers were needed to defend the Western Hemisphere, and the teeth of the strategic defensive in the Pacific would consist of B-29S and B-32S operating from bases in Alaska, Siberia, and the Philip­pines. All told, George’s group calculated that 239 groups and 108 observation squadrons were necessary to defeat the Axis—a grand total of 63,467 airplanes. If the United States began fighting, as an­ticipated, in the spring of 1942, planners thought that the nation would be hard pressed to produce such an armada before the end of 1943.87 Still, they believed that a land invasion of Germany in less than three years was unlikely, thus giving air power a chance to achieve an independent victory.88 A limited air offensive would start as soon as America entered the war, and the six month aer­ial pounding of the Reich would occur from April to September 1944. Charged with estimating manpower requirements, Kuter determined that by the start of the offensive the Army Air Forces would have expanded from its authorized limit of 152,000 men in August 1941 to 2,164,916, which was a half million more men than were in the entire Army at the end of 1941.89

On the afternoon of 12 August 1941, an exhausted Hal George delivered a copy of “awpd-i: Munitions Requirements of the Army Air Forces” to the Army War Plans office. The plan’s appearance reflected the rushed nature of the project. “It was not an impres­sive looking document,” Hansell remembered. “The pages were typed and mimeographed. Corrections were made in ink. The charts were black and white, hastily prepared and crudely pasted together.”90 Nevertheless, despite sweltering conditions and flar­ing tempers, George’s group completed their task on schedule.

Next came the job of persuading civilian and military leaders that the proposal was sound. George submitted the plan to the Army War Plans office without having it approved by Arnold, who was attending the Argentia Conference in Placentia Bay, but he knew that Arnold would have no qualms in endorsing it. Sterner chal­lenges were on the horizon. In the following month, the planners briefed awpd-i to Robert Lovett (the new Assistant Secretary of War for Air), Army Chief of Staff Marshall, and Secretary of War Stimson. Lovett received the briefing on 13 August, accompanied by General Gerow from the Army War Plans Division and General Spaatz. A World War I Navy pilot and an outspoken air power advocate, Lovett avidly supported the proposal. Arnold heard the briefing with General Marshall on 30 August. The Army Chief of Staff said nothing until after the presentation was over and dis­cussion had ceased. Then he commented that the plan had merit, and the next day scrawled “Okay, G. С. M.” on the cover of his copy.91 Andrews could claim a measure of credit for that signa­ture. Like most Army generals, Marshall believed that air support for ground troops was essential, but Andrews had opened his eyes to the potential of independent air power. This impetus, coupled with Marshall’s practical nature, helped him endorse awpd-i. He realized that the invasion of Europe could not occur immediately if war came in early 1942, and Germany could not go unscathed during the buildup for the ground offensive. If strategic bombing could topple Hitler and eliminate the need for a risky amphibi­ous assault, Marshall was willing to give it a try.

George’s staff culminated their “selling” of awpd-i on the af­ternoon of 11 September and the morning of the next day, when George, Walker, and Kuter briefed Secretary of War Stimson in his office in the Munitions Building. Stimson accepted the plan as “a matter-of-fact statement of the air forces required to defeat the Axis.” He cautioned, however, that the enormous number of men and planes necessary to implement the scheme “depended entirely upon the nation being in a war spirit or at war.”92

With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, America obtained the martial spirit that Stimson thought necessary to spur the large-scale production of combat aircraft. The turmoil created by Pearl Harbor canceled a scheduled briefing on awpd-i to the president, and Hansell later termed the lost opportunity “a cruel disappointment” because he believed that it prevented bombing advocate Roosevelt from fully understanding the value of a con­centrated air offensive.92 Yet the seemingly inevitable march to­ward war in the late summer of 194г, with the Japanese defying Roosevelt’s oil embargo as they advanced across China, and the Germans threatening Atlantic sea lanes while they plowed toward Moscow, was likely a key reason that both Marshall and Stimson endorsed awpd-i without complaint. As historian Michael Sherry has observed, “Strategy, then, along with Roosevelt’s wishes about

how to fight the war, made the War Department amenable to a vision of air war that would have seemed repugnant and fanciful a few years earlier.”94

Although advocating strategic bombing, air planners under­stood that their proposal could not neglect the air needs of Army commanders, most of whom were skeptical of air power’s ability to achieve victory alone. Just as Gorrell had worked to convince Pershing that his plan for bombing Germany would not deny air support to ground forces, awpd-i specifically noted that air power would support an invasion of Europe if such an invasion proved necessary. Some airmen viewed the obligation to demonstrate that they would support their parent service as genuflection.95 Yet air planners could not ignore the concerns of the theater commander or Chief of Staff, who had to consider the possibility that indepen­dently applied air power might not prove decisive. That airmen received the green light to conduct strategic bombing was a trib­ute to the Andrews-inspired vision of George Marshall.

Marshall’s approval of awpd-г on the eve of Pearl Harbor guar­anteed that the Army Air Forces would use it as a blueprint once war began, but the blueprint was not balanced. Air planners paid a great deal of attention to Germany—the designated primary en­emy—and scant attention to Japan. In keeping with the tenor of the industrial web theory, they brushed aside such characteristics of the German state as its totalitarian government and Nazi ideol­ogy to focus almost exclusively on a mechanistic economic analy­sis. They also provided meager allowances for the unexpected— what Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz called “friction”—and the impact that such elements as chance, uncer­tainty, danger, and stress might have on an air offensive.96 The Ger­many that they depicted had mobilized completely, with its indus­try running at full bore in the wake of the assault on the Soviet Union. George and his group believed that the taut nature of the


German economy would increase its vulnerability to a precisely aimed air offensive, because no reserve capacity would be avail­able to make up for the damage caused by bombing. The plan­ners, especially Kuter, were painfully aware of America’s failure to flex its economic muscle in World War I. They believed that American industry would not allow them to wage total war for two years, and they knew that the Germans were already waging war on a global scale. The logical conclusion, it seemed, was that German factories must be producing at peak capacity.

Awpd-i’s analysis of Japan’s war machine paled in comparison to the mountain of data accumulated on German industry. “The allowances for defensive measures in the Far East were skimpy, to say the least,” Hansell later observed. “It was presumed that the U. S. Navy would be the primary agency for this requirement.”97 While working in the Strategic Air Intelligence section, Hansell had tried to identify Japanese vital centers, but the attempt proved fruitless. “The Japanese had established and maintained a curtain of secrecy that we found absolutely impenetrable. There were not even any recent maps available,” he recalled.98 The lack of infor­mation on Japanese production capabilities plagued air leaders throughout the war, and Hansell would learn that frustration first­hand as commander of XXI Bomber Command in late 1944.

Though far from perfect, awpd-i marked the culmination of American air power thought from Billy Mitchell through the Air Corps Tactical School. Much of the plan—like much of the Tac­tical School theory that spawned it—was based on faith. “Op­portunities for reality testing were few”; most airmen dismissed the air power applied in Spain and China as too primitive,99 while the one concrete example of a modern air force attacking a mod­ern nation—the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain—did not con­form to American bomber technology, tactics, or strategy. Thus, the faith instilled by Mitchell, refined and dispensed by his Tacti­cal School disciples, and blessed by air leaders sharing his vision provided the fundamental underpinning of American air power convictions.

Several articles of faith stood out above the others: the concept of a generic industrial web theory, with its presumed ties between a nation’s war-fighting capability and will to resist; the presumed vulnerability of those ties to bombing, and the presumption that severing them would result in surrender; the belief that a prop­erly executed bomber offensive could not be stopped; and, finally, the progressive notion that a victory through air power would be quicker, and cheaper, than one gained through any other medium. At the same time, most airmen thought that an air power victory would vindicate an independent air force. The airmen subscrib­ing to those beliefs were both sincere and pragmatic. They ear­nestly believed in air power’s ability to win a war single-handedly, and in its ability to do so efficiently, yet they realized that with­out proof for their claims they were unlikely to obtain an auton­omous air force. Their faith in an independent air victory melded to their desire for an independent air service until the two became inseparable, as demonstrated by awpd-i.

In the end, individuals, as well as ideas, were the key elements producing a uniquely American bombing philosophy before Pearl Harbor. The distinctive backgrounds of Gorrell, Mitchell, George, Walker, Kuter, Hansell, Andrews, Spaatz, and Arnold—and count­less others—contributed directly to an American approach to air war that manifested itself against Nazi Germany and Imperial Ja­pan. Two years and eight days after the completion of awpd-i, the man who had found the Rex would lead more than one hun­dred B-17S in a dramatic raid against one of the major industrial targets of Hitler’s Third Reich. Curtis LeMay would play a key role in the effort to validate awpd-i’s progressive notions in both the European and Asian skies.

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

i. British Gen. Sir David Henderson pins the “Companion of the Distinguished Service Order” on twenty-eight-year-old Army Air Service Col. Edgar S. Correll in France,

April 1919. Relying extensively on British bombing proposals, Gorrell had authored America’s first plan for strategic bombing in 1917. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

2. William “Billy” Mitchell spurred the development of progressive air power notions that guided a generation of American airmen. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

3- Mitchell poses beside his command aircraft, the Osprey, a DeHavilland DH-4 from which he directed the bombing of the Qstfriesland in July 192.1. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

4- Billy Mitchell’s bombers attack the Ostfriesland off the Virginia Capes, 2i July 1921. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

j. Air Corps Tactical School students tackle mapping exercises during the 1930s at Maxwell Field, Alabama. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

6. Maj. Gen. Frank Andrews, commander of the ghq Air Force, sits in the cockpit of the first в-17 to arrive at Langley Field, Virginia, 1 March 1937. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

7. ghq Air Force B-17S intercept the Italian liner Rex seven hundred miles from New York City, 12 May 1938. (U. S. Air Force)


Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Generals George Marshall, Frank Andrews, “Hap” Arnold, and Oliver Echols pose beside a glider at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, early in World War II. Marshall provided key support to Andrews and Arnold and their plans for a heavy bomber force. (U. S. Air Force)

9. (Opposite top) Hap Arnold and members of his air staff in 1941. Left to right: Lt. Col. Edgar P. Sorenson, Lt. Col. Harold L. George, Brig. Gen. Carl Spaatz (chief of staff), Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Maj. Haywood S. Hansel! Jr., Brig. Gen. Martin F. Scanlon, and Lt. Col. Arthur W. Vanaman. George and Hansell played key roles in designing awpd-i, the Army Air Forces plan for bombing Germany, while Spaatz would attempt to bring that plan to fruition as Eighth Air Force commander in 1942 and the commander of U. S. Strategic Air Forces in 1944-45. (U. S. Air Force)

10. (Opposite bottom) Ira Eaker directed VIII Bomber Command in t942. During 1943, he led Eighth Air Force in the desperate battles for air superiority over Europe. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

її. (Opposite top) Brig. Gen. “Possum” Hansell, First Wing commander, Eighth Air Force, and Col. Curtis LeMay, 305th Group commander, stand beside a B-17 at an airfield in Britain in spring 1943. Two years later LeMay, a major general, replaced Hansel! in the Pacific as the commander of XXI Bomber Command. (U. S. Air Force)

12. (Opposite bottom) The Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” was the workhorse of Eighth Air Force. This “G” model sported a chin turret to ward off frontal attacks from Luftwaffe fighters. (U. S. Air Force)

13. (Above) The Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” was one of the two main heavy bombers for the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces in Europe. It could carry a larger bomb load than its counterpart, the B-17. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

14- The crew of the в-17 Memphis Belle at an air base in Britain on 7 June 1943 after completing twenty-five missions over enemy territory. For many bomber crews in 1943-44 the outcome was not as fortunate. (U. S. National Archives)

t5. (Opposite top) Luftwaffe defenses claim а В-Г7. The heavy bomber crews of Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces paid a steep price to win the daylight air superiority needed to launch the Normandy invasion. (U. S. Air Force)

16. (Opposite bottom) Bomb release in an Eighth Air Force raid on a ball-bearing plant and an aircraft engine repair facility in Paris, 3 r December Г943. Following the costly raid against Schweinfurt on 14 October 1943, Eighth Air Force primarily attacked targets within range of escort fighters. Improvements in the P-47 “Thunderbolt” and P-51 “Mustang,” plus the addition of external fuel “drop tanks,” enabled bombers to have escort fighters to targets deep in Germany in early 1944. (U. S. National Archives)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

17- A fighter pilot in World War I who shot down three German aircraft, “Tooey” Spaatz commanded Eighth Air Force in 1942 and then transferred to North Africa. He returned to Britain in 1944 as a lieutenant general and commander of the new U. S. Strategic Air Forces, with a mission to secure daylight air superiority over Europe to facilitate the Normandy invasion. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

18. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Tooey Spaatz, and Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, the Ninth Air Force commander, at an airfield in Britain, May 1944. A month earlier Spaatz had turned over control of his heavy bombers to Eisenhower, and Eisenhower kept control of them until September to assure invasion support. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1
19- (Opposite top) Fifteenth Air Force B-24S pound Ploesti oil refineries in summer 1944. Despite the emphasis on supporting the Normandy invasion, Spaatz convinced Eisenhower to let him begin a concentrated attack on oil installations. (U. S. Air Force)

20. (Opposite bottom) The Messerschmitt factories at Regensburg, Germany, remained targets long after Curtis Lemay’s B-17S first attacked them on 17 August 1943. Flere, B-17S attack the complex on 18 December 1944. (U. S. Air Force)

21. (Above) Eighth Air Force B-17S unload incendiaries and high explosive bombs over Dresden on 14 February 1945 following a massive area attack by the RAF on the city the night before. Cloud cover obscured the American crews’ target, a rail junction near the city’s center, and most of their bombs fell on Dresden’s main residential district. (U. S. Air Force)


Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

B-17S from the 398th Bomb Group proceed to Neumunster, Germany, on 13 April 1945. By this point in the war the American portion of the Combined Bomber Offensive had devastated much of Germany’s industrial capacity and transportation network, but the cost

had been high for the attackers as well as the German populace. (U. S. National Archives)

23. (Opposite top) Frankfurt-am-Main in the aftermath of the Combined Bomber Offensive. Bombing wrecked most of Germany’s cities. (U. S. Air Force)

24. (Opposite bottom) Henry H. “Hap” Arnold became Commanding General of the Army Air Forces in June 1941 and soon led the mightiest air armada yet assembled. A driven, demanding leader, Arnold suffered four heart attacks during World War II. His first combat command came when he took charge of Twentieth Air Force in early 1944, and he directed the B-29 assault on Japan from his office in the Pentagon. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1


Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

’ 5- (Opposite top) The Boeing в-2.9 “Superfortress” was the epitome in bomber technology, sporting pressurized crew compartments plus four gun turrets remotely controlled via General Electric analog computers. The aircraft was World War IBs most expensive weapon system, with a three-billion-dollar price tag. (U. S. Air Force)

z6. (Opposite bottom) Brig. Gen. Haywood S. “Possum” Hansell, XXI Bomber Command commander, briefs B-29 air crews before a mission to Tokyo in late 1944. His steadfast commitment to prewar progressive notions about bombing contributed to Arnold’s decision to replace him with LeMay. (U. S. Air Force)

27. (Above) Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, far left, replaced Brig. Gen. Possum Hansell, center, as XXI Bomber Command commander in January 1945. LeMay, who had previously commanded XX Bomber Command in China, was replaced in that job by Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, far right. (U. S. Air Force)

28. Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1
Brig. Gen. Lauris “Larry” Norstad, who served on Hap Arnold’s advisory council as a colonel in 1943 before becoming a staff officer in North Africa and Italy, replaced Possum Hansell as Twentieth Air Force Chief of Staff in summer 1944. Norstad wielded considerable power in that position, especially after Arnold suffered his fourth heart attack of the war in January 1945. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

29. The Etiola Gay dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

30. By June 1945 most of Kobe, one of prewar Japan’s four most populous cities, was in ruins. (U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1


Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

(Opposite top) Twentieth Air Force devastated Tokyo. (U. S. Air Force)

32. (Opposite bottom) Coi. Paul Tibbets’s Enola Gay is prepared to upload the atomic bomb for Fliroshima. (U. S. Air Force)

33. (Above) Nagasaki following the atomic strike on 9 August 1945.

(U. S. Air Force)

Sanctioning Progressive Air Power: awpd-1

34- In the post-Vietnam era Col. John A. Warden III emerged as heir to the progressive notions that had sparked Billy Mitchell and Air Corps Tactical School instructors. Many of Warden’s ideas underpin current Air Force bombing doctrine. (U. S. Air Force)