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To Command the Sky

The Battle for Air Superiority Over Germany, 1942-1944

Written by Stephen L. McFarland and Wesley Phillips Newton

Publication Year: 2009

To Command the Sky is a scholarly record of the fight for domination of the skies over western Europe during World War II. It also explains the technical details of the tactics used to defeat the Luftwaffe. This book is important for serious students of World War II or military aviation.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Front Matter

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-

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PREFACE TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION

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pp. viii-x

In the decade since To Command the Sky first appeared, the U.S. Air Force has experienced seemingly unparalleled, unchallenged, and relatively effortless control of the air. The current generation can be excused for taking such for granted, though it has not always been so. This success has been built on the experience of World War II, ...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xi-xiii

Many people contribute in essential ways to books besides authors. The authors of this book are especially indebted to a number of persons. Personnel of that great repository of material for the history of air power, the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, eased the way with services and valuable advice. ...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-10

The Allies were taking one of the greatest gambles of the war. The assembly of men and equipment on 6 June 1944 was the most concentrated, most vulnerable, and choicest target for German air power of the war. Including 8 divisions of ground and airborne soldiers and 5,000 ships arrayed along some 50 miles ...

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CHAPTER ONE: THE CHALLENGE

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pp. 11-60

In July 1849 some 200 small, unmanned but armed balloons appeared above Venice. Besieging Austrian troops resorted to this first known episode of aerial bombing in an attempt to crush a Venetian bid for freedom from the Hapsburg monarchy. An Austrian artillery officer, Lt. Franz Uchatius, took advantage ...

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CHAPTER TWO: TRAINING TO DESTROY

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pp. 61-80

Warriors do not spring skilled and fully armed from Mars' brow. They are the end product of a training system that hones them individually and as role players in a team effort. In no other branch of the service during World War II was training more important than in the air arm, with its increasingly complex technology ...

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CHAPTER THREE: TRIAL AND ERROR—EARLY OPERATIONS

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pp. 81-116

Prewar doctrinal development did not adequately prepare the U.S. Army Air Forces for the kind of warfare that enveloped it in Europe. Ready or not, Brig. Gen. Ira Eaker's VIII Bomber Command began operations on 29 June 1942 with the first of several token raids to the continent using a handful of light bombers ...

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CHAPTER FOUR: TO THE BRINK—THE FALL CRISIS

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pp. 117-156

Unlike Frank O'D. Hunter, William E. Kepner had made his reputation as a fighter, not as a dashing airman. He worried little about doctrine, but demonstrated a single-minded dedication to defeating the enemy. The B-17 and B-24 could be self-defending or not self-defending—it mattered not to Kepner. ...

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CHAPTER FIVE: TRANSITION TO AIR SUPERIORITY—BIG WEEK

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pp. 157-192

By early 1944 the twin duties of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe and its two subordinate air forces, the Eighth and the Fifteenth, had become one—its job was to defeat the Luftwaffe in being and gain air superiority first and foremost while carrying out the selective destruction of German industrial power. ...

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CHAPTER SIX: BERLIN, THE STRATEGIC FIGHTER CAMPAIGN, AND CONTROL OF THE AIR

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pp. 193-238

Berlin. The German capital had special meaning for both the Allies and the Germans. Although first attacked by the Royal Air Force in 1940, it had largely escaped a battering until powerful British bomber streams began to visit the city on an increasing number of nights beginning in November 1943. ...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 239-248

Both the Germans and the Allies prepared elaborate air plans for the coming invasion of France by the latter. Taking form in April 1944, the Allied plan had many facets, but the critical one was to blanket the beachhead area and its sea and land approaches with a quilt of fighters. The intention was to ...

APPENDIX

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pp. 249-252

NOTES

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pp. 253-296

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BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY

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pp. 297-304

The primary sources for the peacetime and wartime history of the United States Air Force and its predecessors lie mainly in the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. This site is historic in its own right, as scene of a Wright Brothers flying school and, in the 1930s, ...

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 305-316

Credit Lines

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pp. 317-318

Index

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pp. 319-328

Image Plates

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E-ISBN-13: 9780817382902
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817353469

Publication Year: 2009