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Air Power and Armies

Written by Sir John Cotesworth Slessor and foreword by Phillip Meilinger

Publication Year: 2009

Sir John Cotesworth Slessor (1897–1979) was one of Great Britain's most influential airmen. He played a significant role in building the World War II Anglo-American air power partnership as an air planner on the Royal Air Force Staff, the British Chiefs of Staff, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He coordinated allied strategy in 1940–41, helped create an Anglo-American bomber alliance in 1942, and drafted the compromise at the Casablanca Conference that broke a deadlock in Anglo-American strategic debate. Also, Slessor was instrumental in defeating the U-boat menace as RAF Coastal Commander, and later shared responsibility for directing Allied air operations in the Mediterranean. Few aspects of the allied air effort escaped his influence: pilot training, aircraft procurement, and dissemination of operational intelligence and information all depended to a degree on Slessor. His influence on Anglo-American operational planning paved the way for a level of cooperation and combined action never before undertaken by the military forces of two great nations.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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FOREWORD

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pp. vii-ix

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. xi-xvii

"THIS book is based on a series of lectures delivered at the Staff the action of the Royal Air Force in one special set of conditions, largely of the traditional arms-infantry, artillery, and cavalry, it is obviously important that all officers, at least of the army arise from the fact that I have drawn largely on the recorded..."

CONTENTS

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pp. xix-xxiv

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PART I. AIR SUPERIORITY: I. THE OBJECT

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pp. 1-10

"'The National object in war is to overcome the opponent’s will. . . . Since the armed forces are the only instruments of offence or defence, these forces or such of them as are capable of influencing the decision, must be overcome. The aim of the Army is therefore— in co-operation with the Navy and Air Force—to break down the resistance of the enemy-armed forces in furtherance of Thus the object of an army in a land campaign is to defeat the enemy’s ..."

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II. THE MAIN OFFENSIVE

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pp. 11-30

"'Air superiority is obtained by the combined action of bomber and fighter aircraft. The detailed measures to obtain and maintain the requisite air situation must vary with the circumstances of the campaign, but purely defensive measures will rarely be..."

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III. THE SUPPLEMENTARY OFFENSIVE-THE DESTRUCTION OR NEUTRALIZATION OF ENEMY AIR FORCES

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pp. 31-45

"THE strategy of the offensive against enemy air forces is a sub subject on which it is difficult and more than usually unwise to be dogmatic. The last War provided us with a great deal of experience of air fighting, but the conditions in which that experience was gained were mostly the narrow specialized conditions of trench warfare. The opposing armies were nearly..."

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IV. THE SUPPLEMENTARY OFFENSIVE

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pp. 46-60

"TURNING now to the next method, the co-operation of fighter squadrons in the bomber offensive: In the British Service a basic principle of bomber training is that squadrons must be capable of looking after themselves by close and steady formation flying, and the resultant mutually supporting fire from the..."

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PART II. THE SELECTION OF OBJECTIVES: V. STRATEGIC CONCENTRATION

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pp. 61-86

"'All bombing, even when carried out on very distant and apparently independent objectives, must be co-ordinated with the efforts that are being made by the land or sea forces, both as to the selection of objectives and as to the time at which the attacks shall take place .... It is utterly wrong and wasteful to look..."

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VI. FIGHTING TROOPS AND SUPPLY

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pp. 86-121

"THE examination in the last chapter of the subject of strategical air concentration, though necessarily brief, should serve to make clear the relation between what have been rather misleadingly termed 'independent' air operations, and operations against an enemy's forces in the field. With this necessary background..."

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VII. AIR ATTACK ON COMMUNICATIONS

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pp. 122-147

"IT will be apparent from the foregoing chapter that, whether the object at the time is to strike at the fighting troops themselves or to deprive them of their essential supplies, the method in the main amounts to interference with movement, by striking at the communications, rail or road, serving the battle area. The aim of the following pages is to describe in a certain amount..."

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PART III. THE BATTLE OF AMIENS, AUGUST 8TH-11TH, 1918: VIII. THE STORY OF THE BATTLE

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pp. 148-164

"ON the 17th of July 1918 Sir Henry Rawlinson, then commanding the Fourth British Army, was in his head-quarters at Flixecourt drafting a letter to Sir Douglas Haig, outlining and asking approval for a plan to attack with his army astride the Somme, with the object of disengaging the important strategical centre of Amiens. As he wrote, the waves of the last great..."

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IX. THE R.A.F. IN THE BATTLE

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pp. 165-181

"THE system whereby the arrangements for air co-operation in battle during the last War were so often made by means of personal discussion between the Staffs, unconfirmed in writing, has already been referred to in the introduction to this book. And a study of the air plan for the battle of Amiens seems to emphasize the dangers of that system. The Commander and..."

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X. THE R.A.F. IN THE BATTLE

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pp. 182-199

"THIS factor, which must, of course, be considered before it is possible to arrive at any plan, has not been dealt with earlier in this review because it is one which will repay examination in some detail. It may be admitted at once that the air forces which did in fact take part in the battle of Amiens would not..."

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PART IV. CONCLUSIONS XI. THE THIRD REVOLUTION

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pp. 200-215

"FROM time to time a new invention astonishes the world, and is hailed by the prophets as the forerunner of a revolution in the military art. The cross-bow, the rifled barrel, the quick-firing gun, the submarine, the railway, and the motor-lorry-all these and others in their day have forcibly imposed important..."

APPENDIX A

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pp. 216-

APPENDIX B

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pp. 217-

APPENDIX C

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pp. 218-219

APPENDIX D

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pp. 220-221

APPENDIX E

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pp. 222-

SKETCH MAPS

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pp. G 1-1-G 1-4

INDEX

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pp. 223-231


E-ISBN-13: 9780817383305
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817356101

Page Count: 231
Publication Year: 2009