Many of the strategy and planning articles, and several of the progress reports, were penned by high-ranking military officers. The credits listed here represent their rank at the time that the article was written. Most of the military authors were promoted during the war.
- "Down to 'Rio' with the GHQ" [ PDF, 4.8 MiB ] , [ HTML ] discusses a goodwill trip of a flight of early-model B-17s to Brazil.
- "Wright Field, Heart of the Army Air Corps" [ PDF, 3.4 MiB ] , [ HTML ] quickly describes the significance of Wright Field to American aeronautics. It is illustrated with a view from below of what appears to be a B-17B.
- "The New Army Air Force" [ PDF, 5.1 MiB ] , [ HTML ] by Maj Gen Henry H Arnold refers to "the Army Air Corps" and "the new American Air Force. The article was published in the August, 1940, Aviation, just after the reorganization that changed the Army Air Corps to the Army Air Forces. In the article, Gen Arnold discusses the magnitude of the task at hand as it was seen in 1940, long before Pearl Harbor. Part of the motivation for the article seems to be to provide justification for the size of appropriations that Congress was making for the new Air Forces.
- "Three Dimension War" [ HTML ] discusses the attributes of air power, especially as it was developed in the first year of war.
- "Fixed Guns vs Free" [ HTML ] goes into the advantages over the bomber, in light of prewar claims that the day of the fighter was over because the high-speed bombers could outrun them.
- "New Eagles for the Army" [ PDF, 12.2 MiB ] , [ HTML ] describes several new warplanes (in 1941). Planes described include the A-20, B-17, B-18, B-23, B-24, B-25, B-26, SBD, XSB2C, P-38, P-39, P-40, P-46, and P-47.
- "Waiting for the Blitzkrieg a Letter from London" [ PDF, 5.8 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is illustrated with a number of Fortress Is in RAF markings, an FW-200 from 11 o'clock low, and the Thames in London.
- "Captured: One Junkers
" [ HTML ] tells of the shooting-down of a Ju-88 in England, debriefing the POW crew (which revealed deficiencies in the German bombsights and lead to a change in civil defense procedures), and British countermeasures to the German X-Gerät bomber-directing system.
- "Ten Air Power Lessons for America" [ HTML ], by Major Alexander de Seversky, outlines "lessons learned" from the first two years of air war over Europe.
Major de Seversky was the founder of the aviation company which became Republic Aviation.
- "Speculating on the British Radiolocator" [ HTML ] gives a possible description of the operation of the British early-warning Radio Detection And Ranging (RADAR) system.
- "Bombardment" [ HTML ] discusses the potential of air power as an offensive weapon. It goes into some detail as to the strategy and actualities of the Battle of Britain.
- "Winged Warfare" [ HTML ] is excerpted from the book of the same name by Major General H H "Hap" Arnold and Col Ira Eaker. It lays out many of the considerations in designing and operating an air force and discusses some strategic considerations in its use.
Even early in 1941 (allowing for in-press times) the strategic focus on gaining air superiority was firmly in place, with a downplaying of tactical, ground-support roles, at least as a strategic focus.
- "Air Policy and Defense" [ PDF, 3.4 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is condensed from a talk given by Edward Warner (former editor of Aviation and technical assistant to the special envoy to Europe) to the Foreign Policy Association Forum on October 25, 1941. In it Mr Warren discusses a variety of issues involved with deployment of warplanes.
- Brigadier General Kenney's article "Our Warplanes are Best!" [ PDF, 10.8 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is an early, official counter to complaints about the quality and performance of American warplanes.
It should be remembered that "Our Warplanes are Best!" was written before American-designed and -built planes had seen much actual combat. The concern at the time and for some time later was the effect on morale of aircrew trainees and the potential impact on enlistment of the negative articles being written at the time.
Early exposure of US warplanes to combat, anecdotes of bravery and virtuoso fighting performances notwithstanding, did not yield sterling results. American planes were specified and designed to fight a particular kind of war in a particular operational structure. Those particulars turned out not to be the same as the war that was ultimately fought. The RAF, which did most of the fighting with American-designed and -built planes before Pearl Harbor, had a different operational structure than the USAAC and, as a result, did not use the planes so as to maximize their abilities. So the B-17 was considered a "flaming coffin" or "flying target" until feedback from the fighting front led to the changes that made the B-17E an effective air warrior.
It seems to have been a characteristic American trait to feel inferior to the Europeans and to resent the feeling and therefore act in the brash fashion that created the stereotype American image. Some of that, some one-upsmanship by some Brits, some resentment that the highly-touted (and rather expensive) planes we shipping over there didn't make everything better right away, and some attitude that we shouldn't have let ourselves be dragged into another European war, were probably all factors in creating a lot of negative press about American planes. The reaction to this came in the form of what I call here "morale pieces" articles with photos, spec-sheet numbers and anecdotes of successful encounters designed to create a more favorable and optimistic attitude among the American public toward the war effort.
It must be remembered that in the first year after Pearl Harbor, the war was still in doubt. It was mandatory to get the American public and workforce on board with the war program. Apart from the necessity to ramp up to the largest military production capability in history, civilian support of the military effort was critical; the Italians were already showing the effect on an army when the civilian population doesn't support the war they are waging. The Doolittle raid and the Battle of Midway stopped Japanese expansion toward our West Coast, but the first offensive actions over Europe (which was considered the greater threat and got most of the attention, both military and press) didn't occur until mid-1942 and the invasion of Africa not until November. With the dearth of good news from the fronts, it was necessary to counteract the negative views that were being disseminated. Hence, the "morale pieces," which constituted a good portion of the overview articles through 1942.
- "Rebirth of The RAF" [ HTML ] describes the growth and reorganization of the RAF from prewar form.
- "American Airplanes On the European Battlefronts" [ PDF, 6.5 MiB ] , [ HTML ] tells of early deployments of US warplanes in the ETO and North Africa, with some general descriptions of US and British warplanes.
- "We Can Lose This War" [ HTML ], an opinion piece by Cy Caldwell, rails against the entrenched mindset of prewar general staffs and against the lack of air-aware preparations in the Pacific, specifically the Philippines.
- "War in the Air" [ PDF, 39 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , a profusely illustrated report on the first few months of the war, focuses on the war with Japan, with pictorials for Russia, Europe, the Middle East and the Home Front in addition to The Far East.
This is one of a number of articles with the theme that Japanese aircraft are copies or imitations of Western designs, usually marginally obsolete Western designs. This recurring theme probably represented an effort to calm fears on the West Coast, which would have been sparked by the fact that the bulk of the war effort was being directed into the European theater.
- "The New Strategy of War" [ HTML ] lays out Cy Caldwell's view of air vs sea in modern war, with a number of examples of the sinking of capital ships.
- "Our Planes Can Fight!" [ PDF, 9.5 MiB ][ HTML ] , written by a member of the House Military Affairs Committee, is a paean to American warplane design. It includes a virtual laundry list of American air triumphs around the world.
- "We Must Attack to Win" [ HTML ] decries a defense-oriented mindset the writer had encountered in his speaking tours and stresses the importance of going on the offense against German predation on shipping to England and against Japanese expansion into South Asia and Australia.
- "Siberia: Our Next Air Base" [ HTML ] lays out the optimistic view that our Lend-Lease program to the Soviets would gain us access to Siberian air bases from which to attack the home islands of Japan.
- "Where is Our Air Power?" [ PDF, 6.6 MiB ] , [ HTML ] by Col Roland Brinn is a response to public impatience with the progress of the war. Its discussion of B-17 and P-40 actions is focused on the Southwest Pacific and CBI theaters.
- In "The Air Offensive" [ HTML ] Cy Caldwell makes an interesting metaphor of the German offensive and a discussion of how the Anglo-American air offensive could affect German morale and German strategy.
- "The Spitter" [ HTML ] includes a description of the RAF air defense tactics during the Battle of Britain.
- "Awakening of Air Power" [ PDF, 7.1 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is the first of many reports on air battles. It has a "battle diary" section listing most of the significant US air actions in June, 1942, and a quick list of command changes in the various theaters.
- "What's Become of the Luftwaffe
?" [ HTML ] plays up all the failings of the GAF against the Soviet Union. It includes capsule performance data for Me-109F, He-111, FW-190.
- "Japanese Air Power" [ HTML ] gives some estimates of Japanese industrial capacity. It became generally accepted that these estimates were much more accurate than those that had been in vogue before the initiation of the war.
- "American Aircraft in the RAF" [ PDF, 2.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] speaks to RAF usage of American planes in combat over Europe. The article specifically mentions the B-17 raid on the Scharnhorst and refers to raids on a number of sites in France. The article also refers to the Consolidated Catalina, the Lockheed Hudson, the Martin Maryland, the Douglas Boston and its upgunned Havoc version, the Curtiss Tomahawk and Kittyhawk (versions of the P-40,) the Martlet (Grumman F4F Wildcat), the Vought-Sikorsky Chesapeake (Vought SB2U Vindicator, aka Vought Vibrator), and two Brewsters the Bermuda and the Buffalo.
- "Air Ministry" [ HTML ] describes the organization and function of the British Air Ministry and includes a roster of the Governing Body of the RAF.
- "Fighter Command" [ HTML ] describes the organization and operations of Fighter Command. A diagram shows the operational Chain of Command.
- "History of the RAF" [ HTML ] discusses the history of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, along with the Royal Naval Air Service and Fleet Air Arm, giving a good deal of the background of where World War II air doctrine arose.
- "The Ramming Russians" [ HTML ] discusses the Soviet tactical use of ramming as a method to bring down enemy aircraft, with several first-person accounts.
- "Air Power and the Second Front" [ PDF, 2.2 MiB ] , [ HTML ] presents arguments in favor of a popular motif of the time the "Second Front", intended to take pressure off Russia. Others would propose that the second front was the air war.
- "I Flew With the RAF" [ HTML ] is a first-person account of RAF air-combat tactics, told by a former member of an Eagle Squadron who flew Hurricanes.
- A news clip, "Economics of Large-Scale Raids" [ HTML ] lays out the (estimated) costs of mounting large-scale bombing raids. It lists the cost of a Lancaster and the cost of training a Stirling crew as elements in the calculation.
- "Look at the Record" [ PDF, 3.2 MiB ] , [ HTML ] describes, several B-17, P-40 and B-26 actions in the Southwest Pacific theater, P-40 actions over North Africa and Russia, and A-20 actions over Europe. P-39, P-47 and P-51 get favorable mentions. Most of the article is condensed from a report by Lt Gen Hap Arnold.
- "The American Doctrine of Air Power" [ PDF, 21.4 MiB ][ HTML ] is a two-part article by Major Nathaniel F Silsbee. It covers the history of the Army Air Forces, the organizational structure and some results. It has sections on bombers, fighters, transport. It also has cameo portraits of most of the significant USAAC/USAAF commanders, current and past.
- "Engines and Altitude," [ HTML ] derived from a white paper from Allison, seeks to counter inflammatory characterizations of US warplanes based on "apples and pears" comparisons of different characteristics or of our older models with their latest announcements.
- In "Global Air War" [ PDF, 23.5 MiB ] ,[ HTML ] by Lt Col Nathaniel F Silsbee, published in the June, 1943, Air News, he lays out a good deal of the structure of the US Army Air Forces, with a focus on the heavy bombers, cooperation with the British over Europe, and the development of ever-higher-horsepower engines in the US.
- "Scoring the Box Score" [ HTML ] lays out the process for verifying air victories. In spite of the (often felt by flyers to be onerous) precautions taken, postwar analysis showed that victory claims were several times the amounts verifiable.
- "The Elements of Air Defense" [ HTML ] describes England's air defense system.
the American Way" [ PDF, 20.8 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is a two-part article which goes into operational doctrine and many of the reasons for it. Several strategic and tactical patterns are discussed, including the justification for precision bombing.
- "AAF Diary December 7, 1941 to June, 28, 1943" [ PDF, 3.1 MiB ] , [ HTML ] gives a day-by-day listing of AAF activities for each day that had significant action.
- "War in the Air" [ PDF, 27.9 MiB ] ,[ HTML ] discusses strategy and the organizational structures put in place to execute that strategy.
- "The Bomber is Born" [ PDF, 9.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] goes into the history of the development of the heavy bomber by the US and talks about the strategic considerations involved.
- "Strategic Bombing" [ PDF, 13.2 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is a discussion of the goals and methods of the strategic bombing campaign and the operational doctrines that derive from them.
- "Air Strategy for Victory" [ PDF, 7.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] by General H H Arnold is the keynote for the "Special Issue: Army Air Forces at War" number of Flying magazine, October, 1943. General Arnold touches on the basic strategies and highlights some of the AAF successes of the previous year. The article has a color portrait of the general in his office.
- A Winchester ad "Winchester radiator tubes helped Spitfires and Hurricanes clear the skies over Britain in 1940" has a diagrammatic map showing distribution of RAF fighter response to a hypothetical Luftwaffe attack in 1940. Map shows three control centers in, and typical distribution of patrols and reserves over, Southeast England.
- "Burma Invasion" [ PDF, 8.4 MiB ] , [ HTML ] discusses intentions for the invasion of Burma.
- "Air Power and Island Warfare" [ PDF, 7.6 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , by Captain H A DeWeerd, discusses the campaign for New Guinea, the Battle of the Bismarck Sea and the raids on Rabaul.
- The "London Survey" [ PDF, 2.9 MiB ] , [ HTML ] column in the January, 1944, Flying discusses the strategic tradeoff between Allied losses and damage to the enemy, which is always an important strategic consideration.
- "Russian Air Bases?" [ PDF, 7.4 MiB ] , [ HTML ] discusses the possibility and possibilities of air bases on the Pacific coast of Russia as a source for European-style attacks on Japan.
- "Shuttle-Bombing" [ PDF, 5.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] describes the expectations for shuttle bombing and a couple of the first shuttle missions.
- "One of our Cities is Missing!" [ HTML ] describes the efforts of the 8th Air Force in the strategic war (up to the end of 1943) and discusses the probable uses of the 8th in support of an invasion of northern Europe.
- "The Misuse of Air Power" [ PDF, 10.5 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , by Brigadier General Henry J Reilly, presents the contrarian view that air power should be used in support of ground action, rather than being "dispersed" against strategic targets. While this tactical use of the strategic force was undertaken in the period around D-day, in general the strategically oriented approach was followed.
- "Jumps ahead of the Japs" [ HTML ] describes MacArthur's attack along the Huon Gulf, emphasizing the paratroop attack in the rear of the Japanese positions at Lae.
- "Army Air Forces Report" [ PDF, 9 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , excerpted from an official report by General H H Arnold, covers a lot of ground in reporting on the development and successes of the USAAF between Pearl Harbor and early 1944.
- "Air Power in the Invasion" [ PDF, 7.6 MiB ][ HTML ] continues Brig Gen H J Reilly's proposition that air power should be used primarily (or exclusively) in direct support of ground operations, with specific reference to the upcoming invasion of the continent.
- "Seven league boots" discusses the problem with range of escort fighters; includes a map comparing ranges of Allied escorts with target locations in Germany.
- "Foggia Airpower Symbol" [ PDF, 3.8 MiB ] , [ HTML ] details the neutralization and subsequent capture of the airfield complex at Foggia, on the east coast of Italy.
- "Fascism's last hour" [ HTML ] forecasts the fall of the Third Reich as a result of thed Normandy landings.
- "Airfields while you wait" [ HTML ], from the October, 1944, "9th Air Force Issue" of Air News magazine, describes the functions of Ninth Engineer Command in providing and provisioning forward airstrips and airbases after the Normandy Invasion.
- "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" [ HTML ] describes the operations of Ninth Air Force Service Command in the ETO.
- "100-day wonder" [ HTML ] describes the development of the 9th Air Force.
- "Air Tactics in France" [ PDF, 15.9 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , after a short look back on strikes by the 8th Air Force, details some of the actions of the Ninth Air Force operating in support of the ground troops in the period following the invasion of Europe.
- "Gateway to Tokio" [ HTML ] goes over the tradeoffs in invading the Chinese mainland and the drawbacks to any such plans.
- "Is Battle-Bombing Doomed?" [ PDF, 3.3 MiB ] , [ HTML ] rehashes the argument over battle-bombing daylight raids fighting their way through air defenses and "undercover bombing" bombing under cover of darkness or through cloud cover using non-visual aiming techniques.
- "Atlantic Weather Report" [ PDF, 10.4 MiB ] , [ HTML ] details the history of the Weather Reconnaissance Squadrons, whose efforts in collecting meteorological information were crucial to the pursuit of the war in Europe. Beyond providing information to the weather forecasters for bombing strikes, they provided the necessary information to make ferrying airplanes and air cargo across the North Atlantic on a scale to support the war effort practical.
- "How the AAF Uses Air Power" [ PDF, 11.5 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is a strategy document, penned by Brigadier General W W Welsh near the end of the war, reflecting on lessons learned and reiterating established doctrines, with some operational examples.
- General Arnold issued another "Army Air Forces Report" [ PDF, 34.1 MiB ] , [ HTML ] in the spring of 1945. reporting on AAF actions through 1944.
- "Mission X" [ PDF, 7.5 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , by Captain Matthew Hunter describes the 2,000+ bomber raid of Christmas Eve, 1944.
- Although it is not from a WWII-contemporary magazine and is not fundamentally air-oriented, the final report on the War in Europe, by General Dwight D Eisenhower, is nonetheless instructive, both to the general conduct of the war and to the impact of the air campaign. This is a 100+-page document; entry here is a link to the Table of Contents.
- "Was Air Power a Success?" [ PDF, 11.9 MiB ] , [ HTML ] analyzes the damage to Germany done by the strategic bombing campaign.
- "Bombing Balance Sheet" discusses prewar bombing theories and lists tonnages, describes specialty bombs and their use and effects.
- Phillip Andrews, editor of Air News, traveled extensively and sent back reports from the various venues. His article "Mission Accomplished" [ PDF, 31.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] gives a concise history of the activities of the 15th Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
- "Here is the American Bombing Record" [ PDF, 6 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is based on the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, which is reported to be a military critique written by civilians. The article has the advantage of hindsight. It also has the advantage of access to a lot of detailed information about the effects of bombing and effectiveness of German countermeasures that was unavailable to Allied planners at the time of action.
pages are reprinted from a special edition of Impact, the hitherto classified AAF publication." "Strategic Air Victory In Europe" [ PDF, 49.9 MiB ] , [ HTML ] excerpts an AAF document that analyzes the effects of the strategic bombing campaign on Germany.
- "Why Were They Beaten?" [ PDF, 6.7 MiB ] , [ HTML ] , an appendix to "Strategic Air Victory In Europe". is a collection of quotations from German leaders on the effects of bombing.
- "US Tactical Air Power in Europe" [ PDF, 76 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is the second piece from Impact, is a companion piece to "Strategic Air Victory In Europe", dealing with the tactical aspect of the air war. It is included primarily for completeness, though it does discuss some situations where B-17s were used in tactical air support roles.
- "Proof That Our Tactical Plan Was Right" [ HTML ] is an appendix to "US Tactical Air Power in Europe" of quotations from important German figures on the success of the air campaign.
- "Air Victory Over Japan" [ PDF, 101 MiB ] , [ HTML ] is the third companion piece from Impact analyzing the air campaigns of the war.
- In "The Future of the AAF" [ HTML ] General Spaatz outlines the projected future development of the AAF.