The RAF&

The RAF's Road to D-Day

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The RAF's Road to D-Day

The Struggle to Exploit Air Superiority, 1943-1944

Dimensions:6.1" x 9.2"
Photos:32 mono illustrations
Publisher:Air World
Item No. 9781399051804

By the summer of 1943, the Third Reich’s fate seemed sealed. The combined might of Britain and the Commonwealth nations, the United States and the Soviet Union had made a Germany victory impossible. All that remained to decide was how the Allies should complete their victory. Would strategic bombing decide the outcome or would ground and air forces working together play the more significant role?Greg Baughen follows the air and land battles in Italy, France and Germany between 1943 and early 1944, as well as the equally bitter battles behind the scenes as army and air commanders debated and argued over how the war should be won. He charts the trials, tribulations, and successes of the bomber offensive and assesses whether, in the final analysis, the bomber strategy shortened or lengthened the war. He explains how army air support went backwards after the successes of the Desert Air Force, and how this led to a failure to support the troops landing on the D-Day beaches in Normandy. He also describes the subsequent revival of tactical air support and how it went on to play a key role in the subsequent campaigns but questions whether Eisenhower, Montgomery or Tedder ever fully understood how to make best use of the massive aerial forces available to them.Drawing on archive documents and accounts written at the time, the author tackles some fundamental defense issues. Was RAF independence a benefit or a hindrance to the Allied cause? To what extent was the War Office to blame for shortcomings in army air support? Did Britain understand the way the methods for waging war were evolving in the twentieth century? He takes a look at how the Air Ministry was interpreting the lessons being learned during the war. Were the defense policies of the twenties and thirties still valid? Had they ever been valid?This, then, is the story of the decisions and actions that the RAF followed in the months leading up to D-Day and the Normandy landings.