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Air Warfare

  • Date Submitted: 05/05/2013 01:29 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.4 
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AIR WARFARE
Air warfare was a major component of World War II in all theatres and, together with anti-air defence, consumed a large fraction of the industrial output of the major powers. Germany and Japan depended on air forces that were closely integrated with land and naval forces; they downplayed the advantage of fleets of strategic bombers, and were late in appreciating the need to defend against Allied strategic bombing. By contrast, Britain and the United States took an approach that greatly emphasized strategic bombing, and to a lesser degree, tactical control of the battlefield by air, and adequate air defences. They both built a strategic force of large, long-range bombers that could carry the air war to the enemy's homeland. Simultaneously, they built tactical air forces that could win air superiority over the battlefields, thereby giving vital assistance to ground troops. They both built a powerful naval-air component based on aircraft carriers, as did Japan; these played the central role in the war at sea.

Air warfare, 1942–43
Early in 1942 the RAF bomber command, headed by Sir Arthur Harris, began strengthening of the Allies’ growing strategic air offensive against Germany. These attacks, which were aimed against factories, rail depots, dockyards, bridges, and dams and against cities and towns themselves, were intended to both destroy Germany’s war industries and to rob its civilian population of their housing, therefore weakening their will to continue the war.
Already in March 1942 an exceptionally destructive bombing raid, using the Germans’ own incendiary method, had been made on Lübeck; and severe attacks were also made on Essen (site of the Krupp munitions works) and other Ruhr towns. In the night of May 30–31 more than 1,000 bombers were dispatched against Cologne, where they did heavy damage to one third of that city’s built-up area. Such operations, however, became highly expensive to the bomber command, particularly because of the...

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