Air Power in war, by Lord Tedder.


Expressed in its simplest terms, war is the process by which a nation endeavors to impose its will on its opponent. 13

Military operations are merely one of the methods by which a belligerent hopes achieve his object they are not an end in themselves. 14

A crucial question is: how long will it take a peaceful nation to re-organize and switch over the whole its national potential to the one supreme task of fighting and winning the war ? 15

The peace-Loving State, therefore must not merely have the staying power to hold on until its war potential is fully mobilized it must also have the initial strength to withstand the initial shock 16

The rate of technical development is now so rapid, and the effects of changes in technique so far-reaching, it may well be fatal to lag behind, 20

The same time there are factors which do not change,- or only change very slowly. Geography does not change ~though its effect on military operations may be modified by technical changes. Human nature does not change, and national characteristics and temperaments change but slowly. Economic factors, generally speaking, change slowly. 20

The first daylight heroine raid on London in 1917 showed the writing on the wa11. 21

General Smuts Air supremacy may in the long run become as important a factor in the fence of the Empire as sea supremacy. 22

Securing command at sea on the outbreak of World War II showed no real change in character from those in force twenty-two years earlier. 23

1939 found us with an army with equipment quite inadequate in quality and quantity and lacking any reserve organization for expansion to the scale of continental warfare. 23

In the air, thanks to the far-sighted and determined few, we had the basic organization which subsequently stood the test of war 23

Munich gave us a year, and then the phony war gave us another eight months . 26

AIR SUPERIORITY, (is an enabler for army and navy. War is not won with Air superiority alone, but impossible without..)

I have spoken of land, sea, and air warfare as separate, yet closely inter-related. 29

1917 General Smuts, Air supremacy may in the long run become as important a factor in the defense of the Empire as sea supremacy. 32

Air superiority was the pre-requisite to any successful air operational 34

The Germans had, at the beginning of the war, a simple formula for getting air superiority at the very outset. The initial blow in a campaign was an all-out surprise attack. By bombers, dive-bombers, and fighters on the opponents' air bases sometimes accompanied by parachute and airs borne landings; the second stage was destruction of the aircraft factories. 35

Skill and gallantry could inflict heavy casualties on superior numbers in the air, were of little avail when the bases were defenseless. 37

D Day it was estimated that the Luftwaffe would carry out between 6oo and 7oo sorties per day over the area of the landings whereas in fact (except for sudden bursts of activity when up to 3so sorties were flown in a day) they were unable to maintain a daily average of more than 200. 42

Air superiority is that of identifying, even retrospect, exactly which factors contributed towards Success' 42

Air force composed of fighters alone is not an air force and is not a defense 44

Hitler and the German General Staff thought essentially in terms of land warfare. They failed to understand air power even more completely they failed as regards sea power. 45

The experienced aircrew, who should have been used as instructors, were away in profitless operations, and shortage oil curtailed training more and more until, 1944, even operations in the field were being limited by oi1 shortages. 47

AIR POWER IN RELATION TO SEA POWER, air meant that the channel was less “dividing”

Air superiority is, however merely a means towards the end it is the state in which the exercise of power becomes possible. 5 3

The Luftwaffe had complete air superiority in Central Norway. 55

Once again, magnificent, but not war. To operate surface ships, as we then had to, inside a circle of enemy air bases, under an enemy air superiority which, for lack of aircraft and bases, unchallengeable-this was clearly no longer an operation of war. 69

General Rommel; Alamein was lost before it was fought, we had not the petrol. Vast stocks of petrol and material were lying around in Italy and the Italians were supposed to bring them over- but they were unable to do it. 79

Two decisive battles, the battle of the Coral Sea, which turned the tide in Australian waters, and the Battle of Midway, which opened the road for the counter-offensive into Japanese waters, were both air battles fought out far beyond range of the surface ships' guns. 80

Fleet in being There is no similar -time principle applicable to air forces 84


There have been some enthusiasts who have stated that air power can by itself win wars. 87

Many were the authorities who found essential jobs for the bomber force to carry out, 90

Target systems for air attack may be broadly divided into two classes: point targets and common denominators. 97

The selection of key counts designed to strike at the centre. aluminium plants, accumulator factories) ballring plants, molybdenum mines, hydrogen peroxide plants ~for v weapons) experimental stations,

Common denominator targets I would define as railways, canals, power plants, iron and steel plants, oil 98

It was not till 1943 they began to make a real effort to mobilize their full productive power. 102

As von Rundstedt put it1 it was all a question of air force, air force and again air force ; calmly : The main difficulties which arose for us at the time of the invasion were the systematic preparations by your air force 113

As Speer reported to Hitler in December: The enemy has recognized that systematic attacks on our communications ay have a most decisive effect in alspheres on our conduct of the wards.119

I do not want you to think that I am suggesting that this utterly decisive result was achieved entirely by air power. 120

I am utterly convinced that the outstanding and vital lesson of this last war that air power is the dominant factor in this modern world and chats though the methods of exercising it will change, it will remain the dominant factor so long as power determines the fate of nations. 123

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