Accession Number : ADA307054

Title :   Beyond the Battle Line: US Air Attack Theory and Doctrine, 1919-1941,

Corporate Author : AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s) : Cox, Gary C.

PDF Url : ADA307054

Report Date : APR 1996

Pagination or Media Count : 59

Abstract : This study examines the development and usefulness of US air attack theory and doctrine during the interwar period, 1919-1941. This period represents more than 20 years of development in US Air Corps attack theory and doctrine. It was the first peacetime period of such development. Attack aviation during this time was a branch of aviation used to provide direct and indirect combat support to ground forces in the form of machine-gun strafing, light bombing, and chemical attacks. From the earliest origins, attack theory and doctrine evolved primarily along two paths-direct and indirect support of ground and air force objectives. The direct support approach was based on fundamental beliefs by the Army that attack aviation was an auxiliary combat arm to be used directly on the battlefield against ground forces and to further the ground campaign plan. The indirect support approach, or air interdiction, was derived from the fundamental beliefs by the Air Corps that attack aviation was best used beyond the battle line and artillery range, against targets more vulnerable and less heavily defended, to further both the Air Force mission and the ground support mission. The Air Corps Tactical School advocated the indirect support approach, and the subsequent evolution and logic in attack doctrine flowed from this approach. Air Corps theory and doctrine called for attack aviation to be used beyond the battle line. Aircraft were less vulnerable to ground fire and could be used to delay and disrupt enemy ground forces. Less cooperation was required with the ground forces while more cooperation was needed with other aviation branches, especially pursuit aviation. As attack doctrine evolved, range and hardened targets became problematic for the single-engine attack plane.

Descriptors :   *MILITARY HISTORY, *MILITARY DOCTRINE, *ATTACK, *AIR STRIKES, GROUND LEVEL, AIR FORCE, MILITARY AIRCRAFT, COMBAT SUPPORT, INFANTRY, BATTLEFIELDS, CHEMICALS, INTERDICTION, THEORY, AIRBORNE, VULNERABILITY, TARGETS, AERONAUTICS, MISSIONS, ENEMY, ARMY OPERATIONS, BATTLES, GROUND SUPPORT, HARDENING, ARTILLERY, AIR FORCE OPERATIONS, BOMBING.

Subject Categories : Military Aircraft Operations
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE