Marshal of the RAF John Slessor (1897-1979) He taught at the Army Staff College…started as a flyer in 1915 (p61)
Thesis- In his book, Air Power and Armies, he argues “airpower should concentrate on the disruption, destruction, and neutralization of enemy armaments and supplies – interdiction” assisting the army on the ground. (66)
-Primary function of airpower is strategic bombing, airpower complements surface operations (p61)
-“If there is one attitude more dangerous than to assume that a future war will be just like the last one, it is to imagine that it will be so utterly different that we can ignore all the lessons of the last one” (p62)
-Attacking the communications and supply lines of the enemy forces – interdiction – rather than conducting strategic attack against the enemy’s vital centers. Rail road, bridges, etc is good and vital tgt.(p62)
-First attain air superiority…localized…not a phase but required persistence (p63)
-Primary means of destroying the enemy air force remained air combat (p63)
- First to recognize total destruction of a target may not be required, the objective could be to neutralize it for a specific period of time (64)
-Air superiority and bombardment - one could wage both campaigns simultaneously. Parallel – not sequential
-Focused on the operational level of war…the neutralization, not necessarily destruction of key nodes at that level would prevent effective operations (p64)
-Airpower must be commanded/directed by airman who was equal in authority to the ground commander (p65)
-Pri for air in the land campaign, 1) Fielded forces, 2) Production and 3) Supply and log
-Bombing cannot turn defeat into victory, but it can avoid a disaster.
-Deeper strikes than CAS was desired.
-Better technology would have made him able to hit his desired tgt, his theory is still valid.
- 3 Approaches to strategic bombing (71-72)
- Douhet: destroy enemy morale by bombing the people with gas/incendiaries. Had a theory, nut not the equipment to do the job he wanted.
- Air Corps Tactical School (US): break capacity of enemy to wage war – strike industrial infrastructure
- RAF: combined Douhet objective of morale with the ACTS industrial targeting scheme. Trenchard had the theory, started to get the equipment. Harris took over and builds a system of start bombing.