No single human invention has transformed war more than the airplane--not even the atomic bomb. Even before the Wright Brothers' first flight, predictions abounded of the devastating and terrible consequences this new invention would have as an engine of war. Soaring over the battlefield, the airplane became an unstoppable force that left no spot on earth safe from attack. Drawing on combat memoirs, letters, diaries, archival records, museum collections, and eyewitness accounts by the men who fought--and the men who developed the breakthrough inventions and concepts--acclaimed author Stephen Budiansky weaves a vivid and dramatic account of the airplane's revolutionary transformation of modern warfare.
On the web: http: //www.budiansky.com/
This handsome, large-format book takes the reader on an illustrated tour of the U.S. Army's hard-hitting airborne forces, from the original Parachute Test Platoon of 1940 to the multiple global commitment of the twenty-first century. Featuring more than 150 photographs, some rare or seldom seen and many in color, the work highlights the extraordinary history of the airborne units as they added new dimensions to national power and military operations, arriving from the sky by parachute and aircraft and compressing time by their swift deployment and flight to objectives thousands of miles distant. Airborne operations of World War II in the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Pacific begin an inspiring story that leads through Korea, Vietnam, and into the twenty-first century. The operations take a prominent place in the story, along with the paratroopers who received the nation's highest award for heroism, the Medal of Honor. The esprit de corps of the airborne volunteers and their sacrifices in peace and war are consistent themes throughout the book. Whether operating as small groups of paratroopers scattered about the countryside or as powerful parachute infantry regiments, brigades, or divisions, the airborne spirit is always evident. Coauthors John Greenwood and Robert K. Wright highlight key leaders and crucial battles spanning more than six decades to help tell this exciting story. Through skillful integration of photographs and text, they show how lessons learned in combat led to improved doctrine and the development of equipment that enhanced the mobility and striking power of these versatile units. This book is published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army.
This volume explores how warfare has changed over the last few decades and why airpower has become a dominant factor in war. The case studies emphasize the importance of connecting policy and airpower: operational effectiveness cannot substitute for poor statecraft. As the United States, its allies, and Israel have seen in their most recent applications of airpower, even the most robust and capable air weapon can never be more effective than the strategy and policy it is intended to support. By analyzing the operational history of the world's most battle-tested air forces, the accounts in this book can give military professionals insight into the political context in which air operations must be assessed, build their appreciation of the strategic value of airpower, and serve as a practical guide to the best uses of this potentially decisive tool.
Area 51's most important military aviation developments are profiled in an illustrated format. When most of us think of Area 51, we think of aliens, UFOs, and controversial government cover-ups. It's easy to forget that, since the mid-1950s, the United States' famed extension of Edwards Air Force Base has served as a top-secret CIA testing ground for many of the most groundbreaking advancements in American military aviation technology. In Area 51 - Black Jets, author and military historian Bill Yenne offers the first fully illustrated chronology of Area 51's most famous aircraft projects, including Lockheed's U-2 "Dragon Lady" and SR-71 "Blackbird" reconnaissance planes, drones ranging from the early Lockheed D-21 to the modern-day General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, and the famous F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter produced by the Have Blue program during the 1970s. Each project is given its own fascinating chapter illuminating the aircraft's development at this famed location. But beyond the aircraft themselves, Area 51 - Black Jets also covers a handful of the many classified experimental programs carried out at Area 51 over the years, such as Have Doughnut, Have Ferry, and Have Drill - secret undertakings that successfully reverse-engineered such enemy aircraft as the Russian MiG during the Cold War. Illustrated with historic color and black-and-white photographs, diagrams, and maps, this book reveals Area 51 for what it truly is: a clandestine area for the United States' most cutting-edge technological innovators in military aviation.
In 1941, the United States was neutral ground, but Germany's killer forces were devouring Europe. The British Royal Air Force needed pilots fast, to fight the highly trained German combat forces. President Roosevelt and General "Hap" Arnold knew the United States had to help turn the tide of war, and the Arnold Scheme was born. Lakeland and Arcadia, Florida. Camden, South Carolina. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Americus and Albany, Georgia. These were the Sunbelt towns that became the heart and soul of SEACTC (Southeast Air Corps Training Center) and welcomed thousands of British pilot trainees as they embarked on their dangerous missions. In excerpts from letters, diaries and journals, learn the inside story of the Arnold Scheme and the strategic offensive that would help prepare the nation for war.
Osprey's examination of the B-24 Liberator Units' participation in World War II (1939-1945). The B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US warplane, yet its combat crews live, even today, in the shadow of the less plentiful, but better-known, B-17. Accounts of the 'Mighty Eighth' in Europe, and indeed many of the books and films that emerged from the greatest air campaign in history, often overlook the B-24, even though it was in action for as long as the Flying Fortress, and participated in just as many perilous daylight bombing missions.
The B-52 is the longest serving and most versatile of the United States Air Force's combat aircraft. The Stratofortress entered active service in 1955 and is scheduled to continue as part of the air force's inventory through 2040. The jet-powered bomber was a mainstay of America's Cold War nuclear-deterrent strategy, providing air power that balanced the land and sea military forces. The massive plane also served as the launch platform for the experimental X-15 hypersonic rocket aircraft. Due to its versatility as an aircraft, the B-52 has seen combat service in all of America's military conflicts since it came on active duty: Vietnam, the first and second Gulf wars, and the War in Afghanistan. B-52 Stratofortress also covers every aspect of the aircraft's development, manufacture, and modification. These technical details set the stage for its military service, starting with its role as a nuclear bomber in the Cold War even though only conventional weapons have been used during its combat duty. The airplane's service in key campaigns in Vietnam is covered, followed by the quieter years after it. The B-52 returned to prominence in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, taking part in massive bombing campaigns in both conflicts. Finally, the book ends with the constant upgrades that will keep the B-52 an integral part of U.S. airpower for decades to come.
From the most important leaders and the most courageous victories to the earliest machines of flight and the most advanced Stealth technology, this book presents a fascinating look at 50 turbulent years of Air Force history.
From Iraq to Bosnia to North Korea, the first question in American foreign policy debates is increasingly: Can air power alone do the job? Robert A. Pape provides a systematic answer. Analyzing the results of over thirty air campaigns, including a detailed reconstruction of the Gulf War, he argues that the key to success is attacking the enemy's military strategy, not its economy, people, or leaders. Coercive air power can succeed, but not as cheaply as air enthusiasts would like to believe.Pape examines the air raids on Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as well as those of Israel versus Egypt, providing details of bombing and governmental decision making. His detailed narratives of the strategic effectiveness of bombing range from the classical cases of World War II to an extraordinary reconstruction of airpower use in the Gulf War, based on recently declassified documents. In this now-classic work of the theory and practice of airpower and its political effects, Robert A. Pape helps military strategists and policy makers judge the purpose of various air strategies, and helps general readers understand the policy debates.-- "Non-Offensive Defence and Conversion Newsletter"
John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story.Boyd, more than any other person, saved fighter aviation from the predations of the Strategic Air Command. His manual of fighter tactics changed the way every air force in the world flies and fights. He discovered a physical theory that forever altered the way fighter planes were designed. Later in life, he developed a theory of military strategy that has been adopted throughout the world and even applied to business models for maximizing efficiency. And in one of the most startling and unknown stories of modern military history, the Air Force fighter pilot taught the U.S. Marine Corps how to fight war on the ground. His ideas led to America's swift and decisive victory in the Gulf War and foretold the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On a personal level, Boyd rarely met a general he couldn't offend. He was loud, abrasive, and profane. A man of daring, ferocious passion and intractable stubbornness, he was that most American of heroes -- a rebel who cared not for his reputation or fortune but for his country. He was a true patriot, a man who made a career of challenging the shortsighted and self-serving Pentagon bureaucracy. America owes Boyd and his disciples -- the six men known as the "Acolytes" -- a great debt. Robert Coram finally brings to light the remarkable story of a man who polarized all who knew him, but who left a legacy that will influence the military -- and all of America -- for decades to come . . .