By Matthew K. Rodman
This paintings makes an attempt to provide a correct account of the character of the air warfare within the Southwest Pacific in the course of international warfare II, focusing usually upon the 5th Air strength. The examine doesn't presume to be an all-encompassing operational precis; as a substitute, it goals to supply a consultant photograph of yankee bombardment in that zone. This was once a second in background while strive against air strength performed a key position in attaining victory. the writer recounts how the 5th Air strength fast built new strategies and strategies that "saved the day." The perfection of low-altitude bombing, strafing, and pass bombing made transformations that during hindsight are effortless to acknowledge and quantify. with no them the 5th could have discovered itself in an extended, more expensive struggle with an doubtful final result. even if, those new strategies harm the enemy to the level that the Allies ultimately prevailed. the genuine price of this learn lies now not quite a bit in its retelling of vital advancements in air energy as in its pushing the necessity for the army to be versatile, adaptive, opportunistic, and entrepreneurial whereas safeguarding middle values and capitalizing on center knowledge. Many parts ensure good fortune -- guidance, assets, wisdom, and resolution to call a couple of. yet none of those have approximately the significance of the inventive skill to conform successfully to confront the danger and carry victory.
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Additional info for A War of Their Own: Bombers Over the Southwest Pacific
A strategic campaign was out of the question in the Pacific, if for no other reason than the distances from Allied territory to anything approaching an industrial target were simply too great for the contemporary bomber. The task became the destruction of small island bases and naval convoys that kept those bases connected to the rest of the Japanese Empire—a completely different problem than fighting an enemy with a vulnerable industrial infrastructure. As a subordinate service, the Air Corps didn’t have free rein over its doctrine or budgets.
Thompson also dropped all his bombs from an altitude of 1,200 feet on [a] destroyer and scored three direct hits. That ship was seen to break in half and sink. 23 The B-17s, whose long range worked to their benefit, did the job but had to compensate in other areas. For one, they flew largely at night and used diversionary attacks from higher altitudes. After all, a single lumbering B-17 just a few hundred feet above the water made an easy target for antiaircraft fire. Fifth Air Force could not afford to lose bombers or their crews 34 DECEMBER 1941–NOVEMBER 1942 on a routine basis.
Benn was given command of the 63d BS, the first unit in the theater to adopt these low-level tactics. Benn’s crews developed two such tactics in the fall of 1942: low-altitude bombing and skip bombing. “Every time we had a few moments while we were in Port Moresby, we would load 31 DECEMBER 1941–NOVEMBER 1942 our aircraft with ten 100-pound bombs, using a 4- to 5-second delay, and drop them by the skip bombing method on the reef off Port Moresby. ”19 At this point, the distinction between low-altitude and skip bombing is important.