Friday, June 8, 2012

Note From AFA President -- D-Day and Airpower

Two days ago on 6 Jun was the 68th anniversary of D-Day.  That morning I heard the press describe the events. 
  • Gen Eisenhower sent 160,000 troops to land on the beaches in Normandy
  • Casualty expectations were upwards of 50%
  • Yet … casualties during the first day – while significant – were only 7,000
I wondered why.  Could it have been that the Army Air Force had so decimated opposing air and ground forces that the landings succeeded?
I asked noted historian and former Air Force Historian, Dr Dick Hallion, if he would write a short piece on Airpower’s contribution to the successes of D-Day. 
A quote from the piece to interest you:
…Dwight Eisenhower and his newly-commissioned son John were watching hundreds of vehicles moving “bumper to bumper” over the roads of northern France.  “You’d never get away with this if you didn’t have air supremacy,” John said.  “If I didn’t have air supremacy,” Eisenhower responded, “I wouldn’t be here.” Eisenhower recognized that he had something that went far beyond conventional “air superiority.”  His air forces so dominated the Nazis that, to a great extent, the surface combat forces did not have to really concern themselves about enemy air intentions.
For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

"The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is … a second-rate Air Force."  --  Senate staff member

No comments: