American Air Power Comes of Age: General Henry H. Hap by Henry H. Arnold, John W. Huston

By Henry H. Arnold, John W. Huston


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Additional info for American Air Power Comes of Age: General Henry H. Hap Arnold's World War II Diaries, Vol. 2

Sample text

Among Eaker’s efforts was the introduction of the YB-40, a more heavily armed B-17 that he called a “bomber destroyer,” whose mission was to be that of a flying defender of the bomber stream against German fighters. However, it proved too slow and was plagued with other problems. 42 He continually urged Arnold and the Air Staff to improve the range of the P-47, which first appeared in combat as an escort fighter with the Eighth on 15 April 1943. Jettisonable metal drop tanks were the eventual solution, but Eaker and his staff had attempted to extend the P-47’s range with strengthened paper drop tanks before the metal drop tank solution was found.

He used the occasion to emphasize the strategic bombing campaign, insisting optimistically that the morale of the enemy was “already beginning to crack” and that the “tide was turning” in favor of the Allies. ” He conceded that we occasionally “miss” our targets but claimed that we are attaining an accuracy not achieved by our enemies. Hap pointed to propaganda characterizing the Allied aerial campaign as one directed against noncombatants as evidence of declining Axis morale. He included in the speech much of the rationale for strategic bombing, saying that its continuation would in the long run end the war sooner and “cut down the casualties,” an item of concern to the young officers and their families.

Arnold conceded in August that Eaker had only 400 crews even though he had 800 aircraft. ”49 Hap’s letter to Maj Gen Davenport Johnson, a long-time pilot and fellow West Pointer whom he had relieved as CG of Second Air Force, revealed some of his thinking—and even anguish—in this critical period: “It is awfully hard in cases like this not to allow the personal element to enter into it. . As you know, you are all friends of mine and I like you all, and in addition, I am not naturally at heart an SOB.

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