The RAF's Road to D-Day
The Struggle to Exploit Air Superiority, 1943-1944
Imprint: Air World
320 Pages, 6.1 x 9.2 in, 32 mono illustrations
- July 2023
- In Stock
Greg Baughen follows the air and land battles in Italy, France and Germany between 1943 and early 1944, as well as the equally bitter battles behind the scenes as army and air commanders debated and argued over how the war should be won. He charts the trials, tribulations, and successes of the bomber offensive and assesses whether, in the final analysis, the bomber strategy shortened or lengthened the war. He explains how army air support went backwards after the successes of the Desert Air Force, and how this led to a failure to support the troops landing on the D-Day beaches in Normandy. He also describes the subsequent revival of tactical air support and how it went on to play a key role in the subsequent campaigns but questions whether Eisenhower, Montgomery or Tedder ever fully understood how to make best use of the massive aerial forces available to them.
Drawing on archive documents and accounts written at the time, the author tackles some fundamental defense issues. Was RAF independence a benefit or a hindrance to the Allied cause? To what extent was the War Office to blame for shortcomings in army air support? Did Britain understand the way the methods for waging war were evolving in the twentieth century? He takes a look at how the Air Ministry was interpreting the lessons being learned during the war. Were the defense policies of the twenties and thirties still valid? Had they ever been valid?
This, then, is the story of the decisions and actions that the RAF followed in the months leading up to D-Day and how air operations evolved in the subsequent campaign.