Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917–1945

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Cornell University Press, Nov 19, 1998 - History - 288 pages

The U.S. Army entered World War II unprepared. In addition, lacking Germany's blitzkrieg approach of coordinated armor and air power, the army was organized to fight two wars: one on the ground and one in the air. Previous commentators have blamed Congressional funding and public apathy for the army's unprepared state. David E. Johnson believes instead that the principal causes were internal: army culture and bureaucracy, and their combined impact on the development of weapons and doctrine.

Johnson examines the U.S. Army's innovations for both armor and aviation between the world wars, arguing that the tank became a captive of the conservative infantry and cavalry branches, while the airplane's development was channeled by air power insurgents bent on creating an independent air force. He maintains that as a consequence, the tank's potential was hindered by the traditional arms, while air power advocates focused mainly on proving the decisiveness of strategic bombing, neglecting the mission of tactical support for ground troops. Minimal interaction between ground and air officers resulted in insufficient cooperation between armored forces and air forces.

Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers makes a major contribution to a new understanding of both the creation of the modern U.S. Army and the Army's performance in World War II. The book also provides important insights for future military innovation.

 

Contents

The Air Service
23
19211930
61
Infantry Tanks
72
The Failed Revolution and the Evolution of Air Force
81
19311942
105
Alternatives for Armor
116
Autonomous Air Power
153
A Crisis in the War Department
176
The Arsenal of Attrition
187
Air Force Triumphant
202
Coequal Land Power and Air Power
212
Conclusion
218
Notes
231
Primary Sources
277
Index
285
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