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An air power pioneer, General Hansell describes how a team of young Army flyers (of which he was one) turned air theory into an operational science. As Europe boiled, General 'Hap' Arnold asked his new Air Staff how many Air Wings it would take to defeat Germany's military. When the staff responded with its estimate (actually, more of a guesstimate), Arnold asked them to explain how they justified their number. What follows is a textbook example of systems analysis. The staff called upon American industrialist, civil engineers, and other experts to develop a systems-engineering map of German military industrial complex and its vulnerabilities (the power grid, ball bearings plants, etc.). They derived means to calculate how many bombers they would need to destroy critical targets; concepts such as circular error probability -- the distance inside which 50% of the bombs dropped on a point target would land (the larger the value, the less accurate the bombing, the more bombers they needed) -- were conceived. Hansell's story continues through the end of the war so we also see how the plan worked when it was followed.
Hansell presents an historic process in a concise, well written book.