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Thread: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

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    Default "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    "Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe would reveal its deficiencies later in the war; but in 1940 its strengths were paramount. Unlike its British and French equivalents, which had over-diversified in aircraft production and procurement - trying to build too many types at home and then being forced into purchasing from America to replace unsatisfactory models - it had concentrated on procuring a large number of a few types of aircraft, each of which was finely adapted to its specialised function. The Messerschmitt 109 was an excellent example of what today would be called an air superiority fighter; fast, maneuverable, heavily armed and with a high rate of climb. The Junkers 87 was a formidable ground-attack dive-bomber, particularly when protected by the Me 109...The Heinkel 111 was an effective medium bomber..."

    The Second World War John Keegan

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    "'Fast moving aircraft are not designed to support ground troops,' said Army Sgt. First Class Frank Antenori. 'As much as the Air Force and Navy would like to think that, fighter aircraft that travel at speeds can't slow down to identify the targets,' he told National Defense......

    He said the Air Force A-10 attack plane and the Army Apache helicopter are the ideal platforms for close air support, best suited to SOF missions. Air Force F-16s and Navy F/A-18s are much too fast to be able to properly identify targets, he said. 'The problem is getting the pilots at the altitudes and speeds that they are flying to be able to ID the targets,' he said.

    A-10s and Apaches do a much better job, because they can move at a slower speed. 'With fast movers, I never had any success," he said.'
    National Defense Magazine, 2004

    The F-35, on the other hand, was supposed to be a less-expensive, jack-of-all-trades. There were going to be versions for the Air Force, for the Marine Corps, for the Navy. And in your piece, you quoted some critics to say that by going to an all-purpose aircraft...it's not going to do any of those things particularly well. NPR, The F-35 Fighter Jet: The Cost and Controversy


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    "The commonality of training shared by German air force and army officers - Jeschonnek had passed first out of the Kriegsakademie - ensured that the Wermacht's tactics of ground-air operations were fine-tuned. The staffs of its ten Panzer divisions knew that when they called for air support it would arrive on time, where and how they required it." The Second World War John Keegan

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    In particular, they say, the Air Force's reliance on precision-guided bombs created several problems for troops on the ground in Anaconda, the March battle in Afghanistan's Shah-e-Kot Valley. The comments come at a time when Army leaders are fighting a rear-guard action in Washington against what they see as the Defense Department's trend toward over-reliance on precision-guided munitions in shaping the future U.S. military.

    It sometimes took 'hours' for the Air Force to deliver close air support to Soldiers on the ground, Hagenbeck told Field Artillery. Once a request for close air support had been passed to a jet by an Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, it took the Air Force 26 minutes to calculate the desired mean point of impact, which is required to ensure the bomb hits the target, Hagenbeck said.
    Army Times, Sean D. Taylor

    Is the Air Force anywhere near ready for a near-peer war with a developing nation-state like Iran or North Korea? One that has an air defense system and double-digit surface to air missiles?

    No the AF isnt ready. It is getting back to it, but it is still lacking. When I would bring my students the range, the aircrews would hate the days of high threat low altitude tactics and coordinating SEAD on targets. The crews like just sitting up at 14k plinking targets with 12s and 38s while simulating strafing mud huts and soft skin vehicles. Most JTACs are in the same mentality, and I would always attempt to break that but when they go back to their unit they would fall back into the old ways. People have forgotten the ways of CBUs. More crews thing they can go toe to toe with many SAM systems when they would be destroyed by them. As far as air to air goes, I'm sure its much of the same. Flying against the same guys with the same habits and techniques. Its redundant and predictable. In short, no we arent ready because we've trained for todays fights and not tomorrows.
    JD2780

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    Is the Air Force on the right path? Not in regards to its people or standards; campuses vs dorms, bake sales vs doing your job, EPRs vs Go/No Go, reflective belts vs common sense. Is the Air Force even on the right path in regards to aircraft design, acquisition, and application of air power? If there were a war TONIGHT against a nation such as China, India, or Russia, how would the Air Force fare? Just curious. I turn tools for a living and like to read books in my spare time, and this book just got me thinking (dangerous at times); maybe some people on here have a better insight into "strategy" and where the AF stands in comparison to her peers around the world.

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Intriguing book. Have had many similar thoughts without even reading the book.

    All I can say is I am glad I won't be around to find out...so long as nothing happens in the near future.

    Well, I will be around but I won't be playing.

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Quote Originally Posted by BOSS302 View Post
    Is the Air Force on the right path? Not in regards to its people or standards; campuses vs dorms, bake sales vs doing your job, EPRs vs Go/No Go, reflective belts vs common sense. Is the Air Force even on the right path in regards to aircraft design, acquisition, and application of air power? If there were a war TONIGHT against a nation such as China, India, or Russia, how would the Air Force fare? Just curious. I turn tools for a living and like to read books in my spare time, and this book just got me thinking (dangerous at times); maybe some people on here have a better insight into "strategy" and where the AF stands in comparison to her peers around the world.
    If only it were a simple "yes/no" answer. The choices the AF is making WRT aircraft and acquisition are driven as much by budget as by strategy. The "neglected" fleets of non-fighters require billions to replace/replenish. Meanwhile, those same billions are needed to replace the aging or outmoded fighters. The F-35 "single platform - multiple role - multiple service" idea was supposed to "save money" but has turned into a nightmare of design flaws, production failures, delays and cost overruns. Primarily because of political interference and bad management.

    Political influence and bad management has plagued the AF for about 2 decades on aircraft acquisition. F22, new tanker, F35, C17, C27. The 20 year horizon includes the need to replace the B1, KC10, ISR assets, and more. In the declining budget environment, unless service leadership AND political leadership is prepared to make sensible decisions rather than politically driven ones, the AF will not "be ready".

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    If only it were a simple "yes/no" answer. The choices the AF is making WRT aircraft and acquisition are driven as much by budget as by strategy. The "neglected" fleets of non-fighters require billions to replace/replenish. Meanwhile, those same billions are needed to replace the aging or outmoded fighters. The F-35 "single platform - multiple role - multiple service" idea was supposed to "save money" but has turned into a nightmare of design flaws, production failures, delays and cost overruns. Primarily because of political interference and bad management.

    Political influence and bad management has plagued the AF for about 2 decades on aircraft acquisition. F22, new tanker, F35, C17, C27. The 20 year horizon includes the need to replace the B1, KC10, ISR assets, and more. In the declining budget environment, unless service leadership AND political leadership is prepared to make sensible decisions rather than politically driven ones, the AF will not "be ready".
    And special interest. Don't forget, the more 'problems' the jet has...the more billions of dollars Lockheed Martin gets.

    It's kind of like all the GS-26's at HAF/MAJCOM. The more complex AFI's they write, the more secure their job is.
    Last edited by VFFTSGT; 06-09-2013 at 01:49 PM.

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    "Unlike its British and French equivalents, which had over-diversified in aircraft production and procurement - trying to build too many types at home..."

    Did Keegan write this? It's misleading, at best. In addition to the British and French, both the Americans and Germans "over-diversified in aircraft production and procurement - trying to build too many types at home." No one would listen to Adolf Galland when he wrote a paper arguing that Germany should cease production of every aircraft model except the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and the Messerschmitt Me 262. The Germans developed dozens of redundant, unnecessary, or impractical aircraft projects (look up the Bachem Ba 349 Natter) at the very time their aircraft industry was being bombed. The Americans did this, too (look up the Northrop XP-56), but the United States could afford it: the United States was a rich, literate, educated, industrial power. It is none of those things today.

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert F. Dorr View Post
    "Unlike its British and French equivalents, which had over-diversified in aircraft production and procurement - trying to build too many types at home..."

    Did Keegan write this? It's misleading, at best. In addition to the British and French, both the Americans and Germans "over-diversified in aircraft production and procurement - trying to build too many types at home." No one would listen to Adolf Galland when he wrote a paper arguing that Germany should cease production of every aircraft model except the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and the Messerschmitt Me 262. The Germans developed dozens of redundant, unnecessary, or impractical aircraft projects (look up the Bachem Ba 349 Natter) at the very time their aircraft industry was being bombed. The Americans did this, too (look up the Northrop XP-56), but the United States could afford it: the United States was a rich, literate, educated, industrial power. It is none of those things today.
    You mean the United States had "credit." It was no more rich then than it is now.

    And we still haven't learned anything. Not only do we have over-diversifeid redundant, unnecessary, and impractical aircraft, but we have over-diversified redundant, unnecessary, and impractical uniforms now too.

    The Long Story of U.S. Debt, From 1790 to 2011

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...-chart/265185/

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    That Atlantic article was a good!

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    Boss, one thing to consider is that we have no real "near peer" enemy. If we get into an extended air campaign with Russia or China or anyone, it's because WE went to THEM. Yes, other countries have air superiority fighters, ballistic missiles, or even nukes. But we have no "near peer" in regard to logistics and transportation.

    Wars are fought and won, however unglamorous the truth may be, on the capabilities of logistics and transportation. Fighters, bombers, advanced radar, guided bombs, blah blah blah...all sexy and catch the headlines, but history tells over and over that victory goes to the side with the best "railroad."
    Are you a logistics troop or a transport pilot?

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    Are you a logistics troop or a transport pilot?
    He's someone who knows his shit. Logistics wins wars.

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    Default Re: "The Second World War" - John Keegan

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    Boss, one thing to consider is that we have no real "near peer" enemy. If we get into an extended air campaign with Russia or China or anyone, it's because WE went to THEM. Yes, other countries have air superiority fighters, ballistic missiles, or even nukes. But we have no "near peer" in regard to logistics and transportation.

    Wars are fought and won, however unglamorous the truth may be, on the capabilities of logistics and transportation. Fighters, bombers, advanced radar, guided bombs, blah blah blah...all sexy and catch the headlines, but history tells over and over that victory goes to the side with the best "railroad."
    Very true. The Prussians defeated the French in the Franco-Prussian War thanks to their superior railroad network and military logistics capability, even though the French had a numerically superior force and were fighting mostly on their territory. The "needle gun" and the breech-loading artillery of the Prussians also helped...

    Edit: What about "near-peer" allies? The British seem to have a capable logistics network - transport aircraft, blue-water navy, merchant marine, overseas bases and strong diplomatic connections overseas.

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