The RAF's Road to D-Day (ePub)
The Struggle to Exploit Air Superiority, 1943-1944
By the summer of 1943, the Third Reich’s fate seemed sealed. The combined might of Britain and the Commonwealth nations, the United States and the Soviet Union had made Germany victory impossible. All that remained to decide was how the Allies should complete their victory. Would strategic bombing decide the outcome or would ground and air forces working together play the more significant role? Greg Baughen follows the air and land battles in Italy, France and Germany between September 1943 and September1944, 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, it made any contribution to the success of Normandy landings. 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 defence 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 defence 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.
"The RAF’s Road to D-Day does merit a place in any collection on the issues covered. It has been added to mine."British Modern Military History Society
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Well articulated and reasoned arguments, with clear evidence to back up the author's bold claims, make 'The RAF's Road to D-Day' a compelling read.Classic Military Vehicle Magazine - October 2023
Book of the MonthKey Military, 15 July 2023
"In his controversial new book, The RAF’s Road to D-Day, Baughen follows the RAF’s campaigns in Italy, France and Germany between 1943 and 1944, detailing how interservice divisions, clashing views on doctrine and an ineffective grasp on how to implement the lessons learned wasted any potential the RAF may have had…. Drawing on primary sources, interviews, after-action reports and official studies, the author makes a number of bold claims…. In a highly digestible manner, the author maps the RAF’s ‘learning curve’ – or lack thereof – from campaigns in Italy through to the Normandy landings…. Irrespective of whether you agree with Baughen’s conclusions, he presents his case with conviction. With well-reasoned arguments and deductions, backed up with relevant primary source material, The RAF’s Road to D-Day challenges historical orthodoxy and is bound to spark debate."