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Military Archives: "O" PDF Files

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  • Operation Pointblank: A Tale of Bombers and Fighters
    • by William R. Emerson, Assistant Professor of History, Yale University, Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History Number 4, U.S. Air Force Academy, 1962, 54 pages, 1 map, 1 table. Operation POINTBLANK was the wartime code name for our strategic bombing offensive against the industrial potential of Germany in 1943 and 1944, and especially against the German Air Force. POINTBLANK was itself part and parcel of a larger Anglo-American air effort—the Combined Bomber Offensive—which brought Germany under round-the-clock aerial bombardment by American heavy bombers by daylight and RAF Bomber Command by night. Unfortunately, time does not permit me to examine the massive and important contribution of the RAF's night bombers—the Halifaxes, the Wellingtons, the Lancasters, the Mosquitoes—to the air offensive. In our enthusiasm for the accomplishments of our own bombers, Americans have sometimes underestimated the achievements of Bomber Command. But I have not time to consider them. The appearance of the official history of Bomber Command—The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany, 1939-1945, by Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland—has set that record to rights. It was an impressive achievement; and it is an impressive history. POINTBLANK is one of the U.S. Air Force's great accomplishments, a famous victory. But it was very far from being a vindication of the Air Force's strategic doctrine. Indeed, because of shortcomings in that doctrine, POINTBLANK came within measurable distance of being a great defeat—even a disaster—for American arms. In this fact lies its continuing interest for the military historian. The weapons and tactics by which it was prosecuted are quite obsolete now, of course. Nevertheless, Operation POINTBLANK still holds some lessons for us. FREE
  • Operations of Encircled Forces: German Experiences in Russia
    • Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-234, German Report Series, Dept. of the Army, Washington, D.C., January 14, 1952, 84 pages, 11 Maps. This pamphlet was prepared by a committee of former German officers under the supervision of the Historical Division, EUCOM. Among the contributors were former corps commanders and general staff officers at corps, army, and army group level, who had extensive experience on the Russian front during the period 1941-45. The main author, for instance, saw action before Leningrad, near Voronezh, and later at Stalingrad. Toward the end of the war he served successfully as chief of staff of Army Groups North and Center, during their withdrawal from Russia. In addition to discussing the tactical and logistical problems peculiar to operations of encircled forces, the authors take issue with Hitler's conviction that significant advantages could be gained by leaving isolated forces behind the advancing enemy lines. It was this notion, expressed in numerous specific orders, that made the desperate stand of encircled German troops a frequent occurrence during the Russian campaign. The problems of air support for encircled ground troops are described in a separate appendix which deals with tactical air support, air reconnaissance, supply by air, and the employment of anti-aircraft units. Based on the experiences of the German Air Force in Russia and presented by a former Luftwaffe officer, the views expressed are necessarily colored by the organizational peculiarities of the Luftwaffe and its relation to the German Army. FREE
  • Our Enemy Japan: Orientation Officers' Reference Library
    • by Wilfrid Fleisher, Fighting Forces Series, The Infantry Journal, Washington, D.C., June 1944, 194 pages. This is the story of the relations of the United States and Japan from the time Commodore Perry opened up the island empire to foreign intercourse down to the Japanese attack on Hawaii—the background of the United States' war with Japan. It is also the story of the United States' final diplomatic negotiations with Japan. The author spent 17 years in Japan and then as New York Herald Tribune correspondent at the State Department, and thus was in a position to observe closely developments in the critical period that preceded the war and was personally acquainted with all the participants in those negotiations. The author tries to show what sort of people we were fighting, what was the military mind that conceived those dreams of conquest in Asia and planned them over many years, what the were the strength of Japan's army and navy, and her economic position—the weakest link in her armor. He was not concerned with the strategy of the war itself, nor did he envisage the kind of peace to follow. FREE

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