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Down to Earth: Fighter Attack on Ground Targets

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Down to Earth: Fighter Attack on Ground Targets
American fighter pilots of the Eighth Air Force provide their rules for conducting ground attack operations against the enemy. There was much more to ground attack than flying low and shooting up anything and everything, and these pilots tell how they did it in their own words.

Original copies are very scarce; I had acquired a photocopy of this manual back in the early 1980s from Garry L. Fry. Unfortunately, his copy was also a photocopy of a photocopy of an original and in the edition I published several years ago the photographs were of very poor quality.

In June of 2001 a customer, Jon Bailey, ordered a copy of my edition of this title because he was looking for information on the unit his grandfather flew with during the war. His grandfather is William B. Bailey, a P-47 pilot with the 353rd Fighter Group, who was then a lieutenant colonel and is one of the pilots who contributed to this manual. When Jon informed his grandfather of the copy of this work he had purchased from me, his grandfather mentioned he had an original copy of this work.

Jon then informed me of this development, and I asked Jon to ask his grandfather about loaning me this book so I could produce a better edition. Colonel Bailey was willing to do so, and also advised me he had an original copy of The Long Reach, a similar work about fighter escort operations and was willing to loan me both of them (this second work is also now available in the Library series).

I certainly want to thank both Colonel Bailey and his grandson Jon for their very generous assistance in loaning these two incredible works so that they could be included in this series.

An extremely rare manual published in August 1944, just when ground attack was becoming a major factor in the war across the European continent.
Originally published 30 August 1944 by VIII Fighter Command.

  • Foreword
  • From the Zenith to the Deck by Brigadier General Francis H. Griswold, USA, CommandingPilots Rules for Ground Attack
  • Colonel Donald J. M. Blakeslee, 4th Fighter Group, P-51
    • Airdromes
    • Targets Other than Airdromes
    • Barges
    • Flak Towers
    • Convoys, Trains, etc.
    • Bombing with Fighter Aircraft
  • Colonel Thomas J. J. Christian Jr., 361st Fighter Group, P-51
    • Strafing Attack Against Airdromes
    • Two Fighter-Bomber Attacks Against Transportation Targets
    • On Attacking Airdromes
    • Dive-Bombing
    • Area-Strafing
    • Transportation Targets
    • General
  • Lt. Col. Ben Rimerman, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Lt. Col. William B. Bailey, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. William J. Maguire, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. Gordon B. Compton, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. Vic L. Byers, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. James N. Poindexter, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • 1st Lt. Horace Q. Waggoner, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Major Charles J. Hoey, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. Leslie P. Cles, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. Wayne K. Blickenstaff, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Major Kenneth W. Gallup, 353rd Fighter Group, P-47
  • Col. Joe L. Mason, 352nd Fighter Group, P-51
    • Ground Attacks on Airdromes
    • Ground Attack on Transportation
    • Ground Shooting
    • Bombing with Fighter Aircraft
    • General
  • Col. Roy W. Osborn, 364th Fighter Group, P-38
  • Col. Avelin P. Tacon Jr., 359th Fighter Group, P-51
  • 1st Lt. R. B. Hatter, 368th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group, P-51
  • 1st Lt. R. L. Thacker, 369th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group, P-51
  • Lt. Col. John B. Murphy, 370th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group, P-51
  • Col. John B. Henry Jr., 339th Fighter Group, P-51
  • Col. Hubert Zemke, 56th Fighter Group, P-47
  • Capt. B. M. Gladych, Polish Air Force, P-47
    • Attacking Trains
    • Airdromes
    • Troops
    • Road Convoys
    • 10 Commandments of Ground Strafing
  • Lt. Col. Thomas L. Hayes Jr., 357th Fighter Group, P-51
  • Col. F. C. Gray, 78th Fighter Group, P-51

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