Patton's Air Force

Patton's Air Force : Forging a Legendary Air-Ground Team

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From the time the Third Army became operational on August 1, 1944, until the guns fell silent on May 8, 1945, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton's troops covered more ground and took more enemy prisoners than any other Allied amy in northwest Europe. Brig. Gen. Otto P. Weyland's XIX Tactical Air Command (TAC) provided air support every step of the way. Their combined success is something of an anomaly; air-ground relationships are notoriously confrontational and plagued with interservice competition. How did Patton and Weyland work together to achieve such astounding success? Drawing on exclusive access to official records, David N. Spires finds that this success was due to four key developments: the maturation of tactical aviation doctrine, effective organizational procedures, a technical revolution in equipment, and, above all, the presence of pragmatic men of goodwill who made the system work. He focuses on the highly effective personal relationship between Patton and Weyland - men who respected, trusted, and fully relied on each other and their respective subordinates.
This collaboration extended all the way down the chain of command: Patton's ground troops and Weyland's airmen trained together in England, and so by the time they entered combat, they operated together as a single unit. Contrary to conventional wisdom, air-ground relationships in the field can be cooperative rather than confrontational. Today's air and ground officers can continue to benefit from the amazing success of the Third Army and the XIX TAC.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 161.3 x 236.5 x 27.9mm | 739.37g
  • Smithsonian Books
  • Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
  • Washington, United States
  • English
  • 1588340872
  • 9781588340870
  • 2,541,224

About David N. Spires

David N. Spires is the author of Image and Reality: The Making of the German Officer, 1921-1933 (1984) and Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership (1997). He is a senior instructor in the Department of History at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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Table of contents

Part 1 1. The Doctrinal Setting Chapter 2 Evolution of Early Tactical Air Doctrine Chapter 3 Doctrine in Practice: Operation Torch Chapter 4 Tactical Air Doctrine Refined Part 5 2. Preparing for Joint Operations Chapter 6 The Gerals Paired Chapter 7 Organizing Allied Assault Forces for Joint Operations Chapter 8 Manning and Equipping the Assault Forces Chapter 9 Training Underway Chapter 10 The Issue of Joint Training Chapter 11 Normandy: On the Job Training Chapter 12 Air-Ground Support System Refined Chapter 13 Hedge-Row Fighting to a Breakout Part 14 3. The Battle for France Chapter 15 Exploiting the St. Lo Breakout: Blitz Warfare U.S. Style Chapter 16 Supporting Patton's End Run to the Seine Chapter 17 From the Seine to the Meuse Chapter 18 Protecting Patton's Southern Flank Chapter 19 A Decision in Brittany Chapter 20 Final Pursuit to the Mosel River Chapter 21 The French Campaign Reviewed Part 22 4. Stalemate in Lorraine Chapter 23 Autumn's Changed Conditions Chapter 24 Refinements in Command and Control Chapter 25 Stalemate along the Mosel Chapter 26 Planning an Offensive Chapter 27 From Metz to the Siegfried Line Chapter 28 Mission Priorities and Aerial Resources Chapter 29 Assault on the Siegfried Line Chapter 30 Lorraine in Retrospect Part 31 5. The Ardennes Chapter 32 Operational Autumn Fog Chapter 33 The Allied Response Chapter 34 Victory Weather Chapter 35 Support Facilities and the Aerial Relief of Bastogne Chapter 36 Protecting the Corridor, Dealing with Friendly Fire Chapter 37 The Luftwaffe Responds Chapter 38 Consolidating Support Elements and Flight Operations Chapter 39 Clearing the Bulge Chapter 40 Ardennes in Retrospect Part 41 6. The Final Offensive Chapter 42 Operational Challenges and New Tactics Chapter 43 Into the Siegfried Line Chapter 44 Through the Eifel to the Rhine Chapter 45 Springing the Saar-Mosel-Rhine Trap - and Across the Rhine River Chapter 46 Once More: "Blitz Warfare U.S. Style" Chapter 47 Defeat of the Luftwaffe Chapter 48 Advance to the Mulde River Chapter 49 Down the Danube Valley to Austria Chapter 50 Victory Part 51 7. An After Action Assessment
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