Air Force General Counsel Blog The chief legal officer and chief ethics official of the Department of the Air Force

22Oct/130

More to D-Day Than a Land Invasion: Book Recounts Importance of Air Fight Against Luftwaffe.

The War Against the Luftwaffe edited by L. Douglas Keeney tells the story of the U.S. Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force's mission to eliminate the Luftwaffe prior to D-Day. The courage and determination of these services allowed for the invasion of Normandy with little interference from the Luftwaffe, which would have made a difficult invasion far more deadly. Keeney goes into great detail about this little known area of history from the Germans' decisions on where to place aircraft factories to technological innovations that allowed for long range, fighter escorted, bomber flights. He tells about the internal battles regarding where the U.S. should be stationed and what targets should be struck as well as the battles against the weather. The two respective Air Forces were at the mercy of tempermental European weather systems that would set back missions days if not weeks. When the weather did permit missions, aircraft crews had to survive the highly-skilled Luftwaffe. Once the bombers had reached their targets, weather often prevented identification, which meant there was no way to tell if the mission had been successful. While the Luftwaffe was still operational after D-Day, the efforts of the Allies Air Forces played a pivotal role in the success of the invasion. Keeney closes his book with this: "[w]hen the final and complete history of the war against the Luftwaffe is written, it will be a story of the combined skill of the pilot, bombardier, navigator, gunner, and ground crew united with the technician, the scientist, and the engineer, for it was by all of these men and women that the German air force was defeated."

Alix Schroeder
Legal Intern
Air Force General Counsel's Office, Acquisition