Some time ago I posted the Japanese perspective of the BOB but was unable to include the US view as the book Burning Blue was chucked by accident. I now have a second copy and can complete this outstanding task.
The posting will concentrate on the main review team that was sent to the UK It consisted of four experts.
1) Colonel Spaatz later commander of US Strategic Bombing in Europe.
2) Lt Colonel Hunter, later head of 8th Fighter Command
3) Major Kenney, later MacArthers air chief
4) Captain Kelsey, later a specialist in maintenance engineering management
Its interesting that these four had at this time low ranks but were experts in all the main areas
Kelsey had to leave fairly quickly but the others were given every assistance to see what they wanted and when they wanted. Nothing was kept from them. They soon made some interesting observations:-
In July 1940 Spaatz wrote to Arnold describing the German bombing as lousy
'Juicy targets are available all over the islands and planes regulary make their apperance usually at nightbut the damage done scarcely warrants the effort. Whether they are holding back their mass of well trained crews for an ariel blitzkrieg or wether they have no well trained crews in not apparent. However I am beginning to believe that the German Air Force was too hastily constructed and is beginning to be mastered by the smaller but much better trained (apparently at least) RAF.
The fights over the English Channel during the past few weeks indicate that the smaller numbers of british fighters inflict serious losses on the German bombers protected by Me109 and Me 110's the later in most cases outnumbering the british fighters brought into action.
In this letter Spaatz concluded by saying that unless the Germans attempt to take England in August, he believed that it would have to be postponed indefinately. German losses in daylight raids would be huge but accuracy in night raids would be low.
He commented favourably on the night bomber ops of the Wellington and relayed reports from Hunter saying that something bigger than the 303 was needed reccomending that 8 x 0.5 would be best.
As you might expect the team flew all the RAF fighters, reporting well on the Hurricane and the Spitfire, but not well on the Defiant. Hunter flew a Spitfire and was very impressed noting that the controls were superior to any fighter that he had ever flown, also that the stick forces were light and the aeroplane responded snappily to any change of controls.
Some interesting observations were made on the German raids in particular if you remember his role in the USAAF later in the war.
1) A well dispersed airforce is a most difficult target to destroy on the ground
2) Large formations of bombers escorted by fighters are very unwieldy
3) The fighters do not insure immunity from attack by hostile fighters
4) I have gathered the distinct impression that dive bombers are only useful against a force which has no fighter protection and no AA defense to speak of.
5) The importance of firepower cannot be over estimated
6) The blitzkrieg for this season will probably be spent by the middle of September
By the time he left the UK in mid September he believed that the British had developed real air power whereas the Germans had developed a mass of airpowergeared to the army.
On the 1st October another US contingent arrived headed by Major General Chaney. He concluded that the Germans had been defeated in day fighting and been forced to indiscriminate night fighting. The importance of the Radar and ground observer corp was noted. He also commented on the close co operation of the AA Command and the value of barrage ballons.
A captured 109 was closely inspected and he commented that the Me109 as a design had reached its peak of development. He also commented that the Me110 was by far the most formidable and outstanding of the German planes that had been used in number to date. The Ju87 was described as being obsolete in so many ways and was far more impressed by the Ju88