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tv   U.S. Army Air Forces in Africa and Italy 1942-43  CSPAN  March 29, 2018 10:41am-11:29am EDT

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on c-span's washington journal and on american history tv on c-span3. >> military historian christopher rein talk his book "the north african care campaign". mr. rein described how the fledgling u.s. army operations supported ground operations and helped rid the north african skies of the previously dominant german luftwafa. the talk was part of a symposium commemorating the 75th anniversary of the february 1943 battle of kasserine pass. this is 45 minutes. >> our next speaker is a brave man. he's going to take on the post-lunch crowd. he's not afraid. he knows what he's up against and he's ready to conquer the challenge. i'm very pleased to introduce my
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former colleague from air university, chris rein, who in addition to being an air force officer and navigator happens to hold a ph.d. from the university of kansas and he has the added bonus of being an esteemed native of pearl river, louisiana, which makes him a good guy in our books automatically. he has taught at a number of the nation's professional military education colleges in schools, and he is going to talk to us today about an often overlooked and important component of the war that would be aerial operations in the mediterranean theater. so welcome chris rein. >> good afternoon, folks, and thanks again for coming out. thanks especially to the mutual staff and certainly the organizers of this distinguished conference or panel, especially rob for the concept, jeremy for all the hard work that you've done in taking such good care of
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us and reagan, everyone else that i haven't met yet. appreciate it very much. being a native of the area, i remember back in 2000 for the parade when the museum first opened, i was just a face in the crowd as an rotc instructor up at southern university in baton rouge and remember just seeing the joy of the faces of the vets as they rolled through town in the back of those deuce and a halves and not just for the recognition they were getting on that day but for knowing their stories were going to be preserved and relayed and handed down to the next generation and so i commend and thank the museum for all its efforts in taking up that vital and important mission. >> so, today, i want to talk to you a little bit about my -- what was my dissertation and first book, which is the north african air campaign. for the folks who don't have this on screen at home, i'll go ahead and read this. i don't normally read my slides but what i'm going to try to prove today, my thesis is that
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in north africa, american airmen properly and profitably employed and that's a quote from field manual 100-20, which came out of the operation, air power against the axis ground, naval, and air forces and achieved far more than they could have in an air-only campaign at the time. and the reason i took this up, i would like to say that i hoped to follow in his footsteps but rick atkinson had recently published "an army at dawn" and described the process that the ground forces went through in this campaign and looking at the air forces, i realized it was a very similar process in terms of refining doctrine of identifying leaders, which ones would fail and which ones would succeed and go on to lead the campaigns. and then equipment as well. we've heard a little bit about this morning about some of the trials that the army had with its equipment. and so this question, i think, is one that comes out of the campaign and it's still somewhat contentious or was at least in the post-war air force about whether they should be air only campaigns or whether tactical
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air command would provide more of a conventional or tactical focus. and to some degree, that debate continues to this day. and so i thought this would be a profitable avenue to explore that. i'm going to do that in sort of three main parts. it's kind of the prequel, the main story, and then the sequel, and so we'll start with the western desert. the initial commitment, as rob said this morning, correctly, roosevelt was very concerned that the ground forces were not yet engaged against the axis powers in the european theater but for the air forces, that was not yet true. in june of 1942 the u.s. army air forces sent a small delegation to palestine in the western desert where they fought alongside the raf and did not necessarily provide a significant force to the battle. it would have turned out the way it did even without the american commitment but in terms of what the american airmen learned alongside the british, it was very significant for them and as we've seen in subsequent conflicts, just because the ground forces aren't engaged
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yet, doesn't mean that the air force isn't already busy. certainly desert storm comes to mind where we had a six-week long air campaign where the airmen were very heavily engaged in shaping the conditions for the successful ground force advance from kuwait into iraq. this is very much the focus today and we spent a lot of time on kasserine, but i want to keep kasserine sort of in perspective. that was, as we heard this morning, a two-week period of what was at the very least a six-month long campaign for the conquest of north africa but when you roll in the british efforts, it becomes a several years long campaign and so we do tend to focus very much on kasserine, but i want to place it in context of sort of the larger, and of course the big part of that context is what came next, which is the exploitation and so i'll finish that very briefly with how we applied the lessons that we learned in kasserine and in north africa, the invasion of sicily, the landing at solerno and maybe misapplied some
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lessons in terms of the raid in romania. so i'll start where all american history seems to start, which is over in the uk. so, we'll look very quickly at the raf and what they were doing in the western desert, and i mentioned this not in an attempt to steal any of the valor of the british forces. it was a british or more properly perhaps a commonwealth victory. the american contingent was small, maybe 10% of the force, flying maybe 12%, 13% of the overall sorties in the raf. this was the great victory for the british before the americans came along and ruined everything. so i appreciate that. i don't want to steal any of their success. but i also want to acknowledge that this was very important for the american airmen that were involved in this campaign. you see two of the leaders there, arthur cunningham, australian-born officer on the left and sir bernard law montgomery on the right. while the americans only formed a small portion of the british
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tactical force in the theater, they actually formed almost 100% of the raf's heavy bombers in the theater and this is sufgt because british doctrine had stressed the importance of the strategic raids which they were then involved in with bomber command so they were loathe to deploy any of their heavy assets to north africa. the americans while also having a similar theory were willing to deploy some of the bomber assets to north africa so they wind up making a fairly substantial contribution to that campaign. so, in terms of setting the stage, there's an old saying that amateurs talk tactics and professionals talk logistics so i think the logistics of rommel's supply line certainly bear discussion and this is a quick diagram of how the supplies were flowing forward to rommel's position here. just behind the front. and so you see the various shipping lines that stretch across the mediterranean and these were primarily the
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objectives, the targets for the american heavy bomber force. there were two groups, the 98th and 376th groups that were based in palestine in what is today israel and they were primarily assigned to interrupt these logistics, the supply chain, striking ports in italy and greece, very difficult to hit the ships en route but once they pulled into the places in port, they were very vulnerable to air attack as they were off loading, especially the oil tankers, which as rob mentioned earlier, fortunately rommel didn't realize that he was sitting on one of the world's largest oil reserves in libya so a lot of that was still imported during this time but there was a very famous quote from one of the german generals who said there were three ships en route, oil tankers who were scheduled to dock about two weeks before this, and he said on these three ships rests the fate of the german armies in africa, and all three of them were sunk in port and destroyed before they could
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offload that cargo and that certainly contributed to, as we mentioned earlier, the logistics and especially the oil difficulties that the german forces suffered. so this is one of the aircraft and i show this photo just to kind of emphasize the ad hoc. these are not fixed hoc. these are not fixed bases or not where air crews can prepare. this is very much thrown together. you see them briefing the mission plane side before they step in and take off. the american commitment was as i mentioned small but had in terms of the logistics effort an impact out of much more important than the scale or level of effort. that is a lesson that gets carried forward into the north african campaign. i will talk about elalamein. one of the things that enables montgomery to win over rommel is the fact that there is
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uncontested air superiority. this is the campaign towards the caucus that will terminate. i'm indebted to the work they have done in the luftwaffe. in the winter months when weather closed down air operations they would shift to mediterranean and this would allow them to beat up the british bases. and then in the spring when weather improved they would shift back to russia. fortunately, because of the battles the luftwaffe was unable to do that during this particular campaign. that enables the allies to maintain air supremacy over el alamein.
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in interdicting the supply lines we know now as work that we had most of the sailing schedules which made it easier for us to interdict the supply line so that made the campaign much more effective. lastly, as i said, in addition to heavy bombers we sent two tactical groups to the battle of el alamein and then one bomb group equipped with b 25 missiles. they're flying along side in many cases sort of parsed out to the western desert air force. because of the heavy air pressure they restrict rommel's mobility. he finds it brings down a heavyweight of air strikes that not only have we limited his
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logistics pipeline. you see the various units that wind up enabling montgomery. all the criticism. he is slow, plotting, a set piece but he usually wins. he deserves credit for that at least which is a substantial difference than what we saw with many of his predecessors. the victory results in a final end to the see saw campaign across north africa. the italians attacked, rommel showed up. the british siphon all forces and enabled rommel to get back. the british have a second counter offensive. this ebbs and flows based on in many cases the air strength in the theater. finally the attacks by the japanese in the pacific theater forced another siphoning of australian forces and allows the axis to regain the upperhand until the final counter
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offensive. it is the constant british pursuit. the positive of this is that rommel is in retreat and will not be back in egypt but the negative is timeframe. it is november and december. you are starting to get into the rainy months in north africa. as anyone who spent a winter at any of the bases it doesn't drain very well. it looks flat, sand e, hot, desert. when it does rain it can create a lot of problems. it is some of the things montgomery is up against. one of the ways around that is through air power. i was excited to see this picture featured in the road to berlin exhibit yesterday. the c 47, an entire c-47 group that deploys to egypt primarily to support the american air forces in theater. the main air depot was back.
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the supplies are coming around the cape and up through the red sea. this was a way to shuttle supplies, replacement engined forward. this group gets pressed into service actually flying 55-gallon drums full of fuel forward to keep forces moving as they are moving along the single road that stretches along the northern coast of africa. that was an aircraft that was not present in the r.a.f. we loaned many of these to the royal air force. this was the capability at the time that was fairly unique within the u.s. army air forces. i move forward to the tunesian campaign. three sort of things that i want to highlight here. first off, it's an operational, tactical campaign. even though we have heavy bomber assets and will shift more heavy bomber groups from the uk down to 12th air force in north africa. it's a tactical as it would have
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been called then or today probably more of an operational campaign. these heavy bombers are working over ports and air fields. they are not present on the front lines and that is one of the spears that the air force takes in this is that the ground forces don't see them very often so become unaware of the work that they are doing behind the lines to restrict the flow in. air superiority will be difficult to achieve during this time period and i have a few slides that will show you hopefully why that was. this is one of the last times where the ground forces have a seriously contested air environment and won't operate with the benefit of air supremacy that they have. and then the big part is the interdiction campaign is decisive. the fact that you restrict flow of supplies. if you don't have people willing to atrite the stuff on the ground you are not going to win. rommel as douglas porch argues
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in his book by refusing to fight they stick their heads in a noose and the noose is the supply lines that stretch across the mediterranean between the boot and sicily so the ability to interdict that and not just the aircraft. but that largely i think contributes or makes an outicized contribution to the success. this is a variation of what we saw this morning in terms of the torch landings. we mentioned three divisions at el alamein. the red bull, 34th infantry division and first infantry. the other patch is british 78th division which is charged with the primary attack on tunisia. the part that i want to point out is here on the far left three more american divisions who are not involved in the
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pass. you may ask why would you fight a battle with half of your force not on the scene? and the reason for that is that we were very concerned as we launched the operation that franco and the nationalists would somehow close the straits which would cut off our forces. now we would have the same problem as the german dojurm ge so those divisions are largely kept back in morocco to guard against that possibility and make sure that we can keep that critical supply avenue open. most logistics are arriving via ships. and so if you close down that vital line of communication that certainly inhibits your combat capability. those divisions, the ninth gets there just in time and is one of the reasons that they stopped
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the attack but the others are still back in the rear. most of the air establishment. the main depot is at casablanca. as we talk about your logistic base is that far back you see challenges the air forces are up against. we haven't talked a lot about the navy today. i don't think that was intentional but it was primarily a ground. i want to acknowledge without the merchant mariners running the convoys still very heavily u boat infested waters and the navy itself sends several carrier loads of planes to the north african campaign. this is one in particular which was an escort carrier which flies off all of the 33rd fighter group during the north african campaign. so you have advanced attrition for the group. here you see army aircraft
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operating from aircraft carriers which is not a typical scene in the second world war but certainly a vital contribution in terms of building up allied air power. most air cover was provided by uss ranger, navy and british carriers but they cannot stay in the heavily u-boat infested waters so it was vital to build up air strength as quickly as possible. i'll talk about kasserine pass. it wasn't i don't think a willful case of neglect. one argument is that army air forces completely neglected tactical developments and didn't have aircraft and equipment and the doctrine. in reality they proved that they did because for six months they did it along side the brits. the problem is a lot of that doesn't have the opportunity to
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filter into the kasserine forces. the equipment, p 40s you just saw inferior to many. there is no radar site. they haven't integrated the communications into the force. the weather is absolutely horrendous. now we are getting into february so we are still in the rainy season. for the 18th through 20th the 12th air force doesn't fly because the weather is so bad. we talked about the lessons that the allies learned. rob can speak to this with much more authority than i can. one is if you launch a counter attack do it when the allies can't fly especially if they have control of the air. we see that again two years later when we talk about the battle of the bulge. there are significant difficulties, airfield and logistics are probably the
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biggest. this is a quick diagram to show you when the allies get stopped what they are up against in terms of air forces. all weather air fields in and around where the allies are out in dirt fields out in the desert. the allies air crews in many cases are launched in fox holes and tents. the disparity in terms of logistic capability i think is very significant when we discussed the battle. i won't go into too much detail. i do want to point out that the air fields that are designed to support the line on the western dorsal are actually just to the left of the screen there and are overrun as we heard this morning
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in the opening stages. so the flyable aircraft are flown out. even today in our air force 80% rate is considered pretty good. at the end of this logistic supply line it was probably closer to 50% for the allies. when you have aircraft that are disabled unfortunately they have to be left on the run way and these are the ones the germans have to capture along with 60,000 gallons of fuel brought forward at great expense that now are no longer available. so a lot of the close support is pulling back. the weather is not ideal during the early part of the battle. and another similarity with the bulge is that there is a massive allied supply base which is the top left of the screen. this is really what after germans break through this is their objective. they don't have the logistical
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tale to drive through. if they can destroy sth supply base certainly they are not available to the first army to resume the offensive. it gives rommel a shot in the arm if he is able to hold. the fact that he doesn't get is a critical part of the battle. he breaks through a fade pass but he doesn't get the supplies that he wants or needs much like during battle of the bulge, the germans never get to other allied supply centers. when we debate whether it is a victory or defeat and i'm sure we will in the next session that is one of the factors i think we have to keep in mind. this is a slide that i found research up at the national archives. i was up there with one of my colleagues and i said here is the whole book in one picture. so what this demonstrates, really the only two lines you have to worry about are the ones labelled north african air force
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combat aircraft. that is the green line and then the top line which is axis combat aircraft. as you can see when we start out the race the allies are huge disadvantage. at the kasserine battle you see a disparity between axis and combined. about the time of the battle that leo talked about this morning where we are in the middle of march you see the lines almost start to cross. if you ask why was it we weren't doing so well and afterwards we seemed to be doing better? the ability to deploy more aircraft and more successfully as weather starts to improve and interdict the supply lines and gain control of the skies over the battlefield i would argue are some of the things that they didn't have during his command
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but both patton and bradley will have during their tenures in command as we get later on into the campaign. so what have we learned in north africa? there were failures and i think observation was probably the biggest one. this was the branch of aviation assigned to work closely with ground forces. our tactical reconnaissance capabilities were nowhere close to what the british had put together. that aspect. the ability to get photo rec reconnaissance we mentioned teddy roosevelt's son but another famous roosevelt son involved is in charge of american reconnaissance capabilities and he writes a detailed report and was instrumental in getting the american tactical reconnaissance establishment back on its feet both at will rogers field out at oklahoma city and key field
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outside of meridian, mississippi. and so we start to rework our doctrine and get better equipment and aircraft. we test them. we train along side and i was excited to see in the louisiana exhibit the mention of the louisiana maneuver area, tennessee in california at the california arizona maneuver area at the colorado river where we grad baually get better. we refine doctrine. by the time the units deploy in 1943 and 1944 they are much more capable than units we sent over. sometimes you learn what you can do well. i think operational air power has been vind convivindicated.
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the air force sees a priority a trinity still true today that air superiority is the first requirement. if we are constantly attacked we are not able to do anything. second priority becomes intradiction, cutting off flow of resupply and equipment. those missions absorb the bulk of the allied air effort in north africa. that is part of the reason they never get to the third one. i think it was said this morning that there was no air support. i would qualify there was no direct air support. it was not the cast that the troops were counting on. the size of the force had been limited by the sustained attacks on the axis supply line. some of the aircraft that are doing this are the ones that we see here.
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in addition to sending b 24 groups sends four b 17 groups to north africa. and is screaming at this diversion that he wants to achieve a critical mass and use the aircraft to beat down germany in preparation for operations there. they render much better work in north africa. the weather is a lot better. the air crews you may know that you fly 25 missions you get to go home. in north africa that number is 50 because if they sent everybody home at 25 they would run out of air crew. we get twice the payback for the investment made in terms of training the air crew. we start to learn that with our p 38s that when we escort missions we get much better results because the guys in the airplane aren't constantly dodging or shooting back but are focussed on bomb runs and p 38s
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perform well. both efforts are under the command of lieutenant colonel james doolittle. what most people don't know is he is part of 12th air force and in charge of the north african strategic force. i would argue the service he renders there is equal to in importance if not greater than effects achieved with moral rate in tokyo. moving forward the exploitation phase. one of the first things in the invasion of sicily command of the air enables us to take the next step. in 1942 we can't run a convoy without serious losses. in 1943 we mass a force in sicily. the failed rate on ploesti is
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something strategic air advocates favored. the timing for the raid comes just prior to the german evacuation of sicily. as a result of heavy losses we sustain. out of 177 aircraft 54 are shot down. total of over 100 planes never fly again. we decimate much of our heavy bomber force at the critical time when the germans are trying to evacuate sicily. in terms of the positives we learn even though we don't have a very lengthy air campaign we finished up in mid august and landed in early september which is very condensed timeline. we don't get the chance to do what we would like to do. we have two months and as a result that is one of the reasons that i think that it is as close as we can to being pushed back into the ocean. so very quickly the sicilian
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campaign. you see the operations. again, the u.s. is kind of a junior varsity. we are out on the left flank. the vets get the important mission driving up the eastern coast of the island. patton is supposed to be in flank support keeping germans off the side of montgomery's forces and that turns into a contested rivalry. which looks like a pr success but in reality the germans have evacuated because we have failed to block the straits and prevent two entire german divisions from making it out. those divisions we'll see again. the raid again launches out of benghazi. we sent five groups. unfortunately, what we don't know is refineries only have enough crew to run at about half
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capacity. even though we destroy 50% of the refining capacity the remaining 50% is more than enough to continue to process the same volume. unfortunately, it's taking out unused capability. there are minor disruptions the germans are able to ship crude elsewhere. so unfortunately for the very high cost that we paid for that raid to not see the results we would have liked to have seen from it. i will mention the landings and this is the hard luck divisions in world war ii. god bless the texans they probably want the hard jobs. they have a tough job. they are hit almost immediately with a heavy counter attack from the axis forces there. the italians have dropped out. a couple of things that saved them. one heavy naval gun fire
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support. the strategic bombers which had been working over in rome and air fields the two are diverted in the strategic air power parlance to bombing the concentration areas for the german counter attack. that helps and then the air borne that we drop, the operations in sicily have been costly. we flew in directly over the invasion force which resulted in very heavy losses to air borne forces. we learned that we route the air routes for the transports away from the invasion fleet. they are much more accurate because we use pathfinders. this is a lesson that we learn if we are familiar in normandy. the ingresz route is to the west of the peninsula so it does not overfly invasion convoy. probably the most important
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thing is once we get ashore we capture naples. we get the air field complex. we can stand up 15th air force which i'm sure many of you are familiar with the book "the wild blue" about the heavy bomber forces in southern italy. from there we can strike targets in southern germany. we can hit with accurate weather because we are to the west of them. but also with escorts. so there is a sustained campaign over the course of 1944 that finally reduces the 50% refining capacity down to about 10% by the time the soviets get there in august of 1944. so the taking of that air field complex winds up being the strongest or most important part of the campaign. i will wrap up right here for those who don't have the advantage of seeing it on the screen at home. my conclusion, tactical uses of
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air power including the use of heavy bombers to establish air superiority, interdict axis supply lines as well as tactical air lift assets to support the ground campaign played a critical role in north africa. this is not just acute or aca m academic history. this is something that continued forward and influenced our air power there but even still today the lessons we learned in north africa are at the bed rock of current doctrine. today there is within the defense department, many folks are talking about multi domain battle which is an extension of the air land battle we saw in the 1980s that resulted in the successful operations in iraq in 1981 and operation desert storm. i think as we come out of the long period of small wars and get back into wrapping our head around large scale operations,
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the idea of how to integrate air, land, naval and space and cyber forces in order to facilitate american success on the battlefield. i would be remised if i did not have one mention of -- i have to say that if you read he argues that the correct deployments of military forces against fielded forces rather than attempting to take land you want to destroy the enemy's army. a deployment against fielded forces i think lines up with the masters ideas on war fare. i'm a bit over my allotted time. i look forward to hearing your thoughts and your responses. [ applause ] >> thank you, chris. in the benefit of being the last speaker on the slate is that
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maybe those question s can go t you. please raise your hand. i haven't checked upstairs yet. everybody is full. >> i either covered everything or i was not interesting at all. one or the two. >> as an army guy i don't think very long about the air force. i was going to say i don't think much about the air force but that wouldn't sound right. the attacking of romania and the loss there while bill donovan was directed to -- which they weren't going to do to get the air men back. in world war ii that was probably the first episode that we actually thought about getting air crews back which we do now on a routine basis.
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>> absolutely. in fact it was critical as the air force launches the operation the germans don't publish the results the next day. it is difficult to find out how much damage we inflicted. donovan had agents filtering reports back in terms of lost capacity. we found out that a lot of that was german deception and misinformation. interesting how all that works. collecting information is good. collecting accurate information is even better. >> chris all the way to your right. >> the number of missions was twice that of the 8th air force were casualties lower? >> absolutely, yes. there was much lighter resistance. i have to give credit the combined bomber offensive is ramping up in intensity so when
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you see that the german strength flat lining it's not that they are not having impact on it. they are inflicting heavy casualties on it. murray has it in his book. with ground forces it is easier to restrict flow back in. you can send another squadron down and another one. we know by summer '43 the casualties on the german force were very high. one of the commanders in sicily reports having three planes shot out under him or destroyed because of heavy raids made in preventing him from getting his force in the air. the replacement pilots are so poorly trained they can't fly formation. his force is being atrited heavily during this timeframe. >> in the very back center.
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>> given the problems of coordination and close air support, american ground, what was the experience in trying to coordinate close air support from allied air forces? >> so that was -- the way it was set up the idea was that the british would support british and americans would support americans initially. as american effort sort of declines it winds up -- right after the battle the western desert -- when rommel shows up so does cunningham. it it is now the forces that have landed. now it is north africaen air forces. his organization which had very well refined capabilities, they had tentacles which they deployed with the units that were capable of forwarding requests back, as that capability comes into the forces
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in tunisia it gets to the point where any allied aircraft can render support to any ground force. that system gets much better over the course of the war. but it's not there yet. my current project i am looking at the development of tactical air doctrine and how we go from 1944 which i'm sure many of you know is very effective probably best ground support we have had up to desert storm. it is a long process and takes a while for that -- a lot of guys that fly in north africa as they reach their 50 missions or whatever get sent home to the training establishment. now you start to have better instructors, better experience, more knowledge. that helps quite a bit, as well. >> i believe there is a question here in the center. >> any instances in the beginning of friendly fire drops? >> absolutely. especially if you read -- paul
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was one of the most vocal critics of american tactical air support. he was one of the first units thrown forward in december. he wrote some scathing reports about the inability to obtain air support for british or american tactical aircraft. he didn't just send those to his superiors, division commanders or to eisenhower. he wrote to george marshall directly. if you go to the marshall papers in lexington this letter is still there and he absolutely rips it apart. marshall forwards it to arnold who says this is something you may want to look into. of course, it filters back down. are you unhappy with our air support? and then eisenhower gets to call in and go why are you doing this? and marshall's papers there is response from eisenhower suggest we look into this. there are issues but while
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skilled, capable, combat leader will not send. he is wounded but does not ascend to higher command. there is a heavy bombing raid at the end. they send the american b 17s out to try to find rommel's forces. the weather is bad. they wind up arming i think a pass near that. it is entirely friendly fire. that is not what they trained for. they were used to bombing ports and bombing air fields in tunisia and sicily and italy. finding something out in the middle was probably a little beyond their capability at the time. >> thank you very much, chris. [ applause ] here is a look at our primetime programming. american history tv tonight
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starts with the 75th anniversary of the battle of kasserine pass during world war ii. we will hear a discussion in new orleans from military historian on the american defeat in february 1943. american history tv primetime begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tonight on book tv a look at recent fairs and festivals including discussion of immigration and race relations from the tucson festival of books. then a discussion on political candidates and elections from the 2018 writers festival in california. from the savannah book festival journalist offers communication strategies in her book. and from the rose glen literally
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festival katherine smith talks about her book. two photo journalists talk about their experiences covering the battle against isis. you will hear from victor blue whose work focuses on legacy of armed conflict and protection of civilians and a retired special forces lieutenant colonel who transitioned to a new career reporting on war, con flict and disaster. here is a preview. >> this is a photo from my phone. the rubble in the foreground is an armored isis suicide car bomb. a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device. this is isis svbid that detonated against a humvee.
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sadly the initial reports were incorrect that there were no casualties. anor iraqi policeman was killed blast away from the explosion. inspecting the rubble of this explosion, the isis fighter driving the vehicle not only was driving a suicide car bomb, he was wearing a suicide vest and had a folding stock ak-47 with six magazines so if his car broke down he was going to detonate himself and if it didn't detonate he had an automatic weapon. he was ready to die. i will tell you, most of him was splattered against the wall and i sat and talked to him for a few minutes. it was an interesting moment to see -- you have never been at costco in the meat department and seen this stuff. what was left of him was there. obviously a human being at one
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point. i asked him where are you? what are you experiencing? are you where you thought you would be? he didn't answer back. he only had half of a face. it was interesting to be that close to the evil and how willing he was to die. >> tunesian victory was a world war ii propaganda film on the north africa campaign and released in early 1944. the documentary used combat footage and reenacted scenes and segments with president roosevelt and french president charles de gaulle. it told the story with alternating british and american naur rate e narrators. approximately 275,000 soldiers surrendered. this is an hour and 15 minutes.

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