The U.S. Army entered World War II unprepared. In addition,
lacking Germany's blitzkrieg approach of coordinated armor and air
power, the army was organized to fight two wars: one on the ground
and one in the air. Previous commentators have blamed Congressional
funding and public apathy for the army's unprepared state. David E.
Johnson believes instead that the principal causes were internal:
army culture and bureaucracy, and their combined impact on the
development of weapons and doctrine.
Johnson examines the U.S. Army's innovations for both armor and
aviation between the world wars, arguing that the tank became a
captive of the conservative infantry and cavalry branches, while
the airplane's development was channeled by air power insurgents
bent on creating an independent air force. He maintains that as a
consequence, the tank's potential was hindered by the traditional
arms, while air power advocates focused mainly on proving the
decisiveness of strategic bombing, neglecting the mission of
tactical support for ground troops. Minimal interaction between
ground and air officers resulted in insufficient cooperation
between armored forces and air forces.
Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers makes a major contribution
to a new understanding of both the creation of the modern U.S. Army
and the Army's performance in World War II. The book also provides
important insights for future military innovation.
Subjects: History, Political Science
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