Air Force

September 13, 2013

This Week in History: September 13

Brig. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell

1918: Battle of Saint-Mihiel Salient

Between Sept. 12 and 15, 1918, Brig. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell led 1,482 aircraft, the largest combined air armada to date, in World War I during the first U.S. air campaign. Since July 28, 1914, the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary fought the Allies of United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire. The United States declared war on Germany April 6, 1917. Once the U.S. joined the war effort, it took another 18 months to expand its small army, train it and get to Europe.

The war devastated its participants. Just in military dead, wounded and missing, the Central Powers lost more than 16 million military members and the Allies lost over 22 million military members. By contrast, the United States lost 323,000 military members. Due to their losses, the Allies wanted to use the newly arriving Americans piecemeal to fill the gaps in their lines. Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing, the American Expeditionary Force commander, refused. He wanted American military members to fight under American commanders.

During the Summer Counteroffensive of 1918, Pershing began planning to reduce the St. Mihiel Salient. The salient was approximately a 35 by 40-mile bulge in the German lines southwest of Metz, France. It was a leftover from the battle of Verdun four years earlier, and the Germans knew it was a weak point.

Mitchell was given the task to create the air campaign in support of the ground assault. Doctrinally he concentrated his forces on air superiority and the air protection of the infantry. Mitchell set out with three objectives: destroy the enemy air forces, scout enemy positions and destroy enemy ground forces.

To meet those objectives, Mitchell’s planners broke their missions into three types: bombardment, pursuit and reconnaissance. The First Army and First Army Air Service staffs, along with subordinate corps commanders, selected the targets. Bombardment targeted enemy flying fields and, in close coordination with the army, troop concentrations. But, if the fliers saw better targets in the immediate area, the flight commanders could decide to attack the new targets.

Mitchell assigned more than 400 aircraft to work with ground commanders and protect them. He used the combined force of more than 1,000 aircraft to knock the enemy out of the air. Against them, the Germans had only about 500 machines.

One of Mitchell’s major concerns was Allied Airmen had problems flying in six-ship formations. For the campaign, they would be flying in formations of 60 or more.

Even with all of the secrecy the Allies could muster, the Germans knew they were going to attack, but miscalculated by a day. As a result, initially the Allies saw great success on the ground. For his part, Mitchell successfully rendered the Luftwaffe ineffective, achieved air ascendancy, and the German Army received a mauling. The campaign proved massed air formation principles worked.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

CLEP speeds off-duty education

Education is important in order to succeed in life, especially for military members, and going to school while being in the military can cause additional stress for any Airmen looking to obtain a degree. There is help with the College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, that can help to alleviate some of that stress. The CLEP...
 
 

Air Force News – December 19, 2014

Hawaii U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army members from the 613th Air Operations Center collaborated with members from the Japan Air Self Defense Force Dec. 8 through 13 on exercise Yama Sakura 67, the largest U.S. Army annual bilateral exercise in Asia-Pacific region. Washington D.C. About 40 living World War II members, their relatives, and...
 
 

People First – December 19, 2014

Officials announce no FY15 force management Air Force officials announced there is no longer a need to conduct involuntary force management programs for fiscal year 2015 following a year of significant reductions designed to meet the Defense Department strategic and budgetary guidance. Officials confirmed that fiscal year 2014 goals were achieved to size and shape...
 

 
Senior Airman 
GRACE LEE

Latest F-35 has fastest induction to ALIS

Senior AirmanGRACE LEE The 14th F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter to arrive at Luke Air Force Base is shown Dec. 5 on the flightline. Airmen at the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit worked quickly to get the aircraft ready to...
 
 

New tool to safeguard PII

The Digital Signature Enforcement tool integrated Air Force-wide Dec. 5, providing Microsoft Outlook users with automated assistance to ensure security of personally identifiable information. DSET is a short-term fix to help Air Force network users protect PII included in emails. “There isn’t any new PII change,” said Maj. Raymond Chester, 56th Communications Squadron commander. “The...
 
 

Air Force News – December 12, 2014

Texas Twenty-nine officers from various Air Force career fields have been selected for Air Education and Training Command training and recruiting squadron command, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced Dec. 5. Colorado As the Air Force continues to upgrade its most recognizable space constellation in Schriever Air Force Base, a small team is busy testing...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin