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ATUTR-TNG 29 August 1963

SUBJECT: Close Air Support History (U) LIBRARY

See distribution
SEP 4 1963
. ACCESSION NO_ _ _ _ __
_ _ _ _

~~e inclosed history of close air: suppo. rt was prepared by the

US Army · e ·,· · .Support Requirements Board, .Fort George G. Meade,
Maryland, a .(.,as, to have been included in the final Board Report
as an introductory annex. A decision was made by the Joint Board
(US Army - US Air Force) Presidents to omit . a history from the report.
The Army written version is considered a documented presentation of
the subject of Close Air Support as it has evolved over the years and
is furnished for information.


1 Incl
(S) Annex A .
History (U) ·,
Cy No a7 of 80 copies
CN: l°offi2


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Sr A Instr & LO, Educ Cen,
Marine Corps Sch
Sr A. Instr, Amph Tng Comd,
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810454 ✓ '


Birth of Military Aviation 1
Emergence of Tactical Air Power 1
Definition of Close Air Support 2
The Issue 2
Beginning of U.S. Military Aviation 4
Emerging Opinions 5
Doctrine of the Times 7
CAS Doctrine of the Forties 14
Post War Doctrine 37
National Securjty Act - 1947 40
War in Korea 42
Unofficial CAS Working Doctrine · 51
CONARC - TAC Doctrine 55
JCS CAS Policy 58
CINCSTRIKES Approach to CAS 58
Army Study of CAS Continued 60

Commanders' Comments Tab A

12th Army Group - 9th TAF Air-Ground
Cooperation Tab B
Commanders' Quotes Tab C
Letter, Chief of Army Field Forces,
Subject: Tactical Air Support of
Ground Forces, 17 May ' 52 Tab D
Extracts from JCS Pub. 2, Unified
Action Armed Forces (UNAAF) Tab E
Army Briefing of Presidents' Scientific
Advisory Committee (PSAC) on Army's
RequiJ!lA.ments for CAS 21 Nov 1962 Tab F
Memorandum from ~ecretary of Defense for
Secretaries of Army and Air Force,
Subject: Close Air Support dtd 16 Feb '63 Tab G
Bibliogr~phy Tab H
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ANNEX A - History 12 July 1963


1. ( U) PURPOSE:

The purpose of this appendix is to review the history of close

air support (CAS) since the introduction of military aviation to the

United States in 1907. It is intended that such a review will empha­

size and clarify the evolution of CAS doctrine over the years. By

such means, it is hoped that greater insight into the CAS subject .will

be gained.



The Wright brother's successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North

Carolina on 17 December 1903 brought the potential use of a new dimen­

sion to warfare -- air. U.S. military leaders, admittedly, were slower

to recognize the full potential of air power than European contempories,

but military aviation was soon a lively topic with U.S. military lead­

ers.11 It still is. The interest is not so much in flight itself as

it is in the fire power that can be brought to bear on the enemy from

the air and from all 360 degrees of the compass .


Any contention that may have existed between proponents of

strategic and tactical air power is being resolved gradually with the

continuing perfection of strategic missiles. Tactical air currently

rates high interest among Department of Defense officials.

The three missions of tactical air involving the expenditure

of fire power are Counter-Air, Interdiction and Close Air Support

(C.A.S.). Some authorities add a fourth mission; Reconnaissance.

This paper will not address the history of tactical reconnaissance,

but it should be read with the understanding that reconnaissance is

1/ A. Goldberg, "History of the United States Air Force", D. Van

Nostrand Company, Inc., Princeton, New Jersey, 1957.

considered inherent to the overall tactical air mission. Though not a

new subject for investigation, CAS is receiving great attention cur­

rently by the Army, Air Force and Department of Defense.


The JCS Pub 1 (Dictionary of U.S. Military Terms for Joint

Usage) defines close air support as "Air action against hostile tar­

gets which are in close proximity to friendly forces and which re­

quires detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and

movement of those forces".

Because the abstraction, "close" is difficult to define, some

in the Army would like to see an extension of the JCS definition. To

them, the definition in TT 110-100-1 (TACM 55-3), "Joint Air-Ground

Operations," prepared jointly by Hq TAC and Hq CONARC is preferred.

It states, "Close Air Support is the application of air power within

the combat zo~e at the request of the field army commander against

enemy targets capable of interferring with current combat operations

friendly forces."


Sometimes referred to as priorities of tactical air operations,

and perhaps unfortunately so, Counter-Air Interdiction and CAS may be

and often are carried on simultaneously. The three missions cannot be

separated into neat packages. Each has an influence on the other.


This is the nub of the problem. Who gets what, where and when?

Actually, such differences of opinion as may exist between

Air Force and Army leaders are in degree rather than in principle.

Ground force commanders acknowledge, for instance, that the counter­

air mission, properly executed, will result in control of the air and

also supports the ground effort.

They agree, also, that interdiction supports the ground effort.

It is when tactical CAS concepts are discussed that differences of

opinion between air and ground commanders become appa,rent.

Ground force commanders are interested primarily in getting

air d·e li vered ordnance when and where they want _it. They measure CAS

effectiveness in terms of responsiveness, reliability and availability.

They recognize the great striking power of Air Force weapons and that

service's ability to attack targets that cannot be reached and/or

destroyed by organic Army weapons. Understanding the impact of air

fire power and not having such means under their control,_J,h~ r ~ a£_e_

those in the Army who believe CAS effectiveness, in terms of r ~ pon­

siveness to ground needs, is something less than that desired.

There are a number of elements that contribute to the effective­

ness of CAS. Some, but not all, are pilot training, number and type

of aircraft, training of Army and Air Force personnel who operate the

air-ground request nets, procedural arrangements, communications

equipment and even the attitudes of participating personnel.


Because two services are involved, the key to the effective- ,¥

~ness of CAS is sound air-ground command relationships. How much con-

trol should ground commanders have over CAS, if any? There are two

basic questions. (1) How much should Counter Air and Interdiction

impinge upon the ground commander's CAS requirements, and (2) who

should make the decisions regarding the allocation of CAS?


Sometimes a long look backward provides a solid stepping

stone for the long look into the future. A review, therefore, of

Army and Air Force CAS concepts of the past may be helpful. Such a

review necessarily touches upon old controversies. However, there is

no purpose other than to attempt to focus on honest differences of

opinion regarding CAS that may have had and perhaps still have an

influence on air-ground command relationships.


It was not until 1 Aug 1907 that the U.S. Army Signal Corps

established an Aeronautical Division to take "Charge of all matters

pertaining to military ballooning, air machines, and all kindred sub­

jects" and took the first step to build an air army. Congress, in 1914,

created the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, thus recognizing

Army aviation on a permanent basis.Y

Army Aviation was less than ten years old and insignificant in

size when the U.S. entered World War I. There were 131 officers, 1087

enlisted men and fewer than 250 planes, none of which were classified

higher than trainer aircraft by European standards.» Tactical doc­

trine was non-existent. Its initial and basic role was to "serve as

the eyes of the ground force and shoot out the eyes of the enemy!t±/

The small Signal Corps Aviation Section expanded under the

pressures of war, and President Wilson raised it to the level of a

branch of the Army as the Air Service in May 1918.!i/

Even before World War I ended, there was considerable conten-'

tion about the post war organization of the air arm. The concept of

a separate Air Force had captured the imagination of some from the

beginning of military aviation. As early as March 1916, the first of

a long series of bills supporting a separate Air Force was introduced

in Congress. Between that date and the National Security Act in 1947,

some 50 similar bills were introduced.QI'

'2J Ibid

)/ Ibid

.Y/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, '~rmy Ground Forces and the Air-Ground
Battle Team, Study No. 35!' Historical Section, Army Ground Forces, 1948

:i/ A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1

.Q/ Ibid



Several schools of thought existed regarding the use of air

power in the decade following World War I. One group contended that

aircraft were unreliable mechanically and of limited value to ground


Others saw air power as a major potential contributor to re­

connaissance and limited bombing in support of ground armies.Y

The third point of view, and the one expressed by most air

officers, visuali.z ed a great future for air power and supported the

development of mechanically s_ound bombers, at tack aircraft and trans­

ports. They saw no need for a separate air force until aircraft

reached a higher state of development.Y

Brigadier General William E. Mitchell was the most ardent and

conspicuous advocate of the fourth school of thought. This group,

vociferous and influential, believed that bombing alone, without the

use of surface forces, could win a wa1~0/ According to Dr. E. M. Emme,

formerly of the Air University, Mitchell, along with Douhet of Italy

and Trenchard of Great Britain, (both had a great influence on Mitchell's

thinking and that of his followers) was guilty of over-estimating the

technical capabilities of aircraft of their time.ll/

General Giulio Douhet, for instance, who had predicted in 1909

that "the sky too is about to become a battlefield," argued in 1921

that air power was an offensive weapon to gain command of the air and

shatter the enemy's will by strategic bombing. Basing his thesis on

'1/ Roger✓ Burlingame, General Billy Mitchell, New York: McGraw­

Hi11, 1952
W Krauskopf, Robert W., ''I1he Army and the Strategic Bomber",
Military Affairs (Summary 1958, 83 - 94)
9/ Arnold, General H.H., Global Mission, New York: Harpers &
Brothers, 1949

1Q/ Roger Burlingame, op. cit., Page 5

ll/ Emme, Eugene M. "Some Fallacies Concerning Air Power", The
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May 55

World War I lessons applied to Italy's strategic position, Douhet

asserted that only an independent air force could obtain decisive

results for Italy in a future war.g/

Mitchell and his followers agreed with Douhet. Moreover, Great

Britain's RAF which was independent of the British Army served to

strengthen the resolve of this group of air war advocates. lll·

General Mitchell proclaimed,

"heretofore, to reach the heart of a country and

gain victory in war, the land armies always had to be
defeated in the ·field and a long process of successive
military advances made against it. Broken railroad
lines, blown up bridges, and destroyed roads necessit­
ated months of hardship, the loss of thousands of lives,
and untold wealth to accomplish. Now -an attack from
an air force using explosive bombs and gas may cause
the complete evacuation of· and cessation of industry '
in these places. This would deprive armies, air forces,
and navies even, ·of their means of maintenance. 11 1!±/ :

Mitchell believed that an entire new set of · rules for the con­

duct of war should be drawn up and an entirely new strategy applied to

the conduct of war. 11 No longer," he said, "is the making of war gauged

merely by land and naval forces. Both of these old, well und~rstood

factors in conducting war are effected by air power which operates

over both of them. 11.1,i/

Mitchell deplored the fact that all the great nations except

the U.S. had adopted a definite air doctrine di•s tinguis ha:1from sea

and land doctrine. He counselled against fragmenting air power

throughout all the services and noted that other nations were tending

to centralize their aviation efforts despite the fact they all started

out with aviation distributed under the Army and Navy.l.Q/

g/ General ·Giulio Douhet .J.. "The Command of Ai'.r 11 , published by E.M.

Emme, The Impact of Air Power, LJ. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., Princeton,
N.J. 1959
.lll Kent Roberts Greenfield,- op. cit., Page 4
Brig Gen Wm Mitchell, "The Development of Air Power" published
by E. M. Emme, op. cit., Page 6
.1,i/ Ibid
l,Q/ Ibid

; Congress, however, agreed with Secretary of War Baker and Gen­

eral Pershing who said, "an air force acting independently can of its

own aceount neither win a war at the present time nor, so far as we

can tell, at any time in the future." But, in 1920, the legal status

of the Air Service was confirmed, and it was recognized as a combat

arm of the Army in the Army Reorganization Act of t hat year.11/


The 1923 revi.sion of the Field Service Regulations, U.S. Army,

provides an insight into the U.S. theory of war at that time. It

star.ted with an axiom borrowed from Clausewitz:

"The ultimate object of all military operations

is the destruction of the enemy's armed forces by
battle. De,c isive defeat in battle breaks. the enemy's
will to resist and forces him. to sue for peace."

The Field Service Regulations enunciated further that:

'' (1) Victory requires cooperation between air

and ground forces; (2) No one arm wins battles,
but the coordinating principle underlying the employ.;..
ment of the- combined arms is that the mission of the
infantry is the mission of the entire force; (3)
The special missions of the other arms are derived
from their power to contribute to the execution of
infantry mis.sion and (4) bri~fiy, the chief role of
aviation was close support. 11W

- Though modest effo·r ts were made to enhance the prestige and

rol,e of military aviation in the U.S. Army,- support of the Army re-­

ma.i ned the principal thesis. Training Regulation 440-15, "Fundamental

Principles for the Employment of the Air Service," dated 26 Jan 1926,

for example, sta.t ed that the organization and training of air units

s:hould, be. ''bas.ed on the fundamental doctrine that their mis.sion is to

a.id. the ground forces to gain decisive success.. Some uni ts always

operate as organic elements of ground. commanders while others may be

11/ A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1

W 'James L. Cate, ".D evelopment of U.S. Air DoctrinE/.',
by EL.. M. Emme, op. cit., Page 6

temporarily attached to ground units or may cooperate by indirect

support in the area of the ground battlefield or at a distance there­

from. 1112./

Even the handbook on bombardment, published in 1926 at the Air

Service Tactical School, dealt only with "Operations in ,s upport of, or

in conjunction with, large forces of ground troops •..... ", delibera­

tely omitting consideration of "independent air force operations."_gg/

Doctrine enunciated in 1926 in TR 440-15 also stressed that

•air commanders had two hats, i.e., (1) tactical command over air units

but not over air units attached or assigned to subordinate units and

(2) technical staff officers of the respective division, corps, or

army commanders.W Thus, the Air Service received a m~dicum of re­

cognition, but doctrine kept - a~rmen tied closely to the control of

ground force commanders whom they supported.


A Board was . appointed in late 1925, headed by Dwight W. Morrow,

to study whether a Department of Defense should be formed with a sep­

arate Air Department included. The Morrow Board recommended that the

0: Air Service be re-named the Air Corps for prestige purposes but remain

within the Army. Congress concurred and the Air Service became the

Air Corps on 2 July 1926.2,g/

After 1931, lectures at the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS)

made it clear that a revolution in thought had taken place. As a

matter of fact, the first English translation of Douhet was a mimeo:­

graphed edition done for the school in 1932.W These lectures,with

TR _440-15,. ~ar Departinent, "Fundamental Principles for the
Employment of the Air Service," 26 -January 1926

_gg/ E.M. Emme, op. cit., Page fu

W TM 440-15, op. cit., Page$

W A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1

W E.M. Emme, op. cit., Page 6 .


. the same theme as Billy Mitchell's pronouncements, taught offensive

.;. warfare directed at the enemy's will to resist. The three arms were

to cooperate but each had its own special mission.w'

Air leaders in the thirties believed autonomy would come

eventually with technological developments that would give aircraft

a long range strategic capability. So, they consented to an interim

arrangement whereby the General Headquarters (GHQ, AF) was established

on 1 March 1935, GHQ AF was directly under the Chief of Staff and was

the air combat arm. The Air Corps retained administrative and log­

istical responsitilities . .6..2.1'

The 1926 TR 440-15 was superceded on 15 October 1935 by a new

TR 440-15 entitled "Employment of the Air Forces of the Army." Aside

from stressing the inherent mobility, p9wer, flexibility a~d offensive

nature of military aviation, it reaffirmed Army ground doctrine that

"air forcesfurther the mission of the territorial or tactical comman­

der to which they are assigned or attached."Z,Q/

The regulation added that "the Commander in Chief of the Field

Forces, or the commander of a line unit to which air forces may be

~ -
assigned or attached, employs them to operate within or beyond the

~phere of ground forces, whether in support of the operations of the

ground force or independent of such operations and is responsible for

assigning them missions, objectives or both."nJ

_But, Army-Air Force doctrine in the 1935 edition of TR 440-15

did caution against frittering away air power against minor or second­

ary targets without defining the terms "minor" or '!secondary. ,i ~

_g!f/ Ibid
.6.2,/' A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1
Z2/ TR 440-15, War Department, "Employment of the Air Forces of
the Army", 15 October 1935

n./ Ibid

~ Ibid

Doctrine in 1935 concentrated air effort on reconnaissance,
interdiction, harassment and attack on deep targets.~ It advised

also that economy of force should be applied re use of aircraft in

that: (1) replacement of aircraft and personnel is expensive and

slow and (2) air power should be concentrated on primary objectives.W


On 15 April 1940, the War Department published Air Corps Field

Manual 1-5, "Employment of the Aviation of the Army." In retrospect,

it is an important document in that it portrays the evolution to air

power tactics.

FM 1-5 continued to stress doctri_?e that aviation in di~ect

tactical support of ground operations is essential and the supported

commander is responsible for assignment of air missions or objectives.

However, the emergence of pure air tactics doctrine, differen­

tiated from ground tactics doctrine with support by air power, became

evident. The doctrine stated that "complete control of the air can be

gained and maintained only by the total destruction of the enemy's

aviation. Since this is seldom practicable, counter air operations

must be carried on progressively and intensely to provide security

from hostile air. 11 The manual's basic doctrine re the employment of

aircraft stipulated, also, that air operations would precede contact

of surface forces, and the success of field forces may depend in large

measure on these early air operations.El

It was stated, also, that support aviation generally is a

theater of operations weapon. It emphasized that the hostile rear

~ Ibid

JQ/ Ibid
FM 1-5, War Dept, Air Corps Field Manual, "Employment of
Aviation of the Army" dated 15 April 1940,

E/ Ibid

area is the normal zone of action of support aviation operations to

permit full use of striking power against concentrated targets with

minimum losses and maximum results. Further, support aviation would

not be used against targets that could be attacked by ground force


That Air Force leaders were having some suc..9ess in gradually

lowering the priority of CAS of ground forces was evident in ~ ne

passage. Alluding to the fact that aircraft and men are expensive,

the writers of FM 1-5 said, "Combat aviation must be employed inten­

sively against objectives of decisive importance and not disperse~

or dissipated in other operations. 11 1!±/

Also, "When decentralization becomes necessary in situations

requiring immediate tactical support of specific units, ,the superior

commander may attach to or place in support of specified large units

a part of or all of his support aviation. 1112/

It seems significant, however, that the immediately preceeding

quotation was followed with the statement, "Support Aviation may thus

act with greater promptness in meeting the requirements of the support­

ed unit ~,]2/

General George (]. Marshal appointed General Henry H. Arnold as

his Acting Deputy Chief of Staff (for air) .in November 1940 following

the outbreak of WW II the preceeding year. Arnold, from that position,

directed both the Air Corps and the GHQ AF until a more satisfactory

means of control could be found . .21/

fj} Ibid

J.!±/ Ibid

12/ Ibid

J2/ Ibid

.21/ A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1


This control was discovered on 20 June 1941 when the War

Department established the Army Air Fo~ces. This gave the nation's

air leaders a degree of their desired autonomy and permitted unity

of command over the Air Corps and the Air Force Combat Command (the

former GHQ).~

The War Department was reorganized again in March 1942 and

the air arm became co-equal with the Army Ground Force and the Army

Service Forces. The Army Air Forces had attained a degree of autonomy

short only of independence.12/


The influence of Air Force thinking regarding air power on

military doctrine was evident in Field Manual 100-15, "Larger Units,"

published 29 June 1942. This was the doctrine, with which the U.S.

entered WW II. It stated that successful modern military operations ,, -

demanded air superiority . .!±,Q/ The earlier 1941 FM 100-5 entitled,

"Operations," had repeatedly emphasized that air superiority was

prerequisite to successful ground .operations but could be interpreted

as re f erence t o 1 oca 1 air . ·ty. .!±.1/

. SUJ2§riori

It was manifestly clear in the 1942 FM 100-15 that air

superiority in a theater and not local superiority was the intend~d

frame of reference. The air forces had a larger mission than the

creation of conditions essential to the success of ground operations.

The purpose of the air forces was to "deny the establishment of and

destroy existing hostile bases from which the enemy can conduct

operations on land, sea, or in the air" and II to wage offensive air

~ Ibid

12/ Ibid

.!±QI FM 100-15, War Department, "Larger Uni ts 11 , 29 Jan 42

.!±.1/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

-- . - ---·-

warfare against the source of strength, military and economic, of the

enemies of the United States in the furtherance of approved war

policies. 11 !±2/ Close Air Support of ground forces seemed to be eroding.

But, close support of ground forces was not a dead issue, for

FM 100-- 15 listed "Close Cooperation with the other arms of the mobile

army in the conduct of land operations" as one of the "basic tasks of

the air forces."W Moreover, support of ground forces was given

equal weight with strategic air operations as both requirements were

~- considered to be "vital. 11.Y:.Y) The air forces, however, judged the

"priority" between the two requirements in terms of timin~ rather than


Still not clear was the question of whether the most effective

close air support constituted ."attacks on the immediate front or flanks

of the supported ground forces" or "attacks against troops, installa­

tions, or other objectives more distant from the supported units.W

The phrase, "isolating the battlefield," had been used in an earlier

manual, Air Corps FM 1-10, 20 Nov 1940. It was a point of Army Air
F orce d isagreement during the war and was not used in FM 100-15. .Y1/
The doctrine of the earlier 1941 FM 100-15, on "Operations"

indicated that ''the hostile rear area might frequently be the most

favorable zone of action for· combat aviation." The question of

whether air power should be employed in "the hostile rear area". or "in

direct support" was left to the decision of the higher commander.W

liiJ FM 100-15, op. cit., Page 12

W Ibid

.Y:.Y) Ibid
~ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4
W FM 100-15, op. cit., Page 12

!±1/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

W Ibid

Regarding control, FM 100-15 stated only that "All combat

aviation in a theater of operations or similar command ordinarily is

~ organized as an air force under the theater or similar commander.!!-.2/

Earlier, however, FM 31-35, "Aviation in Support of Ground Forces,"

published 9 April 1942, established the principle that Army Aviation

\.) must be commanded by its own commanders in all but the most unusual .
- ..
circumstances . .5.Q/

FM 31-35 was the only official document with guidelines regard­

ing tactical cooperation between air and ground forces until publication

of Training Circular No. 17 on 20 April 191+.

211 Because it appears

to be a significant document regarding GAS command relationships at

that time, a detailed review is considered appropriate.


The authors of FM 31-35, as did those of FM 100-15, visualized

the assignment of a balanced "air force" to each theater. An element

of this force, an "air support command," would "habitually" be avail-

- g/
able to support an army. The Air Support Command contained fighter,

bomber and observation elements with only the latter organic to it.

The others would be attached or assigned at the discretion

of higher authority.
.w Thus, air force flexibility was safeguarded.

Also, FM 31-35 doctrine vested control of the air support

command in an air commander with whom "the commanding general would

1£2,,7 FM 100-15, op. cit., Page 12

.5.Q/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

21/ Ibid
g/ FM 31-35, War Department. "Aviation In Support of Ground
Forces." April 1942

5J/ Ibid

iY:,/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

,. normally find his opposite number. With his collaboration, the army

commander would decide on the air support required and plan its alloca-

ti on . 11..2.i/' To speed up cooperation at lower levels, the control of the

air commander could be decentralized to "air support controls" located

in immediate proximity to the command posts of units to whose support

air units were "specifically allocated."

It was visualized that these air support controls would operate

normally no lower than corps level but could be at division level when

necessary and normally would be in the case of armored divisions.

Ground units requiring air support would have an air liaison element

with them known as air support parties . .2.'.Z/

A request for air support from a ground unit was passed through

channels to the first CP at which an air support party was located.

That party advised the commander at that level of the practicability

of th emission. ~

The request, if approved, was passed by radio to the first CP

with an "air support control." (Normally corps, but possibly division).

If the request was in accordance with the air-ground plan, the air con­

trol officer would send it directly to the airfield of the supporting

unit as an attack order . .22/ Once airborne, pilots received their

instruction from "air support controls," sometimes through air support


In regards to command relationships or responsibilities, con­

trol of support aviation was kept by air commanders, and only they

jjJ Ibid

5.f2;' FM 31-35, op. cit., Page i4

.2.'.Z/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4
2W Ibid

221 FM 31-35, op. cit., Page 14

9S1/ Ibid

could issue orders to air units. The capability to mass air power was

retained and control centralized as high as required.

It seems key to the subject, however, that "the air support

required" and whether or not an air mission was to be ordered was the
'- - -
dficision of the ground commander . .Q]/ The decision of the ground

commanders on the priority of targets also was 11 finaL 11 .§_g/ Using

parallel chains of command, the doctrinal objective of FM 31-35 was

to get the quickest results when prompt action was vital and might be
d ec1s1ve. w
In any event, the United States entered World War II with
FM 100-15 and FM 31-35 as the best and most current doctrine available.


Following the reoganization of the War Department in March

1942, General McNair, Commanding General, Army Ground Forces was re­
sponsible for the organizing, training, and equipping of the ground

forces for attack. He shared joint responsibility with General Arnold,

Commanding General, Army Air Force, for "the development ... of


ground air support, tactical training, and doctrine in conformity with

. .9.!±JI
policies prescribed by the Chief of Staff."

General McNair wanted to mold a truly effective Army team.

He understood the Army Air Force's inherent flexibility and ability

to mass striking power aBd recognized it as an important member of

the team. General McNair believed two conditions must be met if the

\ team was to become a reality, i.e., field experience and singleness

.Q]/ Ibid
.§.g/ Ibid
fw' Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4
~ Ibid

and responsibility of command.
w An intensive air-ground training

program was planned for 1942.

The results of the 1942 air-ground training program were not

-- encouraging. General McNair said in a public address on 12 September,

"It is regrettable to report that the pressing matter of air-ground

cooperation still is esentially in the future. Experimental work has

- _,
been done but we still have far to go along the road which air and

ground must and will travel together before we can face the enemy

On JO December of the same year, General McNair reported to

General Marshall: "We have made little progress in air-ground

· cooperation, in spite of our efforts, if we view frankly the conditions

that must obtain in order to secure effective results in combat. The

trouble is that the air side of the set-up has been too sketchy to

permit effective training." He added, "I say this without criticism ·

of the air forces." fill

The ground force commanders came in for their share of criti­

cism in the 1942 air-ground training program in that too often they

failed to use available aircraft and/or use them properly. By the end

of the year, General McNair remained convinced that to teach ground

commanders to work with aviation nothing could "replace an insistent

training effort" over the troops in training and available to ground

. . t opera t·ions.
comman d ers f or JOln w
It was little wonder that the failure of the 1942 air-ground

training program resulted in divisions going to Africa with inadequate

f2j/ Ibid
2f2/ Address to Graduating Class, C&GSC, Ft. Leavenworth, 12 Sept
1942, McNair Papers, AWC Records.

fill Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

W Ibid

training in air-ground operations. And worse, those scheduled to go

the first half of 1943 would be no better off.22/ It is questionable,

therefore, if all the judgements re the success or failure of close

air support in Africa are valid in view of the deplorable state of

training of air and ground personnel.

Nevertheless, a few recorded observations may be of value:

Brig General Pa~l McD Robinett, C.G., CCA, 1st Armored Division,

for instance, wrote to General Marshall on 8 December 1942, saying:

"My regiment has fought well, has had rather

severe losses, but can go on. I have talked with
all ranks possible and am sure that men cannot stand
the mental and physical strain of constant aerial
bombings without feeling that all possible is being
done to beat back the enemy air effort. News of
bombed cities or ships or ports is not the answer
they expect. They know what they see and at •present
there is little of our air to be seen. 11 '1S2/

General Arnold, upon reading the letter, sent a memo to his

Director of Air Support directing him to personally:

"impress upon all concerned not only the

necessity for absolute teamwork between Air Support
and Ground Elements, but also the very thorough
step by step training in all of the Air Support
Elements in order to develop the technique and
procedure so essential to bring such teamwork

He added,

"This is something that I have been pounding

on now for over a year -- apparently with little
success. 1111/

The assessment of the effectiveness of air support of ground

forces in North Africa varies depending on whether the analysts are

Army or Air Force oriented. It is apparent, however, that the CAS

program was not a thumping success, regardless of where the fault lay.

22/ Ibid

7S2/ Ibid

11/ Ibid

Early in the Tunisian Campaign, friendly air forces were out­

numbered and could not keep German aircraft from hitting US troop

deployments. Army sources assert that even when US Air Forces attain­

ed superiority later in the campaign, close air support was ineffec-

t ive. w
General McNair, for instance, said, "It is absolutely true that

the air helped the ground in Tunisia far less than in World War I -

this in spite of the fact that the German air had been driven from

the skies." General McNair made this statement just as he had been

;. informed by Lt. General Omar N. Bradley that the situation in Sicily

was no better. 7.J/

Assistant Secretary of War, John McCloy, reported his observa­

tion of North African CAS operations in this manner:

"It is my firm belief that the air forces are

not interested in this type work, think it is un­
s ound, a na are very much concerned lest it result
in control of air units by ground commanders. Their
interest, enthusiasm and energy are directed to diff­
erent fields."

He added,

"What I cannot see is why we do not develop

this auxilliary to the infantry attack even if
it is of less importance th~n strategic bombing.
It may be the wrong use of planes if you have to
choose between the two but to say that airpower
is so impractical that it cannot be used for
immediate help of the infantry is nonsense and ·
displays a failure to realize the air's full
possibilities. It is just as bad as was the
tendency of the ground forces, some time~Fgo,
to confine air operations to such work. 11 W

Of course, it is true that at the beginning of World War II

U.S. air power was fighting for survival. Attempting to forestall

the quantitatively superior air power of the Japanese and getting

w Ibid

7.J/ Ibid

.7.1±/ Ibid

started in Europe proved to be a trying task. U.S. air power was

spread thin.

On the other side of the coin, Air Force sources agreed that

air support of ground units wasunsaisfactory but for different reasons.

The Air Force explanation was that: (1) the Germans operated from

superior air fields; (2) American and British troops, harassed by

German dive bombers, felt they were being neglected by friendly air;

(3) ground commanders who exercised operational control over tactical

aircraft ~nded to dissipate air forces of scanti strength against

unsuitable obje ct ives and (4) fighters, instead of taking the initia­

tive, were used for local defensive cover.15/

In an address to the Squadron Officers' School in 1954, General

Laurence S. Kuter said this about the Tunisian campaign:

"The Kasserine Pass is the s etting for the

clearest example of a battle in World War II which
was lost, due in a large measure to the unsound
doctrine governing the organization, control and
employment of theater air forces. In those days
there was time in which to learn, time in which
to correct false doctrine, and then time in which
to reorient and reorganize theater air forces.
The subsequent victory i n Tunis was the first of
the series of successes under new and valid doc­
trine. There was still time remaining in which
t o win World War II.

"Tactical air units were parceled out among

the ground f orces, and so scattered that their
inherent flexibility and mobility were lost.
Fighters were used almost wholly in local defen­
sive cover and the capability of those air forces
to strike the enemy was ignored. No use was made
of opportunities to take the initative. The air
fo r ces were tied to the local interests of div­
isions and corps, and no attention was given to
the task of winning control gf 1the air or assist­
ing the theater as a whole. 11 &

Historically, there is some disagreement as to whether · air or

ground commanders controlled the air at Kasserine pass. General Kuter

Ti} Ibid
'lf2/ Lt General Lawrence S. Kuter, "American Air Doctrine", given
at Squ_~ dron Officers School, Air University (Nov 9, 1954), Page 5

implied the battle was lost due to control of the air from the ground.

On the other hand, Colonel Charles H. Taylor, USAF, in a thesis pre­

pared at the Air War College, indicates that the battle of Kasserine

was fought one month after the Air Force aquired co-equal status as set

forth at the Cat ablanca Conference. Also, the battle took place about

one month after the formation of General Spaatz's centrally controlled

Air Support Command.zz/

However, as the war progressed, practical steps at the "grass

roots" level were taken by the air and ground forces to improve communi­

cations, procedures and cooperation. Both forces avoided doctrinal

disputes because they were convinced that before the war was over air
power would become critically important.
One observer said in substance that in the long run, the

development of air-ground operations doctrine may prove to have been

less important than the practical measures taken.12/


The Air Force's GAS doctrine was stamped "Official" with ,,cl ~
publication of FM 100-20, "Command and Employment of Air Power" in

July 1943, the month the Tunisian victory was completed. It was, in

effect, a follow-on to the Casablanca Conference's official recognition

that air forces should operate under unity of air command and under

air leaders.

Published without the concurrence of General McNair, FM 100-20

declared in upper-case type in its introductory paragraphs that:

zz/ Charles H. Tay.l or, Colonel, USAF, "The Tactical Air Contro­
versey, Past, Present, and Future." Thesis No. 1195, Air War College,
Maxwell AFB, Alabama. 1956 ( ).

'JY Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

12/ Ibid



Still in upper case style, FM 100-20 continued:

(2) The gaining of air superiority is the


f_irst requirem~nt for the success of any major

land operation. Air forces may be properly and
profitably employed against enemy sea power,
_land power, and air power. However, land forces
operating without air superiority must take such
extensive security measures against hostile air
attack that their mobility and ability to defeat
the enemy land forces are greatly reduced. There­
fore, air forces must be employed primarily a­
gainst the enemy's air force until air superior­
ity is obtained. In this .way only can destruc­
tive and demoralizing air attacks against land
forces be minimized and the inherent mobility of
modern land and air forces be exploited to the
fullest. (3) The inherent flexibility of air
power, is its greatest asset. This flexibility
makes it possible to employ the whole weight of
the available air power against selected areas
in turn; such concentrated use of the air strik­
ing force is a battle winning factor of the first
importance. Control of available air power must
be centralized and command must be exercised
through the air force commander if this inher-
ent flexibility and ability to deliver a decis­
ive blow are to be fully exploited. Therefore,
the command of air and ground forces in a theater
of operations will be vested in the superior
commander charged with the actual conduct of
operations in the theater, who will exercise
command of air forces through the air force
commander and command of ground forces through
the ground force commander. The superior
commander will not attach army or air forces to
units of the ground forces under his command
except when such ground force units are operat­
ing independently or are isolated by distance
or lack of communication. 11.fil/

Mission priorities were established as: First priority -

attainment of air superiority; Second priority - prevention of move­

ment ~f the enemy or his supplies into the theater of operations and/or

within the theater; Third priority - participation in combined effort

W FM 100-20, "Command and Employment of Air Power", 21 July 1943,

War Department.

fill Ibid

of air and ground forces in the battle area to gain objectives

immediately in front of the ground forces.~

Thus, Close Air Support officially acquired a third priority

in the tactical air effort.

Moreover, this passage from the manual would indicate that

CAS did not enjoy a very strong third priority at that.

"However, in the zone of c ~ntact, missions

against hostile units are most difficult to ~ontrol,
~r e most expensive, and are, in general, least
effective. Targets are small, well dispersed, and
difficult to locate. In addition, there is always
a considerable chance of striking friendly forces
due to errors in target designation, errors in
navigation, or to the fluidity of the situation.
Such missions must be against targets readily
identified from the air and must be controlled by
bomb lines, or bomb safety lines which are set up
and rigidly adhered to by both ground and air units. (
Only at critical times are contact zone missions
profitable. 11 fil/

To the soldier on the ground, these words nailed the CAS

doctrinal door shut. The airman would not necessarily agree that

they did.

Thus,in the short span of thirty-six years (1907-1943),air

power advocates had acquired near independence of the Army. From an

army point of view, airmen had sold their philosophy on how to win

wars, and CAS had become a tactical stepchild competing with two

favored sons, "Counter-Air" and "Interdiction".

The Army-Air Force tactical air controversy had been resolved

in favor of the Air Force. The decision makers did not share the fear

of ground commanders that if air support was not subject to their con­

_.,., trol, air commanders oriented on air war would never feel they had

sufficient resources to support ground action. Airmen feared the air

effort would be frittered away if the ground commanders had control.~

~ Ibid

fill Ibid
~ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

The Air Force, alarmed by the demands of ground commanders

for decentralization of air and its attachment to ground units, fought

subordination and won the battle of co-equal status. This is not to

say that the ground commanders were satisfied. The basic air-ground

command relationships issue remained.

The decision making process behind the doctrine expressed in

FM 100-20 may have been a premature reaction to air support experiences

early in World War II. It is true that ground commanders made mistakes

in the use of air, but they also had erred in use of armor. Experience

undoubtedly would have improved their air support skills just as it did

their use of tanks.W

The critical period prior to the Normandy invasion was marked

in a sense by a widening gap in thinking between the air and ground

forces leaders, most of which could be traced back to the failure of

1942 air-ground training program. Also contributing to the breech

was the (1) unfavorable reaction of the ground forces to air support

in Africa and Sicily; (2) distrust of FM 100-20 by ground commanders;

(3) concentration of the air forces on high performance aircraft and

(4) the Air Force's attempt to gain control of organic field artillery

air observation.~


But, there was a bright side on the working level. Soldiers,

airmen · and their field commanders tried to effect a practical approach

to air-ground problems. This was what McNair and Arnold had hoped for

in 1942.w

In Italy, for instance, based on lessons learned in Sicily and

. Africa, the Fifth Army and XII Air Support Command came up with a

W Ibid

~ Ibid

.[Z;l Ibid


workable air-ground system. Basically, it provided for adjacent

command posts, exchange of Air Force and Army personnel, and Army

evaluation of air support requests from its own units. fil1I It was

this system, with later modifications, including those of Normandy,

that became official doctrine with the publication of War Deptartment

Circular No. 17 on 25 April 1945.W

General Mark Clark rendered the first favorable report on

air support by a ground commander when the Fifth Army went into Italy

at Salerno i n September 1943. He told Mr. McCloy that "he was getting

a great deal of air help on his immediate front in the way of close
~- '
bombardment, but" he added, "the machinery for close support in

critical situations has not yet been effectively or completely worked

out. "2Q/ This statement, while complimentary, cannot be construed as

an unqualified accolade in view of the fact the nation had been at war

for almost two years.

General Clark's comment differed slightly but not completely

with some of the views of other commanders regarding air support in

Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. (See TAB A)

Experience gained in Italy had an influence on the First Army

Group in England. This army group (later redesignated the 12th Army

Group) assumed responsibility for the training for combat of the ground


The First Army Group CAS plan provided for: (1) adjacent

headquarters for each army and its cooperating tactical air command;

(2) a combined operations center consisting of air staff and air

fil1/ Ibid

W Ibid

2Q/ Ibid
21/ U.S. Military Academy, A. Military History of World War II.,
Vol 1, U.S.M.A., West Point, N.Y. 1956


officers, of the army (G2 Air and G3 Air) under the same roof; (3)

consolidation of requests of army units, for both combat and recon­

naissance missions, by the field army, and (4) the nightly planning

conference between army and air staffs to agree on the next day's

schedule of · missions.2£/

Army Ground Liaison Officers were assigned duty at air-dromes.

Ar my G3 Airs were established at division, corps and armies, and the

forward air controllers with VHF radios. Also, pilots served with

front line units as liaison officers and advisers to ground commanders.

The air forces were responsible for communication between ground and

air headquarters,but air support requests could be processed up through

corps to army from lower units by ground telephone. (This system was

eventually adopted _by the First, Third and Ninth Armies) . .2J/

The 12th Army Group approach to CAS was reported on in con­

siderable depth in 1946 by a post war study group headed by General

Omar N. Bradley, the former commander of that force.

The report stated that the overall plan to breach the defense

of Europe and exploit the landing included the formation of a tactical

air force. Accordingly, , "it was agreed that the successful application

of direct air support or cooperation with the ground forces depended

upon certain basic principles.2.!±/

The principles were: (1) the support afforded, must conform

,· j

with the military plan; (2) the air power applied should achieve maximum

effect and (3) War Department doctrine on air matters would be adhered

to~- T:~s third principle referred to FM 100-20.2.2/

2£/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit, Page 4

.2J/ Ibid

2.!±/ Omar N. Bradley, Military Advisor, Air Effects Committee, 12th

Army Group, "Effect of Air Power on Military Oper~tions", Western Europe,
- · ·· ··-12th Army Group. 1946. War De_pt Record~ Branch, AGO, ( )

2.2/ Ibid



Air Force was reconstituted on 16 Oct

according to Bradley, "as the tactical striking power of the United

States' Strategic and Tactical Air Forces in Europe." The Air Force

and Army Group commanders worked closely together,as did their staffs.
The Ninth Air Force eventually consisted of the IX, XIX, and

XXIX Tactical Air Commands which supported the First, Third and Ninth

Armies,respectively. Also part of the Ninth AF was the 9th Bombard­

ment Division which was employed primarily on second and third

priority missions, i.e., interdiction and CAS.91J

The basic command and control arrangments for the 12th Army

Group and the Ninth Air Force, as well as other ETO Air-Ground Teams,

are shown in Fig 1. W

The Ninth Air Force commander relinquished control of the

tactical air commands to the field army level. The AF commander had

the capability to pre-empt this arrangement, when necessary. The

organization was flexible, and tactical air commands were decentralized

to~permit close cooperation with specific field armies.W

Channels for requesting planned and emergency support missions

are shown schematically in Figures 2 and 3_lOO/

Earlier lessons had demonstrated the over-riding requirement

for coordination and liaison between air and ground forces if CAS was

to be effective. As pointed out in an early 1963 U.S. Army Combat

~ Ibid

91} Ibid
W The Army Air Forces Evaluation Board in the European Theater
of Operations, "The Effectiveness of Third Phase Tactical Air Operations
in the European Theater." 5 May 1944 - 8 May 1945, August 1945

25}/ Omar N. Bradley, op. cit., Page 26

100/ The Army Air Forces Evaluation Board in the Theater
of Operations, op. cit., Page 27
nts Command Study, "Progress toward more complete liaison

eventuating in a complicated exchange of air and ground


According to another survey prepared by the Army, "it was

evident that the World War II air-ground liaison system did not con­

template that ground force commanders would control or direct air

. ·t·ies. ,,102/
ac t ivi

Means for joint planning, exchange of information and liaison

were made available -- but the theme was "cooperation" between air and

ground. While the arrangement was complimented by the 12th Army Group

Air Effects Committee, it was not an uncomplicated organization as

a review of that Army Group's cooperative procedures reveal in TAB

(ij By early 1944, British and American Air Forces were up

to maximum strength for the campaign on the continent of Europe.

According to the 1963 Ar my CDC Study, their strengths were to remain

fairly constant through VE Day. Reported strengths were: 1Ql±/


Eighth Air Force 1180 2103

RAF Bomber and Fighter Commands 490 1723
Fifteenth Air Force 557 897
Ninth Air Force 124·9 639
First Tactical Air Force (Prov) 540 234
Second Tactical Air Force (RAF) 226 218
TOTAL 4942 5814

Out of a total 489,069 sorties flown between D Day and the

end of the war in Europe, twenty four per cent were in close support

of the armies. This percentage included fighter and bomber operations.

101/ U.S. Ar my Combat Developments Command, "Army Requirements

for Fire Support, 11 25 April 1963 ( ) ·

102/ Historical Branch, Programs Division, PP & I, Department of

Army "Histe)rical Survey of Army Fire Support", 26 Mar 1963. ( )

1QJ/ Omar N. Bradley, op. cit., Page 26'

1Ql±/ U.S. Army Combat Developments Command, op. cit., Page 28

Eighteen per cent of total fighter sorties were devoted to close air

support. Detailed tactical air sorties follow:1.Q2/


(All U.S. Air Forces, ETO, 6 June 1944 - 8 May 1945)

Su12eriority . Interdiction Close Su1212ort Total
Bomber Sorties 18,459 114,536 30,611 163,606
Fighter Sorties 10.22261 D42658 862844 ,225246,2
Total Sorties 122,420 249,194 117,455 489,069
Average Sorties
Per Day 364 742 350
Average Sorties
Per Div Per
Day (28 Divs) 13 .0 26.5 12.5

Close support sortie by individual air forces are reflected in


the following table:


(All US Air Force, ETO 6 June 1944 - 8 May 1945)

Ninth AF First Tactical AF Eighth AF

Sorties Avg Per Day Sorties Avg Per Day Sorties

Bombers 14,47~ 43 1,162 6 14,977
Fighters 682.226 206 142082 69 32429
83,798 15,251 18,406

-lt(Author' s note: There are some indications that scr ties flown

in World War II were not noted in detail for CAS historical purposes.

It is difficult, therefore, to accurately differentiate in detail be­

tween CAS, Interdiction and Counter-Air as some of each could have

been flown on the same mission.)

Assessment of World War II CAS

The 1946 Air Effects Committee Study headed by General Bradley

was generally complimentary regarding CAS provided the 12th Army Group

during the 1944-45 period. The. committee reported that "an equal

proportion of fighter bomber and one tactical reconnaissance group in

each of IX, XIX and XXIX TAC's was available for close support of the

First, Third and Ninth Armies."

.ifil7 Ibid


The comrni t tee added, "while us,u ally adequate, at times the
strength was insufficient for all demands."

General Bradley's group arrived at certain conclusions regarding

fighter bomber cooperation and support. They were:


"The system of separate tactical air commands

operating closely with respective armies, but sub­
ject to shifting or massing in support of one army
by a tactical air force headquarters produced the
.desired flexibility in their use and control to
meet changing tactical situations.

"Armed reconnaissance by fighter bomber air­

craft to isolate the battlefield on the front of an
army, corps, or division, and subject to vectoring
to targets on close support missions on approved
requests from the ground unit produced positive re­

"A variation of the above was the system of

armored column cover. Here continuous air alert
over a column to run imterference or to strike
close-in targets on the front of advaneing
columns·~ecame recognized as a sound tactical
principle. 11

"The previous conception that fighter bomber

aircraft should not be used on targets within the
range of artillery was proven unsound. Acceptance
or refusal of requests for strikes against close­
in targets should be considered with relation to
the nature of the objective, the availability and
location of artillery, and other tactical consider­

"Fighter bombers were effective against enemy

artillery positions, fortified positions, or dug­
in infantry both in direct destructive action and
by demoralizing the enemy troops.

"Fighter bomber action against concrete pill­

boxes, bunker s, casemated gun positions, etc., was
not particularly effective.

"There was an ever .present need for increased

night intruder activity by our tactical air force."

The Bradley Air Effects Committee had no quarrel with the first

priority role of counter-air. But, it noted that continuous occupation

by tactical air force of the air over the front in second and third

106/ Omar N. Bradley, op. cit. , Page 26

107/ Ibid


priority missions assured the maintenance of air superiroity without

the loss of close cooperation. When challenged, the U.S. fighters

jettisoned their loads and "accepted or forced combat" upon hostile

aircra f t. 108/

The climate of belief between air and ground commanders be­

came progressively better in 1944-45. Cooperation and teamwork

steadily improved. Air-ground teamwork had become a reality.

Air-ground integrated effort had come a long way. It had been

reported only a few years earlier that "when those · responsible for

training General Bradley's soldiers to fight were met with statements

by their opposite numbers in the Ar my Air Forces in Washington that they

did not wishthe term 'air ground team' to be used, and that it was

enough for ground troops to learn to recognize airplanes and mark their

own positions clearly, so rarely would close-in cooperation, relegated

to third priority by FM 100-20, come into play. 111Q2/ .

A survey of air-ground operations in the ET0 was made by the

Chief of the Air Branch, G-3 Section HQ Army Ground Forces. He found

agr eement among ground commanders that CAS had been excellent - day

and night reconnaissance and night support were the only efforts con­

sidered unsatisfactory.llO/

While these procedural improvements were occuring in Europe,

cooperation between air and ground in the Pacific and Far East was

equally encouraging. U.S. Forces were enjoying generous air support.

Relationships between General Douglas MacArthur and George C. Kenney,

the air commander were superior .

.i,g_g/ Ibid

1Q2/ Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

110/ Ibid

111/ Ibid

No specific part of the theater air force was allotted to CAS

but Kenney meant it when he said, "all the air in the theater was avail­

able and ready for direct support of ground operations if, when, and in

such proportions as .needed. 11112/

One army observer suggested in 1944 that conditions were highly

suitable for optimum CAS in the Pacific. · He cited the following as

factors which contributed to good air-ground relations in the Pacific:

(1) air superiority was readily achieved and maintained; (2)' tempting

strategic bombing targets were lacking and (3) ground targets were

gene;rally those that the Air For,c e was interested in from the stand­

point of obtaining advance bases.1lJ/

Also, the slow ground movement necessitated by the area of

operations resulted in little need for quick CAS response time. For

instance, air support requests required on the average four to six

hours. Generally, the air-ground team may not have received a demand­

ing test. Be that as it may, mutual good feeling and cooperation were

getting the job done . .ill./

Amphibious operations in the Pacific resulted in the support of

army ground units by naval air. Army ground commanders were impressed

by its effectiveness. However, there was very little development of a

refined CAS system between Air Force and Army as late as the date of

Japans surrender. There was a tactical air force but no tactical air

commands. The air parties of FM 31-35 were used down to division level

and served as air advisors on the staffs of ground commanders. Because

there were no tactical air commands, requests for GAS .were sent directly

to the air force unit charged with mission execution (Intermediate

headquarters. monitored such requests). Because communications were

llY Ibid

1lJ/ Ibid

.ill/ Ibid

inadequate and to speed up response time, Sixth Army adopted the policy

of sending elements of the Air Party to forward observation posts to

· 115/
coordinate air strikes. The results were good.
Samplings of CAS statistics in the Far East follows:

The Fifth and Thirteen Air Forces dropped 22,815 tons cf bombs

in Luzon between 6 Jan - 15 Mar 45. Twenty-two per cent of this tonnag e

was CAS; fifty-two per cent was interdiction.

The Fifth Air Force flew 3,231 attack sorties in the Leyte

I Campaign in November 1944. Of these, 360 were against enemy personnel;

163 against enemy truck . convoys.

During the period January 1944 - April 1945, the Far East Air

Command flew 128,614 CAS sorties out of 207,233 sorties or a little

over sixty per cent. Also, 19,958 interdiction flights were made.

The Thirteenth Air Force flew 9,626 sorties against Netherlands

Indies targets during the period January-August 1945. Of these, fifty­

nine per cent were flown against enemy ground elements; 5,683 were

against personnel and supply and ground elements.

Looking at the entire 1942-45 spectrum of global war, it is

apparent that CAS progressed from a very poor beginning to an effective

operation. The degree of effectiveness is difficult to determine be­

cause opinions vary with the source.

An Air Force author, Lieutenant Colonel Lytle R. Perkins, in

his 1962 Air War College thesis, reports that ground commanders were
dissatisfied with CAS in World War II for the following reasons:

~ . ill/ Ibid

116/ USAF Historical Division Liaison Office, "USAF Tactical Oper­

ations, WW II & Korea

117/ Lytle R. Perkins, Lt Colonel, USAF, "Army-Air Force Relations

Relative to Tactical Air Support", War College, Air Univ., Maxwell AFB,
Alabama. April 1962

"Ground commanders would request missions that
air commanders regarded as unprofitable.

"Pilots strafed and bombed American troops.

"Ground troops, while recognizing gratefully

the benefits of supremacy in the air and the damage
being inflicted on the enemy, were nervous about
friendly air operations, and ground commanders
wished to fix very distant bomb lines.

"The Army Air Force did not supply a suffic­

ient number of liaison or artillery observation

"The needs of the ground forces for reconn­

aissance and photographic service had not been
covered effectively.

"The Army Air Force, intent on distant ob­

jectives, concentrated on designing and procuring
speedier, more powerful planes, thus making it
difficult for fliers to recognize either friend­
ly ground troops or targets on the ground.

"Air-ground communications needed improve­


"The Army Air -Force gave a low priority to

the needs of ground troops.

"Air-ground doctrine was too broad in scope.

"Air-ground training was inadequate."

An Army source, five years after the wa~, said:

"American ground commanders never had

been satisfied with their air support. They
generally hoped that the air units needed for
support in critical operation could be put ;
under control of Division Commanders ... "

On the other hand, objective research discloses in laudator y

testimony regarding the effect iveness of CAS in that war. The names

of famous commanders such as Generals McLain, Truscott, Collins, Patton

and Eisenhower are among those who praised World War II CAS - (See TAB ~


118/ James A. Huston, "Tactical Use of Air Power in World War II:
The Army Experience, "Military Affairs Vol 14 (1950)

.ll2/ USAF Historical Division, "Close Air Support and Commanders

Quotes'". '' TAB B, Feb 1963

One of the most interesting comments is that of General Dwight

D. Eisenhower. As the following quotation will reveal, though compli­

mentary, he too recognized the need for CAS for ground forces as well

as t he need for strategic air attack. And, it appears, that in his

viewpoint, the problem was solved because the need was recognized.

" ... Direct support of ground troops is naturally

the method preferred by the immediate commander con­
cerned, but this needs to be supplemented by assaults
on the enemy's bases, on his lines of communications,
and on his factories, which are beyond the immediate
range of the local commander's vision.

"The problem in a given operation is further

complicated by the competing demands of individual
commanders on a far-flung battlefront, each of whom
would naturally like to have at his disposal some
segment of the Air Force for his own exclusive use.
To a large extent in our experience, the creation
of separate strategic and tactical forces resolved
the conflict between the immediate needs of the
commander for direct air support, and the equally
compelling necessity of knocking out the enemy's
war potential from behind his lines; but, perhaps,
the greatest advantage of our new organization was
its flexibility. Aircraft of the different combat
formations could be fused in a single mission as
the need arose, and as a result the local commander
h~d for direct support the combined weight of the
s t rategic and tactical forces when he most needed
it. II

Again in his book, "Crusade in Europe," General Eisenhower


"Tactically, an air force possesses a mobility

which places in the hands of the high command a
weapon that may be used on successive days against
targets hundreds of miles apart. Aerial bombard­
ments are delivered in such concentrated form as
to produce among defending forces a shock that is
scarcely obtainable with any amount of artillery; ,

"(At Normandy) conditions would have been ideal

for a German counter-attack except for the prior
effectiveness of the air forces' campaign of isola­
tion. Here, as always, was emphasized the decisive
influence of air power in the ground battle."

120/ Ibid

There is no question but what World War II experience proved
that tactical and strategic air were required. Basically, the issue

remaining was the old refrain, "how much, where and when? 11 Or, what

a the import ·o f each mission to the total effort?

Army leaders wanted more CAS and under the operational control

of ground force commanders. Air Force leaders believed that such

decentralization of air power would destroy its inherent flexibility.

I _,
- - ..-"""' The issue had not changed even though air power unquestionably

contributed materially to the winning of the war.

It is difficult to question the methods of a victor in war,

and, for that reason, it augurs well for the student of CAS to exercise

caution in any assessment made of WW II CAS effectiveness. This is not

to say that CAS was ineffective. The percentages of sorties flown and

tonnages dropped are impressive.

However, several questions remain unanswered despite voluminous

WW II statistics. First, what were the total CAS requirements? Second,

how many pre-planned and immediate requests could not be satisfied

because of other requirements? Also, how many typical CAS targets were

ignored by inexperienced ground commanders? And, last, but not least,

would more CAS have won the war sooner or with fewer casualties?

It is apparent that the 9th Air Force - 12 Army Group CAS

concept - - often considered the optimum WW II CAS model --- was

not unlike post War II concep.t s, including those of today.

There is one important exception, however. Today the Army

has no organic aerial firepower for close air support among its combat

resources. Ground commanders must rely on the Air Force, a co-equal

sister service, for CAS firepower that is needed on a continuing basis,

and they believe this mission still receives a third priority rating.

Further, the only connecting link to insure unity of effort between the

Army and the Air Force is the abstract term II cooperation. 11 •

On the other hand, Army thinking is that during World War II,

"cooperation" did not stand alone and unsupported, as it does today.

Though ground force commanders did not control air units in the later

days of the war, they and the air force commander with whom they co­

ordinated wore the same uniform of the same combat team. Unity of

effort was built into the system by "cooperation through organization"

and not by a multiplicity of 'substitute procedural and cooperative


They believed further it should not go unnoticed that all these

procedural arrangements seemed to be devised as a substitute for what

ground commanders wanted all the time, i.e., air support when, where

and in the quantity desired.

Post War Doctrine

Training Circular No. 17, a War Department publication con­

cerning air-ground relations, was published on 20 April 1945, three

weeks before Germany surrendered. It recognized the different ~pproach~

es .to CAS used in the various theaters and proceeded to describe a

standard system. Its adoption was encouraged but not mandatory. Use

in the various theater of operations was to be dictated by the sit-

ua t ion. 121/

It was virtually the Fifth Army System used in Italy, except

Air-Ground Liaison Sections (AGLS) replaced G-3 Airs and G-2 Airs at

theater, army group, army, corps and division headquarters. These sec­

tions included ground-liaison officer teams at theater, army group and

army headquarters. At army group and army headquarters, they opera­

ted Air-Ground Information Centers (AGIC). As with all .systems used

in Europe, the key to the organization was the close relationship of

. ld. Army an d TC
Fie A headquarters.
. 122/

ii!} Kent Roberts Greenfield, op. cit., Page 4

122/ Ibid

Training Circular No. 30 was published _in July 1945. The =

tactical air command was described as a flexible organizat ion within a

flexible air force (the tactical air force), to permit the massing

or distribution of the theater air force according to a carefully co­

ordinated over all plan. Emphasis was placed on the importance of

advance planning all down the line. 11.JgJ/

The circular went into detail regarding the standardization

of those organizations, relationships, and procedures which had been

most effective in combat. Tactical air commands normally would consist

of fighter units and enough tactical and photo reconnaissance to meet

air and ground requirements. Methods by which air-ground cooperation

could be improved were covered fully. They included: (1) adjacent

location of the tactical air command and army headquarters; (2) the

· daily planning conference; (3) armed reconnaissance; (4) air alert

and (5) the forward controller and delegationfu him of voice control

of aircraft in forward areas under critical situations.~

Basically, Circulars 17 and 30, provided the guidance for air­

ground training and cooperation that would have been helpful in the

prosecution of the long war which was about over when they were

- 12.il
The 1942 FM 31-35, "Aviation in Support of Ground Forces"

and Training Circulars 17 and 30 were superceded in_August 1946.

Replacing them was FM 31~35, "Air-Ground Operations."

Air-Ground doctrine in the new manual stated: "The ' basic

doctrine of air-ground operations is to integrate the effort of air

and ground forces, each operating under its own command, to achieve

ill/ Ibid

~ Ibid

1Q,/ Ibid

maximum effectiveness, as directed by the theater commander, in defeat-
ing the enemy."

Considerable space was devoted in the 1946 FM 31-35 to the Air­

Ground Team and the relationship of forces. Essentially, army and air

forces, operating under their own commanders a.s components of the air­

ground team,were expected to rely on close relationships and coopera­

tion. Accordingly, parallel levels of command were established for the

. t. . f .. . t t. 127 /
execu ion o Join opera ions.

The command relationship of ground and air forces was the same

as the 9th Air Force - 12th Army Group concept. Air Force and ground

force commanders coordinated and planned together, as did their staffs,'

down the parallel chainsof command, i.e., army group with tactical air
command and field army with tactical air force. (See Fig. 4)

CAS continued to rate a third priority position behind Counter

Air and Interdiction.

The air-ground operations system outlined in the 1946 manual

provided means to ground commanders to present requests for air sup­

port. The system called for G-2 and G-3 Air representatives at ground

forc e and air force headquarters. Other personnel of the system, known

as ground liaison teams, represented army group and army at the air
. . . 1J.Q/
bases of suppor t ing air units.

A Joint Operations Center (JOC), consisting of an Air Force

Combat Operation Section and an Army Air-Ground Section was established

that drew together the A-2 and J's and G-2 and G-3 Air representatives

126/ FM 31-35, 'War Department, "Army Ground Operations". August 46

127/ Ibid

128/ Ibid

]£21 Ibid
1J.Q/ Ibid

from the tactical air force, theater ground force, tactical air command

and army group headquarters.

Army G-2 Air and G-3 Air personnel were present at army, corps

and division headquarters. A Tactical Air Control Center (TAAC), part

of the air side of the JOC, and Tactical Air Direction Centers (TADC)

working at corps level as well as Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP)

working at division, regiment or battalion, as required, were integral

parts of the system.W

Still a part of the US Army, the Air Forces, in 1946, reorganiz­

ed into functional commands. They became the Strategic Air, Tactical

Air and Air Defense Commands. The Tactical Air Command (TAC) was given

responsibility for tactical air support of the Army and Navy.


The historic National Security Act of 1947, passed by Congress,

was approved by President Truman on 26 July that year. The Army Air

Force gained full autonomy e f f e c t i v ~ s an indepen­

dent United States Air Force -- completely co-equal with the Ar my and

tQe Navy. At this point the U.S. Army lost its air arm and became the

only service without organic aerial fire support.114/

Executive Order 8977, which President Truman signed immediately

after formally approving the National Security Act, outlined specific

functions of the newly created USAF. They were:lJ.i/

11 1. To organize, train, and equip air forces for:

a. Air operations including joint operations.

b. Gaining and maintaining general air sup-

remcy. ~

1.W Ibid

w Ibid

.Llll A. . Goldberg, op. cit., ;page 1

1141 Ibid

1J.i.l Ibid

c. Establishing local air superiority
where and as required.

d. The strategic air force of the United

States and strategic air reconnaissance.

e. Air lift and support for air-brone

operations ..

f. Air support to land forces and naval

forces, including support of occupation forces.

g. Air transport for the armed forces,

except as provided by the Navy in accordance with
paragraph lf of Section III.
11 2. To develop weapons, tactics, technique,
organization and equipment of Air Force combat and
service elements, coordinating with the Army and Navy
on all aspects of joint concern, including those
which pertain to amphibious and airborne operations.
11 3. To provide, as directed by proper authority,
such missions and detachments for service in foreign
countries as may be required to support the national
policies and interests of the United States.

4. To provide the means for coordinating of


air defense among all services.

5. To assist the Army and Navy in accomplish­


ment of their missions, including the provision of

common services and supplies as determined by proper

Yet, though that historic Executive Order spelled. out Air Force

support responsibilities, a 1959 student paper at the Air Command and

Staff College, reported than an official 1948 Air Command and Staff
Publication contained the following stat~ment:..l:2.2/

"The tactical air command will indicate --- to

each tactical air force commander the percentage of
his total force he must commit weekly to air super­
iority and interdiction missions --- Remember that
a tactical air force commander is under consta:µt pres­
sure to give · the maximum amount of close air coopera­
tion to the Army with which he is associated. Requir­
ing a percentage of effort on Phase 1 and 2 operations
offsets this constant pre sure. In a way, it is a favor

iif,7 William C. Boehm, Maj or, USA "Should The Army Have Its Own (l,
Close Support Aircraft," Air Command and Staff College, 17 Apr 1959.
(Based on Air Command and Staff School Pamphlet No. 36, Operations
Division, "Tactical Air Operations", July 1948.

to the air force commander; it relieves him of .;

the necessity of having to make the decision when

the close support is to be denied to the army."

In December, 1948, TAC lost its air units and became an opera­

tion and planning headquarters under the newly formed Continental Air

Command (CONAC). TAC's former 9th and 12th Air Force were controlled

by CONAC.1J1/

The battle for the budget dollar saw Strategic Air Command

getting the lion's share with the other air elements picking up the

tab for the strategic air power advocates. In late 1948, TAC had

eleven groups and 31,731 men. After two years under CONAC with

neither units nor aircraft, TAC had a headquarters staff of about 150.


TAC's lean years preceding the outbreak of hostilities in

Korea on 25 June 1950 resulted in major problems concerning air-ground

operations. As one Air Force writer observed, one major problem was

"the lack of both adequate equipment and trained forces to coordinate

air-ground actions. It immediately became apparent that everything

that had been learned on air-ground operations during World War II

had been either forgotten or the personnel were working in some other

field. 11 112/
The same observer added, "Individuals, both Army and Air

Force, were being sent to Korea without the faintest idea of how the

air-ground team was supposed to blend. To alleviate this problem,

the USAF Air Ground Operations School was · established in 1950 to iEach

air and ground officers the art of air-ground operations. 11.lliQ/

lJ1/ A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1

~ Ibid

112/ Lytle R. Perkin.s , op. cit., Page 33

.lliQ/ Ibid

Some time prior to 25 June 1950, Lieutenant General George E.

Stratemeyer, Commander Far East Forces (FEAF) had been aware of the

tensions building up in Korea. FEAF, part of the Far East Command (FEC)

under General MacArthur, was responsible for the defense of American

bases in Japan, Okinawa, the Phillipines and the Marianas. Another

FEAF . mission, in the event of war in Korea, was the evacuation of U.S.
nationalsfrom the battle area.

FEAF was a defensive force primarily. Much had to be done in

a hurry. The evacuation of American nationals was completed satis­

factorily. FEAF acquired air superiority almost immediately after the

outbreak of war. And, _because strateaic air power played a minor role

due to political considerations and the limited nature of the conflict,

FEAF was able to concentrate on interdiction and close air support.

However, it carinot be over emphasized that,at the out-set of

the first combat .test since World War II, there was no working CAS

program. Friendly ground forces, initially, had difficulty in getting

'--- --
their CAS requests to the proper Air Force agency. The Air Force had

difficulty acquiring information on the ground situation and lacked

proper equipment and trained forward air controllers.M

The first major clash between U.S. and North Korean ground

forces occured in July 1950 when Major General William F. Dean's 24th

Infantry Division attempted to hold the key communications center at

Taejon. A JOC was established at Taejon on 5 July and two air control

parties were available to Dean's division when it arrived several days


.i!±,17 A. · Goldberg, op. cit., .~age 1

1!tY' Charles G. Teachner, Colonel, "Air War In Korea: XIII," Air

University Quarterly Review, Vol VII, No. 2 (Summer 1954)

1!±..1t' A. Goldberg, op. cit., Page 1

1!±!±,/ Ibid

h. · .

The entire FEAF Fifth Air Force supported the 24th Division in

its defense of the city and during subsequent holding actions in July.

The Fifth Air Force is credited with devoting 61.5 per cent of its

effort to II close battle field support." General Dean praised the air

effort highly and said, "the Air Force definitely blunted the initial

North Korean thrust to the southward." However, because they were

vastly out numbered, Dean's men had to relinquish control of Taejon.ili/

The defense of Taejon and several weeks of holding action per­

mitted the Eighth U.S. Army to set up its historic defense at Pusan.

General Walker, who assumed command of the Eighth Army in July, received
strong support from the Fifth Air Force. The Air Force is credited with

delivering 340 fighter bomber sorties per day during the period 1-10

August. General Walker expressed his appreciation and praised the pilots

of the Fifth Air Force for their "all-out" support of the Eighth Army.

He said, " ... they have destroyed enemy tanks that had penetrated our

lines ..• their effort has been of tremendous value to our forces and

has saved many, many lives of our infantry troops. 111Y:.,Q/

Later, Major General William B. Kean, the Commanding General,

25th Infantry Division, said, "the close air support strikes rendered

by Fifth Air Force again saved this division, as they have many times

before ... 111!!1/

During the defense of the Pusan perimeter, the Fifth Air Force

flew an average of 239 close support missions each day in August.

Generals Walker and Partridge, the Eight Army and 5th Air Force

Commanders, respectively, had co-located headquarters at Taegu where

all operations were coordinated closely. "Cooperation" had again been


1!±3/ Ibid
1Y:.,Q/ Ibid
1!!1/ Ibid

~ Ibid

In an "all or nothing at all" effort, the North Koreans

stepped up their attack on the Pusan perimeter on 31 August. In

the next six days, elements of six enemy divisions attacked the U.S.

2d and 25th Infantry Divisions. The Fifth Air Force, supporting the

2d and 25th Divisions, was complimented highly by the commanders of



It is not the purpose of this paper to present a detailed

account of the Korean War. However, it is believed appropriate to

comment at this time th~t history again repeated itself re close

ai1; support:. As was the case in World War II, CAS operations were

ineffective during the initial stage of the war. However, by the

end of the Korean War, an integrated Air-Ground system was operating

effectively -- pretty much along late World War II lines.

As one Army study revealed, "FEAF planes flew a total of

461,554 combat sorties, of which 92,603 (20 percent) were GAS sorties."

This study also reported the 1st Marine Air Wing as flying 107,939

sorties, of which 37,385 (35 per cent) were CAS. It went on to say

that in the last two years of the war ; (witbfriendly troops in a def­

ensive posture) FEAF, Navy and Marine flew 23,416 CAS sorties. About

thirty per cent of all sorties flown in the last two years were CAS.

nother recent Army survey breaks out the average CAS

for the Korean Campaign compared to

WW II CAS. (Table below reflects the comparison) .

.ifiii' Ibid

_JjQ/ U.S. Army Combat Developments Command, op. cit., Page '28

~ Historical Branch, Programs Division, PP& I, op. cit., Page 28

U~CLAS f I £0
No. Aircraft on
Situation Sorties Per Day 3 hours sorties*
Korea (Army) 13 16
Korea (1st Marine) 37 45
W.W.II (U.S.) 7 8

W.W.II (British) 18.6 22

*One aircraft on one mission equals one sortie. These figures "­

represent the number of aircraft required to neutralize the target with ' .,,.

an average flight time of 3 hours on each sortie per aircraft.

(~ The same survey, through use of another table, showed that

GAS can depart rather radically from "averages" under particular battle
circums t anC!es. .ill/


No. Aircraft ba·sed -
Situation Sorites Per Day on 3 hour sorties

Pusan Perimeter Period 47 60

Chinese Intervention 27 25

A 1963 Army Combat Development Command Study, based on a 1951

r e port, said the average time "required for army divisions to obtain a

close strike was 35 minutes. For marine divisions, GAS was obtained

in 5 to 10 minutes." The differences in time were explained as varying

alert status and control procedures. Average distance between target

;;, and friendly troops was 0.9 miles for the Marines; 3 to 4 miles for

the Army . .1..2.J/

Again, as in the case of World War II, there are unanswered

questions. They are:(1) what were the total quantitative and qualita­
tive close air support requirements, and (2) what was the capability

to meet all requirements?

ill/ Ibid

-----;= .1..2,11 Army Combat Developments Command, op. cit., Page 28

Post Korea post mortems regarding GAS effectiveness estimations

vary with t he source. As reported, a number of army combat leaders

praised FEAF highly for its support. Others felt Air Force support

compared unfavorably with that of the Marine Corps.

One Air Force writer believes that the GAS missions of USAF

and the Marine Corps are almost identical. The difference, in his

opinion, is that "GAS capabilities of Marine Aviation are under the

operational control of a Marine Infantry Division. 1112j/

He went on to explain it is not fai r to compare USAF and

Marine Aviation in Korea on the basis that FEAF was air defense oriented,

initially, whereas M9.rine Aviation was executing its GAS mission from

the outset.
A~other Air Force writer has stated that it was following the

critical days of 1950 through the summer of 1951 that criticism of the

close air support effort began to be heard. The Commander in Chief,

Far East and his Army and Air Force Commanders had decided that the

time had come to emphasize interdiction, since the ground situation

had become generally static. In a letter of 6 Oct 51 to General

Rigdeway, CINCFE, General Van Fleet, then Eight Army Commander,

stated that he agreed with the soundness of the FEAF interdiction

air effort and had agreed to limit close support across the Eighth
1 .
Army front to 96 per day. The letter went on to state that should I

an emergency arise such as a major UN offensive or should other profit­

able tilose support targets appear at any time, the Fifth Air Force

wou ld provi'd e maximum

. close support. .uZ/

15l±/ Lytle R. Perkins, op. cit. , Page ·33

12j/ Ibid
·1221 Ibid

.uZ/ Robert F. Futrell, USAF Historical Study, No 72, 1 Nov 50

30 June 52.

General Ridgeway, United Nations commander, had this to say
about CAS in Korea.

"Our efforts to speed up and improve the use

of air force planes in close support met with a
less croperative attitude because of policy decis­
ions in Washington. Though I strongly advocated
that some small part of the combat aviation avail­
able be assigned to Headquarters Field, Army and its
corps, so that air strikes could be called with a
minimum of delay, Air Force adamantly opposed this
plan. Requests for air strikes continued to follow
the old merry-go-round, up through channels to Army,
then to Air Force, and down again. Frequently, as
a result of this time consuming procedure, when the
planes got there the enemy had gone."

General Van Flee½ at a later date, is on record as having said,

"While the close air support in Korea has been successful, it is capable

of much further development." Van Fleet requested that one fighter

bomber squadron be assigned to each corps. This request was denied by

the Fifth Air Force Commander. He made another request to CINCFE but

asked that the Marine Air Wing, then under Fifth Air Force, be placed

under operational control of Eighth Army with one squadron per corps.

This also was denied.

Lieutenant General Almond, Chief of Staff, FEC, and later the

X Corps Commander, also was dissatisfied with CAS. This dissatisfaction

followed his Inchon experience where he had enjoyed Marine aviation

support. He proposed one-fighter-bomber group be allocated to each

Army division. These were the views, also, of the Army Chief of Staff,
General J. Lawton Collins.

Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, Chief of the Army Field

Forces, felt strongly enough about the subject to address CAS in detail

in a letter to the Army Chief of Staff in 1952.

l3l£7 General Mathew B. Ridgeway, "Soldier," New York, Harper and

Brothers 1956.

W Charles H. Taylor, op. cit., Page 21

160/ Ibid

General Hodge introduced the CAS problem by stating that the

operational procedures of the tactical air control system had been

the subject of continuous joint and unilateral tests. He acknowledged

"that lessons learned in Korea, as reported by inspection teams," had

. 161/
been considered.

General Hodge continued, "Although certain improvements in

procedures, organization and equipment have been achieved, it is quite

apparent that optimum efficiency in the application of tactical air

power in support of the ground forces cannot be obtained under presently

agreed doctrine of cooperation as set forth in Field Manaul 31-35. 11

Hodge added, 11 Rentention of centralized control of tactical air

at the highest levels, as manifested in the JOC itself, exemplifies

the problem which confronts us under a parallel command structure which

precludes the desired objective of further simplifying the procedures

. lli1I
of the Air-Ground Operations System."

General Hodge, in addressing the problem, said, "correction of

this condition will require acceptance by the Air Force of decentraliza­

t ion of operational control to ground commanders down to include corps


It seems reasonable to believe that the strong position taken

by the Chief of the Army Field Forc 6\, in 1952, was the result of a

clearly recognizable consensus regarding CAS by ground force commanders.

Never-the-less, General Hodge, however, was a moderate man who recognized

that the time was 11 not now appropriate" for such a sweeping change in

ifil:i7 Letter to U.S. Army Chief of Staff from John R. Hodge, USA,
Chief, Army Field Forces, Subj: Tactical Air Support of Ground Forces,
17 May 52.

162/ Ibid

lli1I Ibid

W±,,1 Ibid

concept. He, therefore, submitted a plan to decentralize tactical air .;
within the then existing doctrine of co-equal command. (See Tab D)

The foregoing quotes from Generals Ridgeway, Van Fleet, Almond

and Hodge indicated a continuation of the Army position that air power,

should be decentralized to corps level. However, higher authority

denied the requests.

As one Air Force leader reported recently,


"Two efforts were made in Korea to revert to

the old concept and decentralize the control of air
forces to Division and Corps level. In these in­
stances the theater commanders, General MacArthur
in the first and General Clark in the latter, de­
nied the requests. General Clark stated: 'That
the doctrine and procedure was established only
after the most comprehensive and exhaustive joint
deliberation. It was based on a vast reservoir · of
experience amassed on all fronts in World War II.
This reaffirmed the concept of centralized control
that has stood the tests of World Wars I and II and

An insight into the reason General MacArthur denied the request

to decentralize airpower may be provided by his testimony before a

congressional committee in 1951, when he stated, "I would state that

the support that our tactical air has given our ground troops in Korea
. 167/
has perhaps never been equalled in the history of modern war."

Thus, as was the case during and following World War II, post

Korea comments regarding GAS effectiveness were many and mixed. Actually,

the basic issue between the Army and the Air Force remained unchanged.

The issue revolved about the doctrinal point of who should control

tactical air.

l22/ Ibid

166/ General G. P .. Disosway, Tactical Air Power, Past, Present,

and Future, Presentation to American Ordnance Association, 9 May 1963

167/ General Douglas MacArthur, Military Situation in Far East,

1st Session, 81st Congress 1951, Congressional Record


Despite the disagreement and despite the initial lack of an

effective air-ground system in Korea, a working paper was drawn up in

September 1950. It was prepared jointly by the Office of the Chief,

Army Field Forces and Headquarters Tactical Air Command. Its title

was "Joint Training Directive for Ground Operations•" "Though not

officially indorsed by the Department of the Air Force or Army, it

remained the "gospel" of Air-Ground Operations for many years.

The theme of the 1950 JTD kept the three missions of tactical

air in the same order of priority. It stressed also the importance

of centralized USAF direction of air power and the great requirement

for sound Army-Air Force relationships and cooperation at all echelons.


Though some of the headquarters designations changed, various

levels of command in the Air Force were to "marry-up" on a "coopera­

tion" basis with counterpart army units. Thus, the "tactical air

. command" would work with the army g r oup and the tactical air force
with the field army.

The Joint Operations Center (JOC) concept was retained but

the facility was located at the field army - tactical air force headquar­

ters. The tactical air fo r ce manned the combat operations section side

of the house; the field army, the Air-Ground operations section


In Korea, the JOC was located adjacent to the Tactical Air

Force and Army Headquarters. The commanders of each were co-equal.

The Air Force sent liaison officers to each corps and division and

forward ajr controllers to front line units.

168/ Office, Chief, Army Field Forces and Headquarters Tactical

Air Command - Joint Training Directive for Air-Ground Operations. Fort
Monroe, Va. and Langley AFB, Va., 1 Sep 1950

1zt/ Ibid

170/ Ibid

The Army had Ground Liaison Officers at air fields; and G-2 and •

G-3 Air Officers at division, corps and army level. The Army provided

the communications system and personnel to receive, evaluate and forward

CAS requests. These requests were passed through channels from front

line battalions to the field army where, if approved, they were given

to the Air Force as a requirement.

The JOC tied the Army and the Air Force together. Here, joint

planning took place and agreement was reached as to what CAS require­

ments could be met. The JOC was, in reality, a large war room composed

of tactical and CAS specialists of both services.


By 1953 it was apparent that the 1950 j'TD should be modified.

As one air force writer described it, "it had become too large and

unwieldly" and "too immobile and inflexible.'' Moreove·r , advances in

air weapons and communications, plus the increased importance of air

defense had rendered many old procedures obsolete.

The Army and the Air Force, using their respective agencies,
.:5-/a;.- 1

TAC and CONARC; stated joint planning in 1954 for a major joint ex-

ercise. One purpose of the exercise (later to be known as Exercise

SAGEBRUSH) was to perform joint and unilateral combat actions and to

test units, doctrines, techniques, procedures and weapons.

Many disagreements occured before the exercise got underway in

November 1955. Among the disagreements was, of course, tactical

air support. Related controversies arose over control of air traffic

and air space over the tactical zone.

The Army and the Air Force did agree to conduct SAGEBRUSH in

accordance with the 1950 JTD. Many recommendations came at the con­

clusion of the maneuver. It was agreed, for instance, that the JTD

171/ Lyt~f,3- R. Perkins, op. cit., Page 33

172/ Ibid

procedures were too cumbersome and time consuming. Moreover, it was

~ the consensus that location of a tactical air force, a field army

headquarters and JOC i n close proximity was not conducive to survival.

Army and Air Force participants agreed that the Air-Ground Operat ions
JTD should be revised.

The Air Force was given primary responsibility, in coordination

with the Army, to establish new CAS procedures. The Commander of TAC

and CONARC agreed that an air-ground manual should be published jointly

at the service departmental level or by Department of Defense. They

hoped doctrical differences could be resolved.

Representatives of CONARC and TAC first met in May, 1956 as

agents of their respective services to hammer out an agreement. TAC

presented a new CAS concept that involved modifying the existing


According to Lei~tenant Colonel Lytle R. Perkins, U3AF, who

was s-elected by TAC to represent USAF in negotiations with the Army

representatives, TAC proposed procedural changes were substantially

as follows:

Because the increased range of tactical aircraft had

forced a change in the level at which air-ground cooperation could

take place, it was determined that a tactical air force should be

associated with that army unit occupying an area approximately three

hundred miles across and extending some five hundred miles to the rear.

Normally; this would be the army group area.

Air operations would be controlled by a facility known

as the Air Operations Center (AOC) located at thetactical air force

iii7 Ibid

174/ Ibid
112,/ Ibid
176/ Ibid

headquarters, normally some distance further to the rear than the field

army headquarters.

The old, unwieldy JOG was to be replaced by two separate

installations: (1) An Air Force installation to be called an Air

Support Operations Center (ASOC) and which would be located at the

field army headquarters. The facility would be more compact and mobile

than the old JOG and (2) an army staff agency to be called the Tac­

tical Support Center (TSC) which would coordinate air-ground matters

with the ASOC.

According to Perkins, the ASOC was to exercise operational

control over the tactical air effort designated for field army support

,in accordance with army group commander priorities. ASOC would then be

tactical air support oriented, only, leaving to the AOC all other air
operations. The Army, "accepted this concept-. 11 ·

However, the Army and Air Force Air-Ground negotiators became

r deadlocked over the method of allocating tactical air support aircraft.

The Army wanted to be sure a definite number of aircraft or sorties

would be made available to the army group commander for further alloca­

tion to the field armies, as appropriate. This Army position visualized

further that the army group commander could change his aircraft or

sortie allocations to subordinate armies as the · a~_my group situation

\ (' 178/
L hang es .

The Air Force would not accept this concept as it would give

operational control of aircraft to army commanders. Moreover, Perkins

reported that the Army position would result in a reduction of tactical

air capabilities because it would give the Army "ownership of aircraft

rather than the use of a given number of sorties."

177/ Ibid
178/ Ibid

17:11 Ibid


The Air Force wanted tactical air support made available to

each ASOC based on army group commander priorities. The ASOC Director

would distribute support to · each field army based on allocations

received. .Colonel Perkins did not explain by what authority the

army group commander would decide priorities on which tactical c;1.ir

allocations would be made.

In any event, the representatives of TAC and CONARC could not

agree. The best they could come up with was to continue the status

quo. The Air Force would keep operational control of its CAS aircraft.

The joint meetings ceased .in January 1957.

In March of that year, the CONARC and TAC commanders met to

discuss CAS doctrinal differences. The Joint Working Group followed

up with meetings and finally arrived at an approved draft. The command-

ers concurred and signed it.

Neither . the Army or the Air Force staffers were satisfied

completely with the document as evidenced by an introductory statement

~i :Q the manual. "The objective of this directive is to establish jointly

acceptable operational procedures through mutual compromise, where

necessary, of divergent doctrinal positions."


Thus, seven years after the publication of the 1950 JTD a new

Joint Air-Ground Operations Manual was published 1 September 1957.

The new manual, in discussing the employment of air power,


180/ Ibid

181/ Ibid

182/ Ibid

1W' Hq TAC and Hq CON.ARC !'Joint Air-Ground Operations," CONARC

TT-lOQ-1 and TACM 55-3, 1 Sep 57

11 ••• The methods of employment are developed

to gain and maintain air superiority, isolate the

battle area, and execute close air support opera­
tions. Sufficient air resources may not always
exist to conduct, simultaneously, all the desired
air activities; however, the inherent flexibi~ity
and mobility of tactical air equipment permit con­
concentration of the available air effort accordinl
to the requirements of the tactical situation. 11 184

Cooperation, joint planning at all levels, Air Force centralized

control of all aircraft, and parallel Army-Air Force chains of command

remain inherent to the system.

One of the 1957 changes in doctrine called for the highest

level coordination to be at army group/tactical air force level. Army

and Air Force integration was to be achieved via the exchange of in­

formation and command liaison between the two headquarters.

It stated for instance,

"as a result of this inter-staff planning, a

determination is made as to the amount of air effort
to be made available for support of the army group
based upon missions assigned, enemy activity, the
force to be employed and the army group's preplanned
requirements. These preplanned requirements are
a consolidation of the field army air support req­
uirements forwarded to army group after detailed
joint coordination between the Tactical Support
Centers (TSC) and Air Support Operations Centers
(ASOC) at the field army level. The tactical air
effort made available for support of the army group
is further allocated to the appropriate ASOC 1 s for
support of the field armies. 11lli/

It should be noted that two new terms were introduced into the

system, i.e., TSC and ASOC. The Air Force ASOC and the Army TSC were

to be co-located at the field army echelon. Air support requirements

were to flow through army channels to the field army TSC. Those

requests considered appropriate were then "passed to the ASOC as field

army requirements for either preplanned or immediate air support."

Tu!f,;7 Ibid

.ill/ Ibid

The ASOC director was then responsible for the proper employment of
available air power to meet the requirements.

An Air Operations Center (AOC), a tactical air force agency,

was established back in the army group area to control all tactical

air operations. It was the AOC, based on the tactical air force

commander's estimate of the overall tactical air situation, that told

the ASOC at field army level how much CAS was available.

Study of the 1957 Joint Air-Ground Operations manual, as in

the case of the 1950 manual, reveals an obvious and disconcerting

fact. After all the years of air-ground operations discussion, there

was still no one Air-Ground System. There were two. The two were

(and still are) the Army-Air-Ground System" and the "Tactical Air

Control System." The 1957 manual substantiates this by devoting

separate chapters, so entitled, to each system.

This system,or systems,later evolved into what has become

known as the ASOC-FATOC (Field Army Tactical Operations Center)

system. The ground rules were essentially the same. CAS requests

went through army channels over any radio communications systems to

FATOC. Corps, instead of processing request. s, monitored, and silencel

denoted concurrence. This procedural change was introduced to speed

up air request procedures.

The ASOC-FATOC system is used currently as a common frame of

reference by the TAC and CONARC headquarters. Significantly, at this

date, joint Department of Army-Air Force Air-Ground Operations doctrine

is non-existent.

Tuf,/ Ibid

187/ Ibid

188/ Ibid



The Joint Chiefs of Staff treated the subject, however, in

Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF) JCS Pub 2. That JCS document

delineates "U.S. Air Force responsibilities" in connection with Close

Combat Air Support of Ground Forces. (See TAB E)

According to that JCS document, Air Force CAS responsibilities

include: (1) providing air forces for CAS; (2) conduct of uni­

lateral and joint individual and unit training; (3) development of

doctrine in coordination with other services and (4) development of

equipment,tactics and techniques.

The document discussed command relations between supported

and supporting commanders in a m~nner which permitted options. On

one hand, it suggested that supported force commanders could exercise

general direction of the supporting effort if agreed to by supporting

force. On the other hand, the concept of mutual planning based on

cooperation, without operation controi also was advanced as another

method. In any event, JCS expected the commander of the supported

force to state his requirements. The commander of the supporting

force was expected to meet them within his capabilities.

The JCS specification of responsibilities was clearly defined.

The lack of progress in doctrine and procedures development stems

from the inability of the Air Force and Army to agree to a mutually

satisfactory doctrine because of the command relationships problem.


An interesting CAS approach has been under study since 1962

in an attempt to improve CAS effectiveness. It is sometimes called

the "STRICOM System" or "DASC" (Direct Air Support Center) System.

~ Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF) JCS Pub 2, Washington 25,

DC, Nov 1959
12Q/ Ibid

The "STRICOM" investigation of ways to improve CAS, admittedly,

is addressed to corps size or smaller operations. However, the system

being tested may be applicable also to larger operations. Basically,

in a corps size operation, CINCSTRIKE places a Direct Air Support Cen­

ter (DASC) at corps level : It is essentially the old JOC located one

command level lower. Front line units send requests for immediate

CAS strikes thru battalion directly to the DASC via USAF communica­

tions means. The requests bypass division in the interest of speed.

Division monitors and acknowledgas, however, and many pre-empt the IJ-
request. If division does not stop the r~que~t..1- the DASC scrambles

aE_propriate aircraft from the allocation_it has been given previously

by_ the supporting air force commander.

There is another aspect to the proposed "STRICOM System" that

has generated interest in the Army. The interest stems not from the

procedures being tested but from the Army-Air Force command relation­

ships under the STRICOM system.

Army proponents of ground force control of CAS aircraft see

a striking similarity between the ir concept and the control exercise

by CINSTRIKE or his constituted Joint Task Force Commanders.

The Unified Command Plan, for instance, places a reserve of

designated CONUS combat-ready forces of the U.S. Army and the U.S.

Air Force under the operationcal control of CINCSTRIKE. CINCSTRIKE's

chain of command runs through the JCS, to the Secretary of Defense and

to the President.

CINSTRIKE's operational control encompasses functions of com­

mand involving the composition of subordinate forces, assignment of

tasks, designation of objectives and the authoritative direction

necessary to accomplish assigned missions. His control does not

include matters involving administration, discipline, internal organiza­

tion and unit training .

0 ?

cont ~~lency operations as a

unified commander, he assumes operati onal command over Ar my and Air

For ce units assigned t o him.

This control of air force units t hat has been vested i n

CI1RTRIKE is, in essence, what many Army leaders have been striving

for - - - unity of command.

It is not the purpose of this historical r eview to determine

the "right or wr ong" of Air Force or Army concepts regarding CAS.

It is readily apparent, however, that the fundamental issue is one

of air-ground command relationships.


CU In 1960, for instance, a CONARC tactical air study con­

cluded that: (1) the location , selection and attack of targets affect­

ing the ground commander's mission should be his responsibility, to

include CAS -and Interdictio~, and (2) the Army must be permitted to

develop or be provided with CAS means read ily available and immediately
responsive to the tactical situation.

The same study recommended that: "The Army insist on its

over-riding interest and responsibility for insuring adequate and timely

interdiction of the battle area as well as close support of ground

elements, and that effective and immediately responsive means be devel-

oped by or made available to the Army for their accomplishment."

(~ A 1961 CONARC requested CAS study conduct ed by the U.S.

Army Command and General Staff College (USACGSC) concluded that:

(1) Army- Air Forc e CAS joint operational planning should be decen­

tralized to the field army-tactical air force level or to the inde­

pendent corps; (2) allocated CAS must be adequate to meet the

12.1/ Hq, . United States Continental Army Command"Study of Require­

ments for Tactical Air Support" Hq CONARC, Ft Monroe, Va. 29 May 60
( )

12f Ibid

requirement; (3) air units allocated to the close support mission must

be under operational control of the supported army force commander and

(4) air units designated to support CAS tasks must be equipped with
aircraft designed for ground attack as a primary mission.

(tl The C&GSC study also contained an alternate recommenda­

tion. It suggested that the responsibilities and relationships of the

supporting air force commander be as outlined in paragraphs 30276 and

30278, JCS Pub 2. By this frame of reference, supported force

commanders would indicate their detailed requirements to supporting

air force commanders and "exercise general direction of the support­

ing effort within the ' limits permitted by accepted tactical practices
of the service_ of the supporting force.'' The supporting air

force commander. would prescribe the tactics, methods and procedures.

"The less responsive relationship of mutual support," prescribed in

para 30277, JCS Pub 2, between the army force and tactical air force

commanders was "considered inadequate since no specific allocation of

air effort is made to meet the continuous air support requirements of

the army force commander." (See TAB E)

(ti The Fort Leavenworth study stressed also that the tactical

air support rendered must be adequate in size and composition to meet

ground force requirements. Moreover, allocations of tactical air

support, having been made on the basis of need, should not be withdrawn

without the concurrence of the army force commander. Disagreement should

be solved by a common superior.

i2iJ US Army Command and General Staff College, "Close Air Support,
Command Relationships and Control System" (U), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
5 July 1961
ml Ibid

122/ The JCS, "Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), op. cit., ..

12£/ US Army Command and General Staff College, op. cit . .


(~ That the Army position on CAS had not softened was evi-

denced again in 1961 in a letter to General T. D. White, Chief of Staff,

USAF from General G. H. Decker, Chief of Staff, US Army.

(U General Decker, writing in response to an earlier letter

from General Whi(e re an Army decision concerning off the shelf air­

craft, wrote as follows: "Therefore, the Army concluded that selection

of the specific aircraft was not the major problem from our point of
view. 11

(~ General Decker continued, "The Army 's requirement is to

have close air support where we need it, when we need it, and under

a system of operational control which makes it responsive to Army

needs. This means that such close support must be a primary and not

a secondary mission of squadrons designated for the close support


(,tl General Decker summarized his letter to the USAF Chief of

Staff by outlining the CAS areas where improvement was needed the most.

They were (1) responsiveness to Army needs; (2) organization and

(3) training.


(t¼ The Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Robert S.

McNamara, also showed interest in CAS in 1961. On 9 October he

fowarded a memorandum to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force

entitled: "A Revised Program for Land Based Tactical Air(S). 11

(t\_ In that memorandum, he asked the Secretary of the Air

Force, with Army participation, to study the subjec t . He referred to

an earlier letter in which he had expressed a tentative decision that

121/ Letter from General G. H. Decker, C/S, US Army to General

T. D. White, · C/S USAF. 13 May 1961. ( )

12W Ibid

12.9/ Ibid
there should be a aircraft than
the Air Force and that it should include a close support type air-

CU Basically, Mr. McNamara requested an estimate of the tactic­

al air power neededduring FY 1963 to 1967. Among other things, he

specifically asked that a look be taken at: (1) the number of fighter

bomber aircraft required, both active and National Guard, to perform

the full range of tactical missions worldwide, including CAS; (2)

composition of the force as to multipurpose or single purpose aircraft

and (3) the procurement program for single purpose aircraft and the
type that should be procured.

Mr. McNamara invited the Army to make comments on the requested

Air Force proposal.

('t On 1 November, the Secretary of the Air Force, The Honor­

able Mr. Eugene M. Zuckert, submitted a progress report to the Secre­

tary of Defense. He said the Army had "reaffirmed their previously

stated position that their prime concern was with the responsiveness

of tac tical air to the needs of the ground commander. He added, "the

Army was .willing to leave the choice of the aircraft to the Air Force."

(.Q Mr. Zuckert suggested an increase "from 18 to 23 wings 11

in the tactical force structure. He also recommended use of multi­

purpose aircraft including, initially, some units equipped with older


200/ Robert S. McNarmar, Memorandum to Secretaries of Army and

Air Force, Subj: "A Revised Program for Land Based Tactical Air"
9 Oct 1961. ( )

201/ Ibid

202/ Ibid

.?Q1I Zuckert, Secretary of the AF, Memo for Secretary of Def,

entitleq a Revised Program for Land Based Tactical Aircraft, 1 Nov 61
204/ Ibid
I .;;

On 4 November 1961, The Honorable ElV, J. Stahr, Jr.,

Secretary of the Army, forwarded a memorandum to the Secretary of

Defense containing comments on the Air Force position. He expressed

concern with the concept calling for a multipurpose CAS aircraft. As

he stated it, "Competing requirements could result in inadequate


(ij Mr. Stahr r eiterated that the Army requires CAS on a

basis of "close support aircraft of a proper type" on a when and where

needed basis "under a system of operational control which makes them

responsive to Army needs."

(ij The Secretary of the Army also sent a memorandum to the

Secretary of the Air Force on 4 November. It was backed up with a

study of the army's requirements for ,CAS, interdiction and reconnaiss-

207 / .

(&f In that memorandum, Mr. Stahr cited the Army's CAS require­

ment as ''three tactical fighter squadrons to support each active combat

division and seven reconnaissance squadrons to support each field army."

The Air Forc e, he said, should be prepared to support fourteen active

army divisionsplus eight separate brigades and eight high priority

National Guard divisions."

(ij The Army Secretary advised Mr. Zuckert that there was no

Army objection to USAF selection of CAS aircraft. But, he emphasized

that the Army wanted CAS when and where needed, and under a system

of operational control responsive to Army needs. He stressed that ·

~ Elvis J. Stahr, Secretary of the Army, Memorandum for Sec of

Defense entitled: "A Revised Program for Land Based Tactical Aircraft
4 Nov 61 ( )

206/ Ib:i.d

207/ Elvis J. Stahr, Secretary of the Army, op cit., Page 65


GAS "must be a primary and not a secondary mission of squadrons

designated for the close · support role."

(t,\. Attachments to the memorandum sent to the Secretary of

Defense and the Secretary of Air Force outlined desirable character­

istics in GAS aircraft. They were: (1) high degree of survivability;

(2) effective operation capability against ground targets; (3) possess

STOL capabilities and require minimum preparation ·of landing facilities;

(4) speed, range and necessary maneuverability in order to remain

airborne in vicinity of area of attack long enough to establish con­

tact with ground commander and deliver a full ordnance load; (5) all

weather navigation capability and simple target acquisition means;

(6) adequate communications equipment to permit contact with supported

units and (7) capability to perform visual observation, fire adjust-

ment, armed reconnaissance, photographic reconnaissance and surveill-


(" In the attachment to Stahr's memorandum to the Air Force

Secretary, the Army's organizational air-ground concept was outlined.

It said in substance that ground commanders must have operational con-.

trol of GAS aircraft.

(te The Army arrived at its estimated requirement of three

squadrons of tactical fighter aircraft to support each active a.rmy

division in the following manner.



1. Estimated average number of targets per day based on World

War II and Korea experience - 40.

2. Average number of sorties required per target - 1.6

~ Ibid

210/ Ibid

211/ Ibid
./ ~ - ,-- ; ---
I .
(40) =

number of aircraft required daily (64) .

4. Average number of aircraft per ta ctical fighter wing - 75.

5. Estimated average availability of aircraft - 75%.

6. Average number of aircraft (75) X average availability X

(75%) :::: 56 aircraft.

7. Army requirement - 64 aircraft (step 3).

8. Although the Army's mathematical requirement is for 64

aircraft,this figure must be related to the Air Force organizational


9. Each tactical fighter squadron= 18 aircraft.

10. Therefore, Army requirement for aircraft which are avail­

able (56), divided by number of aircraft per squadron (18) = 3 squadrons

' 212/
of tactical fighter aircraft to support each Army Division.

(tr) The Air Force disagreed with the Army's estimated quanti­

tative requirement for GAS aircraft. The Air Force said the Army

figures of 11
40 targets per division per day based on World War II and

Korean experience" did not jibe with USAF statistics. According to

USAF, the per day/per division sortie average was 21 in World War II

and 28 per day in a peak month in Korea when 65% of missions flown were

GAS. The Air Force would agree, to an estimate of 15 to 20 sorties

per division on a sustained basis.

(W These Air Force statistics were in sharp contra~t not only

to those of the 1962 Army Study but also one conducted in January 1959.

The earlier studY, also based on 40 sorties rer day, called for one

wing of tactical fighter type aircraft per division committed to

combat. This was based on 75 aircraft to a wing with an average of
75% of the aircraft operational.

212/ Ibid

.?.Uf Ibid
.w±/ Staff Study~"The Army Requirements for Reconnaissance and Close
Air Support, FY 59-60 (U)", Jan
(tf) That Army's Requirements for Reconnaissance

and Close Air Support, FY 59-60," possibly presented a better justifi­

cation for the high sortie rat~. It acknowleged~for instancejthat

even through precise data on Korean and World War II CAS missions was

limited, the 40 sortie figure was higher than the average, over a

long period. The idea was advanced that the average reflects periods

of high and low activity and perhaps some times when divisions were in

(f:i) The earlier report reasoned that CAS requirements must be

arrived at in terms of "high activity when victory er defeat depends

on the presence of the required combat power." (Such as 47 sorties

per day during Pusan Perimeter Period and 27 per day when Chinese
-- ---
intervened). It was submitted, moreover, that Korean and World War II

figures represent missions flown - not missions asked for or required.


(U) The authors of the 1959 report asserted, also, that the

1st Marine Division Korean experience of 37 sorties per day should be

noted," for "because of unity of command, there was a greater opportunity

to use and a greater reliance on tactical air support."

(ti This, again, demonstrated Army partiality to Marine CAS

aviation. In the interest of objectivity, it is pointed out that the

1st Marine Wing in Korea was under the control of the Fifth Air Force

J0C except for two campaigns, Inchon and Wonson. Just as the 1st Marine

Division was an integral .part of the 8th Army, the Marine Wing was

assigned to the Fifth Air Force.

~ Ibid

216/ Ibid

217/ Ibid
s -

~) comments of some thirty generals and field

grade officers concerning CAS effectiveness in Korea undoubtedly in-

fluenced the 1959 study group.

QUESTION: "In general, were the number of aircraft assigned

to close air support missions requested by your unit considered adequ­

ate? 11 To this question, 23% answered yes'; 10% generally yes; 6% gen­

erally no; 61% flatly no.

Typical comments on this question were:

"Support was more generous and easier to obtain in the early

fall of 1950 than in later months, when air support machinery, JOC,

Corps G3 air sections, etc., were more developed, and, supposedly,the

total number of aircraft greater."

"Generally, it took the personnel intervention of a Corps

commander to secure sufficient sorties."

"Adequate air support was provided uring the period that the

1st Marine Wing was assigned to the Corps."

(ti) QUESTION: "Do you consider that the close air support

furnished your unit in Korea was adequate?" 11% answered yes, 13% gen­

erally yes, 78% flatly no.

Typical comments on this question were:

"The adequacy of close support varied greatly during the 19

months I was in Korea. Unquestionably,the best support which I re­

ceived was given by a Marine Air µroup. 11

"Lack of timeliness and dependability appear to be the two

greatest deficiencies."

"Deficiencies are as follows: Too little air available;

excessive time required to process requests and obtain missions."

"Believe most deliciencies can be eliminated by providing

one fighter-bomber wing per corps under operational control of the

corps commander."
218/ Ibid
"Upon arrival in Korea, I was greatly disappointed to find

close air support had retrogressed since W.W. II. This retrogression

is marked by: (1) inferior aircraft; (2) lack of responsiveness

to front line requirements; (3) clumsy, agonizingly slow techniques,

which largely nullify the value of air support."

"If the Air Force will not develop suitable aircraft for

ground support and will not emphasize ground support training many

times more than they are now doing, we are not being loyal to our own

forces and possibly the successful prosecution of a major war, if we

continue to operate in ground battle under the conditions prevailing

in Korea."

This survey, the 1959 study reasoned, utilizing the experience

of regimental, divisional and corps commanders and senior staff officers,

.c ontributed further evidence as to the inadequacy of close air support

during the Korean combat operations.

(t\) In November 1962, the Army presented a briefing to the

President's Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC) on Army Requirements

for GAS. The briefing is contained at .iT- AB F.

The following excer pt
is indicative of the Army's GAS position at that recent date.

~ "The key to the Army's close support requirements is

responsiveness. To insure that close air support is available when

and where needed, a simple, flexible system, is required. Control

by the ground tactical commander is essential for both troop safety and
effective utilization of available fires."

Early in 1963, a U.S. Army Combat Developments Command group,

based on a Secretary of Defense directive, convened tostudy fire

~ Briefing of President's Scientific Advisory Committee (PSAC)

on "Army Requirements for Close Air Support. 11 November 1962 (Secr·e t'-)

220/ Ibid

support requirements for the Army. That group, also, recommended

"operational control" of GAS aircraft as the preferred method from

the Army viewpoint.


~) The GAS interest of the Secretary of Defense carried

into 1963. On 16 February, he asked the Secretaries of the Army and

Air Force to "jointly examine the problem of improving close air support

of ground operations, and as a matter of priority prepare proposals for

maximizing its effectiveness."

Here, again, was Secretary of Defense recognition of the Army's

long held position that there was room for improvement in CAS.

(14) Mr. McNamara said he didn't want any duplication in close

air support --- a mission in which the Air Force has a well developed

potential. He indicated he understood that "The Army's desire to pro­

vide its own close air support, reconnaissance and airlift, stems from

the low national priority which these missions have enjoyed in recent

years." He added, "It seems appropriate that this situation will


(tf) He .further stated that "Changes in basic national security

policy during the past two years have highlighted the need to improve

non-nuclear warfare capabilities. Superior close air support of

ground operations is a prerequisite to such improvement."

The Secretary of Defense said that much remained to be done

along lines of (a) setting forth clear, realistic close air support

requirements in qualitative and quantitative terms, and (b)

221/ U.S. Army Combat Developments Command, "Army Requirements

for Fire Support, Apr il 1963. ( )

222/ The Honorable Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense

Memorandum for Secretaries of Army d Air Force, "Close Air Support."
16 February 1963 ( )
redirecting and refocusing the attention and resources needed to meet
there requirements."

(t() Such an examination, he said, "will require a critical

and imaginative approach and may well involve important recommendations

for changes in organization, doctrine, equipment and priorities in

both the Army and the Air Force."

(Q) Secretary McNamara, without limiting freedom of investi­

gation, did ask the Army and Air Force to examine several specific

aspects of CAS. Some of the suggested areas for investigation were:

(See Tab G)

(1) Indentification of the characteristics of targets for

CAS, their vulnerability to various munitions and delivery systems and

the importance of response time for various targets.

(2) Reorientation of TAC concentration on nuclear capabilityl

to training missions directed toward conventional weapons delivery. ~

(3) Assignment by TAC of certain wings to train with army 7

divisions on an extended basis. .---

(4) Increased emphasis on cross training and officer exchange

between USAF and Ar my.

(5) Specialized aircraft optimized for all weather low

altitude flying.

(6) Better communication links between tactical air units and

army units to improve responsiveness.

~) That Mr. McNamara did not desire to hamper bold and

imaginative thinking regarding the CAS study is evident in the guide­

line which said, "Army and USAF should consider further organization

changes, including those at Army Staff and Air Staff level, which
would tend to improve close air support operations."

22:!i/ Ibid

2'J.6/ Ibid
227/ Ibid ·~Ji~.

Mr. McNamara's continuing interest in CAS and his directive
calling for a "critical and imaginative approach" to the problem

resulted in prompt preliminary action by the two services. The Army

and the Air Force, acting through CONARC and TAC, respectively, estab­

lished spearate study boards in April of this year.

The boards, known as CAS Boards and consisting of officers

from all over the world, assembled in April at Fort George G. Meade,

Maryland. There, co-located in the same building, they are "jointly"

examining the problem of improving close air support of ground opera­

tions as requested by the Secretary of Defense.

Thus, CAS history may have come full circle in the fifty-six

years since the Wright Brothers' first flight. Initially, and for

many years, the ground forces kept a tight rein on airmen and aircraft.

This control gradually decreased and disappeared completely when the

USAF became a co-equal service. The Army's lack of organic GAS air­

craft and its reliance on another service for such fire power support

has resulted in oft repeated requests by the Army for better GAS, more

GAS and more Army control over CAS.

Now, by implication at least, the Secretary of Defense has

recognized the need for GAS improvement and inferred that it no longer

need be restricted by a "low national priority."

The history of CAS from here on may be influenced greatly by

the deliberations and recommendations of the Army and Air Force

Close Air Support Boards at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.



SOURCE: Army Ground Forces And The Air-Ground Battle Team, Study #35,
Kent Roberts Greenfield, Historical Section, AGF, 1948


The following comments represent the views of the ground com­

manders in Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy.

(1) "I believe that we will have to come to some simple sy stem

of requesting air support. The present system of going back through so

many channels is wrong. We haven't time for it." (Col William B.

Kern, commanding an infantry battalion of 1st Armored Division, 13 May

1943). ·

(2) "We can't get the stuff when it's needed and we're catching

hell for it. By the time our request for air support goes through

channels the target's gone or the Stukas have come instead." (Maj Gen

Omar N. Bradley, Hq Fifth Army, 1 March 1943).

(3) "I noticed that, in action, when my tanks started rolling, .or

my artillery opened on some target of real importance to the Germans,

the Stukas would be over in twenty minutes ..... by contrast, our calls

for airplane missions to meet a sudden combat developilient, if granted

at all, got no real results for hours ... The system of calling through

two or three different headquarters for air support simply will not

give the support desired at the time desired. Adequate air support can

only be obtained by direct call from the division to air. Any other

system is too slow and will result in loss of opportunities. The

greatest single aid to more effective use of armored formations would

be the development of close air support, both by reconnaissance and by

bombing. Failure of this air support presents the weakest link in our

tactical team today." (Maj Gen Charles W. Ryder, commanding the 34th

Infantry Division, Conversation 18-19 June 1943).

(4) "The delay between requesting a mission and receiving only

the approval or disapproval of the request was excessive. When the

time required to fly the mission was added to the original delay, the

Tab A to Annex A
result was ineffective support." (Report from AFHQ, 2 July 1943).

(5) "Air missions took too long to accomplish even after the

planes had been moved to Sicily. Authority to fly this mission could

be obtained in about three hours whereas the mission itself took only

20 to 30 minutes." (Maj Gen John P. Lucas, commanding the VI Corps,

21 July 1943).

(6) "The air support has not worked satisfactorily ... At times it

has been fairly prompt; at other times the time has been excessive.

There is a great deal that must be worked out before we get what we

want when we want it. The matter of who has the control, the matter

~- of communication, and such things are still to be solved." (Air Sup­

port Liaison Officer, '3d Infantry Division, Sicily, 12 August 1943).

SOURCE: Omar N. Bradley, Military Advisor, Air Effects Committee,
12th Army Group, "Effect of Air Power on Military Operations,
Western Europe"



The overall system of air-ground cooperation developed within the

Ninth Air Force - 12th Army Group tactical team had a direct and

highly satisfactory effect upon operations. It assured close coordi­

nation in combined operations, joint planning at all levels, and the

continuous exchange of information between the services. The cloud of

mystery with which even now some authorities tend to surround air co­

operation was dispelled in the clarity of mutual confidence and



The keynote of the Air-Ground Cooperation System was the mutual

exchange of staff personnel with the authority and training to act in

an operational capacity.

Within the limits of terrain and the tactical situation the

parallel echelons of the air and ground forces were located together.

Since the actual tactical control of the air force or the tactical air

command is centralized at these respective headquarters the "Combined

Operations!! center was formed there. Into this center went the G-3

(Air) and G-2 (Air) from the ground forces to function alongside the

air personnel who controlled the tactical operations.

The G-3 (Air) Section maintained a complete situation map, and by

briefings kept the air force fully informed on the ground battles. It

announced priorities of subordinate units for tactical air action, and

the ground force plan of action. Jointly with the air operations

personnel it handled mission requests, engaged in air-ground planning,

and coordinated the bomb line. It transmitted the situation to the

Ground Liaison Officers at airfields, and furnished them with infor­

mation necessary for briefing of combat crews. It was responsible for

Tab B to Annex A
the inter-change between ground and air units of all the necessary

operational data and details for coordination of the tactical action

of those forces.

Similarly, the G-2 (Air) Section presented the enemy situation,

submitted requests for air reconnaissance, and collected and dissemi­

nated information resulting therefrom. In addition, G-2 (Air) main­

tained complete target intelligence collected from ground force

sources on suitable air objectives and with G-3 (Air') and the air

operations personnel, engaged in the staff planning necessary for the

attack thereof.

At the lower echelons of corps and division there is no equiva­

lent air force headquarters such as at army group and armies. Never­

theless, the principle of the "Combined Operations 1' was extended for­

ward in the close association of the G-3 (Air) and a Tactical Air

Liaison Officer (TALO). The latter, an experienced pilot, was detach­

ed from the tactical air command, and was provided with suitable HF

and VHF radio equipment for transmitting air requests to the TAC Head­

~uarters, and for the ground control of aircraft from forward

positions with the supported ground force units. This afforded the

flexibility in both control and communications, and permitted the

close cooperation of our fighter bombers described in Chapter III.

Again in conformance with the system of exchange of staff person­

nel and of joint planning, the ground forces provided a ground liaison

officer (GLO) to operations.I units of the air force. The ground

liaison officer maintained maps and reports for the pilots and crews,

and briefed them on bomb lines, army plans, problems, and tactics.

They gathered information of the enemy obtained through air crew in­

terrogation, which was passed to the ground forces through the G-3

(Air) and G-2 (Air) at 11 Combined Operations 11 at the next higher


Communications were the essence of effective air ground

cooperation in this theater. Without adequate, reliable and often

continuous communication the close coordination necessary between air

and ground could not have been maintained. To achieve this the tacti­

cal air liaison officers with ground units were provided with radio

and wire lines to " combined operations". Air forces and army tele­

phone and teleprinter lines supplemented the air force radio channels

to ground units.

These means generally furnished adequate communication between

air and ground headquarters. In static situations the teleprinter

and telephone were relied upon to a great extent, both to forward
ground units and to the air bases. In rapidly-moving, or fluid

situations the radio became most necessary since wire lines to the

ground units could not be maintained. However, the necessity for

radio communication between the forward ground units and the combined

operations center in those situations was largely obviated by armored

column cover.

It was found that allotment of separate communications channels

tor the sole purpose of transmitting air-ground cooperation infor­

mation and request was a basic principle. When this principle was not

adhered to, or the channels were not adequate, the efficiency of air

cooperation was seriously impaired. Messages regarding air co­

operation can be generally classified as "Operational Priority"," if

not "Urgent, 11 and time did not permit their routine handling through

the usual command and staff channels.


The spirit of teamwork that was characteristic of the air-ground

cooperation system is apparent in some of the developments peculiar to

joint operations. Aids for close bombing indicated not only a regard

for troop safety, but for bombing accuracy. The ground contributed

colored smoke, and "line of flak," The air furnished forward radio

and radar control. Counterflak programs for protection of aircraft

were developed to the point of an SOP. Both forces participated in a

crew rotation program whereby pilots shared foxholes with the doughboy,

and the artillerymen saw flak from the receiving end.

SOURCE: USAF Historical Division, "Close Air Support and Commanders
Quotes". Feb 1963

Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley
CG, 12th Army Troop

"While air was isolating this corner of France, it also struck

inside the Normandy sector to tear up railroads and halt all enemy

motor movement ... So successful was this air mission that one enemy

division was forced to walk the last 100 miles into combat ... By June _4

every railroad bridge had been knocked out across the Seine between

Rouen and Paris. By June 6 not only had the northwestern corner of

France been isolated, but the bombing campaign had demoralized the

French railway system."

"Even if vonRundstedt continued to push his famished columns

toward the Meuse, he could no longer support the offensive as long as

we could pound him from the air."

Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

CG, Third Army

The Invasion of Sicily

~ "throughout the operation, our Air has kept the sky clear and

tirelessly supported the operation of the ground troops."

The Sweep through Northern France

"About an hour before sundown we received a report that an

armored column was fifteen kilometers southwest of Rennes, moving in

rapidly. I asked General Weyland, commanding the XIX Tactical Air

Command, to send some fighter bombers to stop it. The bombers were

unable to find the column, because it actually was the 4th Armored

Division moving in from the northeast. However, the planes did do

some very effective work; knocking out enemy 'resistance ahead of the

4th Armored Division and this was the precursor of many other such

jobs. It was love at first sight between the XIX Tactical Air Command

and the Third Army."

Tab C to Annex A
The Sweep through Northern France

"For about two miles the road was full of enemy motor transport

and armor, many of which bore the unmistakable calling card of a P-47

fighter-bomber--namely, a group of fifty-caliber holes .•• Whenever

armor and air can work together in this way, the results are sure to

be excellent. Armor can move fast enough to prevent the enemy having

time to delay off the roads, and so long as he stays on the roads the

fighter-bomber is one of his most deadly opponents."

The Lorraine Campaign

"Five tanks of the 4th Armored were being attacked by some twenty-
five German tanks, and the only thing we could send to their help was

air. The weather was unflyable according to all standards, but

General Weyland ordered two squadrons to attack. This they did, being

vectored in by radar at a height of not over fifteen feet from the

ground. Having located the enemy they skip-bombed and also strafed

him. While this fighting was going on the pilots had no idea that

they could even land and yet carried out their job magnificently. 11

The Lorraine Campaign

"The eighteenth was a great day for the Air. The XIX Tactical

Air Command started flying at dawn and flew until well after dark;

then they sent out their night fighters which attacked some fifteen

convoys in the darkness."

"The tanks of the 6th Armored were moving forward against the

southern flank of two villages, from which they were receiving con­

siderable fire, .while in the background the P-47's of the XIX Tactical

Air Command was doing a wonderful job of bombing."

The Invasion of Germany

"This great campaign was only made possible by your disciplined

valor, unswerving devotion to duty, coupled with the unparalleled

audacity and speed of your advance on the ground; while from the air,

the peerless fighter~bombers kept up a relentless round-the-clock

attack upon the disorganized enemy."

The Invasion of Germany

"I am continually amazed at the efficiency of the fighter-bombers,

particularly their ability to pick out isolated motor transport and hit

it. l1

In Retrospect

"Speaking of flying reminds me that, when we first began moving

across France, I used to notice from the air innumerable fox holes on

each side of the main roads. On inquiry, it turned out that, in order

to make the German truck-drivers stick to their jobs, such protection

had to be provided, so that when our bombers came on them they could

jump into a hole."

In Retrospect

"The effectiveness of air-ground cooperation is still in its

infancy. Air and ground commanders must be constantly on the alert to

devise, and use, new methods of cooperation."

Lt. Gen. J. Lawton Collins

VII Corps

"We could not possibly have gotten as far as we did, as fast as

we did, and with as few casualties, without the wonderful air support

that we have consistently had."

"The pattern bombing by the heavies, particularly on the front of

this Corps along the St. Lo - Periers road, had a devastating effect.

Enemy communications were completely disruptBd resulting,in some areas,

in an almost total lack of coordinated resistance following the bombing.

~ The moral factor was truly shattering. There can be no question that

the bombing was a decisive factor in the initial success of the break­

through .•. 11

"Landing on a hostile shore is the most difficult of all military

operations~ .. The next most difficult operation is the crossing of a

defended river line. Here again air superiority is mandatory. The air

forces provided their greatest assistance in these operations by pro­

tecting our troops from enemy aerial attack and by disrupting hi s com­

munications and by limiting the movement of enemy reserves. These

three factors are essential for success."

Lt. Gen. L. K. Truscott 2 Jr.

CG, Fifth Army

"I desire to express my appreciat io n fo r the magnificent work of

the Commanders and pilots of the XII Tactical Air Command during the

operations of breaking out of the beachhead beginning May 23rd .•. I am

confident that our suc cess in breaking through the se defens es during

the first three days of the operation is due in no small measure to


Maj. Gen. Raymond S. McLain

XIX Corps

"In the assault of the fortified city, or fortified area, bombing

is essential and must be of the largest possible tonnage and concen-


Maj. Gen. R. W. Grow

6th Armor ed Division

"Breakthrough: Air cooperation was most valuabl e in this type of

operation; enemy lines of communication were disrupted and retreating

enemy columns were bombed, strafed, and disorganized. Fighter bombers

controlled from near the head s of columns were largely responsible for

armored units. Best targets are enemy armored vehicles and artillery."

Maj . Gen. J.M. Swing

CG, 11 th Airborne Div

"On 29 April, the division attacked HILL 2610, in the MT MALE­

PUNYO, HILL MASS in Southern LUZON. It was the last stronghold of the

FUJI HEIDEN (Southern LUZON Defense Force) and was extremely well de~

fended. High casualties were expected from the attack.

"The 8th Fighter Group was requested to bomb the hill prior to the

attack. The troops of the division had fought their way to a position

400 yards from the hill and were reluctant to withdraw from terrain so

dearly won. Because of the proximity of the troops to the target, the

decision was made to cancel the strike, but the troops requested that

the strike be' made on schedule."

"Three flights ( 9 each) of P-38s, each with two one-thousand'

pound bombs, hit the hill. At the end of the second strike, the Com­

pany Commander reported that the concussion had given his men nose­

bleeds, but they earnestly requested the third strike notwithstanding.

The planes were directed to the target."

"As the last bomb detonated, B Company of the 511th Parachute

Infantry, pushed off and assaulted and seized Hill 2610 without re­
sistence. Hardly had they gained the top when 124 stunned Japs

emerged from their caves to man their defense guns. They were

slaughtered as they moved to the positions."

"We of the division are grateful for this support, and are proud

that our confidence in Air Support has reached the point where we are

willing to remain within 400 yards of 1000-pound bombs. For the

splendid support, and for the lives saved on Hill 2610 by this

mJssion, we desire to express our grateful thanks and appreciation

and our commendation to the pilots who flew the mission."

Gen. Mark Clark

CG, Fifth Army

"The Allied air force in Italy broke the grip of winter on the

15th Army Group front by striking almost daily at the German communi­

cation lines. The Airmen did a great job .•.. The enemy could move

troops only slowly, usually on foot and at night, whereas in the past

he had been able to shift units with great rapidity."

On the Saarbrucke-Zweibrucken Breakthrough

15-21 March 1945

This operation dealt primarily with the reduction and penetration

of the Siegfried Line. Cooperating air forces were used in this

action very successfully and included the working over of towns in the

area, bombing of strong points, destruction of enemy columns on the

roads, de~truction of enemy CP's and strafing of enemy fortifications.

The combination of the foregoing greatly facilitated the advance of

the ground forces and shortened the time required to .actually pene­

trate the Siegfried Line. After the breakthrough was completed,

results of air participation were evidenced by the fact that the pur­

suit was very rapidly accomplished until Third Army units were con­

tacted in Neunkirchen.

On the Elimination of the Colmar Pocket

The general plan of this operation called for very close co­

operation of the air forces and ground forces due to the tenacious re­

sistence of the Germans. This battle resulted in a systematic re­

duction of each village encountered utilizing infantry, artillery, and

tanks on the ground and close-in support from the air. This com­

bination spelled disaster for the Germans and greatly reduced the time

required for the operation. In one case, after a group of woods had

been bombed and strafed, over one hundred and thirty (130) Germans

emerged therefrom to willingly surrender rather than be subjected to

further air action.

The Bitche Counter-Offensive

Ground operations were such as to prevent the enemy from reoccupy­

ing the Alastain Plain. Air attacks were very successful and played an

important part in breaking up the effective coordination of the enemy's

effort. Large quantities of rolling stock were destroyed or damaged

and the enemy's problem of resupply and evacuation was made very

difficult by air attacks which were carried out under extremely poor

conditions of weather.

The Siegfried Line Breakthrough

1. As the Siegfried Line was breached and the attack moved

rapidly to the Rhine River in conjunction with the attack of the Third

Army coming from the North, fighter-bombers in close ~pport and armed

recon~aissance played the biggest part of the air effort once the

attack had begun. Weather conditions improved and were excellent on

D-Day and for several days thereafter, permitting an all-out air


2. As the attack reached the Siegfried Line, several fighter­

bomber missions were carried out in coordination with ground attacks

and local commanders were very enthusiastic about the results

achieved. In some cases, opposing fire was almost completely neutra­

lized even though the pillboxes were not destroyed. This enabled

ground forces to inflitrate and outflank those positions, permitting

the advance to continue.

3rd Armored Division

"Fighter-bombers furnishing continuous column cover in an

operation of this kind (limited objective attack) are most beneficial

to an armored division. With continuous column cover working with

forward controllers in each column we are able to perform our

immediate close-in reconnaissance to the front and flanks as well as

having available at all times for quick employment a strong air

strike. In an operation of this kind where divisions are operating in

numerous armored columns, artillery support is seldom immediately

available and, therefore, column cover is depended upon to bridge this


Gen. Walter Krueger

CG, Sixth Army

"The air force concentration for Reckless Operation (Hollandis­

Aitape) was the greatest that had so far been undertaken in SWPA. The

well-coordinated and highly effective performance of the air force

contributed greatly to the prompt success of the operation."

"This air support was controlled by Army Air Forces officers on

board ' the command ship and AAF ·liaison officers accompanied the

troops in the landing. Considering the presumable week enemy forces

on Noemfoor, this preliminary bombardment may seem unduly heavy. But

I felt it was better to use gunfire and bombing liberally than expose

my ground forces, in particular my infantry, to unnecessary losses."

~ONFl·DENTl,\t i FIE D


Fort Monroe, Virginia

ATTN G-42 3 73 1'7 May 1952

:3.JK ECT: Tactical Air Support of Ground Forces

TO: Chief of Staff

D·apR.rtment of t he A~my
Washington 25, D. C.

1. The unwieldy struct11re of the Joint OperB.tinns Ce r.t nr, wh.L'"..:h

is now organ Lrnd in acco r dance with existing air-ground operations

doctrine., was discussed on 19 March 1952, in a conversation between

the Chief of Staff and the Chief, Army Field Forces.

2. During the past two years, the operational procedures of the

entire tactical air control system have been the subject of continuous

study and tests by Army Field Forces, both unilaterally and in conjunc­

tion with Tactical Air Command. In addition, the lessons learned in

Korea, as reported by inspection teams and individual commanders,

~have been fully considered. Although certain improvements in

procedures, organization and equipment have been achieved, it is

quite apparent that optimum efficiency in the application of tactical

air power in support of the ground forces cannot be obtained under

presently agreed doctrine of cooperation as set forth in Field

Manual 31-35. Retention of centralized control of tactical air at the

highest levels, as manifested in the JOC itself, exemplifies the

problem which confronts us under a parallel command structure/which

precludes the desired objective of further simplifying the procedures

of the Air-Ground Operations System.

3. It has become quite apparent that correction of this

condition will require acceptance by the Air Force of decentralization

of the tactical control of the aircraft, and, in the final analysis,

'-- eeNl'ID!NllAL
decant.r9.llzation tJf ope.r--ati~nal ,J ontrol to ground cor:nnande:-:-s doi.,m to

include the corps level. Such decentralization woul:l be in accordance

with the basic principles set forth in letter from Chief, Army Field

Forces to the Chief of Staff, dated 13 September 1951, and further

supported by the recommendations contained in ~he Project VISTA Report.

This latter report indicates a requirement for the JOC to be operated

as a planning and allocating agency only and for the responsibilities

of detailed tactical control now exercised at the JOC to be delegated

to Air Force control units located at Army Corps levele

4. Since the time is not now appropriate to present the issue

of operational control to the Air Force, it is proposed that the Army

seek decentralization of tactical air within the limits of the prin­

ciples of co-equal command. Consequently, there is enclosed here­

with recommended procedures and organizations based upon current

doctrine to achieve this end. Briefly, these provide for adding a

Tactical Air Control Center type organization at each Corps and an

Air Operations Section within the obtained by processing requests

through divisions FSCC to the Corps FSCC (AOS), regimental commanders

monitor or are otherwise notified concurrently. Corps FSCC (AOS) in

turn would direct aircraft previously allocated to perform the mission.

5. The decentralization indicated above would provide the Corps

commander with the degree of flexibility necessary to direct combat

air power where it is most needed at any given time. Under the present

doctrine, close support missions are processed and assigned by time

consuming methods through the JOC. The hour-to-hour combat situation

within the front line battalions thus becomes a principal concern of

personnel at the Army-TAF level. Under the proposed procedure the

detailed operations of close support and close interdiction missions

now performed at the JOC would -be accomplished at corps level.

Representatives of the Tactical Air Force commander would perform

eeur1 BENTIAI: u A Sif ifll
joint action in the air operations section established in the Corps

FSCC. In addition, the provision for a TACC t ype organi zation at each

corps allows for the tactical dispersion of vital Air Force control

installations and insures continuity of air power in the event that

the JOC installations are brought under concentrated air or atomic

attacks. The JOC at Field Army-TAF level would retain over-all

control of aircraft for air superiority, deep interdiction, and air

defense. Additionally, it would be responsible for allocation of

aircraft to the TACC type organization at each corps to meet the

Field Army's planned requirements. Such a system would fully maintain

the present flexibility of air power under current doctrine and give to

the ground forces the close support when it is needed and where it is

needed in the most expeditious manner.

6. It is recommended that this plan be forwarded to the Joint

Tactical Air Support Board as a basis of study in the development and

establishment of a joint doctrine designed to decentralize the

operational control functions of the Joint Operations Center at Field

Army-Tactical Air Force level.

s/ .John R. Hodge
1 Incl Lieutenant General, USA
Plan for Decentralization Chief, Army Field Forces
of Tactical Air w/1 Incl




The general mission of tactical air power assigned to the

support role in a battle area is to furnish combat and logistical air

support to the ground forces to include:

a. Gain and maintain air superiority.

b. Air lift and resupply of airborne operations.

c. Aerial photography and tactical reconnaissance.

d. Close combat air support.

e. Interdiction of enemy land power and communications.

Doctrine enunciated herein applies to close combat air support and



a. Effective combat air support is provided ·by an organ­

ization which permits the immediate application of air effort on a

selected portion of the battle area. This organization includes a

JOC-TACC at the army-air force level and similar, but less complex

organizations at each corps, amplified by tactical air direction


b. The JOC provides a facility for the field army and

tactical air force commanders in which coordination necessary for the

integration of air and ground campaings is accomplished. At this

facility, requests from subordinate army units are translated into

army requirements for air support. The JOC acts as an allocating

and reallocating agency, ·plans and programs reconnaissance and deep

interdiction operations, and provides a medium for the exchange of

information between the services. The associated TACC provides

aircraft control and warning service including conduct of air

defense operations and general direction of the tactical air

operations system.

Incl l 1


c. At each army corps, an organization similar to the JOC­

TACC is provided for mission control of close support and close

interdiction aircraft allocated to that corps. This organization

duplicates the JOC on a reduced basis by the provision of an air

operations section (AOS) within the Corps FSCC. This section,

composed of Army and Air Force personnel, coordinates with the FDC

in the planning of tactical air operations in support of the corps.

As at the Army level, there is an associated TACC. In addition to

providing mission control of allocated aircraft, this FSCC-TACC type

organization has th2 capability of taking over all tactical air

control in the event that the JOC-TACC at the army-air force level

is destroyed or damaged.

d. Vectoring of aircraft over a designated area and all

weather control may be further d,3central i_zed by o.ssigning this mi.ssion

to a tacti•~al air di I'(;G tLon cent,s r (TADC), type unit located within

the corps zone. Strike control is ultimately exercised by a tactical

air cont~ol party (TACP) with the front line battalion.

e. Planning, coordinating, and requesting air support by

divisions of the corps is accomplished within the division fire suppo".'t

coordination center (FSCC). This FSCC will be organized in accordance

with D•apRrtmen t of the A:cmy Training Circular No o 23, dated 3 August


f. Infantry regiments, armored combat commands, and infantry

an'.i armored ·o at ta lions shJuld have a staff officer with the primary

duty of S--3 Air for planning an'.i requesting air support.


a. Joint planning is conducted at all levels of command

iown to the battalion with its forward air controll,3 r (FAC), the

Air Force officer in chargs of l:,ha TACP. However, maximum effective­

ness is obtained by integrating close air support with ground

-68Nlll 9ENTIAL ·

operati:ms a t that command level which is capabl 3 of p:l'.'odu ::!Lng the

best continuing results fro m the svai l abl e ai r and ground for ces.

This command level bas been determin ed to be th e army corps. For

this reason, Air Force personnel in the AO S of t he Corps FSC C are

provided in suff ici ent strength to perform the ne ce sssry detailed


b. Joint planning at the corps in~lud,::;s current and long

range planning, and ::;valuation anj consolid,s tion of reques t s re ceived

from su"Jordinate units into a combined corps air plan. It also

includes planning for the detailed employment of aircraft allocated

to the corps; reserving to the cmnrnander the prerogative of s hifting

air power at his disposal to meet a changing si tuati,J n.

c. At the JGC, the corps air plans are translated into

army req11irements. B8.sed on these requirements, air fo r ce req'1ire ­

ments, and the effort devoted to the joint interdiction program;

tactical air power is allocated to the cor ps upon an aircraft unit

or sortie basis.


a. Requests for close tactical air supp0rt may origi~ate at

any army level of command and down to the battalion. Procedu~es will

be established which •,1il l permit ths unhampered flow of requests for

immediate offensive air support from the infantry/ armored battalion,

directly t •'.) the division fire support coordination center, thsnce

the corps FSCC. Intermedi::J.t e commanders monitor or are otherwise

notified concurrently. Within the scope of the policies and oper­

ational priorities established by the corps commander, the air and

ground personnel in the corps FSCC:

(1) Receive, eval.1ate and take action upon immediate

requ ests, using aircraft which have been allocated to the corps.

(2) Receive, evaluate, and consolidate requests for


pre-planned missions into an over-all corps air plan for the su~seque~t

day -Jr d :1ys.

(3) Through the Associated TASC type organization, alert

aircraft at ths airfield, or airborne on other corps missions, issue

instructions for air missions, and exercise mission control.

(4) Advise subordinate units of action taken on their

requests and results of close support missions as reported oy t~e

executing unit.

(5) Request additional aircraft through the JOC if

sorties previously allocated are insufficient to meet requirements.

(6) Keep the corps commander continually advised of the

status of air units allocated to the corps.

(7) Conduet contiD'.i al air-ground planning and supervision

of corps air-grow1d operations.

b. Operati::ms of the JOC at army-air force level will


(1) Allocation and reallocation of aircraft units or

sorties to the army corps b.ased on operational requirements.

(2) Allocati;n of air units to the joint interdiction


(3) Planning for Army and Air Force reconnaissance


(4) Advise the corps of action taken, i.e., aircraft

allocated, in implementation of the corps air plan.

(5) Maintai~ centralized control of all aircraft for

emergency air defense operations.

( 6) Establishing a priority for the various corps FSCC­

TACC type organizations iniicating which will assume over-all air

direction and control in the event of emergency.






INCL 1-1 to TAB D to ANNEX A

SOURCE: Unified Action Armed Forces (IB~AA3') JCS, Wash 25, D.C. Nov 59

The Joint Chiefs of Staff

Washington 25, D.C.
November 1959



204-08. Air Force Responsibilities in Connection with Close

Combat Air Support of Ground .Forces.

With respect to close comM:t air s- J.pport o.f ground. for::::es, the

Air Force has the specifid resportsibility for:

a. Providing Air Force f°orces for close combat air support

of ground forces.

b. Conducting individuA.l 9.nd unit trabing of Air· Force~

forces for close combat air support of ground forces.

c. Dave loping, in coordination with the other services , 1

doctrines and procedures for close combat air S1J.pport of ground r"'orc·es,

excep~ as p:i:--ovided for in parag.r-aphs 20306, 20308, and 2 rn n.


d. D•aveloping equipment, tactics, and techniques employad

by Air Force forces in close combat air sup·p ort of gromld forces.

e. DasignA.ting an appropriate command or agency resp')nsi'Jle

to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, for the following, in connec ~

tion with joint tactical air support operations: ·

(1) Davelopment of doctrines and procedures employed

,., by Air Force forces.

(2) Evaluation of tactics and techniques, and making

appropriate recommendations thereon.

(3) Evaluation of the adequacy of equipment and making

appropriate recommendations thereon.

(4) Evaluation of the adequacy of joint training and

making appropriate recommendations thereon.

( 5) Review of publications covering the conduc~t of

joint training and making app!'Op!'iate recommendations thereon.

In d.eveloping doctrines and procedures in. accord9.n~e with the

foregoing, the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force sbnll follow the

procedures set forth in paragraph 10110.

f. Participating ·...ri th the other Services in J:iint training

and exercises as mutually agreed by the Services concerned. 20409.

Miscell9.neous Responsibilities of the Air Force.

The Air Force is also responsible for participating with

the Army, the Navy ::J.nd the .'.v1arine Corps in the development of doc­

trines, procedures, tactics, techniques, training, publications an d.

,squipment for sueh joint operatbns as are the responsibility of one

of those Services.

30276. Primary Missbn of Close Support.

Wnen, either by direction of higher authority or by agcee­

ment between the commanders concerned, a force is assigned the

primary mission of close support of a designated force, the commander

of the supported force will exercise general direction of the

supporting effort within the limits permitted by accepted tactical

practices of the Service of the supporting force. Such direction

includes desi~1ation of targets or objectives, timing, duration of

the supporting action, and other instrueti::ms necessary for coordin­

ation and for efficiency.

30277. Relationship of Mutually Supporting Forces.

When a commander decides that two forces can effectively

render mutual support to each other without placing eithsr under

the command or operational control of the other, he may direct the

command.ers concerned to support each other. The forces involved in

mutual support are organizationally independent- and their efforts are

coordinated under a common superior through jo.int planning, close

contact, and mutual agreement between the ~ommand3rs concerned. Any

disagreement between the commanders which they cannot recondle is

referred to their common superior for decision.

30278. Responsibilities of Commanders of Supported and Supporting


A directive for one force to support another does not effect

a transfer of command or of operational control with respect to the

forces concerned, but does automatically require that:

a. The commander of the supported force indicate in

detail to the supporting commander the support missions he wishes to

have fulfilled and provide such information as is necessary for com­

plete coordination of the supp~rting action with the action of his

own force.

b. The commander of the supporting force ascertain the

requirements of the supported force and take such action to fulfill

them as is within his capabilities, consistent with the priorities

and requirements of other assi~1ed tasks.

c. Both commanders plan their operations in closest

coordination to take maximum advantage of their respective capa­

bilities and contemplated actions.


Briefing of President's Scientific Advisory Committe e

(PSAC) on Army's Requirements for Close Air Sunoort

Final Draft - 21 Nov 1962
Lt Colonel Millhouse X741 64


My PurPose toda y is to provide you with an information bri ef­

in g on the Army requirements .for tactical air support to inclurle

close air supnort anrl interrliction but not reconnaissance.

The Department of the Army developed the present close air sup­

Port and interdiction requirements in May 1961 in response to a let­

t er f r om the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force to the Chief o.f Staff,

U.S. Army, in which the Air Force proposed a Plan to retain eleven

to fifteen tactical fighter squadrons in the active inventory .

General White, the then Air Force Chief of Staff encumbent, also

staterl that the Air Force woulri equip these squadrons with any

"off-the-shelf" aircraft selected by the Army. Accordingly, both

qualitative anrl quantitative requirements for close suPport and

qualitative requirements only, for interdiction were examined anrl

uprlaterl anrl Project "Cross Feerl." for the selection of an interim

close support aircraft was establisherl.

Close Support Qualitative Requirements


The Army has a requirement for continuous anrl. responsive close

air suPPOrt o.f ground forces engagerl. in combat. The Army feels that

aircraft to perform this function must have the capability of iden­

tifying anrl attackin!?' targets of a fixed or fleeting nature in very

close Proximity to friendly grounrl troops.

Close Air Support ConcePt.

The Army visualizes that close fire support is composerl of

compatible air anrl groun~ weapons systems. We .feel that close sup­

Port systems should ·p ossess these characteristics:

lst. Sunporting systems must be capable of being nrenlannen

as well as on-call for use against targets of opportunity.

2nn. System allocaterl to the Army must be immeniately respn­

sive to the Army's requirements at all times.

3rrl. Systems should have a high survivability on the morlern



In a nuclear environment, we feel that our organic Army fire

sunport systems generally have the capability of successfully engaging

close suooort targets.

►· In a non-nuclear environment, we feel that most close sunport

targets forwarn of the area of contact can be engagen with organic

canabilities. However, we visualize hard point and moving targets

within this area which will require attack by aircraft utilizing their

unique characteristics. The area beyond the range of tube ann

missile artillery will constitute the primary close supnort require­

ment using manned aircraft.

Concerning manned aircraft, we feel that against a sophisticated

enemy, the air defense environment will limit their effectiveness.

Conversely, in those situations in which the enemy has only rurli­

mentary air rlefense, aircraft will have a high degree of effectiveness.

The key to the Army's close sunport requirements is responsive­

ness. To insure that close air suonort is available, when anrl where

it is neenen, a simnle, flexible system, is requirer]. Control by

the grounn tactical commanner is essential for both troop safety

and effective utilization of available fires. Accordingly, the Army's

first priority requirement is the development of this air-ground team

and operational procedures to assure responsive, effective close air


Technical Criteria for Aircraft Furnishing Close Air Support.

The detailed technical criteria for aircraft furnishing close

air support for ground troops is a matter of decision for the know­

ledgeable experts - the aviator, the designer and the manufacturer.

This position was established as a result of Pro ,-i ect "Cross

Feed." The purpose of this project was to select an interim close

support aircraft. The Army was represented by a group of high­

ranking officers in key positions. The Air Force was similarly

represented. Visits were made to Air Force and Naval Bases and air­

craft such as the Air Force F-104 and F-105, the so-called NATO

fighters N-156 and G-91, and the Navy F4H and A4D were checked out.

At the conclusion of this project General Decker, our former Chief of

Staff, summed up the Army position in a letter to General White on

May 13, 1961 as follows:

"Regarding selection of a specific close support aircraft, the

Army requirements were compared with the observed aircraft perform­

ances and the available technical data on each aircraft. Therefore,

tne Army concluded that selection of the specific aircraft was not

the major problem from our point of view. The Army's requirement is

to have close air support where we need it, when we need it, and under

a system of operational control which makes it responsive to these

Army needs. This means that such close support must be a primary and

not a secondary mission of squadrons designated for the close support


Although we declined the invitation to select the aircraft to

perform the close support role it was necessary to have a mutual

understanding with the Air Force based upon our qualitative require­

ments. Therefore, Army requirements, stated in terms of support

desired, were developed.

Performance Required.
The Army de.sires these characteristics of aircraft used in the

close air support role:

1. It is desirable that close support aircraft possess STOL

capabilities and require minimum preparation of landing facilities.

These characteristics will enhance the flexibility of response for

employment and r educe the vulnerability to enemy attack.

2. Close support aircraft must possess adequate range, speed

and maneuverability to remain airborne in the vicinity of the area

of contact long enough to establish contact with the supported ground

commander and to deliver a full ordnance load.

3. Close support aircraft must optimize the capability of

delivering non-nuclear weapons with high explosive, chemical and

biological warheads. Delivery of munitions by air-to-surface missile;

rocket, gun or bomb is acceptable, provided accuracy is assured.

4. Close support aircraft should possess an all-weather

navigation capability and simple target acquisition equipment. A

reliable and simple fire control system suitable for visual target

engagement is required.

5. Adequate communication equipment to establish and maintain

contact with supported elements is essential.

6. Besides delivery of ordnance, support aircraft should be

capable of performing visual observation, fire adjustment, armed

reconnaissance, photographic reconnaissance and surveillance, pro­

vided essential close support features are not compromised.


Organization Concepts.

The final step in tying together our qualitative requirements

for close air support and characteristics of aircraft performing .

the close support role is the organizational and operational con cepts

for employment.

We believe that in a future war, air and ground units will be

organized into joint or combined commands and that close supoort

aircraft will be organic to the air element of these commands.

Based upon air-ground doctrine, and procedures and policies of the

commanders of the joint or combined commands, close air support will

be allocated to ground units to supplement the fires of organic

weapons and to extend fire support beyond the range of these weapons.

The close air support units will be adequately manned and

equipped to effect and maintain liaison with the supported ground

force. Communications must be organic ;,o the air units to ensure

continuous contact between the supported and supporting elements.

, Operational Concepts.

As mentioned before air support is integrated into the ground

forc e 's operational plans allocated by the joint or combined command's

on a continuous basis or on a pre-planned or on-call basis. These

air-ground elements will function as a team to accentuate the

complementary capabilities of each force, to gain control of the

battlefield and to destroy the hostile force. The full potential of

i he maneuver, firepower and shock action of the ground-air team

can only be attained through adequate liaison, communications and

simple execution techniques.

The ground commander, in close contact with hostile forces, must

provide adequate direction to the close support system to ensure

the safety of his command and the neutralization of targets. The

close air support system must respond to this direction.

Quantitative Requirements.

This, then, brings us to the Army's quantitative requirements

for close air support.

In order to develop close support requirements many areas were

analy zed to include experience factors gained in World War II and

Korea, the effect of dispersion in width and depth on the atomic

battlefield, the relationship of Army surface-to-surface missiles

and close air support, the use of close air support to assist re­

serves, when committed, engagement of fleeting targets, the effect

of enemy destruction on missiles and aircraft, the effect of new

conventional weapons, the probability of nuclear and non-nuclear

warfare and the responsiveness of close air support.


In developing the analysis we first examined the number of

sorties available per division in recent wars. Examples are shown

on this chart. It should be recognized that the amount of close

air support provided was affected in very large measure by the

availability of aircraft. Our commanders in past wars have stated

over and over again that there were never enough aircraft available

for close air support. Note that the Marines had available up to 37

sorties per day while the average Army division received only 13. In

Korea, during the Pusan perimeter activity, each Army Division

received 47 ~orties per day requiring approximately 60 aircraft while

~uring the Chinese intervention the average was 25 sorties per day

or a total of 35 aircraft.


Through analysis such as these it was determined statistically

that an average of 40 targets per day per front line division is a

reasonable number that may require destruction or neutralization by

close air support means.

It is estimated that a breakout of these 40 targets per

division per day would be as shown on this chart:

(CHART 4 ON) (Pause to enable audience

to read)


Based on the capabilities of past and present aircraft it has

been determined that · 64 aircraft are required to handle· 40 targets.

Therefore in terms of past experience we can determine a quantitative

requirement for three squadrons per division as shown on this next

chart. Before showing you the chart, however, let me add that any

advances in aircraft capabilities in terms of increased endurance and

ordnance capacity will be to the Army's advantage and can be put to

use. This added capability will help soften th e enemy for our attack

and help save the lives of our ground soldiers. I reiterate that

our past commanders have repeatedly stated that adequate close air

support has never been available.


It is considered that each tactical fighter squadrons contains

25 aircraft and that a 75% availability will exist, or 19 aircraft, on

the average, will be available. Since the Army requirement is for

64 aircraft, 64 divided by 19 equals three plus squadrons which we

round off to a total of three squadrons required for each front line

division to provide close air support.



Turning now to interdiction, the over-all interdiction program

in a theater of operations is the responsibility of the theater (or

unified) commander. Since requirements planning for this function

is performed in its broad aspects by Army force commanders at Army

group level and above, commanders at lower echelons are concerned

only with intergration of the interdiction operations into their

over-all .tactical plan. Because of this, quantitative interdiction

requirements have never been developed by the Department of the Army.

However, since interdiction objectives have a direct bearing on the

ground battle, qualitative requirements for interdiction have been

d~veloped by the Army and provided to the Air Force.

Interdiction Objectives

The objectives of interdiction i n an area of operations are:


1. To destroy or neutralize the enemy military forces and

military potential before they can be brought to bear effectively

against friendly forces.

2. To restrict the mobility of hostile forces by disrupting

lines of communication; and,

3. To prevent or hinder, by any means, enemy use of an area or


~- Successful accomplishment of these objectives require the full use

of all weapons and weapon systems assigned to land, sea and air

forces operating in a theater of operations.


Interdiction Concept

As mentioned previously, the over-all interdiction program in

a theater of operations is the responsibility of the theater (uni­

f ied) commander. After consideration of his over-all objectives.­

availability of forces and recommendations of Service Component

Commanders, the unified commander issues to the Service Component

Commanders, broad interpretive plans. The over-all area interdiction

program is then accomplished by using the full capabilities of the

weapons systems assigned to each Service Component with necessary co­

ordination effected to prevent duplication of effort.

Army force commanders at Army group level and above, are

concerned with the broad aspects of the over~all interdiction plan

as it affects the plans and operations of their subordinate uni ts·.

At lower echelons, commanders are ~oncerned with the detailed in­

tegration operations into their over-all tactical plan.

Technical Criteria

As with close support, the Army, using th e qualitative re­

quir ements which I have just discussed, developed r equirements for

aircraft performing the interdiction role in terms of support re­

quired. The detailed t e chnical criteria for aircraft accomplishing

the interdiction mission requirements of the Army Commander must be

determined by the Air Force.

Statement of Requirement

The Army feels that air craft employed to accomplish interdiction

requirements must have the following characteristics:


1. Short take-off and landing characteristics to permit combat

operations from rudimentary prepared surfaces.

2. Be capable of quick deployment to all possible areas of

general or limited conflict.

3. Be capable of all-weather operations and of operating in

non-prepositioned areas which do not have operational and support

facilities in being.

4. Be capable of delivering with a high degree of accuracy,

air-to-surface missiles with both nuclear and non-nuclear warheads.

It must also be capable of delivering all non-nuclear stores, including

chemica l and bi ologi cal, that can be mad e availabl e f or t ac ti cal

aircraft. In connection with this requirement, a reliable and

relatively simple fire control system is a must.

5. Interdiction aircraft shoul~ be capable of being adapted

for the secondary mission of reconnaissance provided essential

features are not compromised.


Organizational Concept

As with air support aircraft, the Army feels that in a future

war, air and ground units will be integrated into joint or combined

commands and that aircraft with interdiction capabilities will be

organic to the air element of the joint or combined commands.

Based upon policies and broad allocations of the joint or combined

commanders, the supporting air commander will provide interdiction

support as required and requested by the supported Army commander.

The Army Commander must indicate in detail to the tactical air

commander the interdiction missions he wishes to have fulfilled and

provide such information as necessary for complete coordination of

the interdiction mission with the action of his own force. The

tactical air commander also has a responsibility to ascertain the

interdiction requirements of the Army Commander and to take such

action to fulfill them as is within his capabilities within the

priorities and requirements of other tasks assigned by the joint or

combined commander.

Operational Concept

As to the operational concept, the field Army Commander has

primary responsibility for interdiction in the field Army combat

zone. The interdiction requirements of Army Commanders are to

destroy or neutralize enemy targets whose continued existence may

reasonably be expected to have a direct and significant effect on

the accomplishment of his mission. It is expected that aircraft

will attack targets which are beyond the range of the Army Commander's

organic, attached and supporting weapons or which are more suitable ~

for attack by manned aircraft. In order to coordinate the operational

requirements, air and ground elements will function as a team, based

upon mutually acceptable command and control procedures, to accentuate

the complementary capabilities of each force, to isolate and gain

control of the battlefield and to destroy or neutralize the hostile



In conclusion, I would like to summarize what I consider to

be the major points of this presentation.

As far as close air support is concerned:

The Army, for the forseeable future will continue to require

close air support from the Air Force to augment and supplement the

first of the organic weapons available to the ground commander. Such

support must be responsive to the requirements of the ground commander.

Based on experience and analysis, the Army requires an

average of three squadrons of tactical fighter aircraft per combat

division to provide close air support.

-- In General Decker's words, "the Army's requirement is to have

close air support where we need it, when we need it and under a

system of operational control which makes it responsive to these


-- The selection of an aircraft to perform close support is

properly a responsibility of the Air Force.

As far as interdiction is concerned:

The Anmy is not in a position to substantiate a specific

quantitative requirement.

Interdiction is important to the success of the ground battle,

thus we do have a qualitative requirement.

The selection of an aircraft to perform interdiction is

properly a responsibility of the Air Force.

As concerns the aircraft available for close air support:

The Army recognizes the importance of _the air battle in

winning aerial supremacy and isolating the battlefield. These are

priority requirements and of necessity result in a reduction of

available close air support. It is also recognized that high

performance aircraf~ can perform both missions if responsive to

the air-ground commander.

We feel that continued effort must be exerted by both the

Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force to train

personnel of both Services in the philosophy, operation and control

of all aspects of the tactical air support problem to insure under­

standing and a maximum of effectiveness. In our own area we are

attempting to imbue Army personnel at all levels with the need to be

thoroughly conversant with the support requirements for which the

Air Force has the primary responsibility; and with the procedures

through which this support can be received.








KOREA (ARMY) 13 16






12 30




TOTAL 40 100















• '








16 Feb 63



SUBJECT: Close Air Support

References: a) Memorandum for the Secretary of the Army, subject:

Requirements Study on Fire Support Systems, dated
12 J anuary 1963 .
b) Memorandum for the Secretary of the Air Force, sub­
ject: Enhanced Air Force Capabilities for Non­
Nuclear Conflict, dated 12 J anuary 1963.
c) Memorandum for the Secretary of the Air Force
Subject: A study of the multiple Mission Flexibility
of the F-4C and Alternative Aircraft, dated 7 January

By reference a), I requested the Army to study its requirements

for fire support systems and indicated that the Air Force should give

appropriate assistance. By reference b), I requested the Air Force

to make analyses of certain problem areas in tactical air capabilities

for sustain ed non-nuclear conflict. By reference c), I also requested

the Air Force to study our ability to perform the three tactical

f r ghter missions of air-to-air combat, interdiction and close support

during the time period in which the F-4C would be the dominant type

in air tactical fighter inventory. While these three studies are

concerned with subjects of primary interest to one or the other

Servic e , they ar e nevertheless related to each other and to the

question of close air support. This memorandum is addressed to the

latter subject.

As you know, on April 19th of last year, I asked the Army to

conduct a study· of Army mobility. This has resulted in the Howze

Board Report and subsequent recommendations on the part of the Army

to activate five air assault divisions and make oth~r changes to

improve Army mobility.

The execution of the recommendations of the Army would entail

new aircraft and associated expenses amounting to about $1,000 million



per year for five years . The need for providing greater mobility to

Army units is definite and urgent. The principal unknown at this time

is the ex tent to which capability of achieving significantly increased

mobility should resid e in the Army its elf and to what extent this

mobility can be provided by United State s Air Forc e aircraft. I

believe that th e Howz e Board recommendations should be field tested

on a large enough scale so that valid results for division si ze forc es

can be achi eved. Therefore, as you know, CINCSTRIKE in collaboration

with Army and Air Force is preparing a plan for joint testing and

evaluation and a schedule of operational exercises and tests. It is

clear that joint exe rcises and tests will be r equired to evaluate

equipment, organizations, doctrine and procedures.

Whil e on the one hand I am encouraging the Army to do its utmost

to achieve mobility, I do not intend that the large and well developed

Air Force po tential to provide close air support, reconnaissance and

airlift should be duplicated by the Army. Furthermore, air superiori~y

and interdiction capability provided by the Air Force will continue

to be capabilitie s without which the others will be difficult, if not

impossible, to carry out.

Recent budget actions will materially affect Air Force capability

to provide the needed services to Army units. By 1967, Air Force

reconnaissance squadrons will have been modernized and expand ed from

14 to 20, tactical fighter squadrons from 72 to 73, and troop carrier

squadrons from 21 to 24.

Much of the impetus for the Army desire to provide its own close

air support, reconnaissance and airlift stems from the low national

priority which these missions have enjoyed in recent years. It seems

appropriate that this situation will change.

The Air Force has been properly concentrating on the establishment

and maintenance of a secure nuclear deterrent force. This should con­

tinue. But changes in basic national security policy during the past

two years have highlighted the need to improve

capabilities. Superior close air support of ground operations is a

prerequisite to such improvement.

Some broadenlng of interest and capability in this function has

already been noted. For example, new methods and procedures to rr.ak e

close air support more responsive are being dev eloped and tested.

Recent competition at Nellis Air Force Base showed a realism in

dealing with the discovery and attack of ground targets heretofore

not demonstrated. Major problems remain, however, in such critical

areas as communications, target location and identification,

delivery accuracy, and responsiveness. Some examples of actions

which might quickly improve these areas are attached.

I believe that despite recent improvements much remains to be

done principally along the lines of a) setting forth clear, realistic

close air support requirements in qualitative and quantitative terms,

and b) redirecting and refocussing the attention and resources need ed

to meet thes e requirements. This will require a critical and

imaginative approach and may well involve important r ecommendations

for changes in organization, doctrine, equipment and priorities

in both the Army and the Air Force.

I, therefore, request that the Army and the Air Force jointly

examine the problem of improving close air support of ground operations

and, as a matter of priority, prepare proposals for maximizing its

effectiveness. I would like to review the results of this study not

later than 30 June 1963.


Secretary of Defense

(Examples of Proposed Actions)


_ ... _ ~- .....-~ .- ~~
Attachment to Memorandum for
'.'Ill!'. • ' Secretary of the Army and Secretary
of the Air Force, Office Secretary
of Defense, 16 Feb 63 , Subj ect:
"Close Air Support"


The following list of proposed actions are cited as examples of

the kind of things which should be considered in conducting the study.

The list is by no means complete, nor is it certain that any one of

the specific items listed can be successfully carried out. Rather,

the list is meant to serve as a guide, to stimulate further thought,

and to indicated that there are very specific actions which should be

examined and which could improve close air support, without the nec es-

sity for major increases in total material budgets.

1. The Army should re-examine its close air support needs from

the standpoint of:

(a) Maximizing the use of ground firepower.

(b) Defining quantitatively the numbers and kinds of targets

to be destroyed by close support aircraft.

2. The Army should identify the characteristics of targets

for close air support, estimate their vulnerability to various types

of munitions and delivery systems, and define the importance of re­

sponse time for various types of targets.

3. Emphasis in TAC should be reoriented from its present

concentration on nuclear capability so that a larger fraction of

training missions are directed towards conventional weapons delivery.

4. TAC should consider assigning certain wings to train with

Army division as required on extended basis.

5. There should be increased emphasis on cross training and

officer exchange between USAF and Army.

6. There are several items related to USAF tactical aircraft

which can make major improvements in close air For example:


of the force should be speciali zed aircraft

optimized for all-weather low altitude flying.

b. Tactical air units can achieve improved r esponsive -

ness by better means of communication links directly to Army units.

c. Army briefings of AF pilots, and AF debri ef ing at Army

command posts.

7. In the fi eld of weapons and weapons delivery, th e utility


of systems bas ed on air-delivered, ground-delivered weapons should

be re-examined. This could include missiles which home on beacons

emplaced by nearby ground units or missiles under dir ec t control of

ground units.

8. USAF should consider r emoval of all missions other than

those relating to aircraft from ASD.

9. USAF and Army should consider integrated operation of SAWC

Farmgate and Army Special Forces in Vi e tnam.

10. Army and USAF should consider further organizational

·changes, including those at Army Staff and Air Staff l evel, whi ch

would tend to improve close air support operations.






LIAISON ANC COORDINATION •- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - •





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41111 .....
















ARMY GROUP i---------------------

ARMY - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ----



1. DOD Memorandum Office of the Secretary of Defense, ( ).

A Revised Program for Land Based Tactical Air (U).

9 Oct 1961.

2. JCS Publication 2, (Unclassified). Unified Action Armed Forces

(UNAAF). Nov 1959.

J. DA Memorandum Office of the Secretary of the Army, ( ).

A Revised Program for Land Based Tactical Air (U).

4 Nov 1961.

4. DA Letter, Chief of Staff US Army to Chief of Staff US Air Force,

( ). 13 May 1961.

5. DA Address by General Douglas MacArthur to 1st Session 81st Con­

gress, (Unclassified). Military Situation in the Far East.

1951 . :,-..

6. DA Report, Air Effects Committee 112th Army Group, War Department

Records ~ranch, AGO Historical Records Section, Washington,

D.C., ( ). Effect of Air Power on Military

Operations (U). 11 Jul 1946.

7. DA Historical Branch, Programs Division PP&I, ( ). Histori­

cal Survey of Army Fire Support. 26 Mar 1963.

8. DA FM 1-5 War Department Field Manual, (Unclassified). Employment

of Aviation of the Army. 15 Apr 1940.

9. DA FM 31-35, (Unclassified). Air Ground Operations. Aug 1946.

10. DA FM 100-15, (Unclassified). Larger Units. 29 Jun 1942.

11. DA FM 100-20, (Unclassified). Command and Employment of Air Power.

21 Jul 1943.

12. DA DCSOPS Staff Study, ( ). The Army's Requirement for

Reconnaissance and Close Air Support, FY 59-60 (U). Jan 1959.

13. War Department Training Regulation 440-15, (Unclassified). Funda­

mental Principles for the Employment of the Air Service.

26 Jan 1926.

14. AF Memorandum Office of the Secretary of the Air Force , ( ).

A Revised Program for Land Based Tacti cal Air (U).

1 Nov 1961 .

15. AF Historical Division, (Unclassified). Close Air Support and

Commanders Quotes. Feb 1963.

16. AF Historical Division Liaison Office, (Unclassified). USAF Tac­

tical Operations World War II and Korea. Feb 1963.

17. AF Historical Study No. 72 by Robert F. Futrell, (Unknown).

1 Nov 1950-30 Jun 1952.

18. Army Air Forces Evaluation Board in the European Theater of

Operations, (Unclassified). The Effectiveness of Third Phase

Tactical Air Operations in the Europe·an Theater 5 May 1944 -

8 May 1945. Aug 1945.

19. USCONARC TT-110-100-1/TACM 55-3, (Unclassified). Joint Air-

Ground Operations. Sep 1957.

20. USCONARC Study, ( ). Tactical Air Support Qualitative

Requirements for the Field Army 1965 - 1970 (U). 29 May


21. TAC Presentation by Gen G. P. Disosway to American Ordnance

Association, (Unclassified). Tactical Air Power, Past,

Present and Future. 9 May 1963.

22. USACDC Study, ( ). Army Requirements for Fire Support (U).

22 Apr 1963.

23. OCAFF Letter, ( l). Tactical Air Support of Ground

Forces (U). 17 May 1952.

24. OCAFF/TAC, (Un'classified). Joint Training Directive for Air-

Ground Operations. Sep 1950.

25. Army Ground Forces Historical Study Nr. 35, (Unclassified). Army

Ground Forces and the Air-Ground Battle Team. 1948.

26. USACGSC Study, ( l). Close Air Support, Command

Relationships and Control System (U). 5 Jul 1961.

27. Air University Address given by Lt Gen Lawerence S. Kuter,

(Unclassified). American Air Doctrine. 9 Nov 1954.

28. War College Air University Thesis Nr. 1195, ( ). The

Tactical Air Controversy, Past, Present, and Future (U).

Apr 1956.

29. War College Air University Thesis Nr. 2146, (Unclassified).

Army-Air Force Relationships Relative to Tactical Air

Support. Apr 1962.

30. Air University Command and Staff College Special Study Nr. 102-59,

( ). Should the Army Have Its Own Close Air Air­

craft (U). 17 Apr 1959.

31. Arnold, General H. H. Global Mission, New York, Harpers

" & Brothers, 1949.

32. Burlingame, Roger. General Billy Mitchell. New York, McGraw­

Hill, 1952.

33. Emme, Eugene M. Some Fallacies Concerning Air Power. The Annals

of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,

May 1955.

34. Emme, Eugene M. The Impact of Air Power. D. Van Nostrand Co.,

Inc., Princeton, N.~., 1959.

35. Goldberg, A. History of the United States Air Force. D. Van

Nostrand Co., Inc., Princeton, N.J., 1957.

36. Huston, James A. Tactical Use of Air Power in World War II. The

Army Experience, Military Affairs Vol 14, 1950.

37. Krauskopf, Robert W. The Army and the Strategic Bomber. Military

Affairs Summary, 1958. /

, I

38. McMasters, Donald William. The Evaluation of Tactical Air Power

with Particular Emphasis Upon Its Application to the U.S.

Navy and Marine Corps in the Korean War. Jun 1950.

REG ,,-.().,1,... IE . · U~OLASSI FllEO ORDER
3 S·_: ~\t ;1/Y Y TAG PER

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111111111111 ~H~i~laim1[iU1111111111111111111
3 1695 00701 6645

,\ l 39. Ridgeway, General Matthew B. Soldier. New York, Harper

\ \ & Brothers, 1956.

40. Teachner, Colonel Charles G. Air War in Korea. Air University

Quarterly Review, Vol VII, 1954.

l 04 4

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