Blinded by Doctrine: Lessons Learned from the Luftwaffe
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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This paper will conduct an analysis of the failure of the Luftwaffe during World War II 1939-1945 and identify lessons learned for the United States Air Force. The analysis will address lack of vision and institutional inflexibility in crafting air power doctrine, as well as explore the ensuing systemic mismatch of doctrine and strategy that characterized the performance of the Luftwaffe in World War II. The primary factor in the Luftwaffes failure was Germanys decision to develop a tactical air force lacking strategic effect. This choice would yield dire consequences once Luftwaffe leaders found themselves in a prolonged war of attrition, even while they remained persistently committed to an air power doctrine designed for rapid, decisive combat operations pursuing annihilation. The study of this failure may identify areas that the U.S. Air Force should avoid in its formulation of doctrine to meet projected air power challenges in the 21st century. Simply, in the current volatile strategic environment, the U.S. Air Force must adapt relevant doctrine and pursue flexible transformation to meet the unconventional threat at hand while maintaining Americas dominance against traditional challenges.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics