Scratched: World War II Airborne Operations That Never Happened
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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In the first week of September, as the Allied drive across northern France and Belgium began to lose its momentum, General Dwight David Eisenhower directed the First Allied Airborne Army to develop plans for airborne operations that would ensure the Allies regained their momentum. As directed, airborne planners devised approximately eighteen different plans in forty days. Five plans reached the stage of detailed planning. Three progressed almost to the point of launching. None matured. The plans embraced a variety of objectives the city of Tournai, to block Germans retreating from the Channel coast the vicinity of Liege, to get the First Army across the Meuse River the Aachen-Maastricht gap, to get Allied troops through the West Wall. For numerous reasons, the overall Allied airborne effort of World War II provided mixed results. Therefore, the Allies did not execute all of their planning efforts. Why did the Allies not use their airborne forces effectively during World War II To answer that question, this monograph uses primary sources from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas, as well as the Royal Netherlands Institute for Military History. Furthermore, this monograph uses numerous secondary sources from the Center of Military History. This monograph uses these primary, secondary, and additional sources to examine the early history, doctrine, planning, and ideology of World War II airborne operations. This monograph reveals that the Allies had little foundation in airborne operations, and therefore used deficient doctrine as well as inefficient planning to conduct their initial operations. Additionally, an ideological competition over the use of airborne resources hampered operational planning. Without a doubt, any future coalition will face many of the same obstacles that the Allies of World War II faced. In todays environment, the United States military can ill-afford to suffer the growing pains of World War IIs Allies.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics