The program for the Army-Navy football game on November 29th, 1941 included a picture of the Battleship Arizona. “It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs” the caption said.
I just finished reading the book “The Battle of Midway” by Craig L. Symonds. I highly recommend the book and a further study in how even the smartest strategists can delude themselves.
For over a century the leadership of the U.S. Army and Navy were in agreement about how the United States coast would be managed: the Army would defend the beaches and out to the range of their coastal guns, and the Navy would protect anything beyond that range. The advent of the airplane challenged that arrangement. The new theory was that the U.S. Army Air Service’s airplanes could attack an enemy fleet far from the range of the coastal guns, the airmen wanted to take over that mission. The only problem they had was that up to that point no airplane had ever actually sunk a battleship.
In May 1921 men and aircraft from various units arrived at Langley Field, Va., to prepare for the Ostfriesland bombing trials. Designated the 1st Provisional Air Brigade, this unit was commanded by Brig. Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell during the bombing trials. At the…
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