|branchUnited States Army
|size 2.4 million members (March 1944)
79,908 aircraft (July 1944)
|command_structureUnited States Department of War
|garrisonMain Navy and Munitions Buildings
|notable_commandersHenry H. Arnold
1941–1946Carl Andrew Spaatz
|disbanded18 September 1947
The United States Army Air Forces
was the military aviation
service of the United States of America
during and immediately after World War II
and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force
The AAF was a component of the United States Army
which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces
the Services of Supply
(which in 1943 became the Army Service Forces
, and the AAF. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The AAF administered all parts of military aviation formerly distributed among the United States Army Air Corps
General Headquarters Air Force, and ground forces corps area commanders, and thus became the first air organization of the U.S. Army to control its own installations and support personnel. In practice, the AAF was virtually autonomous inside the Army. The peak size of the AAF was over 2.4 million men and women in service and nearly 80,000 aircraft in 1944, and 783 domestic bases in December 1943.
[Nalty (1997), pp. 176 and 378. Also, see growth tables above.]
By Victory in Europe Day
it had 1.25 million men stationed overseas and operated from more than 1,600 airfields worldwide.
[AAF Statistical Digest, Table 215 Airfields in CONUS 1941–1945; Table 217 Airfields outside CONUS 1941–1945.]
The Air Corps became the Army Air Forces in June 1941 to provide the air arm a greater autonomy in which to expand more efficiently, and to provide a structure for the additional command echelons required by a vastly increased force. Although other nations already had separate air forces independent of the army or navy (such as the British Royal Air Force
and the German Luftwaffe
, the AAF remained a part of the United States Army until the independent United States Air Force came into being in September 1947.
However, in its expansion and conduct of the war, the AAF became more than just an arm of the greater organization. By the end of World War II the AAF had become virtually an independent service. By regulation and executive order, the AAF was a subordinate agency of the War Department tasked only with organizing, training, and equipping combat units, limited in responsibility to the continental United States, as were the Army Ground Forces and the Army Service Forces. In reality, Headquarters AAF controlled the conduct of all aspects of the air war in every part of the world, determining air policy and issuing orders without transmitting them through the Chief of Staff. This "contrast between theory and fact is...fundamental to an understanding of the AAF."
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 28-29]
Unity of command problems in the Air Corps
The roots of the AAF arose in the formulation of theories of strategic bombing
at the Air Corps Tactical School
that gave new impetus to arguments for an independent air force. Despite a perception of resistance and even obstruction by the United States Department of War General Staff
(WDGS), much of which was attributable to lack of funds, the United States Army Air Corps
made great strides in the 1930s, both organizationally and in doctrine. A strategy stressing precision bombing of industrial targets by heavily armed, long-range bombers emerged, formulated by the men who would become its leaders.
[Nalty (1997), p. 112-113.]
A major step toward a separate air force came in March 1935 when command of all combat air units within the Continental United States was centralized under a single organization called the General Headquarters Air Force
Since 1920, control of aviation units had resided with commanders of the corps area
(a peacetime ground forces administrative echelon), following the model established by General John Pershing
during World War I. In 1924 the General Staff planned for a wartime activation of an Army general headquarters (GHQ), similar to the American Expeditionary Forces
model of World War I, with a GHQ air force as a subordinate component. Both were created in 1933 when war with Cuba seemed possible following a coup, but were not activated.
Activation of GHQ Air Force represented a compromise between strategic airpower advocates and ground force commanders who demanded that the Air Corps mission remain tied to that of the land forces. Airpower advocates achieved a centralized control of air units under an air commander, while the WDGS divided authority within the air arm and assured a continuing policy of support of ground operations as its primary role.
[Nalty (1997), p.130.]
GHQ Air Force organized combat groups administratively into a strike force of three wings deployed to the Atlantic Ocean
Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico
GHQ Air Force was small in comparison to European air forces. Lines of authority were difficult, at best, since GHQ Air Force controlled only operations of its combat units while the Air Corps was still responsible for doctrine, acquisition of aircraft, and training. The corps area commanders continued to control all airfields and the support personnel manning them. Between March 1935 and September 1938, the commanders of GHQ Air Force and the Air Corps, Major Generals Frank Maxwell Andrews
and Oscar Westover
respectively, clashed philosophically over the direction in which the air arm was moving, exacerbating the difficulties.
[Nalty (1997), p. 131-133.]
A division of the air defense of the United States into four geographical districts followed in 1940 that laid the foundation for the subsequent numbered air forces. In July, the War Department ordered that the Army General Headquarters (GHQ) be activated by November 1940 to plan and execute expanded training of ground forces. Chief of Staff of the United States Army George C. Marshall
requested a reorganization study from the Air Corps, and on 5 October 1940, Chief of the Air Corps Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold
submitted a proposal for creating an air staff, unifying the air arm under one commander, and giving it equality with the ground and supply forces. Arnolds proposal was immediately opposed by the General Staff in all respects, rehashing its traditional doctrinal argument that, in the event of war, the Air Corps would have no mission independent of support of the ground forces. Marshall implemented a compromise that the Air Corps found entirely inadequate, naming Arnold as acting "Deputy Chief of Staff for Air" but rejecting all organizational points of his proposal. GHQ Air Force instead was assigned to the control of GHQ, although the latter was a training and not an operational component.
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 17–18.]
Army Air Forces created
The likelihood of U.S. participation in World War II prompted the most radical reorganization of the aviation branch in its history, developing a structure that both unified command of all air elements and gave it total autonomy and equality with the ground forces by March 1942.
In the spring of 1941, the success in Europe of air operations conducted under centralized control made clear that the splintering of authority in the American air forces, characterized as "Lernaean Hydra
headed" by one congressman,
[Rep. James G. Scrugham (D-Nev). (Craven and Cate Vol. 6, p. 24)]
had caused a disturbing lack of clear channels of command. Less than five months after the rejection of Arnolds reorganization proposal, a joint U.S.-British strategic planning agreement (U.S.–British Staff Conference (ABC–1)
refuted the General Staffs argument that the Air Corps had no wartime mission except to support ground forces.
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 20]
A struggle with the General Staff over control of air defense of the United States had been won by airmen and vested in four command units called "numbered air forces", but the bureaucratic conflict threatened to renew the dormant struggle for an independent United States Air Force. Marshall had come to the view that the air forces needed a "simpler system" and a unified command. Working with Arnold and Robert A. Lovett
recently appointed to the long-vacant position of Assistant Secretary of War for Air, he reached a consensus that quasi-autonomy for the air forces was preferable to immediate separation.
On 20 June 1941, to grant additional autonomy to the air forces and to avoid a legislative struggle in Congress, the United States Department of War
revised the army regulation governing the organization of Army aviation, AR 95-5.
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 293]
Arnold assumed the title of Chief of the Army Air Forces, creating an echelon of command over all military aviation components that ended the dual status of the Air Corps and GHQ Air Force, which was renamed Air Force Combat Command
The AAF gained the formal "Air Staff" long opposed by the General Staff, and a single air commander,
but still did not have equal status with the Army ground forces, and air units continued to report through two chains of command.
[Nalty (1997), p.181.]
Arnold and Marshall agreed that the AAF would enjoy autonomy within the War Department until the end of the war, while its commanders would cease lobbying for independence. Marshall, a strong proponent of airpower, left understood that the Air Force would likely achieve its independence after the war. Soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
on 7 December 1941, in recognition of importance of the role of the Army Air Forces, Arnold was given a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff
the planning staff that served as the focal point of American strategic planning during the war, in order that the United States would have an air representative in staff talks with their British counterparts on the Combined Chiefs of Staff
In effect the head of the AAF gained equality with Marshall. While this step was never officially recognized by the United States Navy
and was bitterly disputed behind the scenes at every opportunity, it nevertheless succeeded as a pragmatic foundation for the future separation of the Air Force.
[Nalty (1997), p. 179-181.]
The four geographical districts of the former GHQ Air Force were converted in January 1941 into numbered air forces, with a subordinate organization of 54 groups. Organizationally, the Army Air Forces was created as a higher command echelon encompassing both Air Force Combat Command and the Air Corps, thus bringing all of the air arm under the authority of one airman for the first time. Yet these reforms were only temporary, lasting just nine months. By November 1941, on the eve of U.S. entry into the war, the division of authority within the Army as a whole, caused by the activation of Army GHQ a year before, had led to a "battle of memos" between it and other agencies over administering the AAF, leading Marshall to state he had "the poorest command post in the Army." To streamline the AAF in preparation for war, with a goal of centralized planning and decentralized execution of operations, Arnold submitted to Marshall essentially the same reorganization plan rejected by the General Staff in October 1940.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid16227 Executive Order 9082] issued 28 February 42 changed Arnolds title to "Commanding General, Army Air Forces" effective 9 March 1942, making him co-equal with the commanding generals of the new Army Ground Forces
and Services of Supply
the other two components of the Army of the United States
The War Department issued Circular No. 59 on 2 March that carried out the executive order,
[McClendon (1996), pp. 132-141. The three documents referenced, AR 95-5, EO 9082, and WD Circular 59, are reproduced in their entirety.]
intended as a wartime expedient to expire six months after the end of the war.
[Correll, "GHQ Air Force", p.68.]
The three components replaced a multiplicity of branches and organizations, saw the General Staff greatly reduced in size, and proportionally increased the representation of the air forces members on it.
In addition to dissolving both Army General Headquarters and the chiefs of the combat arms
and assigning their training functions to the Army Ground Forces, War Department Circular 59 reorganized the Army Air Forces, disbanding both Air Force Combat Command and the Office of Chief of the Air Corps (as with Infantry, eliminating all its training and organizational functions), which eliminated an entire layer of authority.
[Cline (1990), p. 92.] [The Air Corps was a statutory organization and could not be legally discontinued except by act of Congress.]
Taking their former functions were eleven numbered air forces (later raised to sixteen) and six major commands (which became eight in January 1943: Flying Training, Technical Training, Troop Carrier, Air Transport, Materiel, Air Service, Proving Ground, and Anti-Submarine Commands). In July 1943, Flying Training and Technical Training Commands merged into a single AAF Training Command, and a year later Air Service Command and Materiel Command were reorganized as the AAF Technical Service Command.
Between March 1942 and March 1943 the AAF operated under a complex division of administrative control performed by a policy staff, an operating staff, and the support commands. Field activities of many support commands operated under a "bureau" structure, with no separation of policy and operating functions. Staff officers often exercised command and policy authority without responsibility for results, a system remaining from the Air Corps years. The concept of an "operating staff," or directorates, resulted from a desire to place experts in various aspects of military aviation into key positions of implementation. However functions often overlapped, communication and coordination between the divisions failed or was ignored, policy prerogatives were usurped by the directorates, and they became overburdened with detail. Eventually more than thirty offices were authorized to issue orders in the name of the commanding general.
File USAAF Reorganization Chart, 29March1943.pdf
File Winning Your Wings.ogv
(1942) helped enlist 100,000 pilots]] The hierarchical "command" principle, in which a single commander has direct final accountability but delegates authority to staff, was adopted AAF-wide in a major reorganization and consolidation on 29 March 1943. The four main directorates and nineteen subordinate directorates (the "operating staff") were abolished as an unnecessary level of authority, and execution of policies was removed from the staffs to be assigned solely to field organizations along functional lines.
[Mooney (1956), pp. 29, 33, 40, 41, 43, and 68.]
The policy functions of the directorates were reorganized and consolidated into offices regrouped under six assistant chiefs of air staff.
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 43-44.] [The six assistant chiefs of air staff were: Personnel; Intelligence; Operations, Commitments, and Requirements (OC&R); Materiel, Maintenance, and Distribution (MM&D); Plans; and Training.]
Most personnel of the Army Air Forces remained members of the Air Corps. In May 1945, 88 per cent of officers serving in the Army Air Forces were commissioned in the Air Corps, while 82 per cent of enlisted members assigned to AAF units and bases had the Air Corps as their combat arm branch.
[Correll, "But What About the Air Corps?", pp. 64-65.]
While officially the air arm was the Army Air Forces
the term Air Corps
persisted colloquially among the public as well as veteran airmen; in addition, the singular Air Force
often crept into popular and even official use, reflected by the designation Air Force Combat Command
[The term "air force" had appeared officially as early as 1923, when Training Regulation TR 440-15 and Army Regulation 95-10 used "air force aviation" to denote combat air units in contrast to "air service aviation" (auxiliary units to support ground forces). (Futrell, Historical Study 139, p. 40) In a letter of farewell to all members of the Air Corps on 27 February 1933, outgoing Assistant Secretary of War (Air) F. Trubee Davison wrote: "Ours may not be the biggest air force in the world, but, my gracious, it is one of the best!" (Air Corps News Letter24 February 1933, Vol. XVII No. 2)]
This misnomer was also used on official recruiting posters (see image, above right) and was important in promoting the idea of an "Air Force" as an independent service. Jimmy Stewart
an Air Corps officer and pilot, used the term interchangeably in his narration of the 1942 recruiting short [[Winning Your Wings]]
The term also appeared prominently in Frank Capra
s 1945 War Department indoctrination film [[War Comes to America]]
of the [[Why We Fight]]
series, as an animated map graphic of equal prominence to that of the Army and Navy.
The Air Corps began a rapid expansion in the spring of 1939 at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
to provide an adequate air force for defense of the Western Hemisphere. An initial "25-group program", developed in April 1939, called for 50,000 men. When war broke out in September 1939 the Air Corps still had only 800 first-line combat aircraft and 76 bases, including 21 major installations and depots.
[Futrell, Historical Study 69, pp. 2–7.]
American fighters were inferior to the British Supermarine Spitfire
and Hawker Hurricane
and German Messerschmitt Bf 110
and Messerschmitt Bf 109
An American observer wrote in late 1940 after visiting Britain that the "best American fighter planes already delivered to the British are used by them either as advanced trainers --or for fighting equally obsolete Italian planes in the Middle East. That is all they are good for". He reported that—according to RAF crews he interviewed—by spring 1941 a fighter engaging Germans would need to reach 400 mph in speed, fight at 30,000-35,000 feet, be simple to take off, provide armor for the pilot, and carry 12 machine guns or six cannon, all attributes lacking in American aircraft.
Following the successful Battle of France in May 1940, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a supplemental appropriation of nearly a billion dollars, a production program of 50,000 aircraft a year, and a military air force of 50,000 aircraft (of which 36,500 would be Army).] [Tate (1998), p. 172.] [Roosevelts address to Congress took place on 16 May 1940. Less than two weeks later Congress passed a supplemental appropriation of more than a half billion dollars greater than requested. (Tate, p. 172)] Accelerated programs followed in the Air Corps that repeatedly revised expansion goals, resulting in plans for 84 combat groups, 7,799 combat aircraft, and the annual addition to the force of 30,000 new pilots and 100,000 technical personnel. [Craven and Cate, Vol. 1, pp. 105-106.] The accelerated expansion programs resulted in a force of 156 airfields and 152,125 personnel at the time of the creation of the Army Air Forces. [AAF Statistical Digest, Table 3: Strength of the AAF 1912–1945]
The Operation Barbarossa occurring only two days after the creation of the Army Air Forces, caused an immediate reassessment of U.S. defense strategy and policy. The need for an offensive strategy to defeat the Axis Powers required further enlargement and modernization of all the military services, including the new AAF. In addition, the invasion produced a new Lend lease partner in Russia, creating even greater demands on an already struggling American aircraft production. [Nalty (1997), p.173.]
An offensive strategy required several types of urgent and sustained effort. In addition to the development and manufacture of aircraft in massive numbers, the Army Air Forces had to establish a global logistics network to supply, maintain, and repair the huge force; recruit and train personnel; and sustain the health, welfare, and morale of its troops. The process was driven by the pace of aircraft production, not the training program, [Nalty (1997), p.231.] and was ably aided by the direction of Assistant War Department Secretary Robert A. Lovett for all practical purposes, "Secretary of the Air Corps". [Tate (1998), p. 189.] [The assistant secretary position had been vacant for eight years, since Roosevelts inauguration in March 1933. Lovett had been elevated Assistant Secretary for Air to resolve the unity of command organizational problems of the Air Corps and had fashioned the compromise that had resulted in creation of the AAF. (Tate, p. 179)]
A lawyer and a banker, Lovett had prior experience with the aviation industry that translated into realistic production goals and harmony in integrating the plans of the AAF with those of the Army as a whole. [Nalty (1997), p.235.] Lovett initially believed that President Roosevelts demand following the attack on Pearl Harbor for 60,000 airplanes in 1942 and 125,000 in 1943 was grossly ambitious. However, working closely with General Arnold and engaging the capacity of the Automotive industry in the United States brought about an effort that produced almost 100,000 aircraft in 1944. [Nalty (1997), pp.233–235.] [In all, the United States produced nearly 300,000 aircraft in the years 1941–1945 inclusive. (Nalty, p. 235)] The AAF reached its wartime inventory peak of nearly 80,000 aircraft in July 1944, 41% of them first line combat aircraft, before trimming back to 73,000 at the end of the year following a large reduction in the number of trainers needed. [First line combat aircraft in July 1944 totaled 492 very heavy bombers; 10,431 heavy bombers; 4,458 medium bombers; 1,733 light bombers; 14,828 fighters; and 1,192 reconnaissance aircraft. The most numerous individual types were the B-24 Liberator (5,906), P-47 Thunderbolt (5,483), B-17 Flying Fortress (4,525), and C-47 Skytrain (4,454).]
The logistical demands of this armada were met by the creation of the Air Service Command on 17 October 1941 to provide service units and maintain 250 depots in the United States; the elevation of the Materiel Division to full command status on 9 March 1942 to develop and procure aircraft, equipment, and parts; and the merger of these commands into the Air Technical Service Command on 31 August 1944. [Nalty (1997), pp.246–248.] In addition to carrying personnel and cargo, the Air Transport Command (United States Air Force) made deliveries of almost 270,000 aircraft worldwide while losing only 1,013 in the process. [AAF Statistical Digest, Table 206: AAF Ferrying Operations Jan 42 to Aug 45] The operation of the stateside depots was done largely by more than 300,000 civilian maintenance employees, many of them women, freeing a like number of Air Forces mechanics for overseas duty. [Nalty (1997), pp.248–249.]
USAAF aircraft types by year lt;ref name"aafsd84">AAF Statistical Digest, Table 84 - Airplanes on Hand in the AAF, by Type and Principal Model
| table aligncenter class"wikitable"
| Type of aircraft
|aligncenter|31 December 1941
||aligncenter|31 December 1942
||aligncenter|31 December 1943
||aligncenter|31 December 1944
||aligncenter|31 August 1945
|aligncenter|Date of maximum size
| Grand total
||aligncenter|12,297 || aligncenter|33,304||aligncenter|64,232||aligncenter|72,726||aligncenter|63,715||July 1944 (79,908)
| Combat aircraft
|aligncenter|4,477||aligncenter|11,607||aligncenter|27,448||aligncenter|41,961||aligncenter|41,163||May 1945 (43,248)
|Very heavy bombers||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|3||aligncenter|91||aligncenter|977||aligncenter|2,865||August 1945 (2,865)
|Heavy bombers||aligncenter|288||aligncenter|2,076||aligncenter|8,027||aligncenter|12,813||aligncenter|11,065||April 1945 (12,919)
|Medium bombers||aligncenter|745||aligncenter|2,556||aligncenter|4,370||aligncenter|6,189||aligncenter|5,384||October 1944 (6,262)
|Light bombers||aligncenter|799||aligncenter|1,201||aligncenter|2,371||aligncenter|2,980||aligncenter|3,079||September 1944 (3,338)
|Fighters||aligncenter|2,170||aligncenter|5,303||aligncenter|11,875||aligncenter|17,198||aligncenter|16,799||May 1945 (17,725)
|Reconnaissance||aligncenter|475||aligncenter|468||aligncenter|714||aligncenter|1,804||aligncenter|1,971||May 1945 (2,009)
|aligncenter|7,820||aligncenter|21,697||aligncenter|36,784||aligncenter|30,765||aligncenter|22,552||July 1944 (41,667)
|Transports||aligncenter|254||aligncenter|1,857||aligncenter|6,466||aligncenter|10,456||aligncenter|9,561||December 1944 (10,456)
|Trainers||aligncenter|7,340||aligncenter|17,044||aligncenter|26,051||aligncenter|17,060||aligncenter|9,558||May 1944 (27,923)
[Includes liaison and rotary wing aircraft]
||aligncenter|226||aligncenter|2,796||aligncenter|4,267||aligncenter|3,249||aligncenter|3,433||December 1943 (4,267)
Image tuskegee airman poster.jpg War bonds
The huge increases in aircraft inventory resulted in a similar increase in personnel, expanding sixteen-fold in less than three years following its formation, and changed the personnel policies under which the Air Service and Air Corps had operated since the National Defense Act of 1920. No longer could pilots represent 90% of commissioned officers. The need for large numbers of specialists in administration and technical services resulted in the establishment of an Officer Candidate School
in Miami Beach, Florida
and the direct commissioning of thousands of professionals.
[Nalty (1997), p.250.]
Even so, 193,000 new pilots entered the AAF during World War II, while 124,000 other candidates failed at some point during training or were killed in accidents.
[Nalty (1997), p.259.]
The requirements for new pilots resulted in a massive expansion of the Aviation Cadet program, which had so many volunteers that the AAF created a reserve pool that held qualified pilot candidates until they could be called to active duty, rather than losing them in the draft. By 1944, this pool became surplus, and 24,000 were sent to the Army Ground Forces
for retraining as infantry
and 6,000 to the Army Service Forces
[Nalty (1997), p.325.]
Pilot standards were changed to reduce the minimum age from 20 to 18, and eliminated the educational requirement of at least two years of college. Two fighter pilot beneficiaries of this change went on to become brigadier generals in the United States Air Force James Robinson Risner
and Chuck Yeager
[Nalty (1997), p.255.]
Image WAC Air Controller by Dan V. Smith.jpg
Air crew needs resulted in the successful training of 43,000 Bombardier (air force)
, 49,000 navigator
, and 309,000 flexible gunners, many of whom also specialized in other aspects of air crew duties.
[The exact reported figures were 193,440 pilots; 43,051 bombardiers and bombardier-navigators; 48,870 navigators in all three disciplines (celestial, dead reckoning, and radar); and 309,236 flexible gunners. (AIR FORCE Magazine June 1995, pp. 260-263)]
7,800 men qualified as B-29
flight engineers and 1,000 more as radar
operators in night fighters
all of whom received commissions. Almost 1.4 million men received technical training as aircraft mechanics, electronics specialists, and other technicians. Non-aircraft related support services were provided by airmen trained by the Army Service Forces
but the AAF increasingly exerted influence on the curricula of these courses in anticipation of future independence.
[Nalty (1997), pp. 260–263.] [Correll, "The US Army Air Forces at War", p.36.]
comprised approximately six per cent of this force (145,327 personnel in November 1943).
[Bowman (1997), p.160.]
In 1940, pressured by Eleanor Roosevelt
and some Northern members of United States Congress
General Arnold agreed to accept blacks for pilot training, albeit on a racial segregation
basis. A flight training center was set up at the Tuskegee Institute
Despite the handicap—caused by the segregation policy—of not having an experienced training cadre as with other AAF units, the Tuskegee Airmen
distinguished themselves in combat with the 332nd Fighter Group
The Tuskegee training program produced 673 black fighter pilots, 253 B-26 Marauder
pilots, and 132 navigators.
[Bowman (1997), p.161.]
The vast majority of African-American airmen, however, did not fare as well. Mainly conscription
most did not fly or maintain aircraft. Their largely menial duties, indifferent or hostile leadership, and poor morale led to serious dissatisfaction and several violent incidents.
[Nalty (1997), pp.251–252.]
Women served more successfully as part of the war-time Army Air Forces. The AAF was willing to experiment with its allotment from the unpopular Women's Army Corps
(WAACs) and became an early and determined supporter of full military status for women in the Army (Women's Army Corps
or WACs). WACs serving the in the AAF became such an accepted and valuable part of the service they earned the distinction of being commonly (but unofficially) known as "Air WACs."
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 7, p. xxxvi]
Nearly 40,000 women served in the WAACs and WACs as AAF personnel,
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 7, p.514.] [39,323 WACs were assigned to the AAF in January 1945. Approximately 1,100 were African-American women assigned to ten segregated AAF units. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 7, p. 514)]
more than 1,000 as Women Airforce Service Pilots
(WASPs), and 6,500 as Registered nurse
in the Army Air Forces, including 500 flight nurses.
[Nalty (1997), pp.253–254.]
7,601 "Air WACs" served overseas in April 1945, and women performed in more than 200 job categories.
[Bowman (1997), p.158.]
The Air Corps Act of July 1926 increased the number of general officers authorized in the Armys air arm from two to four. The activation of GHQAF in March 1935 doubled that number and pre-war expansion of the Air Corps in October 1940 saw fifteen new general officer billets authorized.
[Official Register of the United States 1941, Volume I U.S. Civil Service Commission publication, p. 48.] [The 15 new slots consisted of a lieutenant general, four major generals, and ten brigadier generals. (Official Register 1941)]
By the end of World War II, 320 generals were authorized the wartime AAF.
[Finney (1955), p. 25.]
USAAC-USAAF personnel strength, 1939-1945 lt;ref>AAF Statistical Digest, Table 4 - Military Personnel in Continental U.S. and Overseas, By Type of Personnel.
| table aligncenter class"wikitable"
| 31 July 1939 ||aligncenter|24,724|| aligncenter|2,636||aligncenter|22,088||aligncenter|3,991||aligncenter|272||aligncenter|3,719
| 31 December 1939||aligncenter|43,118||aligncenter|3,006||aligncenter|40,112||aligncenter|7,007||aligncenter|351||aligncenter|6,656
|31 December 1940||aligncenter|101,227||aligncenter|6,437||aligncenter|94,790||aligncenter|16,070||aligncenter|612||aligncenter|15,458
|31 December 1941||aligncenter|354,161||aligncenter|24,521||aligncenter|329,640||aligncenter|25,884||aligncenter|2,479||aligncenter|23,405
|31 December 1942||aligncenter|1,597,049||aligncenter|127,267||aligncenter|1,469,782||aligncenter|242,021||aligncenter|26,792||aligncenter|215,229
|31 December 1943||aligncenter|2,373,882||aligncenter|274,347||aligncenter|2,099,535||aligncenter|735,666||aligncenter|81,072||aligncenter|654,594
|31 March 1944 (Peak size
|31 December 1944||aligncenter|2,359,456||aligncenter|375,973||aligncenter|1,983,483||aligncenter|1,164,136||aligncenter|153,545||aligncenter|1,010,591
|30 April 1945 (Peak overseas
|31 August 1945||aligncenter|2,253,182||aligncenter|368,344||aligncenter|1,884,838||aligncenter|999,609||aligncenter|122,833||aligncenter|876,776
1939–1940 totals were U.S. Army Air Corps
The Air Corps operated 156 airfields at the beginning of 1941. An airbase expansion program had been underway since 1939, attempting to keep pace with the increase in personnel, units, and aircraft, using existing municipal and private facilities where possible. However the outbreak of war and the resulting accelerated expansion necessitated a wide variety of facilities for both operations and training within the Continental United States (CONUS).
In addition to the construction of new permanent bases and the building of numerous bombing and gunnery ranges, the AAF utilized civilian pilot schools, training courses conducted at college and factory sites, and officer training detachments at colleges. In early 1942, in a controversial move, the AAF Technical Training Command began leasing resort hotels and apartment buildings for large-scale training sites (accommodation for 90,000 existed in Miami Beach, Florida
[Futrell, Historical Study 69, p.112.]
were negotiated for the AAF by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
often to the economic detriment of hotel owners in rental rates, wear and tear clauses, and short-notice to terminate leases.
[Futrell, Historical Study 69, p.167.]
In December 1943, the AAF reached a war-time peak of 783 airfields in the Continental United States.
[Futrell, Historical Study 69, p.156.]
CONUS Installations lt;ref>Futrell, Historical Study 69, Chart I, p. 169.
| table aligncenter class"wikitable"
| Type of facility
|aligncenter|7 December 1941
|aligncenter|31 December 1941
||aligncenter|31 December 1942
||aligncenter|31 December 1943
||aligncenter|31 December 1944
| Total all installations
| Main bases
| Satellite bases
|Total CONUS airfields
|Bombing & gunnery ranges
& other owned facilities||aligncenter|67||aligncenter|46||aligncenter|29||aligncenter|32||aligncenter|44||aligncenter|30||aligncenter|30
|Contract pilot schools||aligncenter|unk||aligncenter|unk||aligncenter|69||aligncenter|66||aligncenter|14||aligncenter|14||aligncenter|6
|Rented office space||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|unk||aligncenter|unk||aligncenter|79||aligncenter|109||aligncenter|103
|Leased hotels & apartment bldgs||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|464||aligncenter|216||aligncenter|75||aligncenter|75||aligncenter|75
|Civilian & factory tech schools||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|66||aligncenter|47||aligncenter|21||aligncenter|17||aligncenter|16
|College training detachments||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|16||aligncenter|234||aligncenter|2||aligncenter|1||aligncenter|1
|Specialized storage depots||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|12||aligncenter|41||aligncenter|68||aligncenter|51||aligncenter|43
Overseas airfields lt;ref>AAF Statistical Digest, Table 217, Airfields outside CONUS 1941–1945.
| table aligncenter class"wikitable"
|aligncenter|31 December 1941
||aligncenter|31 December 1942
||aligncenter|31 December 1943
||aligncenter|31 December 1944
| US possessions|| aligncenter|19||aligncenter|60||aligncenter|70||aligncenter|89||aligncenter|130||aligncenter|128
| North America||aligncenter|7||aligncenter|74||aligncenter|83||aligncenter|67||aligncenter|66||aligncenter|62
| Atlantic islands||aligncenter|5||aligncenter|27||aligncenter|-||aligncenter|20||aligncenter|21||aligncenter|21
Organization and equipment
By the end of World War II, the USAAF had created 16 [[Numbered Air Force|numbered air forces]]
distributed worldwide to prosecute the war, plus a general air force within the continental United States to support the whole and provide air defense.
[Bowman (1997), p.16.] [The Twentieth Air Force was numbered beyond sequence to be symbolic of a global strategic air force not subordinate to any theater command. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 5, pp. 37-38; http://www.minot.af.mil/news/story.asp?id123307822 "Proud to be Back"])]
The latter was formally organized as the Continental Air Forces
and activated on 15 December 1944, although it did not formally take jurisdiction of its component air forces until the end of the war in Europe.
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 1, p. 75.] [The Continental Air Forces coordinated the First through Fourth Air Forces and the I Troop Carrier Command, and its primary activity became redeployment of the air forces in Europe. In 1946 its mission changed and it became the Strategic Air Command (Craven and Cate, Vol. 1, p. 75)]
Several air forces were created de novo
as the service expanded during the war. Some grew out of earlier commands as the service expanded in size and hierarchy (for example, the [[VIII Bomber Command]]
became the [[Eighth Air Force]]
after an organizational change in February 1944), and higher echelons such as United States Strategic Air Forces
(USSTAF) in Europe and U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific
became necessary to control the whole. In August 1945, the U.S. Strategic Air Forces
became the United States Air Forces in Europe
(USAFE). A subordinate organizational tier, the command
was created to segregate units of similar functions (fighters and bombers) for administrative control.
Eight air divisions
served as an additional layer of command and control
for the vast organization, capable of acting independently if the need arose. Inclusive within the air forces and divisions were administrative headquarters called [[Wing (military aviation unit)|wing]]s
to control groups
(operational units; see section below). As the number of groups increased, the number of wings needed to control them multiplied, with 91 ultimately activated, 69 of which were still active at the end of the war. As part of the Air Service and Air Corps, wings had been composite organizations, that is, composed of groups with different types of missions. Most of the wings of World War II, however, were composed of groups with like functions (denoted as bombardment fighter reconnaissance training antisubmarine troop carrier replacement
[The three "composite" wings all had fighter groups assigned. The 24th Wing served in Iceland between December 1942 and June 1944, when it was disbanded. The 68th and 69th Wings were activated in China in September 1943 and redesignated "composite wings" in December. The 69th also had a troop carrier group assigned. Both served in combat through the end of the war. (Maurer, Combat Units pp. 388 and 404)]
Several independent support organizations, called major commands
remained under the direct control of Headquarters Army Air Forces. These were created, or expanded from earlier Air Corps organizations, in 1941 and 1942 to support and supply the numbered air forces, to which the operational units (groups and squadrons) were assigned. At the end of 1942 and again in the spring of 1943 the AAF listed 9 major commands before it began a process of consolidation that streamlined the number to five at the end of the war.
[Bowman (1997), p.17-18.] [Reither (1944), p. 10 (organizational chart)]]
File Army Air Forces Training Command - Patch.png
These commands were:
;Major commands active on 15 September 1945
:Army Air Forces Training Command
lt;ref groupn>Created 7 July 1943 from the merger of the AAF Flying Training Command and the AAF Technical Training Command. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 63-64)
:Air Force Logistics Command
lt;ref groupn>Established 31 August 1944 as the AAF Technical Service Command to replace both Air Materiel and Air Service Commands, and renamed Air Technical Service Command in July 1945.
:Air Transport Command (United States Air Force)
lt;ref groupn>Created 10 June 1942 from an expanded Air Corps Ferrying Command established 19 May 1941. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 66-67)
:Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics
lt;ref groupn>Created 1 June 1945 from a merger of the AAF Tactical Center (AAFTAC), Proving Ground Command, and the AAF Board. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 64)
:AAF Personnel Distribution Command
[Created 1 June 1944 from AAF Redistribution Center. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 64)]
;Discontinued or merged major commands
:AAF Flying Training Command
[Established 23 January 1941 and merged into AAF Training Command on 7 July 1943. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 63-64)]
:AAF Technical Training Command
[Established 26 March 1941 and merged into AAF Training Command on 7 July 1943. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 64-64)]
:Air Service Command
[Established 17 October 1941 under the Office of the Chief of Air Corps (OCAC) from the Air Corps Maintenance Command established 15 March 1941. When OCAC was abolished on 9 March 1942, ASC continued as a major command under Headquarters AAF. In July 1944 it was placed with Materiel Command under an umbrella service that was soon reorganized as the AAF Technical Service Command. ASC was abolished on 31 August 1944. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 65)]
[Established 9 March 1942 from the Materiel Division of the OCAC, with responsibilities for aircraft procurement and R&D, and abolished 31 August 1944. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 65)]
:Proving Ground Command
[Created 1 April 1942 from the Air Corps Proving Ground established 15 May 1941 and merged into AAF Center on 1 June 1945. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 64, 68)]
:Army Air Forces Troop Carrier Command
lt;ref groupn>Created 30 April 1942 as a specialized training organization called Air Transport Command
renamed I TCC on 20 June 1942 to allow the ATC designation to be applied to the successor of Ferrying Command, and became a subordinate organization of Continental Air Forces on 16 April 1945. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 66-77)
:I Concentration Command
[Created 1 July 1942 as the Foreign Service Concentration Command it oversaw the preparation for overseas movement (POM) of AAF combat units. It was redesignated I Concentration Commandon 14 August 1942 and disbanded on 5 December 1942 when its functions were redistributed to the numbered air forces. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 70)]
:Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command
lt;ref groupn>Created 15 October 1942 from I Bomber Command and discontinued 31 August 1943 as the result of doctrinal disputes with the U.S. Navy over tactics and jurisdiction of long-range, land-based air striking forces. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 64)
:Flight Control Command
[Established 29 March 1943 to supervise the weather and communications services of the discontinued Directorate of Technical Services, it was abolished 1 October 1943. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 69-70)]
The primary combat unit of the Army Air Forces for both administrative and tactical purposes was the Group (air force)
an organization of three or four flying squadrons and attached or organic ground support elements, which was the rough equivalent of a regiment
of the Army Ground Forces
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 58.]
The Army Air Forces fielded a total of 269 combat groups during World War II, and an operational peak of 243 combat groups in 1945.
[Maurer, Combat Units p. 7.]
The United States Army Air Service
and its successor the United States Army Air Corps
had established 15 permanent combat groups between 1919 and 1937.
With the buildup of the combat force beginning 1 February 1940, the Air Corps expanded from 15 to 30 groups by the end of the year. On 7 December 1941 the number of combat groups had reached 67, but half were in the process of being organized and were unsuitable for combat.
[Spaatz, "Strategic Airpower in the European War".] [Spaatz calculated combat-ready groups at 43.5 at the end of January 1942.]
Of the 67 combat groups, 26 were classified as bombardment: 13 Heavy Bomb
groups (B-17 Flying Fortress
and B-24 Liberator
, and the rest Medium
groups (B-25 Mitchell B-26 Marauder
and A-20 Havoc
. The balance of the force included 26 Pursuit
groups (renamed [[Fighter aircraft|fighter group]]
in May 1942), 9 Observation
groups, and 6 Transport
(renamed Troop Carrier
or Combat Cargo
[Maurer, Combat Units p. 8.] [In May 1942 "transport" became the designation for non-combat groups that were part of Air Transport Command.]
After the operational deployment of the B-29 Superfortress
bomber, Very Heavy Bombardment
units were added to the force array.
In the first half of 1942 the Army Air Forces expanded rapidly as the necessity of a much larger air force than planned was immediately realized. In February the total number of combat groups required was increased to 115. By July the goal was upgraded again to 224, and to 273 a month later. By that date the number actually trained to a point of combat proficiency had barely surpassed the number authorized for the Air Corps as a whole in the first expansion.
[White (1949), p. 8.]
The extant training establishment, in essence a "self-training" system, was inadequate in assets, organization, and pedagogy
to train units wholesale. Individual training of freshly-minted pilots occupied an inordinate amount of the available time to the detriment of unit proficiency. The ever increasing numbers of new groups being formed threatened to overwhelm the capacity of the old Air Corps groups to provide experienced cadre as the core of newly activated groups or to absorb graduates of the expanded training program to replace those transferred. The system in place since 1939 had reduced the overall level of experience in all combat groups, and when the demands of units in combat for replacements were factored in, the availability of experienced personnel necessary to form new units appeared headed for a downward spiral.
File US roundel 1943-1947.svg
To avoid this probable crisis, an Army Air Forces Training Command Operational Training Units
(OTU) system was adopted similar to the system used by the RAF. Under the OTU concept, certain experienced groups were authorized as over strength "parent" groups. A parent group (OTU unit) provided approximately 20% of its seasoned personnel as cadre to a newly activated, or "satellite," group. Cadres detached to the newly activated satellite group were first provided with special instruction on their training responsibilities, initially by the responsible air forces, but after 9 October 1942, by the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics
(AAFSAT) to standardize curriculum and instruction.
[Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 600-602.]
New graduates of training schools fleshed out the satellite group and also restored the parent group to its over strength size. The parent group was responsible for the organization and training of its satellite, normally a process six months in length, the first half bringing the new unit up to strength, the second half devoted to flying training, with the final six weeks concentrating on fighting as a unit.
[White (1949), p. 15.]
In May 1942 the plan was implemented incrementally by all four continental air forces but not until early 1943 were most developmental problems resolved.
[An example of the "parent and satellite plan" was the 33rd Operations Group which was the first complete parent unit formed under the scheme in June 1942. It in turn was the parent to the 324th Fighter Group 325th Operations Group and 327th Aircraft Sustainment Wing in July and August 1942 before being assigned to Operation Torch and the Twelfth Air Force The 327th FG assumed the OTU duties formerly conducted by the 33rd. (Mayock, p. 47)]
As the system matured, each air force became predominant in one type of OTU training: heavy bomber training in the Second Air Force
medium and light bomber in the Third Air Force
and fighters in the First Air Force
and Fourth Air Force
When the bulk of new groups (and in some cases, original parent groups) had been sent overseas, replacement training (RTU)
[Begun in May 1943, RTUs were over strength groups (many originally serving as OTUs) that received new air crew graduates of training schools and instructed them in transition and team training. RTUs distributed trained personnel as individual replacements or replacement crews to combat units, receiving fresh graduates to train, and thereby obviated having such replacements drawn from organized units or training staffs in the United States, as was done for infantry replacements. Some RTUs were formed as provisional groups under an OTU unit, then dissolved into replacement pools when their training was completed. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 602-603)]
took precedence over OTU and except for three B-29 groups,
[The 497h, 498th, and 500th BGs of the 73rd Bomb Wing. They were trained by the only B-29 OTU, the 472nd BG.]
no new satellites were formed after October 1943.
[White (1949), pp. 17–18.]
By the beginning of 1944, 269 groups had been constituted. 136 were deployed overseas and of those still in the United States, 77 were being organized and trained for overseas deployment as well. The remainder were RTUs or continental defense units.
In the spring of 1944, all training was assigned to "base units"
[The AAF adopted the base unit concept because of the inflexibility inherent in combat group and squadron TO&Es. Base units were non-standard non-combat administrative organizations that combined all units at any particular airfield into a single organization tailored in size of personnel and equipment to the needs of that base. The units were commonly seen in designations as "AAF Base Units."]
and between 31 March and 1 May 1944 the remaining 43 RTU groups were disbanded,
[Four of the 43 RTU groups were inactivated rather than disbanded, set aside for planned reactivation as B-29 groups that did not occur. Seven 4AF groups were disbanded on 31 March, ten 2AF groups the next day, seven 1AF groups on 10 April, three I Troop Carrier Command RTUs on 14 April, and sixteen 3AF groups on 1 May.]
reducing the number of active groups to 218. However, additional groups were formed in the following months (six from inactivated RTUs) to bring the AAF to its final wartime structure.
[Not all were VHB groups. Five new fighter groups were constituted on 5 October 1944 as B-29 escorts but their training was conducted entirely by AAF base units. A 25th troop carrier group was activated on Guam in January 1945 but was never assigned aircraft or squadrons, instead used in detachments to operate transportation terminals at several island bases.]
Between the Invasion of Normandy
in June 1944 and VE Day
in 1945, 148 combat groups fought against Germany, while by August 1945, when all combat operations ended, 86 groups were deployed in the Pacific and Far East. The European force was then either performing occupation duties or re-deploying to the United States.
In February 1945 the AAF fielded 243 combat groups:
*25 Very Heavy, 72 Heavy, 20 Medium, and 8 Light USAAF bombardment group
*71 Fighter groups;
[10 of the fighter groups in 1945 were classified as "twin-engine". (Rickard)]
*29 Troop Carrier and Combat Cargo groups;
[As noted, one troop carrier group, the 419th Operations Group was not an operational flying unit, but managed transportation terminals in the Pacific. The four combat cargo groups, numbered 1–4, served in the China Burma India Theater of World War II USAAF Order Of Battle and Fifth Air Force Order of battle, 1945 in 1944–45. Two were later redesignated troop carrier groups and became part of the USAF.]
*13 Reconnaissance groups; and
*5 Composite groups.
[The five composite groups were the 509th Operations Group (B-29 C-54 , 28th CG (B-24 B-25 , and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Commando Groups. The air commando groups were created for service in the China Burma India Theater of World War II USAAF Order Of Battle and Fifth Air Force Order of battle, 1945 with one cargo and 2 fighter squadrons each. A medium bomb group, the Freeman Field Mutiny converted to a P-47 B-25 composite group in June 1945.]
The basic permanent organization of the AAF for both combat and support elements was the squadron.
1,226 combat squadrons were active in the USAAF between 7 December 1941 and 1 September 1945.
[Maurer Combat Squadrons v.] [The 1226 figure is for TO&E squadrons only. Not included in the total of flying squadrons are more than 100 Air Transport Command, advanced flight training, and flexible squadrons of AAF Base Units between 1 August 1944 and the end of the war.]
In 1945 a total of 937 squadrons remained active, with 872 assigned to the various groups. 65 squadrons, mostly reconnaissance
and night fighter
were not assigned to groups but as separate units under higher command echelons.
Norms for AAF combat units lt;ref name"goss59">Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 59.
February 1945 lt;/center>
| table aligncenter class"wikitable"
| Type of unit |aligncenter|Type of aircraft |aligncenter|Number of aircraft ||aligncenter|Number of crews ||aligncenter|Men per crew ||aligncenter|Total personnel ||aligncenter|Officers |aligncenter|Enlisted
| Very heavy bombardment group||aligncenter|Boeing B-29 Superfortress | aligncenter|45||aligncenter|60||aligncenter|11||aligncenter|2,078||aligncenter|462||aligncenter|1,816
| Heavy bombardment group||aligncenter|Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Consolidated B-24 Liberator |aligncenter|72||aligncenter|96||aligncenter|9 to 11||aligncenter|2,261||aligncenter|465||aligncenter|1,796
| Medium bombardment group||aligncenter|North American B-25 Mitchell Martin B-26 Marauder |aligncenter|96||aligncenter|96||aligncenter|5 or 6||aligncenter|1,759||aligncenter|393||aligncenter|1,386
|Light bombardment group||aligncenter|Douglas A-20 Havoc Douglas A-26 Invader |aligncenter|96||aligncenter|96||aligncenter|3 or 4||aligncenter|1,304||aligncenter|211||aligncenter|1,093
|Single-engine fighter group||aligncenter|Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Republic P-47 Thunderbolt lt;br/>North American P-51 Mustang |aligncenter|111 to 126||aligncenter|108 to 126||aligncenter|1||aligncenter|994||aligncenter|183||aligncenter|811
|Twin-engine fighter group||aligncenter|Lockheed P-38 Lightning |aligncenter|111 to 126||aligncenter|108 to 126||aligncenter|1||aligncenter|1,081||aligncenter|183||aligncenter|838
|Troop carrier group||aligncenter|Douglas C-47 Skytrain |aligncenter|80 - 110||aligncenter|128||aligncenter|4 or 5||aligncenter|1,837||aligncenter|514||aligncenter|1,323
|Combat cargo group||aligncenter|Curtiss C-46 Commando C-47||aligncenter|125||aligncenter|150||aligncenter|4||aligncenter|883||aligncenter|350||aligncenter|533
|Night fighter squadron|aligncenter|Northrop P-61 Black Widow Douglas A-20 Havoc |aligncenter|18||aligncenter|16||aligncenter|2 or 3||aligncenter|288||aligncenter|50||aligncenter|238
|Tactical reconnaissance squadron|aligncenter|North American P-51 Mustang P-40
Piper J-3 Cub Stinson L-5 Sentinel |aligncenter|27||aligncenter|23||aligncenter|1||aligncenter|233||aligncenter|39||aligncenter|194
|Photo reconnaissance squadron|aligncenter|P-38 Lightning |aligncenter|24||aligncenter|21||aligncenter|1||aligncenter|347||aligncenter|50||aligncenter|297
|Combat mapping squadron|aligncenter|Consolidated B-24 Liberator Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress |aligncenter|18||aligncenter|16||aligncenter|8||aligncenter|474||aligncenter|77||aligncenter|397
The United States Army Air Forces used a large variety of aircraft in accomplishing its various missions, including many obsolete aircraft left over from its time as the Air Corps, with fifteen designations of types.
[Bowman (1997), p. 113.] [The types were: A — Attack; AT — Advanced Trainer; B — Bomber; BT — Basic Trainer; C — Cargo/Transport; CG — Cargo Glider; F — Reconnaissance; L — Liaison; O — Observation; OA — Observation-Amphibian; P — Pursuit; PT — Primary Trainer; R — Rotary wing (helicopter); TG — Trainer Glider; and UC — Utility. (Bowman, p. 113)]
The following were the most numerous types in the USAAF inventory, or those that specifically saw combat. Variants, including all photo-reconnaissance ("F") variants, are listed and described under their separate articles. Many aircraft, particularly transports and trainers, had numerous designations resulting from differences in power plants.
*Douglas A-20 Havoc
*Douglas SBD Dauntless
*Douglas A-26 Invader
*Vultee A-31 Vengeance
*North American A-36 Apache
*Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
*Douglas B-18 Bolo
*Consolidated B-24 Liberator
*North American B-25 Mitchell
*Martin B-26 Marauder
*Boeing B-29 Superfortress
*Consolidated B-32 Dominator
*Curtiss P-36 Hawk
*Lockheed P-38 Lightning
*Bell P-39 Airacobra
*Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
*Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
*North American P-51 Mustang
*Bell P-59 Airacomet
*Northrop P-61 Black Widow
*Supermarine Spitfire lt;ref groupn>Spitfire Mk.Vs equipped the 4th Fighter Group until early 1943; Mk.Vs and Mk.IXs were the primary fighter of the 31st and 52nd FGs until 1944. (Maurer Combat Units pp. 35, 84, and 114).
*Bristol Beaufighter lt;ref groupn>Approximately 100 Beaufighters partially equipped four night fighter squadrons of the 12th AF between 1943 and 1945. (Maurer Combat Squadrons pp. 507-508, 512, and 551)
*Stinson L-5 Sentinel
*North American O-47
*de Havilland Mosquito USAAF
*Beechcraft Model 18
*Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando
*Douglas C-47 Skytrain
*Douglas C-54 Skymaster
*Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar
Image Fairchild PT-19 Cornell USAF.jpg
*North American T-6 Texan
*Beechcraft Model 18
*Vultee BT-13 Valiant
*Boeing-Stearman Model 75
Utility, rescue, and glider
Image Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman.jpg
*Consolidated PBY Catalina
Role in World War II
On 13 August 1941, the Air War Plans Division of the USAAF produced its plan for a global air strategy, AWPD/1.
[Bowman (1997), p.19.] Formally known as "Annex 2, Air Requirements" to "The Victory Program," a plan of strategic estimates involving the entire U.S. military, [Griffith (1999), p. 66.] the plan was prepared in accordance with strategic policies drawn earlier that year in the ABC-1 agreement with the British Commonwealth and the U.S. war plan Rainbow 5 Its forecast figures, despite planning errors from lack of accurate information about weather and the German economic commitment to the war, were within 2 percent of the units and 5.5 percent of the personnel ultimately mobilized, [Griffith (1999), p.78.] and it accurately predicted the time frame when Operation Overlord would take place. [Griffith (1999), p.77.]
AWPD/1 called for an air defense of the Western hemisphere, a strategic defense against Japan in the Pacific, and strategic bombardment by 6,800 bombers against Germany, identifying 154 key targets of the German economic infrastructure it considered vulnerable to a sustained campaign. [Nalty (1997), p.188.] A strategic bomber requirement of 7,500 aircraft, which included the intercontinental B-36 lt;ref name"Nalty, p.188"/> (then still in the design phase), was far too large for American industry to achieve to be practical, and an interim plan to attack Germany with 3,800 bombers was included in AWPD/1.
AWPD/1 was approved by General Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson in September 1941. [Nalty (1997), p.190.] Although war began before the plan could be presented to Roosevelt, it became the foundation for establishing aircraft production and training requirements used during the war, and the concept of a strategic bomber offensive against Germany became policy of the U.S. government, [Bowman (1997), pp.19–20.] in accordance with United States strategic policy stated in Rainbow 5 as the only means available to the United States to take the war to Germany.
In August 1942 Roosevelt called for a revision of proposed air requirements. AWPD/42 was presented on 6 September 1942, and although never accepted by the U.S. Navy, its revised estimates (which more than doubled production requirements to nearly 150,000 aircraft of all types, including those of the Navy and exports to allies) guided the Roosevelt Administration in 1943. The estimate was later reduced to 127,000, of which 80,000 were combat aircraft.
Like its predecessor, AWPD/42 laid out a strategic plan for the daylight bombing of Germany by unescorted heavy bombers, but also included a similar plan for attacks on Japan. Unfortunately the B-17 bomber command of the U.S. Eighth Air Force had only flown six relatively unopposed missions when AWPD/42 was drawn up, and the prior mistake in AWPD/1 of disregarding the need and feasibility of long-range fighter escorts was repeated.
Both plans called for the destruction of the German Air Force (GAF) as a necessary requirement before campaigns against priority economic targets. AWPD/1 established four target sets in order of priority: electrical power production, inland transportation, petroleum production, and Berlin; [Griffith (1999), pp. 67.] while AWPD/42 revised the priorities, placing U-Boat facilities first, followed by transportation, electricity production, petroleum production, and rubber production. [Griffith (1999), pp. 96–97.]
The Air Force Historical Studies Office summarizes the execution of USAAF strategy during World War II:
"Arnolds staff made the first priority in the war to launch a strategic bombing offensive in support of the Royal Air Force against Germany. The Eighth Air Force, sent to England in 1942, took on that job. After a slow and often costly effort to bring the necessary strength to bear, joined in 1944 by the Fifteenth Air Force stationed in Italy, strategic bombing finally began to get results, and by the end of the war, the German economy had been dispersed and pounded to rubble.
"Tactical air forces supported the ground forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and European Theater of Operations where the enemy found Allied air supremacy a constant frustration. In the war against Japan, General Douglas MacArthur made his advance along New Guinea by Leapfrogging (strategy) his air forces forward and using amphibious warfare forces to open up new bases. The AAF also supported Admiral Chester Nimitz s aircraft carrier in their island-hopping across the Pacific Ocean Areas (command) and assisted Allied forces in Burma and China.
"Arnold directly controlled the Twentieth Air Force equipped with the new long-range B-29 Superfortresses used for bombing Japans Japanese Archipelago first from China and then from the Marianas Devastated by air raids on Japan Japan was so weakened by August 1945 that Arnold believed neither the atomic bomb nor the planned Operation Downfall would be necessary to win the war. The fact that AAF B-29s Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Hiroshima and Nagasaki nevertheless, demonstrated what air power could do in the future. The Strategic Bombing Survey provided ammunition for the leaders of the AAF in the postwar debates over armed forces unification and national strategy."
USAAF statistical summary
The United States Army Air Forces incurred 12% of the Armys 936,000 battle casualties in World War II. 88,119 airmen died in service. 52,173 were battle casualty deaths: 45,520 killed in action 1,140 died of wounds, 3,603 were missing in action and declared dead, and 1,910 were nonhostile battle deaths. Of the United States military and naval services, only the Army Ground Forces suffered more battle deaths. 35,946 non-battle deaths included 25,844 in aircraft accidents, more than half of which occurred within the Continental United States.
["Battle casualties" Army Battle Casualties Final Report pp. 76-77] 63,209 members of the USAAF were other battle casualties. 18,364 were wounded in action and required medical evacuation, and 41,057 became Prisoner of war [AAF Statistical Digest, Table 34 – Battle Casualties in All Overseas Theaters, By Type of Casualty and Type of Personnel] Its casualties were 5.1% of its strength, compared to 10% for the rest of the Army. [Nalty (1997), p.268.] [The 115,000 total AAF battle casualties represented 19% of the 603,000 aircrew trained during the war.]
Total aircraft losses for the AAF from December 1941 to August 1945 were 65,164, with 43,581 lost overseas and 21,583 within the Continental United States. [AAF Statistical Digest, Table 99 - Airplane Losses in Continental US and Overseas, By Type of Airplane] Combat losses of aircraft totaled 22,948 world wide, with 18,418 lost in theaters fighting Germany and 4,530 lost in combat in the Pacific. [Correll, "The US Army Air Forces at War", p.34.] The AAF credited its own forces with destroying a total of 40,259 aircraft of opposing nations by all means, 29,916 against Germany and its allies and 10,343 in the Pacific. [Correll, "The US Army Air Forces at war", p.33.]
The cost of the war to the AAF was approximately $50 billion, [Approximately $640 billion in 2012 dollars, calculated from 1945. http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ US Inflation Calculator]] or about 30% of the cost to the War Department, with cash expenditures from direct appropriations between July 1942 and August 1945 amounting to $35,185,548,000. [AAF Statistical Digest Table 203 - Expenditures by Direct Appropriations, By Major Project]
Total sortie flown by the AAF during World War II were 2,352,800, with 1,693,565 flown in Europe-related areas and 669,235 flown in the Pacific and Far East. [Correll, "The US Army Air Forces at War", p.32.]
36 members of the Army Air Forces received the Medal of Honor for actions performed during air missions, 22 of them posthumously. Two additional awards were made, one posthumously, to AAF officers attached to the Western Task Force during Operation Torch
Demobilization and independence
Image Carl Spaatz, Air Force photo portrait, color.jpg Carl Andrew Spaatz ]
With the defeat of Japan, the entire United States military establishment immediately began a drastic demobilization as it had at the end of World War I. The AAF was hit as hard or harder as the older services by demobilization. Officers and members were discharged, installations were closed, and aircraft were stored or sold. Between August 1945 and April 1946, its strength fell from 2.25 million men to just 485,000, and a year later to 304,000. Aircraft inventory dropped from 79,000 to less than 30,000, many of them in storage. Permanent installations were reduced from 783 to 177, just 21 more than pre-war.
[Nalty (1997, p. 378.] [Futrell, Historical Study 69, p. 156.] [Installations closed because of demobilization included main bases, sub (satellite) bases, and auxiliary airfields.]
By July 1946, the Army Air Forces had only 2 combat-ready groups out of 52 that remained on the list of active units. A rebuilt air force of 70 groups, the authorized peacetime strength, was anticipated, with reserve and national guard forces to be available for active duty in an emergency. However considerable opposition to a large peacetime military establishment, and to the financial cost of such an establishment, resulted in planning cuts to 48 groups.
In February 1946, ill health forced the retirement of General Arnold before he could fulfill his goal of achieving independence of the Air Force as a service equal with the Army and Navy. General Carl Andrew Spaatz replaced Arnold as the only other commanding general of the USAAF, and he oversaw both the demobilization of the largest air force in military history and its rebirth as envisioned by Generals Billy Mitchell (general) and Arnold.
Arnold left the AAF with two important legacies, based on his experiences in World War II, which shaped the post-war USAAF and their independent successor. The first was a requirement that the command staff of the service must include staff officer of varying expertise besides pilots. The second was the belief that despite the unqualified success of training methods that had expanded the Air Forces, the United States would never again have the time to mobilize and train the Reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States as they had in 1940, necessitating that reservists and National Guardsmen be immediately ready for service in case of national emergency. [Nalty (1997), p. 374.]
For his part, Spaatz consulted closely with the new Army Chief of Staff, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and reorganized the AAF into three major combat commands (Strategic Air Command Tactical Air Command and Air Defense Command [The remainder of the AAF was reorganized into the Air Materiel, Air Training, Air Transport, Air Proving Ground, and Air University Commands. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 7, p. 576)] that would not require a second restructuring once the Air Force became independent. [Nalty (1997), p. 375.] He also re-structured the reserve components to conform with Arnolds concepts, including creation of the Air National Guard in April 1946. [Nalty (1997), p. 377.]
On 11 April 1945, at the conclusion of a ten month study that took them to every major theater to interview 80 "key military and naval personnel," the Joint Chiefs of Staff Special Committee for the Reorganization of National Defense recommended that the armed forces of United States be organized into a single cabinet department, and that "three coordinate combat branches, Army, Navy, and Air," comprise the operational services. The committee reported that the statutory creation of a United States Air Force would merely recognize a situation that had evolved during World War II with the Army Air Forces, acknowledging that naval aviation and some aspects of army aviation would remain in place. The committee also reported that its recommendation was approved by "Generals of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Dwight D.
Eisenhower, Fleet Admirals Chester W. Nimitz and William F. Halsey and numerous other leading military and naval personnel."
The Navy Department remained opposed to a single department of defense and at the recommendation of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, created a panel using naval personnel to study the feasibility of a coordinating agency without executive powers as an alternative. The "Eberstadt report" made such a recommendation, but also endorsed the concept of an Air Force as a separate service. The Navy Department did not acknowledge its own findings and continued to oppose creation of a separate Air Force during hearings for unification bills introduced in October 1945. When the hearings failed to submit a report, President of the United States Harry S. Truman came out strongly on 19 December 1945, in support of an air force on a parity with ground and naval forces, reminding Congress that prior to the war independent Army and Navy Departments had often failed to work collectively or in coordination to the best interest of the nation. He asserted that wartime expedients that had overcome these defects proved to be the difference between victory and defeat. [McClendon (1996), pp. 104-108]
Congress, at the recommendation of President Truman, created the United States Department of the Air Force in 1947. This legislation created the [[United States Air Force]] a completely separate branch of the U.S. military. The transfer of personnel and assets was effected by Transfer Order 1, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 26 September 1947, implementing reorganization provisions of the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat 495), 26 July 1947, and the Army Air Forces abolished. [lt;/ref>
The initial delineation of service roles, Executive Order 9877, was supplanted on 21 April 1948, by the approval by President Truman of the Key West Agreement which outlined the air assets that each service would be permitted to maintain. The Air Force was assigned the bulk of strategic, tactical, and transport aircraft, but the issue remained divisive well into the 1950s.] [Nalty (1997), pp. 418–424.]
The Army Air Forces in World War II the official history of the AAF, summarized its significance as the final step to independence for the Air Force:
By the close of the war (the AAF) had emerged as virtually a third independent service. Officially, the AAF never became anything other than a subordinate agency of the War Department charged to organize, train, and equip air units for assignment to combat theaters. Its jurisdiction was wholly limited to the Zone of Interior, and it could communicate with air organizations in combat theaters only through channels extending up to the Chief of Staff, and then down through the theater commander to his subordinate air commander. The position of the AAF, in other words, was no different from that of the Army Ground Forces and the Army Service Forces, the other two of the three coordinate branches into which the Army had been divided. So, at any rate, read the regulations.
Actually, the Commanding General, Army Air Forces...functioned on a level parallel to that of the Chief of Staff...He moved at the very highest levels of command in the wartime coalition with Britain. He chose the commanders of the combat air forces...He communicated regularly (with the air commanders overseas)...He exerted a powerful influence on the development of strategy, tactics, and doctrine wherever AAF units fought...A world-wide system of air transport moved at his command through all theaters, (denying their) commanders their traditional prerogative of controlling everything within their area of responsibility. Throughout the war (he ran) the air war in whatever part of the world there seemed to be need for attention by Headquarters. The contrast between theory and fact is...fundamental to an understanding of the AAF.
Image Richard Bong photo portrait head and shoulders.jpg recipient Major Richard Bong in Officers Service Dress]]
USAAF uniforms for all members consisted of a winter service uniform of olive drab wool worn in temperate weather and a tropical weather summer service uniform of khaki (color) cotton the same as those of other U.S. Army forces. In addition to the service uniforms usually worn for dress purposes and on pass from posts there were a variety of fatigue and flying uniforms. Summer and winter service uniforms were both worn throughout the year in the continental U.S. During World War II the European theater of operations was considered a year round temperate uniform zone and the Pacific theater of operations a year round tropical uniform zone.
[Table of Equipment No. 21 1 September 1945 Part II (theater clothing zones).]
The issue enlisted mens winter service uniform consisted of a four pocket coat and trousers in olive drab shade 33 (light shade) 16 oz wool serge Shirts with two patch pockets and without shoulder straps were either 8.2 oz Chino cloth khaki, a light tan, shade No. 1, or 10.5 oz olive drab wool light shade No. 33. Either shirt could be worn under the coat; however, the cotton shirt could not be worn as an outer garment with the wool trousers. [AR 600-35 31 March 1944 (Section I, para. 2; Section II, para. 18).] The wool necktie for the winter uniform was black and the summer necktie was khaki cotton, originally. [AR 600-35 10 November 1941] In February 1942 a universal mohair wool olive drab shade 3 necktie was authorized for both uniforms. [Risch and Pitkin, p. 47.] An overcoat of OD shade 33 Melton Mowbray Melton cloth was worn in cold weather. The enlisted mans summer service uniform consisted of the same cotton khaki shade No. 1 uniform shirt with matching trousers; the coat for this uniform stopped being issued in the 1930s. Whenever the shirt was worn as an outer garment the necktie was tucked between the second and third button of the shirt. [AR 600-40 (Section 3, para. 39).]
Image Generals Anton; Eisenhower; Carl Spaatz; Jimmy Doolittle, CO 8th Air Force; Gen. William Kepner, CO, 8th AF Fighter Command, Col. Don Blakeslee.Debden April 1944.JPG April 1944, illustrating varying shades of olive drab and the M-1944 "Ike jacket". Light shade 33 on left, dark shade 51 on right. Trousers are shade 33, khaki shade 1, and drab shade 54. The three combinations at right are "pinks and greens". [The commanders L-R are Brig. Gen. Jesse Auton, 65th Air Division Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower SHAEF Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz United States Air Forces in Europe Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle Eighth Air Force Brig. Gen. William Kepner, VIII Fighter Command and Col. Donald Blakeslee 4th Operations Group ] ]]
The male officers winter service uniform consisted of a coat of finer wool fabric in olive drab shade No. 51 (dark-shade) with a fabric belt matching the coat, nicknamed "greens". Officers could wear trousers matching the color and fabric of the coat, or optionally they were allowed taupe colored, officially called "drab shade 54", trousers of the same material as the coat, nicknamed "pinks", leading to the nickname "pinks and greens" for the iconic combination. [AR 600-35 31 March 1944 (Section I, para. 2; Section II, para. 9, 19).] Officers were also authorized to use the harder-wearing olive drab shade 33 serge uniforms, except for the enlisted mens four pocket service coat, as long as they were not mixed with OD Shade 51 or Drab Shade 54 clothing. [Army Officers Guide 1942, pp. 132.] An officers OD overcoat and taupe rain coat were also authorized. Officers wore same cotton khaki shade No. 1 or olive drab wool light shade No. 33 shirts as enlisted men except with the addition of shoulder straps. Officers also had additional shirt color and fabric options, OD dark shade No. 50 or No. 51 and in 1944 drab shade No. 54.
Officers wore black and khaki neckties until after February 1942 when neckties of wool cotton blend khaki shade 5 were authorized. [AR 600-35 (Section I, para. 2a3).] Male officers summer service uniforms usually consisted of the wash and wear cotton khaki shade 1 uniforms like those of the enlisted men, the main difference being that the shirts had shoulder straps. An OD wool shirt and cotton khaki trouser combination was also authorized. However for dress purposes they also had the option of purchasing a khaki shade 1 summer service uniform of tropical weight suiting fabric. This uniform was identical in cut to the winter officers uniform except for the color and cloth however the cloth belt of the winter coat was omitted. [AR 600-35 (Section I, para. 2a2).]
Personnel stationed in Europe, and after 1944 in the U.S., were authorized wear the wool waist length jacket, in either OD Shade 51 (for officers only) or OD Shade 33, nicknamed the United States Army uniforms in World War II The Eisenhower Jacket and eventually standardized as the M-1944 Field Jacket, in lieu of the full-length tunic of the service dress uniform. [War Department Cir. No. 391 30 September 1944 Sec. VII.]
Headgear for service uniforms consisted of two types, similar to those in use in the Armys ground forces, in olive drab for winter wear and khaki for summer. The garrison cap commonly called the "flight cap" in the air forces, had been authorized for all ranks since 1926 to facilitate the wearing of radio headsets during flights. The "curtain" had piping for enlisted men in the USAAF branch colors of orange and ultramarine blue. The caps of warrant officer were piped with black and silver cord; commissioned officers had black and gold piping except for general officer caps, which used gold cord. [AR 600-35 (para. 12).] The oval Peaked cap was fitted with a spring stiffening device called a grommet and prior to World War II uniform regulations authorized officers to remove the grommet to permit the use of headsets. This style became widely popular during World War II as a symbol of being a combat veteran, and was known as a "50-mission crush" cap. [Bowman (1997), p. 171.] The service cap however was no longer generally issued to enlisted men after 1942. [Risch and Pitkin, p. 80,81.]
Leather items, including shoes, were Russet (color) in color, and the AAF became known as the "Brown Shoe Air Force" after the United States Air Force became a separate service. [Daly-Benarek (1995), p. 27.] [By extension "brown shoe" refers to any practice or idea that harks back to the Army Air Forces era. (Daly-Benarek, p. 27)]
Female service dress
Image USAAF Flight Nurses during WWII.jpg Ky., student flight nurses learned how to handle patients with the aid of a mock-up fuselage of a Douglas C-47 transport.]]
Female USAAF uniforms were either the uniform of the Army Nurse Corps (United States) (ANC) or that of the Women's Army Corps (WAAC) with appropriate USAAF branch insignia. In the summer of 1943 the Women's Army Corps (WAC) replaced the WAAC. Although female auxiliary organizations such as the WAAC, Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) performed valuable service to the AAF, only the ANC and the WAC were official members of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the AAF servicewomen became unofficially known as "Air WACs".
Nurses attached to the AAF wore Army hospital whites, or prior to 1943, the ANC winter service uniform consisting of the ANC pattern dark blue cap or garrison cap with maroon piping, suit jacket with maroon cuff braid and gold army buttons, light blue or white shirt, black tie and light blue skirt, shoes were black or white. The ANC summer service uniform consisted of a similar suit in beige with maroon shoulder strap piping and cuff braid, beige ANC cap or beige garrison cap with maroon piping, white shirt, and black four-in-hand tie. During World War II the first flight nurses uniform consisted of a blue wool battle dress jacket, blue wool trousers and a blue wool mens style maroon piped garrison cap. The uniform was worn with either the ANC light blue or white shirt and black tie. After 1943 the ANC adopted service uniforms similar to the newly formed WAC. [Smith (2001), p. 241.]
File Women's Army Corps, Randolph Field, Texas, 1944.jpg 1944.]]
Female service dress went through an evolution of patterns over the course of the war years, however throughout the period the service uniforms both summer and winter generally consisted of the WAC pattern hat or womens garrison cap, suit coat (winter only for enlisted women), shirtwaist, four-in-hand tie, skirt, russet leather womens service shoes and hand bag. The womens olive drab wool "Ike jacket" was also worn as were womens service trousers. The colors essentially mirrored those of their male counterparts of corresponding rank in the equivalent service uniform although fabrics differed. There were also special off duty dresses of summer beige and winter tan. The new olive drab ANC uniforms were the same as those for WAC officers except for the ANC pattern hat and the ANC pattern handbag. The off duty dress was a separate ANC pattern in olive drab shade 51 or beige. The ANC beige summer service uniform with maroon trim was retained except that the tie was changed to maroon. [AR 600-37 16 April 1945] Sage green fatigue uniforms of Herringbone (cloth) cotton twill for women, along with womens combat boots, field jackets and flight clothing, were manufactured by the U.S. Army during World War II. However, when womens versions of these items were not available, as was often the case during the war, mens issue items were used instead.
File P-40 64FS 57FG pilots.jpg
Flight clothing varied widely by European Theater of Operations A theater of operations and type of mission. Innovative aviation flight suits, boots, leather helmets, goggles, and gloves were issued as early as 1928 to the Air Corps, and at least one style, the Type A-3 flight suit, continued in service until 1944.
However, A-2 Jacket made standard issue in 1931, became one of the best known symbols of the AAF. Made of seal brown leather with a beige silk lining, the jackets featured an officers stand-up collar, shoulder strap , knit waistbands and cuffs, a zipper closing, and unit insignia. [Bowman (1997), p. 172.] Heavy, sheepskin-lined B-3 and B-6 flight jacket , A-3 winter flying trousers, and B-2 "gunners" caps, all in seal brown shearling proved insufficient for the extreme cold temperatures of high altitude missions in unpressurized aircraft, and were supplemented by a variety of one-piece electrically heated flying suits manufactured by General Electric In addition to mens flight clothing, flight nurses wore specially manufactured womens lightweight and intermediate weight flight jackets and pants. [Smith (2001), pp. 244–246.] Flight clothing such as the A-2 jacket was not authorized to be worn off the camp or post unless required for flight duty. [AR 600-40 (Section IId, para. 9)] The same sage green fatigue uniforms of herringbone cotton twill, and wind-resistant poplin field jackets used by Army ground troops, were also used by AAF troops depending on duty assignment. [Risch and Pitkin, p. .]
AAF uniforms were subject to Army Regulations, specifically AR 600-35 and AR 600-40, authorizing the wearing of emblems, badges, and insignia on the uniform. The vast size of the service saw the wearing of many custom-made variants of authorized emblems, badges, and insignia, and numerous examples of unauthorized insignia and emblems appeared throughout the forces, particularly in combat units overseas.
To denote the special training and qualifications required for air crew and technical personnel in the USAAF, in most categories known as being U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Ratings the following Military badges of the United States (known colloquially but ubiquitously throughout the service as "wings") were authorized for wear by members of the Army Air Forces during World War II
[Bowman (1997), p. 156. Reproduction of relevant page from The Officers Guide, July 1943.]
File BombardierBadge 2.jpg Image:FlightEnginneerbadge.jpg|thumb|right|Flight Engineer Badge (enlisted)]]
*Aircrew Badge (United States)
*Army Air Force Technician Badge
*Balloon Pilot Badge
*United States Aviator Badge
*Flight Engineer Badge
*Flight Instructor Badge
*Flight Nurse Badge
*Flight Surgeon Badge (United States)
*Auxiliary Pilot Badge
*Auxiliary Pilot Badge
*United States Aviator Badge
*Balloon Pilot Badge
*United States Aviator Badge
*Auxiliary Pilot Badge
*Women Airforce Service Pilots Badge
These aviation qualification badges were typically worn in full three-inch (76 mm) size on service or dress uniforms, but two-inch versions (nicknamed "sweetheart wings") were also authorized for less-formal shirt wear. Most aviation badges were made of sterling silver or were given a silver finish, and various devices were used to attach them to uniforms. These included the traditional pin and safety catch and, later, clutch-back fasteners. Most USAAF badges of World War II became obsolete, having been superseded by later designs or with their aeronautical rating discontinued, and were not authorized for wear on the uniform after 1955.
Ranks and grades
The rank structure and insignia of the U.S. Army Air Forces was that of the United States Army of World War II.
! 11th Grade
! 10th Grade
! 9th Grade
! 8th Grade
! 7th Grade
! 6th Grade
! 5th Grade
! 4th Grade
! 3rd Grade
! 2nd Grade
! 1st Grade
| |Image US-O11 insignia.svg
| Image US-O10 insignia.svg
| Image US-O9 insignia.svg
| Image US-O8 insignia.svg
| Image US-O7 insignia.svg
| Image US-O6 insignia.svg
| Image US-O5 insignia.svg
| Image US-O4 insignia.svg
| Image US-O3 insignia.svg
| Image US-O2 insignia.svg
| Image US-O1 insignia.svg
! General of the Army
! Lieutenant General
! Major General
! Brigadier General
! Lieutenant Colonel
! Captain (United States)
! First Lieutenant
! Second Lieutenant
! 2nd Grade
! colspan2|1st Grade
| File ChiefWarrantWW2.jpg
| File JuniorWarrantWW2.jpg || File FlightOfficerWW2.jpg
! Chief Warrant Officer
! Warrant Officer !! Flight Officer
| W1 || FO
! colspan2|1st Grade
! 2nd Grade
! colspan2|3rd Grade
! colspan2|4th Grade
! colspan2|5th Grade
! 6th Grade
! 7th Grade
| File US Army WWII MSGT.svg || File US Army WWII 1SGT.svg
| File US Army WWII TSGT.svg
| File US Army WWII SSGT.svg || File US Army WWII T3C.svg
| File US Army WWII SGT.svg || File US Army WWII T4C.svg
| File US Army WWII CPL.svg || File US Army WWII T5C.svg
| File US Army WWII PFC.svg
| No Insignia
! Master Sergeant !First Sergeant
! Technical Sergeant
! Staff Sergeant !! Technician Third Grade
! Sergeant !! Technician Fourth Grade
! Corporal United States Army !! Technician Fifth Grade
! Private First Class
! Private (rank)
| M/Sgt. || 1st Sgt.
| S/Sgt. || T/3.
| Sgt. || T/4.
| Cpl. || T/5.
The first Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (US Army) authorized for Air Corps wear was that of the General Headquarters Air Force, approved 20 July 1937.
[http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/KittyHawkChronology/Kitty1903-79.pdf Up from Kittyhawk Chronology 1903-1979]. airforce-magazine.com. Retrieved 9 October 2012.] This sleeve insignia, which consisted of a blue triskelion superimposed on a gold circle, was retained after GHQ Air Force became Air Force Combat Command on 20 June 1941. The triskelion represented a stylized propeller that symbolized the three combat wings of GHQ Air Force. [Rottman (1998), p. 54.] On 23 February 1942, the GHQ AF patch was discontinued and the service-wide AAF sleeve insignia ("Hap Arnold Emblem") approved. The patch was designed by a member of Gen. Arnolds staff, James T. Rawls, and was based on the V sign The V campaign and the victory/freedom sign popularized by Winston Churchill [lt;/ref>
The wearing of sleeve insignia was authorized for members of numbered air forces based overseas on 2 March 1943, and for air forces in the United States on 25 June 1943. From that date forward, the "Hap Arnold Emblem" was worn only by personnel of units not assigned to a numbered air force. AR 600-40, "Wearing of the Service Uniform," subsequently limited sleeve insignia to the 16 air forces and the AAF patch. The Quartermaster Corps (United States Army) responsible for the design and supply of all authorized insignia, resisted further designs for the AAF until 28 July 1945, when command arcs (arc-shaped tabs, see example above in Command structure were authorized for wear above the AAF insignia by members of the various commands.
Image:1staf-wwII.jpg|First Air Force lt;BR>Northeast United States]
(Zone of the Interior)
File:2daf-wwii.jpg|Second Air Force lt;BR>Northwest United States
(Zone of the Interior)
Image:3daf-wwii.jpg|Third Air Force lt;BR>Southeast United States
(Zone of the Interior)
Image:4thaf-wwii.jpg|Fourth Air Force lt;BR>Western United States
(Zone of the Interior)
Image:5th usaaf.svg|Fifth Air Force lt;BR>Philippines
Image:6th air force.jpg|Sixth Air Force lt;BR>Caribbean Islands
Image:7th USAAF.svg|Seventh Air Force lt;BR>Hawaii
Image:Patch 8thUSAAF.png|Eighth Air Force lt;BR>Europe
Image:Patch9thusaaf.png|Ninth Air Force lt;BR>Middle East
Image:10th usaaf.png|Tenth Air Force lt;BR>India
File:11th_usaaf.png|Eleventh Air Force lt;BR>Alaska
Image:12th USAAF.png|Twelfth Air Force lt;BR>North Africa
Image:13thaf-patch.jpg|Thirteenth Air Force lt;BR>South Pacific
Image:14thaf-patch.jpg|Fourteenth Air Force lt;BR>China
Image:Patch 15th USAAF.png|Fifteenth Air Force lt;BR>Mediterranean
Image:20th usaaf.png|Twentieth Air Force lt;BR>India/China
*Air War Plans Division
*Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics
*Combined Bomber Offensive
*Operation Tidal Wave
*Strategic bombing during World War II
*Strategic Bombing Survey
*USAAF bombardment group
*USAAF unit identification aircraft markings
*Women Airforce Service Pilots
Lineage of the United States Air Force
* Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps 1 August 1907 – 18 July 1914
* Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps 18 July 1914 – 20 May 1918
* Division of Military Aeronautics amp;nbsp; 20 May 1918 – 24 May 1918
* United States Army Air Service amp;nbsp; 24 May 1918 – 2 July 1926
* United States Army Air Corps amp;nbsp; 2 July 1926 – 20 June 1941lt;/ref>|groupn}}
* United States Army Air Forces amp;nbsp; 20 June 1941 – 18 September 1947
* United States Air Force amp;nbsp; 18 September 1947–present
*Army Air Forces Statistical Digest, World War II Office of Statistical Control, Headquarters AAF. Washington, D.C. December 1945
:http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090608-039.pdf Tables 1-73, Combat Groups, Personnel, Training, and Crews]
:http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090608-042.pdf Tables 74-117 Aircraft and Equipment]
:http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090608-043.pdf Tables 118-218 Operations and Miscellaneous]
*Bowman, Martin W. (1997). USAAF Handbook 1939–1945 Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, ISBN 0-8117-1822-0
*Cline, Ray S.(1990). http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/WCP/ChapterVI.htm#p90 Washington Command Post: The Operations Division. United States Army in World War II: The War Department(series), United States Army Center of Military History
*Craven, Wesley Frank, and Cate, James Lea, editors (1983). The Army Air Forces In World War II Air Force Historical Studies Office, ISBN 0-912799-03-X (Vol. 1).
:(1948). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-005.pdf Volume One - Plans and Early Operations: January 1939-August 1942
:(1949). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-006.pdf Volume Two - Europe: Torch to Pointblank: August 1942-December 1943
:(1951). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-007.pdf Volume Three - Europe: Argument to V-E Day: January 1944-May 1945
:(1950). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-010.pdf Volume Four - The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan: August 1942-July 1944
:(1953). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-012.pdf Volume Five - The Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki: June 1944-August1945
:(1955). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-019.pdf Volume Six - Men and Planes
:(1958). http://www.afhso.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101105-020.pdf Volume Seven - Services Around the World
*Daly-Benarek, Janet R. (1995). The Enlisted Experience: A Conversation With the Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force Darby, Pennsylvania: Diane Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7881-2824-8.
*Finney, Robert T. (1955). USAF Historical Study No. 100: History of the Air Corps Tactical School Center for Air Force History, March 1955 edition
*Futrell, Robert F. (1951). USAF Historical Study No. 69: Development of AAF Base Facilities in the United States, 1939–1945 Air Force Historical Research Agency
*Futrell, Robert F. (1971). USAF Historical Study No. 139: Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: A History of Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907-1964 Air Force Historical Research Agency
*Griffith, Charles (1999). The Quest: Haywood Hansell and American Strategic Bombing in World War II Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press ISBN 1-58566-069-8
*Maurer, Maurer (1983). [http://newpreview.afnews.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-100921-044.pdf Air Force Combat Units of World War II] Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1
*Maurer, Maurer (1982). [http://newpreview.afnews.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101202-002.pdf Combat Squadrons of the Air Force World War II] Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Office of Air Force History, Headquarters United States Air Force
*Mayock, Thomas J. (1944). USAF Historical Study No. 105: http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090522-041.pdf Air Phase of the North African Invasion November 1942, Air Force Historical Research Agency
*Mooney, Chase C. (1956). USAF Historical Study No. 10: http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/numbered_studies/467602.pdf Organization of the Army Air Arm, 1935–1945, Air Force Historical Research Agency
*Nalty, Bernard C., editor (1997). Winged Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the United States Air Force Vol. I. Air Force History and Museums Program, USAF. ISBN 0-16-049009-X
*Reither, Joseph (1944). USAF Historical Study 13: http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090602-037.pdf The Development of Tactical Doctrines at AAFSAT and AAFTAC, Air Force Historical Research Agency
*Rickard, J (30 May 2007), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_P-38_Groups.html Lockheed P-38 Lightning Fighter Groups]
*Risch, Ema and Pitkin, Thomas M. (1946), QMC Historical Studies No. 16: Clothing the Soldier of World War II United States Army Quartermaster Corps, Historical Section
*Rottman, Gordon L (1998). U.S. Army Air Force – 1 Oxford, U.K.: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-295-1
*Smith, Jill H. (2001). Dressed for Duty: Americas Women in Uniform 1898–1973. San Jose, California: R. James Bender Publishing, ISBN 0-912138-81-5
*Watson, Mark Skinner (1991). http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/csppp/ch09.htm Chief of Staff: Pre-war Plans and Preparations. United States Army in World War II: The War Department(series), United States Army Center of Military History
*White, Jerry (1949). http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090601-030.pdf Combat Crew and Training Units in the AAF, 1939–45 (USAF Historical Study 61). Air Force Historical Research Agency.
*The Officers Guide, 9th Edition (July 1943). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Military Service Publishing Co. ASIN B0027W7SU4
*War Department. Army Regulations No. 600-35 "Personnel, Prescribed Service Uniform" (10 November 1941)
*War Department. Army Regulations No. 600-40 "Personnel, Wearing of the Service Uniform" (28 August 1941)
*War Department. Army Regulations No. 600-35 "Personnel, Prescribed Service Uniform" (31 March 1944)
*War Department. Army Regulations No. 600-40 "Personnel, Wearing of the Service Uniform" (31 March 1944)
*War Department Circular No. 391, "Adoption of M-1944 Field Jacket" (30 September 1944), Sec. VII
* http://www.armyairforces.com ArmyAirForces.com]
* http://www.ww2incolor.com/gallery/movies/thunderbolt2 Allied Fighter Combat Footage]
*https://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/PopTopics/chron/contents.htm U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology 1941–1945]
*http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Air_Power/Air_Force/AP33.htm Air Power: The United States Air Force]
*https://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/PopTopics/AAFaircraft.htm Army Air Forces Aircraft: A Definitive Moment]
* http://www.usaaf.net USAAF.net]
* http://paul.rutgers.edu/~mcgrew/wwii/usaf/html/ USAAF in WWII]
Category Military units and formations established in 1941
Category Military units and formations disestablished in 1947
Category 20th-century military history of the United States
Category United States Army Air Forces
Category Military units and formations of the United States in World War II
Category 1941 establishments in the United States