Billy Mitchell’s Impact on American Military Aviation Development

analytical Essay
1366 words
1366 words

Billy Mitchell’s impact on America military aviation development is unquestionably profound but his progressive radical approach in convincing others about the significance of air power led other to articulate, “Mitchell had allowed his vision of the potential of aviation to cost him his perspective.” Believing in his results from combat in WWI Mitchell set out to prove the importance of the air domain challenging the establishment on the significance of air power. Mitchell started out with a balanced approach regarding of this “new instrument of warfare” but as time progressed he and his pupils in the Air Service departed from a vision of a balanced force to one concentrated solely on strategic bombing leading up to WWII. Billy Mitchell’s leadership, antics and influence affected how and the way this happened resulting in profound impacts on a service that ended up focusing on strategic bombing while having to learn air operations in support of ground forces in combat. Mitchell stated, “future military operations could not proceed….without command of the air” and history has proven him correct. His relentless effort, which turned more radical over time, cost the Air Service in planes and lives as it could not deliver the decisive victory it promised. The gap between technology and the desired effects led to set backs until tactics and technology meet at an axis point where air dominance contributed to a team victory in WWII. Mitchell and his understudies should have realized that one airplane, such as the “Flying Fortress”, could not conduct all the missions required, protect its self from enemy fighters and win the war. They should have seen this coming as the founders of flight “knew that large airplanes built with... ... middle of paper ... ...tions between the Army and Air Service. As a result, Air Service generals had to focus on relationship-building skills in order to achieve a team victory both in Europe and Pacific theaters and core tasks had to develop in combat. The development of American air power bears the hallmark of Mitchell’s influence both positive and negative. Finding the right balance in today’s environment will be a testament to Mitchell’s original vision of a balanced Air Force ensuring America’s security. Works Cited Biddle, Tami Davis. Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2002. Hughes, Thomas A. Over Lord: General Pete Quesada and the Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II. New York: Free Press, 1995. Hurley, Alfred F. Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Air Power. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how mitchell's influence laid the groundwork for an "independent strategic theory." george advocated strategic bombing as a way to win wars.
  • Analyzes how mitchell advocated for a balanced force understanding by having all three capabilities (bomber, pursuit, ground support) an air service could enable the army and navy freedom of maneuver.
  • Analyzes how billy mitchell's progressive radical approach in convincing others about the significance of air power led to profound impacts on the air service.
  • Opines that mitchell's vision and influence over the long-range strategic direction of the air service had profound ramifications that could not be undone over night
  • Explains that biddle, tami davis, hughes, quesada, and the triumph of tactical air power in world war ii.
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