Aircraft have played an important role since their invention. As technological advancements improved aircraft, increasingly, they became more deadly. Technological advancements achieved by the Allies and Axis’ during the WWII were crucial for aviation during that time period and for future generations. Designs and specs for WWII-era aircraft are impressive, even by today’s standards. The roles these aircraft had were crucial in winning the war. Some of the roles included target bombing that permitted stopping resupply production and hindering the enemy’s capabilities. Reconnaissance missions enabled better war planning. Fighter aircraft had a special key role during the war: escorting bomber aircraft reach their intended target. Ground-support aircraft were also very important in helping avoid casualties. This paper focuses on the evolving roles of American bombers during that time and how that enabled the U.S. to have successful bombing campaigns in Europe and Pacific theaters; and finally how all that relates in winning WWII.
American bombers played a very crucial part in winning WWII. Air power was needed in both the European and Pacific theaters to win the war. Developing aircraft and its technology were critical to achieve air superiority. In the early stages of the war, aircraft were limited to range and payloads. Both, Allied advancements into enemy territory and developing aircraft designs enabled bombers to reach the heart of operations in which the economies were developed and products were produced for the war effort. There is however documentation stating the duplicative effect of bombing in Japan as its manufacturing level was dwindling already as time progressed because of the shortage of raw materials and skill-level. Aside from no direct impact to Japanese economy and production, bombing, along with other factors, did cause Japanese leaders and its citizens to surrender as they saw no choice or no point to keep fighting and only death would come to them if they kept on going (Volume 55, 1947, p. VI). On the European theater however, bombing was more apparent in the defeat. Records show that more than 1,440,000 bomber sorties were flown and almost 2,700,000 tons of bombs were dropped (Volume 2, 1945, p. 1). The bombing surveys of both theaters demonstrate the direct impact on society, economy, and war capability. The surveys were performed shortly after each theater defeat and do not show effect after each bombing but the overall effect in winning in both Germany and Japan. The damage bombers could cause was apparent but “limitations of range, limitations of fighter escort, limitations of numbers, limitations forced by weather over the European continent, which was particularly unsuited to the desire form of attack” (Volume 2, 1945, p. 9) forced the design and the production of new American fighter aircraft. These new designs, such as the P-51 Mustang, had longer range and capability which in turn enabled successful bombing raids and therefore helping in the surrender of the Axis.
Volume 2 – Over-all Report (European War). (1945, September 30). WWII Archives. Retrieved from http://www.wwiiarchives.net/servlet/action/ document/index/112/0
Volume 55 – The Effects of Air Attack on Japanese Urban Economy Summary Report. (1947, March 1). WWII Archives. Retrieved from http://www.wwiiarchives.net/servlet/a ction/document/index/1495/0