Linking Logistics and Operations

A Case Study of World War II Air Power

by Jack Stockfisch


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This Note describes how operators learned to use and logisticians learned to support air power during World War II. They had to cope with great uncertainty given the fact that prewar models of air operations were falsified by wartime reality. More often than not, aircraft types were used in ways and for missions that differed from what designers and prewar planners had in mind. The "learning periods" of three distinct American and British uses of air power are examined: the support of ground fighting in the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe, the predominantly naval and amphibious Pacific campaigns, and the strategic bombardment efforts against Germany and Japan. Lessons inferred from this experience are related to the Air Force's current effort to develop a logistics concept of operations.

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