PRINCIPLES OF AIR WARFARE
In June 1942 after the British victory at El Alamein, Air Marshal Lord Tedder enunciated ten inviolable rules of air power. These principles became the foundation upon which Allied tactical air doctrine would evolve at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. These ten principles were
1. Air power must be independent of land and sea forces.
2. The Army Headquarters in the field and the Air Headquarters must be adjacent to each other. This close proximity will facilitate communication and cooperation between the two services.
3. Every night the air and ground commanders must hold a joint staff meeting to hash over problems and decide tomorrow's program. The close air support and air interdiction campaigns can then be integrated into the ground commander's overall concept of operations.
4. Radar is very important to air and land forces. It should be located on airfields so that fighters will not be caught on the ground and destroyed by a surprise enemy attack.
5. The fighter plane is the basic weapon of an air force. It should be used for the following missions in this priority:
a. Fighter sweeps to clear the enemy out of the sky.
b. Escort for light and medium bombers.
c. Interception of enemy aircraft.
d. As a fighter bomber to provide CAS for ground forces.
6. Always assure quick communications between the Air Headquarters and the Unit Commander. Air power is based on being at the right spot at the proper time to destroy the enemy air and land forces. Quick communications are essential to this flexible response by aircraft.
7. The entire air force should be commanded from an Advanced Headquarters located close to the front lines.
8. Air power must have a simplified chain of command. Commanders should restrict the number of people who report to them. These men should be directly responsible for air operations. During the North African campaigns, Lord Tedder had only six men report directly to him. This way his mind was not bothered by trivial matters. These responsibilities he delegated to his key staff members.
9. Intelligence is very important to an air or ground campaign. He had to have the information coming in constantly, right where he could see it. His Intelligence and Operations officers sat at adjoining desks and shared phone lines to the units. Since the A-2 and A-3 sat side by side, Lord Tedder could walk in and get any information he wanted, right on the spot.
10. Mobility is the key to successful air operations. He believed units should be broken down, even to the squadron level, in a 50/50 ratio--each divided into two parts, with each part self-maintaining in all departments. If independent operations were needed, he employed a leap frog technique. The first element would deploy to the front; when the next deployment occurred the second unit would leap frog past the first unit to the front lines. The most forward element would then become the command element to control the battle. He also believed that units should be able to move within four hours and should deploy to support its operations in isolation for three to four days.
These principles were incorporated into the training and doctrine of each Ninth Air Force unit by Generals Brereton and Quesada. The British Army and Royal Air Force also incorporated these ideas into their doctrine after El Alamein in 1942. Much of the Allied tactical air force success sprang from Lord Tedder's ten crucial air power principles.