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Document created: 6 September 00
Published Aerospace Power Journal - Spring 2000
|In military operations, time is everything.|
Duke of Wellington
Cigars, Whiskey, and Winning: Leadership Lessons from General Ulysses S. Grant by Al Kaltman. Prentice Hall Press, Paramus, New Jersey, 1998, 322 pages, $22.00.
Dr. Al Kaltmans Cigars, Whiskey, and Winning, a minor masterpiece of analysis, deals with Lt Gen Ulysses S. Grants ability to advance leadership to a higher art form. Expressed as a grade, this book deserves an A. Kaltman makes a formidable contribution to our understanding of why General Grant was so effective in doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. The author writes in a lively and provocative style. His treatment of Grants leadership practices is clear, concise, and thought provoking; and he has put together a gold mine of information, commentary, and useful tools applicable to both military and civilian leaders at all levels within an organization.
Based largely on the generals autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, the book is organized into 11 chronological periods in the life of this towering figure. Using well-selected historic examples, each chapter is subdivided into a number of cogent lessons. Each lesson is based on a lucid account and vigorous analysis of key concepts taken from Grants own literary composition and personal experiences. There are 250 lessons in all, each intended to get the reader to appreciate Grant, the quintessential military strategist and tactician. These lessons are soundly researched by the author and possess great value, not only as a basic reference work for the period, but as insightful, solid, and useful pieces of practical wisdom for more effective problem solving and decision making by leaders in a highly competitive world. People seriously interested in developing personal leadership potential or the leadership potential of those around them should own a copy of Cigars, Whiskey, and Winning and should read it again and again to see what they missed on previous readings. For these reasons and more, this book is a work of capital importance.
Learning leadership lessons from history is an excellent means
of pursuing leadership development, and Kaltmans book successfully
facilitates this process. History, studied in this way, gives its students
an opportunity to relate hypothetically with significant figures such as
Grant; more importantly, it can provide metaphors for more effectively dealing
with contemporary leadership and executive issues. The strategy addressed
in this book is simply to teach through historic example.
Someone once said, There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. Ulysses S. Grant is one of those rare people who knew how to make things happen and did. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and Grants foremost adversary in the American Civil War, said, I doubt his superior can be found in all history. Abraham Lincoln added, The great thing about Grant . . . is his perfect correctness and persistency of purpose.
Al Kaltmans book sends an array of clear messages to the student and practitioner of the art of leadership. The author emphasizes that Grant was a perceptive and surprisingly modern leadera pragmatist who learned from his own and others successes and failures. As exemplified by Grants writings and actions, leadership is making what you believe in happen. He demonstrated that leadership is courage, determination, skill, strategy, and luck. Grant understood only too well that leadership is a lot like surgeryits traumatic, tedious, and emotionally draining. Yet, as commander of the Union forces during the Civil War, he never failed to rise to the occasion and do his utmost in what he thought was right.
The author suggests that a large part of Grants success was that he was sharply focused and value-based. He always asked two simple questions: What is our purpose? What is our strategy to accomplish that purpose? Grants thinking took the form of a trilogy: Is it simple? Does it make sense? Will it work? The bottom line and the lines above and below the bottom line were, Will what we do help us to win? The author implies that Grant always seemed to know what the issues and problems were. He had, as most great leaders do, a keen ability to deal with reality. The book indicates that as a leader, manager, and commander, Grant was unaffected by opinion. He dealt with the facts. He was undismayed by disaster and faced his work with great courage and hope. These were perhaps his greatest leadership characteristics, because all other distinguishing traits depend on them.
The book clearly makes the point that when you get under the skin of a true leader, you find true grit. Distinctly, the book suggests that Grant had strength of purpose, integrity, and the ability to make tough decisions and that he could live with the consequences. He made mistakes, but he admitted them. He refused to be intimidated, realizing that an intimidated chief can never be a great leader because one needs an independent mind to make the right decisions. Not everyone agreed with Grant, but self-confidence is a part of leadership at every level. The author also touches on other key aspects of Grants success. In the Civil War, Grant was a fighting general, a man of action who understood that his place was where things really matteredin the field with his men. His demonstrated qualities of decisiveness and aggressiveness served him well, and his confidence and belief in the ability and fighting spirit of his troops served him and the nation well in their hour of greatest need. His leadership enabled ordinary men to do extraordinary things in a struggle so fierce that even to this day it defies complete description.
According to Kaltman, Grant demonstrated that to be a leader, you have to know who you are, what you believe, and where you want to take people. In his chronology of Grant, the author suggests that the general constantly grew in stature. Beginning the war as simply a fighting general, Grant eventually attained the status of a grand strategist. He understood that leadership is the liberation of talent. In this connection, Kaltman maintains that Grant fully empowered his subordinate commanders and placed a high degree of trust in them. He understood that if people believe they are not trusted, they will never function at full capacity. Grant had a special ability to learn more from his failures than from his successes. As a leader, he demonstrated exceptional mental toughness, implicitly trusted his instincts, and remained goal oriented.
One is impressed at every turn with the care that has gone into this book, from its basic organization to its complete index. The 250 lessons are carefully selected and richly annotated, combining careful attention to detail with a breadth of vision that does justice to Grant the soldier and the leader. Although all the lessons cited have merit, I found the following 12 commonsensical and practical lessons particularly useful:
The book also contains an addendum in which the author rightfullyyet briefly, in only eight pagesexamines Grants presidency. The author acknowledges that a more in-depth treatment of Grant the president would require a separate volume. The presidency forever tarnished Grants reputationpartly because he was a hero, and the nation expected more of him. Although there were scandals in his administration, there were also some very significant accomplishments. The author has done well in identifying a number of them, such as the passage of legislation to enforce civil rights, creation of the Department of Justice, reduction of the national debt, and return to specie-backed currency. The lessons here are that people often have expectations of their leaders that can be difficult to meet and that, often, people expect more than they have a right to. Although his record as president was certainly not equal to that of his generalship, this silent man could still point with pride to a number of significant accomplishments.
Dr. Richard I. Lester
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Operation Deliberate Force: The UN and NATO Campaign in Bosnia by Tim Ripley. Centre for Defence and International Security Studies (CDISS) (http://www.cdiss.org), Cartmel College, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YL, United Kingdom, 360 pages, 1999.
Tim Ripley, a research associate at CDISS, covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1995 for Janes Intelligence Review and Flight International. In the process, he published Air War Bosnia: UN and NATO Airpower. In Operation Deliberate Force, he has used his growing expertise to produce a thoroughly intimidating work on the year and events that we now recognize as pivotal in the agonizing series of conflagrations collectively referred to as the Bosnian conflict. It is, as he says, a snapshot of a defining momentnot a history of the conflict.
Right up front, Ripley acknowledges that although the political maneuvers leading up to the Dayton Peace Accords are generally known through the press coverage they received, the military efforts to enable those political moves remain generally unknown. Thus, his book seeks to redress the balance and provide an insight into the pivotal events in the autumn of 1995 from a military perspective.
He sets out to capture those key events, the ground campaigns
and bombing offensives, especially in the autumn of 1995. Using first-person
interviews with many of the key players, such as Ambassadors Chris Hill and
Peter Galbraith; US general George Joulwan; British lieutenant general Rupert
Smith, commander of UN forces inside Bosnia; French lieutenant general Bernard
Janvier, commander of UN forces in the former Yugoslavia; and US lieutenant
general Mike Ryan, he re-creates the failed American effort to arm the Muslims,
the horrible bombing of Pale, the British/Serb showdown at Gorazde, the massacres
at Srebrenica, US involvement in the Croats Operation Storm, the development
of the NATO bombing plan, and the deadly mortar attack on Sarajevo that triggered
Operation Deliberate Force.
Ripley then walks us through that air campaign as preparation for the Dayton Peace Accords. It is not a pretty story. Nor is it easy to follow. That is not the authors faultjust the reality of the conflict. To most Americans, this subject is little understood and thoroughly intimidating. The acronyms alone are mind numbing. Regardless, Ripley has made a superior effort to capture this history. His legwork is awesome, and it shows in the detail of the work. At the end, his list of all the people he talked to is a whos who of the conflictwith one exception. Many people from the other side have yet to be heard from. Ripley notes that omission in his work and does acknowledge that if they do ever speak out, it may alter the historyan honest statement.
My one criticism is that I did not find his maps very useful. They seemed to lack an overall orientation. To me, clear and well laid out maps are an absolute necessity in military writing.
All in all, however, Operation Deliberate Force is a serious and impressive piece of work on a very difficult and confusing subject. I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of the conflict we blithely label Bosnia.
Col Darrel Whitcomb, USAFR, Retired
Proud Legions: A Novel of Americas Next War by John Antal. Presidio Press (http://www.presi-diopress.com), 505-B San Marin Drive, Suite 300, Novato, California 94945-1340, 1999, 368 pages, $24.95.
As an airman who has wrestled with the complexities of warfare as a B-52 navigator, as a student at Air Command and Staff College and at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, on the Air Staff, in senior service school, in command, and now on the Joint Staff, I knew that a gaping hole existed when it came to understanding how the US Army fights. In fact, there was a time when I understood the Russian army better than the US Army. Ive studied AirLand Battle, Ive studied Army doctrine, and Ive pored over joint doctrine; but truly understanding the Army has come slowlyuntil now.
Proud Legions offers the layman the unique opportunity to fight the Korean War from a very personal perspectivethat of an armored battalion. Presented with a series of serious combat situations, the commander of a stranded US Army armor battalion examines his circumstances, develops a plan, and then executes his plan against a numerically superior force charged with all the élan that the powerful propaganda machine of North Korea can generate. As either a study in leadership or in armored tactics, this novel offers the airman an opportunity to help the commander on the ground decide the next course of action. Worried about commanders intent and what it means? John Antal walks you through the thought process. How about developing objectives? They are there as well. Executing a maneuver to end-run an opponent? Heres a blueprint. In short, Proud Legions includes the basics of armored warfare in a readable, enjoyable format that even a navigator can understand.
Yet, this is not a work to be taken lightly. Within the armor community, Antals book is swiftly becoming a handbook for success. Its message is so important that it has already been translated into Japanese, which means that our South Korean allies and North Korean foes will read it as well.
The message for airmen is equally important. We must be able to fight in a combined-arms environment. In that respect, this book will help.
Some aspects of Proud Legions warrant criticism. Its hardly believable that the armored officer will get the girl. It is equally unbelievable that airpower is generally unable to contribute during the early stages of a North Korean offensive. However, in light of the fact that the book seeks to articulate the vital importance of armored forces in combat, we can easily forgive such shortcomings. Proud Legions is fast-paced, so its hard to put down once youve started it. After it comes out in paperbackand that will be soonI highly recommend that you buy a copy and read it.
Lt Col George R. Gagnon, USAF
Black Soldier, White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea by William Bowers, William Hammond, and George MacGarrigle. Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C. 20005-3402, 1996, 294 pages, $26.00.
Black Soldier, White Army should be known to anyone concerned with or interested in race relations in the US military. It is an excellent case study that explores the impact of segregation and prejudice on a military unit and on combat perfor-mance. It is an important book but not a pleasant or uplifting one.
Although President Harry Truman ordered the US military to desegregate in 1948, the US Army fought the first half of the Korean War with segregated forces. (The Navy and the Marine Corps were also laggards in this regard, while the Air Force did considerably better.) The principal segregated Army unit employed in the Korean War was the 24th Infantry Regiment in the Armys 25th Division. It consisted entirely of black enlisted troops with both black and white officers. (All of the units commanders were white since Army policy would not allow a black officer to command a white officer.) The kindest and least controversial thing to say is that the 24th did not do well in action, and the units alleged failings led to its dissolution in October 1951. The regiments combat record and the causes of this performance are all very much in dispute. Because of these questions and a critical Army history of 1961 that some have called grossly inaccurate, racist, and a public lynching, veterans and supporters of the unit urged the Army to reassess the regiments record. The result of that nine-year effort is Black Soldier, White Army, which also proved controversial and, under threat of lawsuits, was reviewed at the highest level of the Department of the Army before publication.
Black Soldier, White Army begins with an introductory chapter that covers the service of black troops in the US Army up through World War II. Using extensive interviews and official documents, the authors discuss the 24th Infantrys occupation service in Japan in the 1940s and then focus on the units operations in the Korean War, until it was disbanded. They are critical of the units preparations for war and brutally candid about the racism present in the unit and the US Army, as well as the 24ths deficiencies. In battle, the regiment became known as unreliable, prone to panic, and the weakest of all US Army units in Korea. The reality, however, was much more complex and ambiguous. Clearly, the unit performed poorly, but so did other units early in the war. The authors also note the numerous acts of unit and individual achievement and courage in the 24th (including two Medals of Honor won by black enlisted soldiers).
The authors produce a detailed, balanced, abundantly documented, and critical study. As should be expected in a history on a very sensitive and complicated subject, particularly by official historians, they are very circumspect with both their language and conclusions. One can summarize their monograph in one sentence: the unit did worse than other regiments primarily because of a lack of unit cohesion due to long-standing racism and inadequate leadership.
Because of the controversy and sensitivity of this subject, Black Soldier, White Army has gained more attention than most historical studies. It has been and will be criticized, on the one hand as too sympathetic (politically correct) and on the other as unfairly critical. I would only question the heavy reliance on oral interviews, especially those done so many years after the events, when time has dimmed memories and radically changed the social climate. That said, I recognize that there is probably no way other than interviews to get at what happened and why it happened. Another possible criticism is that this study should have more vigorously compared the 24ths performance with that of other regiments fighting in similar circumstances. The comparative performance of the 24th with other segregated US infantry units (3d Battalion, 9th Infantry; and 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry) would also have been relevant to this study. That said, I question if the units record could be more accurately appraised even if more facts could be gathered. In any case, the underlying factors responsible for this performance are more difficultperhaps impossibleto assess. In short, I dont see how this subject could have been covered much better.
Critics accuse the military, military historians, and official historians of producing tepid, self-serving histories that glorify and romanticize war and the military. This well-done study certainly refutes such allegations. Thus, the Army and its historical branch deserve high praise. Black Soldier, White Army indicates how far the military has come in 50 years and makes clear that the good old days were not so good for all. Most of all, it highlights the consequences of both an unprepared military as well as a segregated military on combat performance.
Kenneth P. Werrell
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Air Power in the Age of Total War by John Buckley. Indiana University Press, 601 N. Morton Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47404-3797, 1999, 260 pages, $19.95.
The first thing that will strike many readers about this work
is the title. Since the Aeronautical Division of the US Army Signal Corps
was established in 1907, it seems intuitive that airpower has always existed
in the age of total war. After
reading John Buckleys incisive look into the industrial, scientific, operational,
strategic, and even moral facets of airpower from its inception until present
day, one will have a better understanding of the title and will have enjoyed
Buckleys thesis is as follows: To wage total war, air power was by far the most useful yardstick, as only a few [nations] were able to meet the challenge of fusing technical know-how with mass production (p. 168). Only Western powers could meet this ability in the First World War and only the United States, the Soviet Union, and perhaps Britain during and after the Second. Today, Buckley suggests that such a capability now rests only with the major powers, and possibly only with the United States (p. 202). Although he rejects the temptation to lapse into blind Douhetism, Buckley strongly supports the notion that combined industrial, scientific, and war-fighting advantages of the Allies won the air wars in the Atlantic and the Pacific. Further, he understands how these strategic campaigns eventually wore down the Japanese and Germans, destroying their air forces and ensuring their eventual defeat.
What is appealing about Buckleys thinking is that he does not, at any time, fall into the sort of shallow thinking which suggests that airpower must always be the correct tool. He rightly points out that tactical (read conventional) airpower has rarely been decisive since 1945. He cites as examples the inviting targets the Iraqi command presented in the desert and the Israeli experience in 1967 (and to a far lesser degree in 1973). Compared to the numerous instances of major powers being unable or politically unwilling to utilize airpower to its maximum in limited situations, these achievements do appear nearly singular in nature. Buckley suggests that the reason for the decline of the importance of airpower is that air forces, by their very nature, can have only a limited impact in less than full scale war (p. 216). He boldly asserts that this is a crucial concept because airpower, born in the Great War, . . . played a crucial and arguably pivotal role in World War II, [and] is now a phenomenon of the past. To continue airpower as a method of total war would take far more economic, technological, and political resources than any nation would be likely to employ. Although it would be interesting to hear Professor Buckleys explanation of the recent air campaign in the Balkans, it is still possible to imagine a time when the substantial (and sharply increasing) costs of new aircraft systems could mean that even the United States struggles to field forces which could conduct total war. Professor Buckleys suggestion that air power and total war were linked as both causes and consequences of each other (p. 222), thereby shaping the course of warfare in the twentieth century, is worthy of consideration by all of us interested in the historical and conceptual framework of our profession.
Capt Todd Laughman, USAF
American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 19501953 by Conrad Crane. University Press of Kansas, 2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66049-3905, 1999, 252 pages, $35.00.
With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Korean War almost upon us, we can expect an onslaught of books on that conflict. Those on the air war will inevitably be compared with Frank Futrells The United States Air Force in Korea, 19501953, which is correctly considered the best on the subject. To quickly dispose of that comparison, Cranes effort is shorter, better written, narrower, and of course, more up-to-date. In my view, American Airpower Strategy in Korea will join Futrells book as a standard work on the subject of airpower in the Korean War.
Like Cranes previous book on strategic airpower in World War IIBombs, Cities, and CiviliansAmerican Airpower Strategy in Korea is a thoroughly researched and very thoughtful book. Crane makes excellent use of many American archives as well as an impressive amount of secondary material. It is a well-written, tightly argued, and up-to-date scholarly treatment of the subject. Balance is one of its strong points. When Crane deals with the tactical level, unlike authors of other Korean War histories, he devotes relatively less attention to the glory of the F-86 and air-to-air combat, and proportionally more to the less well known activities of the slogging B-29s, as well as the effective F-51s and F-80s. He also does exceptionally well with the neglected B-26s. To maintain a tight focus, for the most part Crane concentrates on the headquarters level, although he does add some interesting tactical details that seldom if ever appear in secondary works. These include such tidbits as US efforts to salvage a MiG downed behind communist lines, guided weapons, and such innovative weapons as tetrahedral tacks and steel darts (fléchettes). I would also highly praise the author for his informative, balanced, and most interesting treatment of American top leadership. He not only gives the reader interesting insights on Truman and MacArthur but also on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders in the field. Finally, Cranes citations and bibliography will greatly assist anyone interested in this subject. These by themselves commend American Airpower Strategy in Korea. But there is morefar more.
Crane does exceptionally well with three significant topics. The chapter entitled Manning and Inspiring the Force is an excellent extension into the Korean War of the pioneering work done by Mark Wells (Courage and Air Warfare) on World War II flying morale, psychology, and personnel management policies. Crane deals with the issues of recalling reservists for flying duties and spreading the inconvenience and the risk of aerial combat in a limited war. (The present problem of retention of military aviators in the force is, of course, related.) His discussion of the proposed American use of nuclear weapons is also excellent and eye-opening. Although this topic is dispersed throughout the book, the author does an excellent job with it, especially with putting it into context. Crane shows that the use of nuclear weapons was discussed frequently during the war, both in Korea and Washington, and details the arguments made for and against their employment. He also does a superior job of dealing with the controversy over communist allegations of US use of germ warfare.
I have no criticism of this book worthy of mention. I would anticipate, however, that some may not like Cranes vantage point and may long for more tactical detail. But this was not Cranes explicit intent and is for other writers. The author delivers on what he intended to do and does it in a superlative manner. American Airpower Strategy in Korea is an important bookone that is must reading not only for students of the Korean War but also those interested in airpower application in a limited war. Both the author and University Press of Kansas are to be highly complimented for producing this outstanding work.
Kenneth P. Werrell
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
The U.S. Air Force in Space: 1945 to the Twenty-First Century: Proceedings, Air Force Historical Foundation Symposium, Andrews AFB, Maryland, September 2122, 1995 edited by R. Cargill Hall and Jacob Neufeld. Air Force History and Museums Program, 200 McChord Street, Box 94, Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C. 20332-1111, 1998, 195 pages.
It is a rare event when a symposium on space can bring together a number of founders and distinguished Air Force historians. Organizers of the 1995 Air Force Historical Foundation Symposium are to be complimented on the fine lineup they assembled and on the excellent quality of the topics covered in this volume.
As is true of any proceeding or edited collection of essays, one inevitably finds a qualitative difference among the individual parts. In this work, the difference tends to be greater than usual because some of the entries are scholastic papers and some are close to the there I was genre of reminiscing. Although one notes some overlap in the essays, especially those dealing with the Air Forces early space history, the editors have succeeded in fitting the various parts together well. Overviews of each section are especially useful in smoothing out the narrative flow.
The book consists of three basic parts: a reexamination of
the formative years (194561) of Air Force space activities, a review
of mission development since 1961, and a look at what the current Air Force
issues are and where we may be heading in the future. Several of the topics
deserve a closer look.
The review of efforts to develop an Air Force operational organization for space by Brig Gen Earl S. Van Inwegen, USAF, Retired, may deserve the most consideration from current space operators. It has long been understood that the research and development roots of the Air Forces space efforts made control of the deployed systems haphazard at times. Attempts to form a specified Air Force command were long and arduous due to interservice rivalry and a lack of understanding in the Air Force over which structure would best suit an operational space force. General Van Inwegens comments about the establishment of Air Force Space Command bring these problemsand the solutioninto clearer focus.
Donald Baucoms look at the interplay of technology and strategy from 1957 to 1961 is also interesting. In unusually blunt language, Baucom develops a theory that during this period the Soviet Union and the United States were engaged in a technological warone in which space was perhaps the major battleground. Surprisingly, Baucom states that the Soviets understood the excellence of our joint military/civilian space programs, and it created in [them] a kind of inferiority complex.
Other essays of note include Gen Bernard Schrievers reflections on military space activity, Adam Gruens review of the utility of manned versus unmanned space missions, and Gen Donald Kutynas overview of space systems in the Persian Gulf War. All have something to offer, as does this volume. Anyone interested in the history of the Air Force in space should read this work.
Capt Todd Laughman, USAF
Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 19171945 by David E. Johnson. Cornell University Press, 512 East State Street, Ithaca, New York 14850, 1998, 229 pages, $37.50.
Readers can be excused for questioning a book that combines a doctrinal discussion of two weapon systems that seem to have little in common. There is much of an apples and oranges atmosphere about this book. After all, tanks were seen as tactical weapons to be used on the battlefield, whereas heavy bombers were viewed as strategic weapons best used far beyond the battlefield. In numbers produced and importance to the World War II effort, the airplane dwarfed the tank. So why does Johnson throw these two seemingly disparate machines together? The author is attempting to address the traditional charge that the US Army was woefully unprepared for modern war in 1941, as evidenced by shortcomings in tank and airpower doctrine and equipment. He admits this was the case but rejects theories that focus on the inherent conservatism of peacetime armies or of external factors such as the Great Depression or American isolationism. Instead, he argues that internal barriers to change and the myopic vision of single-issue constituencies contributed significantly to the Armys unpreparedness for World War II (p. 2). Johnson argues that Army doctrine and equipment were inadequate due to the parochialism and selfishness that were rife throughout the Army. There are several problems with this thesis.
First, although Johnson makes it abundantly clear that the US Army did indeed fight all of World War II without a suitable tank, he shows no such comprehensive failure regarding airpower. Concerning air bombardment, he correctly observes that the need for a fighter escort was a major oversight. However, he fails to note how quickly that oversight was overcome. Disastrous bombing missions in October 1943 convinced American airmen they needed fighter escort. Yet, in February 1944, a scant four months later, this problem was solved, and air superiority was achieved over Europe. All failures should be so quickly remedied!
Moreover, the author compounds his error by then chastising air doctrine for being insufficiently attuned to the needs of the ground troops. To support this assertion, he offers the example of the heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force that were used to carpet bomb German positions in front of Omar Bradleys 12th Army Group at Saint-Lô. When this mission was carried out, however, several hundred American troops were killed by short bombs. Johnson sees this episode as a failure of American tactical air doctrine. This is a baffling example and interpretation. Airmen never maintained that the use of heavy bombers in such a tactical role was wise; they flew the operation because the ground commander earnestly requested that they do so. Nonetheless, despite the bombing accidents, the air operation was still considered an outstanding success by the Armybreakout was achieved.
More importantly, the author totally fails to mention the enormous effort the Army Air Forces put into tactical air support. The Ninth and Twelfth Air Forceslarger than the entire Luftwaffewere specifically designated to support Allied army groups. In this, they were outstandingly successful. Yet, we never hear of Hoyt Vandenberg, Opie Weyland, or Joe Cannon, and only briefly of Pete Quesada; nor do we hear how George Patton relied on Weylands XIX Fighter Command to serve as his right flank on his drive across France. In truth, the American air-ground team was far superior to its German counterpart.
Finally, it is surprising that the author does not draw the obvious conclusion from his own evidence regarding the importance of leadership in the Armys problemsboth bad and good. He notes, for example, that until the very end of the war, neither Dwight Eisenhower nor George Marshall was aware of how inferior our Sherman tanks were compared to the German Panthers and Tigers. They did not even know how vilified the Shermans were by their own tank crews. How is such an incredible oversight possible? It would seem that the failure of Army leaders to understand what was going on in their own units had a far greater impact on American tank doctrine and equipment failures than did intraservice parochialism before the war. Similarly, although the author notes that even modest tank reform would have been impossible without the adamant advocacy of the Army G-3 in the late 1930s, he fails to grasp the significance of this fact. The Army G-3 was Maj Gen Frank Andrews, an airman with broad and original ideas on future war. On the other hand, the man largely responsible for thwarting Andrews over tanks, but who also rejected Air Corps plans to build the revolutionary new B-17, was Gen Malin Craig, the Army chief of staff. Leadership seems to have enormous consequences in this story, but the subject is not pursued.
Overall, this is an interesting if flawed book. Readers will be especially dumbfounded by the numerous examples given of cavalry officers who abjectly refused to acknowledge the limitations of the horse, even after the outbreak of the war in Europe in 1939.
Col Phillip S. Meilinger, USAF
Newport, Rhode Island
War and the World: Military Power and the Fate of Continents, 14502000 by Jeremy Black. Yale University Press, P. O. Box 209040, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-9040, 1998, 334 pages, $35.00.
This book is designed to be a college textbook, but its style, ease of reading, and global perspective make it a remarkable book in a field which is flooded by new texts each year. It provides essential information about battles that most will know from European and American history, but it also seeks to open new horizons by showing that other powers such as China, Japan, and native armies in the Americas and the Indian subcontinent played an important part in molding the concept and conduct of war. In contrast to other books that have focused on global military developments using technology as the driving force, this book looks at social and political developments to show how societies have adapted to the ultimate challenge of war. As Spain, Portugal, Holland, and then Britain moved to create commercial empires, Black is able to show the role of maritime and firearms technology in abetting European overseas expansion. Ottoman battles in North Africa are featured in this text as are Chinese maritime operations around Sri Lanka. The reader is struck by how familiar these operations are, even when conducted by another power three thousand miles away from the previous occurrence in history.
Changes in defensive firepower by infantry are detailed, as is the importance of close combat fighting in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, even after the introduction of European rifles. The use of fortresses to control native populations is a recurring theme in the book, as is the need for governments to adapt to new political systems if wars are to be successful. The book touches on air warfare only after World War I; thus its primary focus remains on land and naval power. Black also takes issue with long-held views of European dominance in war fighting and global abilities by examining every conflict in this single volume, an accomplishment which makes this a useful background text for any military historian. Post-1945 colonial struggles and modern Rus-sian counterinsurgency operations are all described so that the book is comprehensive until 1998. Modern arms trade, limits in technology, and nuclear weaponry are all covered.
The final chapter, the Look Ahead, will strike familiar themes; resource wars such as the British-Icelandic Cod War and population and consumption issues will move into the forefront during the next century as the world population expands without bounds. China, if it is indeed to be a long-term player, must find a new economic and political balance unless it intends to take a Genghis Khan path that will elicit a counterhegemonic response from the other world powers. Technological advances in terrorism, a topic rarely seen in history books, has shown Israel and India their limitations when their forces tried to intervene in Lebanon and Sri Lanka.
The world is thus faced with rival ideas for orderthe nationalistic one known to mankind since 1450 and a global one led by the United Nations that has yet to emerge from the post-cold-war era. According to the author, the strife could set off a new round of war as nations seek order, stability, and wealth. While certain phases of past conflicts will not be repeated, globalism is a theme that was around when Britain conquered the French, Spanish, and Dutch colonial empires, giving it a market share and a dominance other nations would like to have in the twenty-first century.
This is a history book that provides excellent background, is concise and filled with a wealth of details, and serves as an excellent reference work for the military historian. Blacks arguments with existing scholarship are well laid out and do not detract from this text. They provide a new starting point from which to examine current military history classes at the academic level.
Capt Gilles Van Nederveen, USAF
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Rolling Thunder: Jet Combat from World War II to the Gulf War by Ivan Rendall. Free Press, 866 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10022, 1997, 336 pages, $26.00.
Pilots are good; high technology is great; graduated application of airpower is a cardinal sin; and the Israeli air force is worthy of worshipthat is the song of Ivan Rendall in Rolling Thunder.
Rendall is British, and the book jacket claims that he has served in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Some of the reviewers say that he served as a pilot in the RAF, but one suspects they have escalated that some. It seems to me that the naive attitudes in the book are highly untypical of professional flyers, though not of television producers (Rendalls present occupation). In fact, the book shows strong signs of having been spun off from the script of a television series of which he was the producer. Certainly, he has wide interests. His other titles include Ayrton Senna: A Tribute (to a racing car driver); The Checkered Flag: 100 Years of Motor Racing; Flyers: The Spirit of Kitty Hawk; and The Power and the Glory: A Century of Motor Racing.
Rolling Thunder is a bad title for an American book because the work covers much more than the Vietnam War, and that title yields a false impression of its scopethe subtitle would have been better. There is little or nothing that is new in the tale. Jet combat has been a favored topic for the last half century and is well covered in many other works. The current one is so full of technical mistakes that its credibility is undermined. Atop that, the editing is slipshod, and one wonders why a respectable house like Free Press was persuaded to let it appear under its auspices.
It would take another book to cover all the factual errors, but the following illustrate the point: identifying the C-135 with the Boeing 707; saying that the weapons load for the F-117 includes Mavericks and high-speed antiradiation missiles (HARM); asserting that the Implementation Force growing out the Dayton Accords included 60,000 US troops; and asserting that the GBU-28 is stuffed with forty-seven hundred pounds of explosive. The C-135 is significantly smaller than the 707, although they are similar; the F-117 is not among the airplanes qualified to deliver Mavericks or HARMs; the entire Implementation Force contained 60,000 troops, and the US contribution was only a fraction of that number; and the GBU-28 contains only six hundred pounds of Tritonal.
Worse than all that, the work is undocumented, and it becomes a mind-numbing series of anecdotes without much thought to airpower in its larger sense. The name of about every fighter ace since Manfred von Richthofen is mentioned, but the Gulf War is described in some detail without any mention of the work of Col John Warden or Gen Charles Horner. Too, Rendall seems to know nothing of the plans that were guiding the application of the coalitions airpower. His focus is largely at the lower end of the operational and technical spectrum, and there is much more to airpower than that. Finally, his attitude is so in tune with that of people who lament the political control of airpower that it suggests the German stab-in-the-back myth in the period right after World War I. Lyndon Johnson had to worry about starting World War III, and it was the duty of airmen to carry out the commander in chiefs direction (or resign their commissions). And some people think that gradualism worked in the Cuban missile crisis and in KosovoThomas Schelling makes a plausible case for it.
Samples of the slipshod editing include the following: using the acronym IAF to describe both the Israeli and Iraqi air forces; employing between when among would be correct; missing the correct date when the Soviets closed off surface traffic with the Berlin blockade; using the word aggression when aggressiveness is meant; misspelling Gen Matthew Ridgways name every time it is used; and permitting 68-word sentences. That is only the tip of the iceberg.
Dr. Kenneth Werrell knows a good deal more about airpower (he was a pilot) than Rendall seems to. Werrell reviewed Rolling Thunder in another journal and did not recommend itproposing as an alternative Lon Nordeens Air Warfare in the Missile Age (ironically, Rendall does cite another book by Nordeen in his bibliography but even manages to misspell the authors name there). I second Werrell and suggest most strongly that serving air warriors/scholars conserve their precious professional reading time for better tomes. David C. Isbys Fighter Combat in the Jet Age is in a different formatalmost like a reference bookbut it covers the same ground and does so much more authoritatively than does Rolling Thunder. The tragedy (presuming that the thrust of the television series resembles that of the book) is that television producers have a much wider influence than do the Werrells of the world.
Dr. David R. Mets
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
The Korean War: No Victors, No Vanquished by Stanley Sandler. University Press of Kentucky, 663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40508-4008, 1999, 330 pages, $19.00.
Stanley Sandler, currently a visiting professor at Virginia Military Institute, is an experienced and well-published military historian who for many years was an Army historian with Special Operations Command. His book The Korean War is a straightforward, traditional military history of that conflict, complete with endnotes (six pages) and an extensive bibliography (33 pages). The first half of the book is a narrative of the war; the second half is a topical treatment that covers a number of key topics. These include air and naval wars, prisoners of war, guerrilla warfare, medical aspects, civil action, diplomacy, home fronts, and integration of the US military.
This is a fine, concise, balanced, detailed, and critical treatment of the subject. The subtitle reflects the authors overall conclusions and establishes his low-key, evenhanded approach to the subject. (Sandler chooses his words carefully as he makes it clear that the true losers of the war were the Koreans.) The author clearly points out what the deficiencies of US forces were at the beginning of the war and how they were outfought in the early months of the war by the well-disciplined, more experienced, and at times outnumbered North Korean forces. He is equally candid about the massive American defeat at the hands of the Chinese in late 1950 and early 1951, surely one of the worst military defeats ever dealt US forces. Sandler writes of American disdain for both Korea and the Koreans and is more positive about the South Korean military effort than authors of other secondary sources. Compared to other histories of the war, The Korean War is one of the moreif not the mostcritical and opinionated. To a large degree, this makes for an interesting book.
I was most impressed by Sandlers command of recent scholarship. This familiarity, combined with his sharp reading of the existing material, allows him to present a number of observations not previously mentioned by authors of similar overviews of the war. For example, he makes excellent use of a variety of sources, including Russian material, to note Soviet participation in the air war. He also discusses the very controversial conduct of the segregated 24th Infantry Regiment with fairness and candor, as well as the recent and likewise controversial Army history of that unit. As a result, he presents an up-to-date, solid account. The sizable bibliography is very useful.
As with all published works, there are weaknesses and flaws. First, the six maps, although more abundant than in most similar works, fall short because they do not show a number of the place-names mentioned in the text. Second, Sand-ler includes endnotes, but on occasion too few of them. For example, he mentions evidence of captured Air Force pilots being taken to the Soviet Union and not being returned (p. 188). In the next sentence, he writes that of 56 F-86 pilots who fell into Communist hands, the fate of 30 remains unknown, implying that more should have survived the war. Because this topic is very provocative and controversial, it deserves further discussion and most certainly demands documentation. There are, however, no citations for either sentence. Of course, Sandler may be correct, but without citations there is no way of quickly checking his sources. (Using the bibliography, I uncovered the source of this material but did not find it convincing.)
That being said, The Korean War is an excellent bookin my view the best short history available on the Korean War. It fulfills all the reasonable requirements for a text in an outstanding manner and clearly outperforms similar efforts. Therefore, I strongly and unreservedly recommend it for adoption for any military history course on the Korean War, as well as for use by anyone who wants a short, up-to-date, broad, readable treatment of the war. Two thumbs up.
Kenneth P. Werrell
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Lemnitzer: A Soldier for His Time by L. James
22883 Quicksilver Drive, No. 100, Dulles, Virginia 20166, 1997, 386 pages, $32.95.
Lyman Lemnitzer (18991988) served in uniform for more than half a century. A member of the West Point class of 1920, he was 15 years a lieutenant; however, he wore stars for 27. During Lemnitzers career, the Army moved from mules to missiles, from a minuscule defense force to the cold wars finest, and one not yet crumpled by the Vietnam experience when Lemnitzer retired in 1969.
Lemnitzer left West Point for an Army in decline, and his first 15 years were characterized by this Armys shrinkage. With the armistice, the officer corps plummeted from two hundred thousand to 19,000; and the decline continued until the mid-30s in cost-conscious, defense-oriented, isolationist America. Even Lemnitzers choice of branch couldnt move him up when there was no place to go. Lemnitzer chose the Coast Artillery, traditionally the plum in Fortress America but already a dying branch.
Lemnitzer showed little promise in his early career. His evaluations were okay but not dazzling. Then at Corregidor, Col Stanley Embick recognized something special in Lemnitzer, upgraded his evaluation, and set the young lieutenant on an upward path. Lemnitzers performance also improved. By 1943, he was a two-star general on Field Marshal H. L. Alexanders staff. And he got brief combat commands in Italy and later in Korea. He eventually rose to the position of Army chief of staff, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He held responsible positions during the Bay of Pigs and early in Vietnam. He finished as supreme allied commander, Europe, during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. After retiring from active service, he became a stump speaker for a strong national defense. His was a four-star performance, although it had no blazing guns, no triumphant returns or massed landings, and no political outbursts. Lemnitzer was a planner, a staff officer without peer. No wonder hes the most obscure four-star general in American history.
All biographers run the risk that the record will write their book for them. Binder has fallen into this trap. Drawing heavily on the Lemnitzer archives, Binder re-creates the person those archives contain. He draws often from officer evaluations, which even then consisted of stock phrases more than insights into character. He uses an abundance of Lemnitzer anecdotes, including a couple of jokes, and Binder is up front in noting that Lemnitzers views are obscure except on military issues. Binder traces the career, but wider research might have helped him develop the man and his times better. He has produced a public biography that is short on explanation of the how and why of Lyman Lemnitzer.
Lemnitzer got into some controversial situations (even if we dont know exactly what he did or what he thought). Binder appears to supplement the Lemnitzer archives by finding a book, any book, to plug the gaps. Thats bad technique: pick the wrong book, get the wrong story. For instance, Binders treatment of the Italian surrender overlooks Lemnitzers involvement in a questionable deal to protect prominent Nazis from war crimes prosecution. Had Binder read more widely, he might have developed a different assessment of Lemnitzers character. Perhaps not. At least he would have been better able to create the context that is so vital to any biography.
That said, biography is extremely difficult. Binder has written a good career biography, and the general would probably approve. However, because Lemnitzer was not flashy, this will undoubtedly be the biography that defines him for posterity. Its less than it might have been if Binder had identified the traits that attract sponsorship and had Binder placed Lemnitzer more reliably within his times. Its worth reading for what it says about getting a sponsor early on and having all the right entries on the resumé.
Dr. John H. Barnhill
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Military and Conflict between Cultures: Soldiers at the Interface edited by James C. Bradford. Texas A&M University Press, Drawer C, College Station, Texas 77843-4354, 1997, 233 pages, $37.95.
The overarching theme of this edited collection of eight articles concerns Western military forces in conflict with the indigenous forces of non-Western societies. The work is divided along several subordinate themes that include two articles on the premodern era, three on Western forces and indigenous peoples, two on the impact of twentieth-century cultural perceptions, and one article on concluding reflections. Virtually all the articles are interesting for the points they explicitly and implicitly develop. My principal complaint is that the readers ability to follow the arguments of the various authors is hindered by the distracting lack of maps, forcing one to try to conjure up some geography or sending him or her flipping through an atlas.
The premodern era of warfare is discussed in two articles. The first is by John Guilmartin and concerns the development, impact, and limitations of light troops in classical armies, while the second, by Dennis Showalter, concerns the impact of gunpowder on regional military systems. As a sociologist interested in type constructions and model building, I found Guilmartins presentation of a tetrahedron model of combat effectiveness quite interesting. I was particularly struck by the discussion concerning mounted archery, cavalry, and shock troops in the classical age and their limited effectiveness due to the lack of the invention of the stirrup. I would have thought that it would have been a fairly quick invention after the initial use of horses for warfare or even for simple transportation. Apparently, inventions are only obvious after their development.
Showalters article definitely needs subheadings and a map or two. Basically he examines the idea that in the late Middle Ages, Europe began to develop regional military systems based on a building-block approach, which was determined by what kinds of units (archers, pikemen, etc.) could be secured. In turn, these various types of units were organized along lines of family, clan, guild, and so forth. Organizational structure was often tailored to engender the optimal loyalty and efficiency from this medieval plug and play capability. The implication is that there are historical lessons of value for modern international force construction.
Three contributions concern Western conquest of the new world: two concern the cultural confrontations between native North American tribes and the cavalry forces of the post-Civil-War Army, while a third examines the Spanish experience in Argentina. Here, too, several maps would have been very helpful. It was here that I found myself reading the article on Argentina with an atlas at my side.
The principal theoretical conclusion of Robert Utleys piece, Cultural Clash on the Western North American Frontier, was that at the microlevel the native American forces were more successful when they practiced traditional methods of warfare based on mobility, expertise, and speed. The United States did better when it modified organizational structure and process so as to match the enemy, but this was often difficult because of the careers at stake in the military bureaucracy. At the macro social level, demographic forces of population, migration, and industrialization were becoming so overwhelming that the Indian wars became a sideshow.
John Baileys article concerns the attitudes of the US generals commanding the efforts on the Western frontier. He postulates two basic types: glory seekers and humanitarians. Certainly it cannot be a coincidence that one type succeeded the other. In the latter stages of the Indian wars, it was obvious who was going to win; thus, the generals could afford to be the humanitarian type.
Richard Slatta affords readers an interesting article about Spanish conquest on the Argentine frontier. He notes that strategy moved from defense to offense over the three-hundred-year period in question. It is a study in miserable civil/military relations and military disorganization. Some interesting points concerned how the manpower shortage that impeded the development of successful campaigns was exacerbated by the negative quality of service life and the class conflict among the settlers. Also, the political, economic, and demographic forces and factors constituted the landscape upon which the general strategy against the native populations floundered. These included civil war with Spain, internal civil conflict among the provinces of Argentina, and the war with Paraguay. Finally, as in North America, it was the cumulative and overwhelming nature of technological change that determined the victor. It was the development of (1) the telegraph and railroad system, which provided communications and mobility, and (2) the introduction of Remington rifle firepower that finally defeated the native population.
Two articles concerning French military/colonial involvement in North Africa and the US effort in the Philippines cover the twentieth-century perspective. The first, by Douglas Porch, French Colonial Forces on the Saharan Rim, is a lengthy discussion of the disparity between the theory and practice of colonial war. Here again we see the familiar tale: agile indigenous forces initially outmaneuvering the conventional forces of the West. According to Porch, the French answer was a scorched-earth policy, which created a consequence of negative public opinion at home. The response by the generals was the marketing of a theoretical proposition that included a heavy civilizing mission component. Yet, more important global factors involved the notion of the colonial race among the great Western powers; the modern-day parallel may be the race for nuclear capability among second-tier nation-states.
The second, Carol Petillos article, Leaders and Followers: A Half Century of the U.S. Military in the Philippine Islands, offers a type construction of five characteristics impacting perceptions between culturally different forces: race; size; attitudes toward sex, gender, and religion; and attitudes toward work. The article focuses on the leadership of generals John J. Pershing, Leonard Wood, and Douglas MacArthur. While I certainly agree that there is a place for the perspective developed here, I found the analysis a bit too psychological. Certainly, ethnocentric cultural positions directed the attitudes of the Western forces, but it was the economic interests that established the policy.
The summarizing and concluding article by Robin Higham, Reflections on an Inter-Cultural Command, postulates that intercultural activity takes place at three levels that parallel the present military rank structure. Thus, there are three sets of attitudes and perceptions: one for the common enlisted types, another for the career NCOs and junior officers, and a third for senior officers. In addition, the author advances a typology of five types of cultural exchanges among allies. This leads to a conclusion that successful intercultural command requires multicultural familiarity among the leadership. I found this interesting in that he mentions the Gulf War coalition as a subtype of a dominant partnership and describes the US forces there as being an Anglo-American bible belt Army and Air Force. Also, I am not sure I would agree with this separation of attitudes on perspectives, as it seems to mirror military class too conveniently. More importantly, he does not pursue the logical questions that follow from these two points: (1) Is our professional military in danger of becoming too culturally narrow to embrace the growing trend of coalition endeavors? and (2) Is our military potentially in danger of becoming too estranged from its own citizens?
In conclusion, I would say that of the several topological constructs offered, Guilmartins was the most developed. Yet, as the reviewer, I should mention my penchant for graphs and charts. Thus, I suspect I would have been more receptive to the others had they included some maps, charts, and/ or tables. With the exception of the Petillo article, which seemed somewhat speculative, each article contained solid documentation. I certainly would recommend the book for any extended reading list.
Dr. Paul R. Camacho
The Lebanon War by A. J. Abraham. Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut 06881-5007, 1996, 216 pages, $55.00.
Lebanon was a political, economic, and cultural center for the Arab world until the middle of the 1970s. This flourishing country was called the Switzerland of the Orient, and its capital, Beirut, was known as the Paris of the Middle East. The leaders of the various denominations that composed the Lebanese population were able to maintain a delicate balance of power and to overcome crises, such as the first civil war at the end of the 1950s. However, the second civil war, which broke out in 1975, terminated that relatively peaceful period. This was due to new actors who joined the scene, primarily the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which, by its violent approach, shattered the country and created total chaos. The Lebanese turmoil changed the entire strategic situation in the Middle East since it caused a growing interference by foreign countries, mainly Syria and Israel. The conflict among the PLO, Syria, and Israel expanded into a war in 1982the Bekaa Valley campaign.
The history of Lebanon is extremely important for any American scholar since US diplomats and military forces have been deeply involved, directly and indirectly, trying to solve the crises and restore peace. Besides, Lebanon can serve as a very good case study from which one can derive many lessons and implement them in future conflicts.
Abraham gives the reader a very broad perspective of the situation and processes, using his special inside-out look. His relations with many individuals in the area enable him to add new and valuable information to what has been written before. The descriptions are very rich in detail, yet there is a very clear line which can be followed by readers who are trying to comprehend the complicated story of Lebanon.
Numerous books and articles have been written about Lebanon because of its importance to the understanding of developments in the area. Abrahams book is much more than just another volume on the Middle East since it puts new light on one of the most complex periods of the Middle Eastand Lebanon in particular.
Brig Gen Ephraim Segoli, Israeli Air Force, Retired
A Forgotten Offensive: Royal Air Force Coastal Commands Anti-Shipping Campaign, 19401945 by Christina J. M. Goulter. Frank Cass & Co., Inc., 5804 NE Hassalo Street, Portland, Oregon 97213-3644, 1995, 366 pages, $47.50.
Maritime air operations in the European theater in World War II tended to focus on the antisubmarine campaigns that were waged against U-boats in the North Atlantic and Bay of Biscay. However, Royal Air Force (RAF) Coastal Command was established for the express purpose of satisfying Admiralty requirements for air support. Since the establishment of the RAF, the Royal Navy (RN) had been fighting for its own air arm, the Fleet Air Arm, and attempting to get the RAF to recognize the need for air support outside of traditional strategic bombardment and pursuit aviation. With the outbreak of World War II, RAF Coastal Command started an antishipping campaign that would not show overwhelming success until the command was reequipped with modern aircraft in 1943 and 1944. At first the strikes were aimed at shipping in the Channel and North Sea.
In order to give the reader an understanding of why the RAF had a difficult time with maritime operations in World War II, Goulter opens the book with Royal Navy Air Service operations in World War I. At the conclusion of the war, the interwar period is marred by interservice rivalries that left the maritime force of the RAF without an effective torpedo bomber and no long-range fighter for escort and general reconnaissance purposes. Not only did these equipment shortfalls hamper operations, but the lack of navigator training made operations hazardous. At the outbreak of World War II, the British government had plenty of economic intelligence on the German need of high-quality Scandinavian iron ore. However, while the Royal Navy felt that an economic blockade was necessary, it no longer possessed the required number of ships for such an operation. An air blockade had never been considered during the interwar years, and thus Coastal Command was not able to carry out the necessary operations at the outbreak of the war. One problem was the continuing lack of equipment because Fighter Command and Bomber Command were getting all the aircraft resources. An additional problem in attempting to interdict Swedish iron ore was that trans-Baltic trade could not be touched by RAF or RN assets.
Coastal Command also had devoted a large amount of the war to fighting off amalgamation with either the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force. Equipment was also drawn off for operations in the Far East and the Mediterranean, especially the Beaufighters, useful long-range fighters that were in constant demand in other theaters. The lack of navigation aids and air-to-surface radar also restricted early operations. By 1943, however, the Gee navigation aid system developed for Bomber Command and radar developments were helping Coastal Command. As attacks on coastal convoys mounted, the Germans outfitted most of their merchant ships with up to three 37-millimeter (mm) guns, and some special flak ships were built with heavy 105 mm guns. Coastal Command crews suffered appalling losses (up to 20 percent losses on single sorties), leading to calls for flak-suppression fighters to operate with torpedo bomber squad-rons during attack runs. By 1943, things had improved, and operations combining up to three squadrons (28 to 32 aircraft) would attack convoys of the Norwegian and Dutch Frisian islands. In order to find these convoys, reconnaissance flights and high-grade signals intelligence (SIGINT) such as Ultra were being used to find where German convoys were operating. In the case of Norway, there were also coastal watchers who reported ship movements to the British Admiralty. The arrival of 25-pound and 60-pound warhead rockets gave both fighters and bombers an advantage. German flak crews would now abandon their guns as rocket hits near or below the waterline caused an increasing number of sinkings.
German postwar reports revealed that by 1944 and 1945, sinkings were causing the ore trade to drop to dangerous levels. The hunt for miniature submarines and E-boats (German PT [patrol torpedo]) vessels prior to and during the Normandy landings was another successful part of Coastal Command operations. Missions in the Maas and Schelde estuaries also ensured that German small combatant units could not cause any harm to Allied naval operations in Northwest European waters. With the wars end came rapid demobilization; and within two years, the RAF once again had no offensive maritime aircraft in its inventory. (The author of the book considers antisubmarine operations as defensive in nature.) This is certainly one of the excellent texts of maritime air operations in Northwest Europe. Coastal Command never had an official history written about its convoy operations; this book fills that void.
Capt Gilles Van Nederveen, USAF
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Luftwaffe Fighter Aces: The Jagdflieger and Their Combat Tactics and Techniques by Mike Spick. Greenhill Books, Lionel Leventhal Limited, Park House, 1 Russell Gardens, London NW11 9NN, 1996, 248 pages, $54.95.
Luftwaffe Fighter Aces is a fine attempt by Mike Spick to show the reader many of the techniques, tactics, and methods used by the most successful German fighter pilots in World War II. To this end, the author accomplishes his objective and makes everything easy for even the layman to understand. By explaining the reasons for the success of the known German aces, the Experten, Spick removes some of the mystery behind these extremely successful combat pilots. The author is careful to leave fanciful delusions of alleged natural German superiority where they belong, while at the same time giving credit where it is due. Unlike many books of this type that try to depict the German aces as supermen, Luftwaffe Fighter Aces explains in simplified detail why they were successful. These aces remained in combat longer, flew against more enemies, and had more opportunities to score victories, in addition to being very experienced. Spick also does a good job of chronicling the decimation of the Luftwaffe fighter force in 1944 as a result of Allied tactical air ascendancy, which accounted for the loss of many Experten.
Spick discusses the German fighter pilots contributions to the air war in Spain, early invasions of 193940, Battle of Britain, Mediterranean, defense of the Reich, Eastern Front, and night air war against the Royal Air Forces Bomber Command. Within each of these areas, Spick details the general conditions found in that theater, the types of aircraft flown on both sides, significant armament, andmost importantlytechniques that specific Experten used in that theater, which is perhaps the greatest value of this book.
Mike Spick is a well-known military-aviation author who has over 30 books to his credit. Luftwaffe Fighter Aces is of the same caliber as one of his previous works, The Ace Factor: Air Combat and the Role of Situational Awareness. In completing Luftwaffe Fighter Aces, the author used many secondary sources but doesnt mention the use of any primary documents or interviews. Because of this, much of the information in this book can be found elsewhere in many other sources. The author, however, has done a good job of extracting the information from several sources to make a single volume covering the tactics of the most successful combat pilots in history.
Overall, the book is quick reading, interesting, and presented well with charts, graphs, tables, and 25 pages of photographs. Most of the photographs, however, can be found in other books on the subject. The author has also provided detailed appendices. Perhaps the most valuable of these outlines the strike rates for Luftwaffe pilots with a rate higher than that of Erich Hartmann, the wars top-scoring ace with 352 kills. (One arrives at the strike rate by dividing the total number of sorties flown by the total victories.) When viewed in this manner, much of the mystery behind the victories of the Germans becomes clearer. By comparing the strike rates of top Allied aces, one finds a close correlation between Allied rates and the German rates.
This book does make a significant contribution to World War II aviation, and I do recommend it, despite the high price. Dedicated students of the Luftwaffe will likely want to add this to their library. If not, I still recommend buying it in paperback. It is well worth the money.
Maj Robert Tate, USAF
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second World War and Launched a Technological Revolution by Robert Buderi. Touchstone Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020, 1997, 575 pages, $16.00 (softbound).
The terms military technological revolution and revolution in military affairs are popular in Air Force and Department of Defense journals. Many pundits subscribe to a belief that revolutions drive rapid increases in military capability. Others rely on the position that all technological changes are merely evolutionary in character. For readers of either disposition, it is indisputable that the invention of radar and its incorporation in air combat in World War II was a significant, if not pivotal, step in changing the nature of warfare.
The Invention that Changed the World does a fine job in tracking the creation and integration of a rather remarkable device frequently taken for granted: radar. Buderi, a former technology editor for Business Week and author of articles found in a variety of magazines, wrote this book with a style that reads more like a story than a detailed historical analysis. This makes his work, though containing an extensive bibliography, difficult to cross-reference due to the lack of footnotes. However, it remains an enjoyable and a rich account of scientific history that is accessible to a variety of audiences.
Most interesting for airmen and military enthusiasts alike is Buderis tale of the personalities and innovations that led to successful integration of radar into combat applications. Featured prominently in his World War II discussion of radar development were the scientists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys Radiation Laboratory, the Rad Lab. Tracing the interactions of the principal scientists, Buderi illuminates an interesting historical case study for civilian-military cooperation in the development of war-fighting technologies. Unfortunately, he tends to oversell their impact on the war effort with his assertion that this small group of radar pioneers won the Second World War. Although a significant contributor to the greater war effort, neither the quality nor the quantity of radars in World War II supports the absoluteness of Buderis bold proposition that the Rad Lab scientists won the war.
Buderi better supports his proposition that the radar scientists helped launch a technological revolution. If a military technological revolution is a terrific leap in war-fighting capability, the institution and operational testing of radar in World War II certainly showed hints of an emerging revolution. In World War II, night-radar intercepts, early radar warning, and pathfinder bombers blazed the trail for more dramatic contemporary capabilities. For example, radar has made possible all-weather flight, stealth, terrain-following at night, and a host of other military and aerospace applications that arguably have now changed the nature of war to truly be a 24-hour-a-day enterprise. Moreover, the civilian spin-offs have had tremendous impact in scientific and commercial applications.
Overall, Buderis The Invention that Changed the World is a well-written and entertaining story of technology development with many implications for Air Force readers. He blends his tale of history, civil-military affairs, and human interaction in an entertaining yet not oppressively academic fashion. Though a bit oversold, many of the individuals whose stories are recounted in this book truly made an outstanding and long-lasting impact. Was radar a harbinger of a technological revolutionor was it simply a product of evolution? You decide.
Maj Merrick Krause, USAF
The Air Force Integrates, 19451964, 2d ed. by Alan L. Gropman. Smithsonian Institution Press, 470 LEnfant Plaza, Suite 7100, Washington, D.C. 20560, 1998, 237 pages, $29.95.
The storys been told many times over the past 20 yearshow an intensely racist American society entered into a war under a banner of justice against a racist tyrant. The contradiction between values and reality forced the American government and its military to incorporate Americas benighted black community into the war effort. Separate but equal, African-Americans made the most of their opportunity. The wartime performance of black fighters, especially the Tuskegee Airmen, should have dispelled racist misperceptions of African-American capabilities. But during and after the war, studies proved the unworkability of the experiment. Harry Truman did the right thing in moving to desegregate the armed forces.
The Air Force beat the politicians to desegregation. Its motivation was efficiency; there was no room for inefficient use of resources in a new ser-vice seeking to make itself into a first-rate fighting machine. Integration went quickly and smoothly, with most airmen accepting it either passively or willingly. But Air Force integration was on base only. Racism and segregation remained alive and well in the civilian community outside the gates, North as well as South. Changing the off-base environment, the Air Force claimed, would disrupt community relations and, potentially, weaken readiness. Half-heartedness characterized the Air Force integration effort until radical change occurred on the outside during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the aftermath of the 1971 Travis AFB, California, riot, the Air Force (and the other services) got busy on community relations.
This monograph was extremely good when it first appeared in 1977; its even better now. And, as Gropman notes, its message remains pertinent 20 years later. African-Americans are leaving the military at the highest rate in 20 years even though society at large is experiencing deteriorated race relations. It is time to review the past for what it can teach about both success and failure.
The success is obvious. Despite history, despite postwar studies rationalizing segregation, despite the other services demonstration that foot-dragging was a viable tool against discriminationdespite all this, the Air Force moved out smartly to desegregate, moved well ahead of the other ser-vices and of society in general in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The failure bears consideration as a message for today: complacency, sitting on laurels, is hazardous.
The second edition retains most of the original, with subtle changes in interpretation and a brief update of progress over the past 20 years. New tables show increasing percentages of blacks in the Air Force and greater percentage increases in non-commissioned officer and officer ranks, including general officers. And Gropman brings his bibliography up to date.
This small work was valuable 20 years ago. It is equally valuable today. It serves as a serious reminder that we must always guard against complacency and must always be aware of where we have been and how easily we can slide back there again. Anyone wishing to understand the Air Force and its times should add this work to his or her reading list.
Dr. John H. Barnhill
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Fighting with the Soviets: The Failure of Operation Frantic, 19441945 by Mark J. Conversino. University Press of Kansas, 2501 West Fifteenth Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66049-3904, 1997, 284 pages, $35.00.
I remember the popular refrain repeated frequently during the cold war: The Soviets are just like us. Mark Conversino disagrees in his rich historical study, Fighting with the Soviets. Recalling a particularly interesting but relatively obscure experiment in Soviet-American cooperation, Fighting with the Soviets describes the story of US aircraft, pilots, and support personnel operating shuttle-bombing missions from Ukrainian air bases during World War II. Operation Frantic attempted to accomplish military objectives, particularly bombing the Nazis, and political objectives, including opening the way for American air to fly from Siberian air bases in support of the war in the Pacific. Conversino describes mixed results for the operation. However, first-person accounts of Soviet life, values, and the omnipresent bureaucracy sustain his argument that we were not like them in terms of values and social mores.
Mark Conversino is an active duty USAF lieutenant colonel, squadron commander, and former military history professor at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies. Fighting with the Soviets emerged from Conversinos doctoral studies. However, the book reads more like an informal narrative than a dry academic treatise. It is extremely well documented, with an extensive bibliography. I found the interviews particularly interesting, while other primary sources are accessible for further study from the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and the Military Records Division at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
The concept of Operation Frantic was as intriguing as the interaction of US soldiers with their Soviet counterparts was disturbing. Gen Henry H. Hap Arnold wanted to open another front against the Germansin the airafter suffering massive losses in unescorted bombing during the Combined Bomber Offensive. This front was to begin with strategic bombing missions flown from the Ukraine while encouraging Soviet support for American Far Eastern operations against the Japanese and improving cooperation and communications between the United States and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, distrust and Soviet bureaucratic roadblocks severely reduced the potential of the American air operations from the Ukraine. In the end, Soviet-imposed constraints led to their judgment that Operation Frantic was a mere footnote to the Great Patriotic War.
However, details related by Americans serving in the Ukraine regarding relations with the Soviets were more disturbing than the discussion of bureaucratic roadblocks. Stories of Soviet guards who would freely accept cigarettes from an American guest and then shoot that Americans pet dog for sport embodied the Soviet value system described by Conversino. For example, Conversino recounts that the Soviets removed mines after a German aerial attack by lining up Soviet servicemen and marching them across the airfield with rifles. When they saw mines, Soviet soldiers shot at them. When mines exploded, men in the line were injured. Impossibly, their partners ignored them as the line slowly proceeded. In addition, Conversinos reported stories of Soviet men beating Ukrainian women for fraternizing with Americans starkly contrast with Soviet claims of treating women as equals. Particularly disappointing, from a war fighters perspective, were tales of Soviet liberators mistreating or neglecting American prisoners of war because of Soviet contempt for prisoners of the Germans. These stories, if related truthfully by Conversinos sources, cumulatively paint a terribly grim picture of the Soviets lifestyle and their low regard for human rights.
Indeed, Fighting with the Soviets provides political and military details of an important chapter in US-Soviet relations that should be common knowledge to airmen. Ultimately, it is up to the reader to decide if the with in Fighting with the Soviets means beside the Soviets in the war against the Nazis or against the Soviets in personal and political confrontations. I heartily recommend this thought-provoking book to those with interests in cooperative and combined military operations, World War II studies, Soviet studies, and the historic use of American airpower in combat.
Maj Merrick E. Krause
Eye in the Sky: The Story of the CORONA Spy Satellites edited by Dwayne A. Day, John M. Logsdon, and Brian Latell. Smithsonian Institution Press, 470 LEnfant Plaza, Suite 7100, Washington, D.C. 20560, 1998, 303 pages, $29.95.
An extraordinary chronicle of military and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) history, Eye in the Sky lays out the early years of CORONA, Americas first photoreconnaissance space program. The book is a compilation of 11 articles, each focusing on a different aspect of the now declassified spy satellite program. Proceedings from a conference declassifying CORONA, held at George Washington University in May 1995, formed the genesis for the book. The description and chronology of the programits struggles and successes in directly affecting national policygo beyond enlightening to extraordinary.
Following World War II, RAND published a series of studies, and among them were several that described possible uses of space systems for the military. These studies combined to form the technological basis for the first military space system, dubbed Weapons System 117L. The satellites were to use a televised broadcast of imagery, in real time, from a satellite. Not long after the program started, the ability to develop this new technology came into doubt, and the much more practical, film-return CORONA system was added to WS-117L. CORONA was meant to be a stopgap until the satellite and missile observation system (SAMOS) came on-line, but SAMOS never materialized. Given that, and the amazing success the project achieved, CORONA prospered.
CORONAs first success, mission 13, was in August 1960, although it carried no film. The first 12 flights had been failures, but the pressure to launch was so great that the teams fixed what they could and launched again, often with very incomplete data on the previous failures. Mission 14 returned film successfully on 19 August 1960. The flights film contained more coverage than all the previous 24 U-2 flights combined, and soon after, the missile gap was discounted, just as the U-2 had debunked the bomber gap. The age of space intelligence had finally come.
Responsible for running the efforts of CORONA, the NRO, an agency run jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Air Force, was not acknowledged until 1992, 31 years after it was formed. Prior to that moment, arms verification, which was done almost entirely from space, was attributed to national technical means, a nice way of saying, Were not going to say, but its technical. Thus, in addition to strategic targeting, arms-control verification became a key role for the CORONA satellites. Without the satellites, the outcome of the cold war could have been dramatically different.
In all, CORONA was a huge success. Out of 145 launches, 120 were successful. When you consider that the first 12 failed during the startup of the program, these statistics are impressive even today. CORONAs technologies were valuable and had lasting effects on other fronts as well. For example, CORONA cameras and sensors found their way to the Apollo spacecraft and the lunar orbiters. Other subsystems were engineered back into the U-2 and SR-71, still in use at CORONAs end.
Eye in the Sky bombards the reader with many details about the early space-intelligence programs, as well as the politics and challenges of the day. Perspectives and recollections of some of the actual pioneers in the space-intelligence field are combined with fascinating descriptions of the satellites and their out-of-this-world cameras. The reader is also treated with a description of the Soviet space reconnaissance program. In short, the book serves as an excellent chronicle of early military space, its secret battles during the cold war, and its significant effects on world events.
Anyone interested in space or military history will be fascinated with this book. New light is shed on many events that shaped our nation and modern military. Airmen will better understand the relationship between strategic reconnaissance and national policy and gain a better understanding of modern world and military history. The book provides a good look at the cold war and its high-technology warriors. Of particular benefit is the thoroughly depicted disclosure of those previously taboo subjects, the black space programs, previously known only in rumor and conjecture.
Capt James W. Hardy, USAF
Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
MacArthurs Jungle War: The 1944 New Guinea Campaign by Stephen R. Taaffe. University Press of Kansas, 2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66049, 1998, 312 pages, $35.00.
Fire and maneuver. No two words better describe the American way of war, but perhaps the order should be changed to maneuver and fire. And possibly no better campaign exists to display this American way of war than Gen Douglas MacArthurs New Guinea campaigns. Author Stephen Taaffe, who teaches at Nashvilles Trevecca Nazarene University, uses a study of MacArthur as a metaphor for US/joint operations. Taaffe holds that in New Guinea, MacArthur used his limited resources brilliantly at the strategic level but sometimes stumbled at the operational and tactical levels. Luckily for the Allies, the Japa-nese understood joint warfare much less than did MacArthur. This book is an excellent examination of a theater commander, the American way of war, and a dazzlingly risky joint campaign.
It is no secret that MacArthur was willing to take risks in his war because he was in a race with the Navy. With fanatical determination, the general pursued his objectives of returning to the Philippines and vindicating the humiliation of Bataan and Corregidor. For the Navy, however, the humiliation to be corrected was not in the Philippines but Pearl Harbor. The Navy wanted a campaign designed to lure the Japanese navy into a great Mahanian battlethus, the island-hopping Central Pacific thrust. This thrust and the war in Europe drained forces away from MacArthur although he saw it more as a conspiracy to relegate him to a secondary theater. To prevent this perceived threat from becoming a reality, MacArthur had to wrap up his New Guinea operations before Adm Chester Nimitz could advance across the Central Pacific to take Formosa.
In order to win this race, MacArthur fell back on the time-honored American tactic of maneuver. At the time, journalists hailed the campaign as one that would go down in history (page 1). Unfortunately, MacArthurs New Guinea campaign has been largely ignored, perhaps because as the campaign was reaching its climax, the Allies finally captured Rome; the long-awaited invasion and liberation of Northwest Europe began; and Nimitzs island-hopping Central Pacific campaign roared to life. In the space of nine months, MacArthurs forces advanced over thirteen hundred miles; isolated hundreds of thousands of enemy troops, destroying them wherever they met them; and poised themselves to cut across Japans lifeline. By constantly maneuvering and outflanking the Japanese, MacArthur minimized casualties with overwhelming firepower from air, land, and sea assets. This kept the enemy off balance and maintained the momentum on his fanatical drive to the Philippines. Of course, MacArthur gambled that the enemy would react exactly as predicted. Otherwise, the whole campaign would have been in jeopardy because the Allies did not have the forces to fight an attritional war.
Rather than fight a long, grueling campaign along the northern coast of New Guinea, MacArthur realized he needed to capture only a few strategic points in order to control the entire island. In effect, these strategic points were islands. Instead of islands separated by hundreds of miles of ocean, however, they were separated by hundreds of miles of almost impenetrable jungle. MacArthurs Navy and Air Force gave his infantry mobility of which the Japanese could only dream. This mobility, coupled with jointness, acted as a force multiplier. The Army Air Forces and Navy isolated and immobilized the Japanese garrisons and allowed MacArthur to maximize his relatively small infantry by placing it at what Jomini would call decisive points. To borrow from the phrase attributed to Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, MacArthur got there furstest with the mostest.
The campaign was a sophisticated balletor waltz. Once Gen George Kenneys airmen secured air superiority, the Army Air Forces and Navy would interdict the area while the Navy landed Gen Walter Kruegers infantry and engineers. The Army would capture and improve the invasion objectivean airfield. In fact, the limiting factor to the Allies advances was the range of land-based fighters and the existence of airfields. (With carrierborne fighters, MacArthur could have advanced further and faster, but the island-hopping offensives absorbed those aircraft and ships.) Once the airfield was secure, Kenney would station fighters there, and the next waltz would begin.
Although ingenious, this strategy had its operational and tactical risks. Taaffe emphasizes that as the ground forces seized the airfield and secured the beachhead (but before the actual land battle was over), MacArthurs attention shifted to the next objective. The theater commander seemed to think that capturing an airfield equated to the end of the battle, when in fact the tactical battle was just beginning. This shortsightedness often stretched his meager forces to the limit. In effect, MacArthur retained the strategic and operational initiative but sometimes surrendered the tactical initiative to the enemy. The Army had to guard the beachhead and wait for the enemy to attack rather than seek him out. During the invasion of Biak, a relatively small island northwest of New Guinea, the Army could pummel but not defeat the Japanese defenses. Moreover, MacArthur had no reinforcements for the operation because all the other Allied troops were busy guarding or mopping up Japanese garrisons far to the rear. Biak is perhaps as close as MacArthur came to the breaking point. But one must remember that he was in a race and was willing to gamble mens lives, for the potential rewards were great (i.e., his triumphal return to the Philippines). Luckily for MacArthur, in the end his forces proved sufficient to capture all the key positions in New Guinea. Thus, the campaign became a brilliant display of the American way of war instead of total disaster. Such is the case with much of American military history.
Taaffes look at the New Guinea campaign sheds new light on one of Americas most loved and hated generals; it also documents one of the most successful joint operations in history. The New Guinea campaign deserves more attention from scholars, for, as Taaffe illustrates, it brought out the best and worst traits in the American way of war.
Capt Jim Gates, USAF
Aide de Camp 2: The Universal Boardgame Conversion and Play-by-Email Assistance Utility. CD-ROM. HPS Simulations (http://hpssims. com), P.O. Box 3245, Santa Clara, California 95055-3245, December 1997, $49.00. Minimum system requirements: Windows 95 and 486/66 processor, eight megabytes (MB) RAM (16 recommended), and 20 MB hard-disk storage. Full-installation version of the program (requiring 80 MB storage) reviewed on a personal computer (PC) with a 200 Mhz Pentium chip, Windows 95, 32 MB RAM, and a 24x CD-ROM drive.
Although its not a war game, Aide de Camp 2 (ADC2) allows you to create and play war games on your home PC. (Actually, the program is flexible enough to create just about any board or card game, but this review focuses on war games and their use in the professional development of military officers.) Thus, if you have never had any interest in war gaming, ADC2 isnt likely to change your mind. However, if you are a war gamer or have any interest in getting started, ADC2 is worth a look. If youre a former war gamerone who lacks the time, space, or ability to find an opponent to play war gamesADC2 might just rekindle your interest.
The typical war game has three parts: a map, counters, and rules. The paper or board-mounted map is usually 20 by 30 inches or larger and has some type of grid system (hexagons are common) to regulate movement. Counters generally consist of tens to hundreds of cardboard squares, which denote forces or status. The number of rules can range from those contained in a few pages to a book-length collection. Games also normally include charts and/or tables as well as some means of randomizing outcomes (often accomplished by rolling a die or dice). You can find a war game for just about any environment (land, sea, air, or space), level (tactical to grand strategic), or period (the ancient past to hypothetical futures) you can imagine.
For people who grew up before the age of the PC, the war-gaming experience itself was an effort in planning and logistics. You had to find an opponent and a place to get together, agree on a game, set it up, and then finish in one session or find a way to defend your game-in-progress from kids, pets, and so forth. The truly determined gamers might have tried playing via regular mail, but a game of any complexity would take longer to complete than a real war.
Enthusiasts who began war gamingor rediscovered itvia the PC already know the advantages of having a computer host the game and usually serve as the opponent: it is always willing to play and is never a sore loser. The downside, however, is that the computer doesnt learn. It can play certain games only in certain ways (although the variety and sophistication are growing) and may produce unrealistic or unchallenging strategy or tactics. Some games address the latter problem by allowing an option for humans to play each other.
A small number of enthusiasts and companies have gone a different route by excluding a programmed enemy or even any computer-based rules. The computer simply hosts the map and counters, and performs some amount of bookkeeping and support in an effort to supply the challenge of a human opponent, the flexibility of old-fashioned war games, and the convenience of the virtual environment. These products range from low-cost and austere to ADC2probably the Cadillac of the genre.
Available on a single CD-ROM, ADC2 includes a small booklet covering installation and basic functions. The CD also has several games that nicely demonstrate the programs flexibility. One is Ardennes, a Battle of the Bulge game designed specifically for ADC2. I imagine we can expect more of these in the future, although for now most are conversions of paper games. (Regarding copyright, commercial game publishers seem to be of two minds: some produce ADC versions and wish to be the exclusive source for those game sets, while others do not seem to object to enthusiasts producing and circulating their own conversions. However, in all cases you are expected to own a copy of the original game.)
Installation on my Windows 95 machine was no problem (as was a later test using Windows 98). As recommended, I went to the publishers web site and downloaded the latest patch. I also took a look at the impressive support that HPS Simulations provides for all its products and noted the links to other sites that have ADC game sets.
I experienced some difficulty trying to play a game without reading the manual. For all its functionality, the interface isnt always intuitive, and terminology is important. Fortunately, the on-line manual answered all my questions (although I think a tutorial would be a nice addition). From that point on, play seemed pretty straightforward with the program assisting, but not regulating, movement and combat. Depending on the game, ADC2 support includes such functions as die rolls, line-of-sight calculations, and flipping or changing the facing of counters. The program supports play by E-mail, an important feature for gamers looking for opponents. (Some of the ADC2 web sites even help to match players.)
Loading new game sets was also relatively easy, but, depending on how they are packaged, some knowledge of file manipulation may come in handy. Because ADC2 includes a utility for converting game files to the current format, any game sets created by earlier versions of the program remain usable.
Finally, I took a look at the design program, supplementing some experiments of my own with an examination of components from sets currently available. Apparently users can build a functional game in a reasonable amount of time without being an artist (trust me). Exactly how long this takes depends on the games size, complexity, and the gamers ability to reuse or modify components. Obviously, some setsparticularly those involving original designsare real labors of love.
I dont know that I will start my own design anytime soon, but from my work with flight simulators, I can promise you that it would be a learning experience. Building an original conflict simulation not only would require a detailed study of a military era (past, present, or some hypothetical future) and event (the specific circumstances of a battle, campaign, or war), but also would force designers to decide whats important to war fighting and why.
As professionals, we should study war thoroughly in the hope that we will practice it infrequently. Along with reading, discussions, and experiences such as museum and battlefield visits, war gaming can serve as an important tool in any personal plan for professional development. Aide de Camp 2 makes war gaming more accessible. Consider adding it to your collection of professional materials.
Maj Pete Osika, USAF
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Politics and arms seem unhappily to be the two professions most natural to man, who must always either negotiate or fight.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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