ORIGINAL: Gary Childress
I brought it up a while back that airpower in general doesn't seem to do much to turn the tide of land battles. Airpower rules the seas and can devastate base facilities but you can bomb to your heart's content and it doesn't hurt LCUs a whole lot. In fact it's sort of a bad idea to use airpower on LCUs because you end up losing a lot of precious planes for very little in return. I had always the impression that close air support came of age in WW2 and that airpower could turn the tide of battles. Maybe that was mostly the ETO more so than the PTO? I mean I thought some F4Us with napalm was a pretty sure way to win a land battle.
Lot of WWII direct air support to ground troops was not Close Air Support but what we call nowadays Battlefield Air Interdiction. CAS was inherently difficult and dangerous, and double so when troops were in jungle, with both visibility and distance between own and enemy troops very short. Interestingly, one of the first planes used for this with good effect (and artillery observation too) was Australian Wirraway. It's ability to fly low & slow made it good for CAS and observation, about only roles it was actually well-suited for.
USMC had edge on CAS operations, partly because "every man is rifleman" doctrine, which caused also USMC pilots to have better understanding of ground operations and conditions.
Some info about his here: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/IV/USMC-IV-IV-1.html
"To meaningless French Idealism, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality...we answer with German Realism, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery" -Prince von Bülov, 1870-