The system was there it was the people in command that was the problem not the occasional bad mission.
Here is part of the system that could have been enhanced and adapted for all aircraft types as experience and battle conditions changed.
Please excuse the repeats, here is part of how the system was setup...
The Allies' Air Forces ground support system was based on the "Wann/Woodall" system of control for air support.
Wann/Woodall system had resulted in the development of an elaborate organization, all tied together with communications links provided by new beasts known as "Air Support Signals Units" or ASSUs
One ASSU was alocated to each Group/Army pairing.
"Composite Group" of aircraft.
Each Army headquarters was paired with a Composite Group headquarters.
The Army/Composite Group headquarters either fomed a "Joint Battle Room" or simply coordinated their separate staffs by constant telephone, meetings and mutual visits - both methods were tried
Each of the Composite Groups also had an organization known as a Group Control Centre or GCC.
With the forward troops there were various independent wireless detachments, commonly known as "tentacles"( with multiple radio sets).
One of these sets was to tie into the ASSU radio network and pass back air support requests, the other was to receive the latest air reconnaissance reports, which were simply broadcast out from the GCC for all stations to listen in on simultaneously.
Coming from the artillery, the tentacle officers were specialists in fire support and could advise the local ground commander on the employrnent of air support. However, the primary task of a normal tentacle was to pass air requests fiom the leading battalion and brigade headquarters directly back to the joint Army/Composite Group headquarters via the ASSU net.
Additionally, specialized tentacles were developed over time, including VCPs (Visual Control Posts), FCPs (Forward Control Posts) and contact cars.
VCP consisted of a tank or White Scout Car.
FCP generally consisting of 10 personnel all ranks. They were mounted in at least two primary vehicles, either heavy trucks or Ml4 half tracked vehicles, plus usually a trailer and a jeep.
1-Pre-arranged air support
Pre-arranged attacks were planned through the dedicated staff process, sometimes weeks ahead of time, but routinely for the next day.
Majority of Heavy/Medium operations here.
For major offensives, pre-arranged direct support would be even more elabrate, spelled out in a detailed "Air Programmes", and often including heavy bomber support.
Direct and indirect
Most routine requests for the next day fell into this category, as did the elaborate "Air Programmes" laid on for major offensives.Most calls for air support through the ASSU tentacles, either from normal tentacles, VCPs, or FCPs
Most interdiction targets and much of the work of No. 2 Group fell into this category. (No. 2 Group = Bomber Group)
2-Impromptu Request Procedure
Most impromptu requests by forward tentacles fell into this category
However, pre-arranged and impromptu were not entirely distinct. As the doctrine manual of the time put it, "Every effort should be made to foresee future requirements ... impromptu operations can often be anticipated by the issue of provisional orders on a series of alternative targets.
The centre of the process for planning pre-arranged air support was the air conference at Army/Group headquarters, which was meant to be held every evening but which in practice usually met only approximately every other day. These were quite large affairs, often attended by some 20 staff officers and chaired by the Army hedquarters Chief of Staff.
This conference would discuss the situation and routine operations for the next day and after the conference executive orders for the flying wings would be issued by the Group headquarters, usually by teleprinter. Additionally , specific conferences would be called as necessary to produce "Air Programmes' for major operations.These plans specified targets and timings, with the intent of integrating air support into the Amy plan.
Since all of these elements were tied together on a single net by the radio communications of the ASSU, information could be passed about quickly. The intent was to allow the tentacles, often forward with brigade or even battalion headquarters, to pass air requests directly back to Group/Anny headquarters, without passing through the intermediate divisional and corps levels of command
The GCC, meanwhile, which was also listening in on the same net, would be concurrently ensuring that the necessary aircraft were ready.
Indirect Support was defined as
"attacks on objectives which do not have an immediate effect on the land battle, but nevertheless contribute to the broad plan."
" The main effect of indirect support, according to the doctrine of the time, was "the isolation of the battlefield by hindering the movement of enemy troops and supplies into the area of operations.""
Direct Support was defined as "attacks upon enemy forces actually engaged in the land battle." Typical targets included defensive positions, hostile batteries of artillery or concentrations of armor These were generally the province of the composite groups, but any aircraft, from heavy bombers to fighter bombers, could be and were employed for direct support.
*Direct Support was thus a slightly broader term than either close support or the modern close air support. It included not just close support, but also that air power applied behind the lines, but still within the immediate battle area.
Direct support missions against targets deeper in German territory could be ordered, in more or less the same fashion as those against targets right along the front line. when panzers or artillery were discovered concentrating in the rear, or key choke points such as a bridge were identified, air attack on these targets could be requested.*
Direct support was further categorized on the basis of urgency, distinction being made between "pre-aranged" and "impromptu" requests for air support Pre-arranged attacks were planned through the dedicated staff process, sometimes weeks ahead of tirne, but routinely for the next day. Impromptu requests were originated in the heat of battle by leading Army elements and forwarded via the special air request radio network first envisioned in the Wann/Woodall report
One of the key duties of the Army level air support staffs was the designation of the "bomb line." (or AA Bomb Line as devolped by Doolittle.)This was a line drawn on the map forward of the actual front line, beyond which the air forces were free to engage targets It was intended as a safety measure to ensure that no fnendly troops were mistakenly attacked by Allied air craft. Targets on the near side of the line could be attacked, but only if specifically designated by coloured smoke.
< Message edited by KWG -- 1/7/2016 11:53:22 PM >
"A word was said - a mare is standing by the fence."