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Intelligence and Anglo/American close air support in the Western Desert and Tunisia, 1940-1943

Gladman, Brad William; (2001) Intelligence and Anglo/American close air support in the Western Desert and Tunisia, 1940-1943. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the role of intelligence in the application of close air support by both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Force (USAAF) during the campaigns in the Western Desert and Tunisia during the Second World War. It was in this theatre that the foundations for the organization, control, and direction of close air support for the remainder of the war were laid. It was also the first instance of a combined Anglo/American ground campaign, and many of the problems and solutions first appeared there. More importantly, however, it was a theatre in which intelligence was fundamentally important to both ground and air operations. This dissertation begins with an examination of the interwar doctrines of both the RAF and USAAF, and argues that while neither air force had an evolved close air support doctrine, each possessed a theoretical understanding of the subject and had officers capable of creating a doctrine when the time came. The remaining chapters are chronological, and show how with improved command, control, communication, and intelligence systems, aircrew ability, and the right kind of aircraft, the ability of the RAF and later the Northwest African Tactical Air Force to provide close air support improved dramatically. The dissertation concludes by arguing that both the RAF and USAAF adopted the doctrine evolved in the desert, and this system, which relied heavily on intelligence for its success, continued to govern the control of tactical air power for the rest of the war and beyond.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Intelligence and Anglo/American close air support in the Western Desert and Tunisia, 1940-1943
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; World War II
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106179
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