Segments in this Video

Introduction: Airpower And Armies (03:31)


During the 1991 Gulf War, air power made way for Coalition Forces to gain victory in four days. Aircraft provided strategic and tactical transport, reconnaissance, offensive support, and halted enemy supply lines.

Reconnaissance: Aviation (05:25)

Photographic air reconnaissance developed in World War II; by 1939, covert air photography was employed by European and American militaries. Sidney Cotton gathered information in a Lockheed Electra mounted with a Leica bird camera; he triggered Royal Air Force use of Spitfire fighters.

Reconnaissance: Analysis (03:58)

Low altitude espionage missions required skill to accomplish; allied photographs were studied by Constance Babington Smith. She used a stereoscope giving pictures three-dimensional qualities; her work led to the bombing of Peenemuende and delayed Germany's June 1944 V-1 Offensive.

Bombing: Role Development (03:41)

Ground strafing developed during World War I; by World War II, advances in communications improved air force efficiency. Heinz Guderian developed Blitzkrieg, raiding Europe through 1941; he used Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers in conjunction with Panzer formations during the 1940 invasion of France.

Bombing: Low Level Advancements (08:20)

Globally, militaries developed close-range aerial combat aircraft and tactics during World War II. During the 1944 Normandy Invasion, British Typhoons and American Thunderbolts rocketed Nazi tanks, halting their counterstrike. Russians innovated the Ilyushin IL-2 and IL-10 Shturmoviks, dubbed "Black Death." Germans first employed radio to warn ground troops of incoming fire.

Bombing: Interdiction (07:36)

On September 1st, 1939, Adolf Galland led the attack on Poland's Army; Blitzkrieg tactics disrupted command and communications, then Panzer ground formations moved forward. Luftwaffe attacked bridges and roads when invading France. Allied Forces broke the Gustav Line by; in August 1944, German forces were destroyed at Falaise.

Paratroopers and Gliders (07:18)

Germans used airborne troops first to invade Norway and Holland in 1940; gliders carried tanks and guns. The Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant carried 200 troops; tug aircraft were devised, but problematic. Landing required skill and luck; many pilots died on missions.

Reinforcements and Resupply (04:09)

Troops were transported to fronts and bases by aircraft; during the German invasion of Crete in May 1941, supporting troops were flown in to seize airfields. The Sixth Army was forced to surrender in January 1943, after Russian counteroffensives cut off supply lines.

Aviation Battle Support (05:55)

Phil Cochran led the Number One Air Command supporting Chindits to disrupt Japanese communications; aircraft transported troops, supplies, and evacuated wounded from Burma jungles. Covert aviation operations extracted and implanted spies from behind enemy lines.

Credits: Airpower And Armies (00:43)

Credits: Airpower And Armies

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Century Of Flight: Airpower And Armies

Part of the Series : Century of Flight
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



In this episode of Century of Flight, we examine the impact of using air power to support ground forces in war.  Learn how the first military aircraft were used for reconnaissance, and how aerial photography developed out of that role. See the evolution of Blitzkrieg, and the technological advances in aviation triggered by Nazi offensive tactics.  Watch the first paratroopers land in Norway, and witness the brutal effectiveness of carpet bombing refugees in France. 

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL185484

ISBN: 978-1-64623-959-7

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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