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US Air Force Colors (3): Pacific & Home Front 1942-47 (Aircraft Specials 6152)
By B.Stadt & D.Bell
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1997 98 Pages
PDF 32 MB
This is a book about Army Air Forces (AAF) aircraft colors and markings. It covers aircraft operating against Imperial Japan, aircraft and units preparing in the US during World War II. and postwar aircraft through the formation of the United States Air Force in late 1947. During the six years covered in these pages the AAF and the Navy exercised independent (though often coordinated) control of manufacturer-arid depot-applied aircraft colors. But while Navy aircraft colors exhibited a uniformity consistent with a strong, centralized authority. Army colors and markings could be altered anywhere in the chain of command. Headquarters.correspondence files show frequent negotiations with subordinate commands - not a sign of indecision, but a recognition that each local authority was using paint to deal with differing local requirements. Given this dispersed authority, a study of AAF colors and markings becomes inextricably linked to a study of AAF organizations.
In 1940 the War Department began planning contingencies for a US war against Germany, against Japan, or both. Judging Germany the predominant Axis military power, plans called for a strategic defense against Japan - containing the "less-powerful" Japanese while Allied forces defeated Germany. To this end, on the eve of hostilities the AAF was deploying its most modern aircraft to the Philippines. That the Japanese should so quickly overrun those defenses had been inconceivable, and the first six months after Pearl Harbor saw nearly all of the AAF's available forces brought to the Pacific (or, more properly, the "Asiatic-Pacific Theater"). By mid-October 1942 the AAF recorded 816 aircraft lost in combat against Japan - with only 38 lost against Italy and Germany! Even with the addition of accidental losses, the Pacific was drawing a disproportionate share of aircraft and inhibiting US action in Europe.