Gruman A-6E Intruder (Aeroguide 15)
By Roger Chesneau
Publisher: Aeolus Pub 1986 40 Pages
PDF 35 MB
I t became readily apparent during World War II, the first conflict in which carrier aircraft played a really significant part, that the naval air commander faced two enemies. One was the nation mounting the offensive against his country and all that that implied, particularly its shipping but also (and more and more importantly as the war was carried towards its homeland) its ground forces and their equipment, supply lines and communications network, and its industrial base. The other enemy was the elements - the lousy weather that so often prevented him from carrying out his job, usually at a critical moment.
Coupled with this was an inherent difficulty in actually finding certain types of targets. A ship, perhaps a couple of hundred feet long, not only stood out in isolation from its surroundings when it was under way, but it also very conveniently left behind it a wake maybe hundreds of yards in length. A land target like an airfield was not all that more difficult to spot, given reasonable weather. If, however, a factory had to be located, or worse still a mobile target such as a road convoy, the chances of success were rather more remote.
Although artificial aids were promising to come to the commander's rescue by the close of World War II, radar-assisted navigation and bombing enabling both seagoing and land-based objectives to be hit with increasing accuracy, the advent of the atomic bomb seemed to point to the fact that high-precision weapons delivery might not, after all, be that important: one detonation would wipe out large numbers of targets at a stroke and, with the Soviet Union and its sprawling land mass seen as the only potential foe in the immediate postwar world, a few dozen of these detonations, well placed, would win any conflict.