L310 Winter 2019 Hard-Won Lessons: The WWII Strategic Bombing Campaign of the 8th Air Force
Wednesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 30–Feb. 6
Instructor: Jon Schulstad
For US forces in Europe during WWII, the air war lasted approximately 33 months. The decision to use
B-17s, and then B-24s, to conduct a strategic bombing campaign against German-occupied France and the German homeland was fraught with controversy, even among America’s military leaders. Could it succeed? Was it the best use of military resources? This course introduces the audience to the B-17 Flying Fortress and examines the early months of the campaign (Aug. 1942–Jan. 1943) when B-17s were directed to attack German U-boat bases in Brittany. During these early months, the 8th Air Force leadership was constantly revising strategy, tactics, and target selection. This was a period when aircrews learned hard-won lessons about what it would take to sustain a bombing campaign to a successful conclusion.
Jon Schulstad is a retired United States Air Force officer who was a target planner for most of his career. He is a graduate of Miami University with BA in government and he has an MA in international affairs. He taught international politics to Royal Air Force cadets on an exchange tour in Britain.