R316 Fall 2019 Hard-Won Lessons: The WWII Strategic Bombing Campaign of the 8th Air Force
Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Oct. 28–Nov. 4
Instructor: Jon Schulstad
For US forces in Europe during WWII, the air war lasted approximately 33 months. The decision to use B-17s 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 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 and bring it to a successful conclusion.
Jon Schulstad is a retired US Air Force officer who was a target planner for most of his career. He is a graduate of Miami University with a BA in government and an MA in international affairs. He taught international politics to Royal Air Force cadets on an exchange tour in Britain.