The Army Air Forces in Northwest Africa

Reviewing history through the lens of the Allied victory in World War II, it is easy for us to forget that the only armed forces (arguably) prepared for war at its onset were those of Japan and Germany. Both had experienced cadre and formations, Japan’s honed in China and Manchuria, Germany’s in the Spanish Civil War. The Allies, lulled into complacency by a combination of popular wishful thinking and artful propaganda, were, even in 1942, still catching up with the Axis forces. Nowhere was this more the case than with the American forces thrown into combat in North Africa.

For the U.S. Army Air Forces, still far behind the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe in experience and equipment, North Africa was the beginning of a brutal learning curve in arts of tactical air support and what was then known as pursuit aviation. This book, while a service history, gives a good overview of operations without getting so granular as to make it pedantic. A worthy addition to the library of anyone with an interest in the period, or in the history of aviation.

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