Monday, March 19, 2012


I'm closing in on the end of the LeMay book.  Nine more pages to the end of WWII.  I believe I have gained new insight into Sarge's appreciation for and almost celebration of Operation Linebacker II, etc.  While I still don't agree that Linebacker II was necessary or justified the case for bombing Japan was/is a good bit more cut and dried.  I'm learning much about the obstacles to massive bombing campaigns, obstacles that led directly to the loss of planes and, more importantly, their crews. 

LeMay was instrumental in the success of the Allied bombing of Germany until mid-1944 when he was transferred to the Pacific theater.  The B-17 was the bomber used in Europe; the B-29 had been designed specifically for the Japanese assault.  It could fly higher, faster, carry more bombs and was dubbed the Super Fortress.  But there were design flaws and some logistical mountains to overcome.  If you can believe this, in late 1944 they were encountering the 'jet stream' for the first time and it was messing them up (no plane had flown so high before).  Fuel consumption greatly exceeded expectations and having to carry more fuel and fewer bombs made the early missions barely worth anything.  But LeMay reconceived they way they would attack and soon they were pummeling Japan with incendiary bombs.  I'll write more on this subject once I've finished the book.

All in all this is a definite worthwhile read. 


  1. Kevin,
    Lemay's genius for employing airpower took a much more humanitarian side when he was placed in charge of running the Berlin Airlift in 1949.

    WWII - the B-29 was one of the main reasons we had to take Iwo Jima - the flat plain made a ideal emergency landing base for the 29. If you get a chance visit the AF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Bock's Car is there - the Nagasaki B-29..

    Linebacker II - the real reason that the Paris peace stalks stalled was that Henry Kissinger was banging Jill St John in Paree...


  2. Kozak (the author) writes a bit about the folly of basing the bombers in the China/Burma/India theater and having to fly over the Himalayas to reach Japan. Hence the need for Iwo Jima, et al.