Other authors have covered aspects of SAC, its people and equipment but this is the first book to provide a comprehensive review of the establishment of SAC and its evolution through the Cold War. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of SAC in the winning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union – Strongly Recommended.
NAME: Always At War, Organizational Culture in Strategic Air Command, 1946-62 FILE: R2685 AUTHOR: Melvin G Deaile PUBLISHER: Naval Institute Press BINDING: hard back PAGES: 296 PRICE: $34.95 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Cold War, strategic bombing, nuclear deterrent, MAD, Mutually Assured Development, manned bombers, in flight refuelling, USAF, SAC, Strategic Air Command, B-29, B-36, B-47, B-52, B-58, B-70A ISBN: 978-1-68247-248-4 IMAGE: B2685.jpg BUYNOW: www.usni.org/store/books/spring-2018-catalog/always-war LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Other authors have covered aspects of SAC, its people and equipment but this is the first book to provide a comprehensive review of the establishment of SAC and its evolution through the Cold War. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of SAC in the winning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union – Strongly Recommended. In 1946, American aviators faced two very significant events, the formation of the USAF in place of the USAAF, and the opening stages of the Cold War. Overnight, the new USAF was charged with providing a strategic bombing option to counter any warlike activity by the Soviet Union, requiring a bombing range in excess of in-service heavy bombers. The USAF already had nuclear weapons in its inventory and had already carried out two nuclear raids on Japan. How it was to build a reliable bomber force that could carry existing and new developments of nuclear weapons to any point on the globe was something it had to create as a sustainable capability. On a smaller scale, the RAF had to introduce nuclear weapons into its armoury and develop jet bombers able to deliver them to targets on the same global coverage. Having two Allied nuclear strategic bombing forces able to work together dramatically extended the threat they posed to any potential enemy. The RAF had already existed since 1918 and developed an impressive heavy bomber force, but that force had effectively become obsolete. The weapons and aircraft had to be designed and developed to address the potential threat of the Cold War and the Treasury was depleted by the enormous cost of World War Two. The USAF had the weapons and initial aircraft but had to develop a new command structure that could create the squadrons and the culture that would provide the force to deliver the capability. Neither had time on their side. The Russians were already believed to be developing their own nuclear weapons and were actually well in advance of the projected timetable that Western intelligence had estimated. The opening moves of this new type of war were already heading from cold to hot as the Berlin siege was rapidly followed by the Korean War and a number of other insurgencies orchestrated by the Soviets. Once the Soviets had tested their first nuclear device the pressure was really on. The USAF rose to the task ahead. Its early personnel had already built experience in the round the clock bombing of Germany and the bombing campaign against the Japanese. To achieve the numbers of bomber crews, many of those who had demobilized in 1945 were persuaded back into the USAF reserves. For both sets of crews, one challenge was to adapt rapidly to new fast jets and a host of new technology including in-flight refuelling. One major equipment challenge was in bringing in jet engines that were still very new and not ideal of long term operation reliably at the thrust levels required by heavy long range aircraft. One solution was to introduce the very large B-36 with its piston engines and jet augmented power. Another was to maintain bases in Europe, particularly in Britain, to hold USAF bombers close to the Soviet border in Europe. The B-47 introduced a dramatic uplift in capability and was quickly followed by the even more impressive B-52 that has continued to soldier on as a frontline warplane with no immediate end in sight for its service. However, the logical upgrading of SAC beyond that was slow and faltering. Only the B-58 was capable of supersonic flight and the B-70A was abandoned, leaving a USAF bomber gap until the introduction of the B-1 and B-2 into a very different environment. The USAF and RAF both lost their primacy, as submarine-based ballistic missiles were introduced. For that reason, many of the logical developments on both the USAF and RAF nuclear bombing capabilities stopped suddenly. However, the period to 1962 saw the burden of the Cold War deterrent was reliant on manned bombers and SAC was the primary weapon for the West. The author has researched in depth and presented a very convincing review of how SAC rose to the challenges and developed the structures that prevented the Soviets from winning the Cold War and preventing it becoming a cataclysmic Hot War. An impressive and very readable account. In particular, the author has addressed the tricky questions about morale and resolve as part of the necessary culture for SAC. During the 1939-45 bombing war, the RAF, and then the USAAF aircrew, had few problems with the practice of bombing on an industrial scale, along with all of the collateral damage where firestorms obliterated German cities. This was probably due to the fact that Germany started the process in the happy belief that they could bomb anyone they wanted to, but no one would bomb them. When USAAF aircrews dropped the first nuclear bombs on Japan there was also no problem for them but, until after the events and photographs, very few people understood how terrible these weapons would be, not just for the devastation at the time, but in the continuing death toll for years after. From 1946, aircrews did understand that they would be asked at some point to visit incredible damage on an enemy. Motivating crews and ensuring that the motivation was effective was an important task for SAC, with the deterrent of Mutually Assured Destruction being presented as the maintenance of peace by SAC.