Transcribed/OCRed by “mape92” on
NOTE: There may be missing sentences in this; I am only human and may have missed something or two in my final QC.
NOTE II: The original document didn't have graphics included; but they were in a second document (LINK).
I'm including them in this document for clarity to help you understand what the briefer is talking about.
(Whereupon, on Wednesday, 26 April 1950, at 8:00 o’clock a.m. the conference reconvened)
GEN EDWARDS: Gentlemen, the conference will come to order.
We will start off this morning with the presentation of Strategic Air Command. General LeMay.
GEN LeMAY: Mr. Secretary, General Vandenberg, and gentlemen: I think will all agree that we had a very impressing day yesterday but sorry to say, you will not exactly enjoy this morning. I think we can carry it out very well.
General Montgomery will start off the Strategic Air Command presentation.
GEN MONTGOMERY: Mr. Finletter, General Vandenberg, and Gentlemen: I have a rather short presentation here covering the operational plan for delivering the atomic offensive and the current status of forces now in the command. Following this, General LeMay has asked that I point up the major deficiencies which impair, or threaten to impair, the execution of this plan.
Items to be discussed include:
Organization and location of units
Plan of overseas movement
Planned disposition of deployed forces
Latest target system under OFFTACKLE
The first atomic strike
A few notes an bombing accuracy, and,
current soft spots
As shown by this chart, Strategic Air Command is composed of the following: 3 heavy bomb groups; 11 mediums; 1 fighter; 3 strategic reconnaissance wings; and 2 strategic support squadrons. These units are organized into 3 Air Forces. These are organized as follows.
On the west coast we have General O’Donnell’s 15th, with Headquarters at March Field and bases at bases at Spokane. Fairfield-Suisun, Castle, and Davis-Monthan.
In the central part of the country we have General Ramey’s 8th Air Force with Headquarters at Carswell and consisting of Rapid City, Walker, Borgstrom, and Biggs.
General Atkinson’s 2nd Air Force is on the East coast with Headquarters at Barksdale and stations include MacDill, Chatham Field, soon to go to Hunter, and Ramey. The 98th Bomb Group at Spokane will soon move to Ramey Field.
(Chart) As shown here, the total personnel strength of the Strategic Air Command is about 67,000, composed of about 9,100 officers, 51,000 airmen, 6,500 civilians, and 280 WAFS.
This amounts to about 16 per cent of the total Air Force strength. Although fully manned, body-wise, we are less than 100 per cent effectively manned. It is somewhere between 85 and 90. Certain critical shortages will be discussed later.
(Chart) Aircraft: Strategic Air Command strength in aircraft is 784 which include bombers, tankers, reccy, transport and fighters.
This figure is broken down as follows: 512 bombers consisting of 27 heavies and 45 mediums. We have been assigned quite a few more B-36s than that but we are undergoing modification for latent defect. Mote that the 485 mediums is about 1/3 B-50s and 2/3 B-29s. Of the 512, about half of them are equipped to carry the A-bomb – exactly half.
The tanker strength is 77; all British type.
Reconnaissance strength is 62 and all are the B-29 type.
Fighter strength is 104. This figure will be doubled soon with the assignment of an additional group, the 31st Group.
In the Transport units, we have 29.
That constitutes our total of 784. So much for aircraft.
Last year at exercise DUALISM, we covered in some detail the plan for getting this force to overseas bases. Since most of you were there, I will not go into that detail at this time.
The plan involves a rapid movement of a number of groups out of the country to the U.K. the size of the deployment has changed; it has increased. The general scheme of maneuver has not changed.
Included in this movement overseas is 7 bomb Groups, 1 Fighter group, 1 Reconnaissance Group, and 5 A-Bomb Assembly Teams. One A-Bomb Assembly team goes to Alaska, making a total of 6.
One E-Day, a very limited number of movements will occur – mostly movements into storage sites to get ready for the assembly teams.
On E-plus-1, the large scale movement will start with the first Squadron leaving the country for the U.K. By E-plus-3, the intensity of this movement reaches the peak and I have one chart to show you the movements on that day.
(Chart) these are the movements scheduled for E-plus-3. Note that the second squadrons are moving into position in the forward area. As I mentioned, on E-plus-1, the first squadrons start the movement eastward; E-plus-2, the second, and E-plus-3, the third. We find on E-plus-3 that the second squadrons have departed the staging area and are going into the forward area. Here is the 43d Group, the second squadron, the 93d, and the 97th. (Indicating) Here are the transport planes carrying assembly team personnel and equipment. Here your reconnaissance outfits are going into place; 3 squadrons in the group. There are 3 B-29s from the 92nd, the second squadron of the 307th, and the second of the 509th moving into position. (Indicating)
Also on this date, the third squadrons will be going into the staging area: the 97th, the 2nd, and the 301st. The 509th coming into Kindley, and the 307. (Indicating)
In addition, assembly teams and C-54s, and C-97s make their departure in route Alaska; 5 B-29s from Rapid City and transports carrying assembly team personnel.
By E-plus-5, all movements are scheduled to be completed into the U.K. and into Alaska. The last operation, as mentioned before, is a staging operation only, there is no planned deployment at Eielson.
The plan calls for utilization of 8 air bases in the United Kingdom as shown by the next chart. One is at Fairford; the second group with 30 B-50 MR, 18 tankers, and 15 B-29s, plus Assembly team 5.
At Upper Heyford we have the 307th with 33 unmodified B-29s.
At Brize Norton we have the 93d with 45 B-50s, and the 97th with 15 B-50s; and Assembly Team 3.
The 301st is at Lakenheath with 30 modified B-29s, shown in red. The red indicates aircraft equipped to carry the A-bomb. Also, we have 18 tankers, 15 B-29s, and assembly team 2.
At Sculthorpe; the 43d group with 33 B-50s, 20 tankers, and 12 unmodified B-29s, and Assembly Team 1.
At Warham we have the 509th Group with 33 B-29 MRs; 20 B-29 tankers, and 12 B-29s, and Team 4.
The fighters are at Bentwaters. Here we have the 27th with 81 F-84Es and F-82. They are converting.
The Reccy is at Heathrow with 48 RB-29s.
The total as seen is 349 bombers; reconnaissance, 48; and 81 fighters for an overall total of 478.
Plan TROJAN listed, for planning purposes, about 70 industrial areas. OFFTACKLE has increased that number up to 123.
With the target material we now have, we can strike 60 of the 123 targets. The location of the targeted and untargeted areas is shown by the next chart.
(Chart) Of the 123 total, the red disk indicate those that we are now ready to go against and the blank disks indicate areas on which we have to get pre-strike reconnaissance before we can send an A-Bomb against them. You can see from the spread of the untargeted areas that the reconnaissance effort will be a large one. Note that several of the targets lie outside the areas of the Soviet Union proper.
The first atomic strike is scheduled to be launched on E-plus-6. Medium bombers will attack from the United Kingdom and B-36s will go out of Alaska, Rapid City, or the Northeast.
In the event that B-36s are launched from Rapid City, it will, of course, be necessary to stage them through the Middle East.
Experience to date indicates that, with present facilities at Eielson, we will not be able to operate B-36s through Alaska during mid-winter when temperatures are below minus 30. That seems to be the dividing line between operations and non-operations with present facilities.
GEN VANDENBERG: Would you explain that a little?
GEN MONTGOMERY: We found that if we land with temperatures below minus 30, with the refueling facilities they have, that chances are we won’t get the airplane started again.
I don’t think it is simply a matter of refueling although that could be improved.
GEN EDWARDS: Certain major defects in the fuel cell seen to crop up below the 30.
GEN MONTGOMERY: That is right. There is just too much airplane in trying to handle the aircraft out in the open on the ramp at below minus 30. There are too many defects in it right now to get it off under these conditions. A hangar would facilitate that, of course. We could pull the airplane in and get in ready and take off like they operate the weather reconnaissance out of Alaska. We are able to get a B-36 on the ground and get it loaded and get it off again in 3 hours if the weather permits. I think that we will see be able to beat that figure.
(Chart) On the next chart, I would like to point out the U.K. phase of the attack. There are 32 targets included in the first strike involving only 70 bombs. Shown on this chart are 26. Here are the U.K. strikes on E-plus-6: two main forces penetrating in the northwest and southwest regions; 201 bombers, 89 attacking here (Indicating). The force will approach along southern Scandinavia, across Finland and the penetration is northeast of Leningrad. The other force will cross France, Italy, Greece, and the penetration will occur in the Black Sea region. The color schemes indicate the position of forces at the same time. For instance, when the northern force is crossing southern Scandinavia, the southern force will be dispatched so as to be in this position around Greece.
The brown indicates position of forces at the time that borders are crossed. Also during this period which occurs between 1905 and 1950 GCT, a certain number periphery targets will be bombed. Blue indications the location of forces during the period 1950 to 2035. Notice the forces fanning out here and certain targets a little further inland which are bombed during that period. During the period 2035 to 2120, shows by green, the forces are penetrating deeper striking more inland targets. Moscow will be struck during this period.
Red indications the position of forces during the period 2120 to 2313. The final targets are bombed during this period, including Baku.
GEN EDWARDS: How many are hit on the strike?
GEN MONTGOMERY: Thirty-two. This chart shows 26.
Six will be hit by B-36s striking from Alaska. We have not shown withdraw forces here. The forces attacking targets north of this line, (Indicating) will withdraw to the United Kingdom. South of the line, forces will withdraw to the Middle East. We feel that this scheme of maneuver offers the best saturation we can archive as for as fighter defenses are concerned. Notice that the whole attack goes off in about four hours from the time borders are penetrated.
As for anti-aircraft, that is a different problem.
We will have to take each cell and compress it as much as possible. We are working on that now with the understanding that unless we can get these aircraft close enough together to be in the cone of fire of any single battery at one time, we are not getting consist of from 3 to 5 airplanes including 1 A-carrier. What we are trying to do is compress that cell, down to 1 minute between successive aircraft.
General LeMay asked me to emphasize that this only one way of carrying out this attack. There are many variations and situations and tactics and we have some alternative plans.
We will decide when all the information is in which plan we will use. This is the favored plan. We also plan dispatch reconnaissance aircraft on E-plus-6 to get the untargeted areas.
If the United Kingdom bases remain tenable, it is planned to strike the 123 cities in a period of 30 to 40 days.
Since exercise Dualism, much interest and effort has been devoted to the problem of bombing accuracy. Many questions have been asked concerning the capability of crews to meet those targets from altitude. The Hull Committee, Weapons System Evaluation Group, has made an intensive study of SAC bombing capability. Their representatives have spent many hours with us, have ridden in the aircraft, and they have rendered a favorable report. As matter of information, General LeMay asked that I review quickly with you the past year. Before presenting the actual figure, however, I would like to say a few words on the background problem. During the past year, we have conducted a number of evaluation exercises designed to test bombing capabilities. These exercises consisted of radar bombing runs at high altitude, 25,000 feet and above, and they consisted of what we call “first”·runs. In other words, we permit the crew to go in on only one approach to a given target on that mission to segregate the value and advantage of successive runs, familiarity to drifts, and how the targets break up on the final approach, and so forth.
(Chart) We have a chart here showing the bombing accuracy. This side (Indicating) of the chart gives the errors in thousands of feet from zero on up. I have a time scale starting back in January of 1949; in other words, a little over a year ago, and coming on up to February of 1950, the red line indicates the accuracy trend for the first runs that I mentioned. On a given day, the first run is against a given industrial target. I might mention that these scores were measured by the 584 ground radar sets. We have about 10 of these. They are located at places like Tampa, Birmingham, Denver, Spokane, Phoenix, Sacramento, and so on, periphery targets, on the water, and going into the more difficult targets such as Denver and Phoenix. Birmingham is a difficult target.
The blue line indicates all radar runs including “first” runs and all practice runs. Note that the first runs have dropped from an average of about 5,000 feet on down to 2,500 feet. The bombing error is just about cut in half. For all radar runs, the bombing error has dropped from 4,000 feet down to 1,800 feet. That is a little more than half but notice that the blue line stays consistently under the red line some 500 to 600 or 700 feet – which shows pretty consistently what advantage a man has when he is able to make a second or third run on a target.
In July, we conducted an exercise against Phoenix-Sacramento. Before I mention that, let me say that earlier in the year, we experienced some errors up in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 10,000 feet and a close look at the problem indicated that the procedures needed tightening. We found some inconsistency in procedures and some need for changes in a procedure which was done. In addition, it became necessary to select crews and earmark them for A-carriers with the thought that you can’t bring the whole level of SAC up to the level that you need for A-carriers. This was done and crews were entered in the special school to train them. This exercise was carried out with lead crews – crews selected as A-carriers – against Phoenix and Sacramento with an error of about 2600 feet. Later on, we ran all SAC crews against Ogden and Stockton. One hundred and fifty nine runs produced an error that fell right on the line of 3,000 feet which confirms this accuracy trend here. (Indicating)
In addition, a exercise involving the B-36 at 40,000 feet was conducted by SAC and fourteen runs 40,000 feet produced an error of about 1925 feet. With a lethal radius of about 5,000 feet for the weapon and with the present bombing average of down around 2,000 for the lead crews, we feel the targets can be hit allowing some leeway for combat degradation; we still can hit the targets. I might mention that we have about 80 lead crews in Strategic Air Command. Each one of them has been assigned a aiming point in the Soviet target complex system and each one is working on that aiming point. He is predicting how it will break up. He is studying the run from the initial point to the target. The navigators are studying all the navigational aspects of the run. We feel that by careful crew selection and by continuation of the lead crew school and intensive training and better bombing equipment – with the Q-24 coming in in great quantities and the K series coming in – that this accuracy can be improved on down below the 2,000 feet level. In my opinion, 1200 to 1500 feet is about as good as you can do with any equipment.
GEN EDWARDS: Would you mention the normal acceptable accuracy of daylight bombing as compared to radar bombing?
GEN MONTGOMERY: Against range target from 25 to 30,000 feet, we can bomb below 500 feet visually – some 50,000 releases give us about a 450 feet bombing accuracy average. However, against industrial targets, that goes up to about 700 for 900 feet and a little more at times so you can see that comparing radar to visual, we will take a thousand feet against about 2,000 feet. I would say it is about twice the error for radar.
Involved in there figures are approximately 20,000 radar runs above 25,000 feet.
GEN EDWARDS: Any difference in the scope between night bombing and bad weather bombing with the radar?
GEN MONTGOMERY: No, sir. The majority of these missions were carried out at night and some in bad weather although at 25,000 or 30,000 we are usually above the weather. We ran our evaluation missions at night just to be sure that nobody looks through the bombsight.
The foregoing gives a brief picture of the SAC resources in the planned utilization in the event of an early emergency. You can appreciate the need for readiness and mission preparation to get missions off on scheduled which we have laid out. There are a number of deficiencies which impair or threaten to impair the plan at hand.
I will cover them briefly. The first is advanced bases. You will recall that the plan calls for some 8 air bases to be utilized in the U.K. I will refer to the chart previously shown to discuss these bases.
(Chart) The three bases in the Oxford area, in the central part of the country, have runways that are a little too short for us. There is 6,000 feet and that is inadequate for the B-29 and extremely marginal for the B-50. In the event of an emergency, we would have to go in and stage a number of sorties through the eastern bases. Although arrangements are under way for lengthening the runways, as General Johnson pointed out, considerable time will yet be required to get those fields in shape. That is a soft spot.
So far as runways are concerned, Lakenheath, Sculthorpe, Marham, and Heathrow are suitable.
Bentwaters has a 6,000 feet strip which is short for the F-84Es operating four external tanks.
In addition to the runways, there is a problem on base personnel complements. They are satisfactory for Lakenheath, Sculthorpe, and Marham. However, none are available for the additional bases at present.
Essential base equipment is in place now for the bases that we are new operating, Lakenheath, Sculthorpe, and Marham. Base defense is not satisfactory. We need assurance of fighter cover when bomber landings and take-offs are underway. I think we need a better plan worked out for ack-ack. At the present time, there is a plan for only a few 5-calibre guns. Sabotage is a problem. Ground troops are needed for protection. In all, the base defense plan needs firming up.
Avgas distribution is a problem a within the U.K. Fuel lines to the bases are not in use. It would take some time to be activated. In the meantime, it will be necessary to move fuel by rail and motor transportation with obvious disadvantages.
Additionally, the RAF now plans to put about 70 B-29s at Marham. This complicates things in the present deployment plants.
As for Dhahran and Cairo, the basic difficulties include a shortage of on-base fuel at Dhahran and the lack of a firm air base defense plan form both areas.
The next soft spot is reconnaissance. This picture can be summed up very briefly. We have 3 wings programmed. We have the equivalent strength of approximately 1 wing. I think that I am stretching a point there because we have the RB-29 type and we all know the difficulties of trying to operate the B-29 in daylight and darkness; also, in deep penetrations into Russia.
Looking at the job required by OFFTACKLE, we estimate that the job is one calling for four wings to get essential reconnaissance.
The accomplishment of such essential photography pre-strike and post-strike missions will require about 750 sorties. In the event of an earlier emergency, it would be necessary to draw on our bomber forces to augment the effort of these 48 RB-29s that you saw saw deployed. Remember, the bombers are not equipped for reconnaissance except for radar scope and certain other reconnaissance. As for port-strike reconnaissance, the problem of bomb damage assessment, we are facing a very critical problem due to the fact that that calls for daylight operations and involves the B-29s. The RB-47 will alleviate this problem. It is not with us and it is not programmed to be in any numbers prior to early 53. We are getting some RB-45s soon—a very small number—but of course the range there is a problem.
I mentioned 30 to 40 days as the time required to get into the offensive. I am not sure that the post-strike effort can be carried out in that time. That may be extended.
However, the bombing can be carried out, we feel, since the 63 targets that I showed you as being untargeted may have to be struck by radar scope photos only. So much for reconnaissance.
Next is the natter of fighters. We require fighter escort protection along both principal routes. In discussing these, I would like to cover the strike plan chart.
(Chart) This passage will made at medium altitudes and for a large part of the year, we will find daylight in this region – the Soviets being along this area; can reach up into here. (Indicating) We need fighter escort here. The same thing applies here. (Indicating) At the present time, we have 1 fighter group to move over – the 27th. We have one additional group coming in – the 31st. However, the matter of long-range tanks is a problem. The F-34E with 4 tanks has not been tested as yet. That will be accomplished soon. The requirement for tanks has not been set up and there are no stacks of long-range fuel tanks in the U.K. In addition to escort, we need fighter cover over the bases during critical periods and it would be convenient to have some fighters for intruder type missions.
In summary, Strategic Air Command has no long-range fighter capability – none at all. We are going to need these fighters for about 30 to 45 days at the most. After that time, they can go back to some other mission but we feel that this present plan is jeopardized new because of that daylight passage at medium altitudes without fighter escort. We look on that as one of the most serious soft spots. So much for fighters.
Next is matter of airlift available for deployment. The present plan, as General Kuter pointed out, calls for about 360 C-54 equivalents – about 100 C-54 equivalent sorties. We are examining the present situation to determine how much of this deficit can be made up by using B-29s. Use of the relatively small bomber force during this period for airlift is undesirable for many reasons. I am sure I do not have to go into these reasons.
An exercise designed to test SAC-MATS mobility is scheduled for June. MATS will provide 126 C-54 equivalents which will test SAC mobility up through E-plus-4.
Next are electronic counter measures. The present plan calls for the use of chaff and electronic jammers. As you saw, we planned to move a number of support B-29s into the U.K and run them in to strengthen the electronic jamming. The present SAC capability is about 35 per cent effective. This is due to a shortage of electronic jammers and the fact that present chaff has deteriorated somewhat and will not be entirely suitable. Also, present chaff is not on proper wave lengths. One additional item that we mentioned is that the automatic chaff dispensers are not hooked up presently so the chaff dispensers are not operated from pressurized compartments. This matter is moving rather slowly but action is under way. In fact, it is under way on the whole ECM picture but it will be several months before that picture can materially improve so it is another soft spot.
The next item is Electronics Maintenance Personnel. Although the command is fully manned, body-wise, we are not up to strength effectively. Certain critical shortages continue to hamper operations, the most critical being this one, electronics maintenance personnel. In this category, we are little over half manned. Steps have been taken to train out all present shortages. It seems that all action has been taken; however, some categories will not be filled until late 51.
The last soft spot is Materiel. In January, we presented to the Air Staff the major engineering and supply problems which then confronted us in the conversion of units to new types of aircraft. These deficiencies were consolidated into two documents. Some of the problems presented at that time have since been solved or partially solved. There are still many confronting us. A few of the major engineering problems have been: In connection with the B-50, major engineering and maintenance difficulties have been encountered with the turbo superchargers and the electrical system.
With the B-36 there are four categories: power plant, fuel leaks, radar, and armament. In addition, we have various items limiting operations with the B-29s, tankers, F-86, and F-84. The supply problems have not been greatly alleviated since the January presentation. We are still plagued with an excessive number of B-50 and B-36 critical spares; a serious lack of current supply and maintenance publications is still a problem. There is a shortage of personnel and survival equipment.
In closing, I would like to say what I have not covered all of the problems but I have covered the main ones. There are, of course, many others. They have been assembled and made know to the proper agencies. Let me point out one other thing: I have only talked about soft spots that apply to the present plan that you see; in effect, the plan that involves deployment to the U.K. As the enemy builds up his atomic capability, the overall mission of the Strategic Air Command will be severely affected.
General LeMay will cover this part of the presentation.
GEN LeMAY: Mr. Secretary, General Vandenberg, and Gentlemen: You have heard General Montgomery report on the present status of the Strategic Air Command to carry out our existing war plan. These of you who were down at Dualism over a year ago probably remember that at that time, on D-plus-9 we could lay down about 20 atomic bombs. This year, on D-plus-6, we can lay down some 70 bombs. We also have a better logistics plan. We have a better detailed plan for the tactical employment of the Command and we have progress along many other lines.
I must say: that it is not enough however because these soft spots that General Montgomery mentioned are only a few of many. I would like to reemphasize three of these soft spots:
First, we are paying a great deal of attention to our defense here at home in the Continental United States and I certainly don’t quarrel with that; however, I would like to point out that unless we have adequate air defense over the advanced bases, we stand a very good chance of losing the entire striking force. I am inclined to think that the air defense over the forward area is going to be a lot more important to us, at least for the next year, than air defense here at home.
The second point is reconnaissance. It is very critical. We cannot expect to get very much more target material prior to the opening of hostilities. Some type of aerial reconnaissance information is absolutely necessary to get the target folders together. The reconnaissance force which we have simply will not provide that target information in the short time we have available. The force is totally inadequate to get the post-strike damage assessment photography which we need. This is true today and it will be even truer when we have to think of counter Air Force operations against the Russian striking force.
The third one is the condition of our forward operating bases. Our plan depends on these bases being pre-stocked and pre-manned. Several of these bases have only recently been finally assigned to us by an agreement with Britain and this has prevented us from working but detailed plans for their use. In fact, it has prevented us from inspecting facilities. We also have a manning problem for these bases that is yet to be worked out. It we have an emergency in the immediate future; these deficiencies would delay and confuse SAC in carrying out its mission. The same deficiencies have been apparent for some time and our progress in solving them has been exceedingly slow. I believe that sums up the past.
Now, the future. General Vandenberg has raised the point that our loss of monopoly in atomic weapons has serious implications on our plans for national security. I certainly agree with this. I would like to tell you how severely it affects the Strategic Air Command mission.
Today we have military superiority over the Soviet Union due to our possession of a stockpile of atomic bombs and our capability of delivering them. If war were to occur this year or even next year, I believe that we could probably do our job and guarantee ultimate victory for this country and do it at acceptable cost.
As the Soviet stockpile grows and their capability to deliver that stockpile grows, there comes a time when the entire picture changes radically. It is about this period and what we must do about it that I would like to say a few words. As you heard yesterday morning, in the near future the Soviets will have achieved a respectable stockpile and it appears that about the middle of 1952 is about the right date. At that time, it is estimated that the enemy could deliver at least 45, and probably up to as many as 90, atomic bombs on targets in this country. When that date, 1952, arrives and it is already pretty close at hand, the whole military picture will change. You will no longer have military superiority as we know it today. The enemy, even though possessing fewer bombs that we may have, will have enough either to destroy our striking force or the major cities of this country or both.
I believe that this will be true even if General Whitehead is given all the air defense that he has requested and that he needs. There, the proposed air defense system can only reduce the damage inflicted upon us. It certainly cannot eliminate all of the damage to us by long shot. I find it very difficult to discuss this period and what it means to the Air Force. No one likes to face the conclusions that are self-evident from the facts. Unfortunately, our job in the Air Force requires us to face these facts and I know of no better place to do it than here at the Commanders' Meeting.
If our estimate of Soviet Stockpile figures is approximately correct, then, when 1952 arrives, destruction of the energy industry as presently planned is not enough. It certainly would be an empty victory for us to succeed in destroying their industrial capacity if, at the same time, this country were destroyed or even seriously damaged.
I would like to underscore General Cabell’s remarks of yesterday morning by quoting from the recent Joint Chiefs of Staff study on the Implication of Soviet Possession of the Atomic Weapons. I believe the following quotation sums up the situation very effectively:
“The basic conclusion emerging from this study is that with the growing atomic capabilities of the Soviet Union for attacking the United States, the tine is approaching when both the United States and the Soviets will possess capabilities for inflicting devastating atomic attacks on each other. Were war to break out when this period is reached, a tremendous military advantage would be gained by the power that struck that struck first and succeeded in carrying through an effective surprise attack. Such an attack against the United States might well be decisive by reducing the atomic offensive capability, possibility to a critical degree, and destroying the capability for mobilizing and carrying on offensive warfare.”
In other words, unless we take steps now that are not presently programmed, we are pretty apt to lose the next war. In my mind, we now face a basic change in our concept. We must not only plan to destroy the enemy industrial power but we must be capable at the same time of destroying his force before it destroys us. Destruction of his industry as now targeted will alone serve our purpose.
Destruction of his industry will certainly kill him in the long run by depriving him of his sustaining resources but that is not enough when we can lose ours the same time.
We are a long way from possessing the capability of destroying the Soviet striking force. As General Cabell stated, there is so little intelligence available on that force today as to its size and location that it is not possible to estimate what we can do about it. However, from our experience in building an atomic striking force, we know that sensitive spots do exist which, if attacked, would drastically reduce the striking power. As a matter of fact, we believe that a well-planned attack based on sound intelligence night well eliminate that threat. Not only am I thinking of aircraft, but I am thinking of sites like Able, Baker, and Charlie.
In addition to our intelligence shortcomings today, too small a portion of our striking force has sufficient range to enable us to strike promptly from this country without deploying to forward bases.
In spite of the [ILL] weaknesses on our part; I am convinced that we have no alternative. We must achieve the capability of destroying the enemy’s long-range striking force. We must develop a long-range intercontinental force together with the necessary base system on this continent so that this attack can be launched in a matter of hours and not a matter of days. Furthermore, we should have that force ready to go as soon as possible and, in any event, not later than the middle of 1952.
I presume that everyone in the room agrees with this view. Unfortunately, it will take a lot of money. I don’t see how we can do it with the funds presently programmed. Furthermore, if we proceed at the rate we have in the past year, it is out of the question.
The lead times required in preparing a D-Day force to function as we want it is so great that under the present “business as usual methods”, it will take years before we can get a striking force in position to go.
Examining my mission today, it is clear to me that we can no longer afford the luxury of preparing for war as we have in the past.
Let’s look at the facts:
Our projected air defense system will provide only a very limited protection to the striking force in the face of a well-planned Soviet air attack as envisaged by the Joint Chiefs of Staff study I mentioned.
The Strategic Air Command cannot carry out its mission after absorbing a Soviet attack of this size.
After 1952, the use of European bases as primary launching sites for the atomic attack will be questionable if not impractical.
It seems to me that these facts point to our basic requirements:
First; accurate up-to-the-minute intelligence on the disposition of the enemy atomic force.
Second; accurate information on enemy intentions to use that force.
Third; the capability within the Strategic Air Command to destroy the enemy striking force by a long-range attack in a matter of hours.
We will certainly never meet these requirements if we follow our present approach. I certainly agree with General Cabell that the present intelligence program will never attain these goals.
I believe that it will take a Manhattan type of project backed by whatever funds may be necessary to procure the type of intelligence we need.
Mobilization day might well have been declared last fall when the Russians exploded the first atomic bomb. D-Day is next. I doubt that anyone can forecast D-Day or the size of the atomic stockpile with any greater accuracy than we forecasted the explosion the first Russian bomb.
I believe that you will agree that the present situation is every bit as serious as the situation that confronted us in 1940 when mobilization was declared. In view of this urgency, I recommend that the Air Force present this problem in it’s entirely in the highest councils for discussion.
Furthermore, I believe that our national leaders must be impressed with the need for taking the following specific steps:
First, provide an overriding priority for the establishment of an intelligence system which will toss us the where and when regarding the energy’s atomic force.
Second, place the Air Force on a war footing without further delay.
Third; provide funds in such quantities as may be needed to insure that the striking force will be operational as a long-range intercontinental force not later than July of 1952, and,
Fourth, re-examine present policies which imply that must absorb the first atomic blow.
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GEN EDWARDS: The conference is open for discussion, gentlemen.
I would like to bring up the question of the progress that is being made with the various fixes that were presented to us that were required at the conference in January, whether the time schedule given by Air Materiel Command at that time as to the time-phasing for correcting all these defects is being met or not, or met approximately.
GEN LeMAY: In general, we are getting fixes for the troubles that come up. In some cases the first fix is not the final one. We are not having so much trouble with the actual fix of the deficiencies as we find them as we are in getting the existing airplanes retrofitted with that fix after we find out what it is.
Under the business-as-usual program that we have, it takes months just to change the exhaust rings on the engines, and we have known for some time how to correct that deficiency; but is going to be some time in the future before we have all of those items retrofitted on the air-planes.
That is what is costing us time.
GEN VANDENBERG: General Kuter, would the date 1 July 51, when you meet the requirement for airlift, take into account the shortages that General LeMay has just mentioned? That is the best date you can hope to do the SAC part of this?
GEN KUTER: Yes, sir.
GEN VANDENBERG: he pointed that out.
GEN KUTER: Yes, sir.
GEN VANDENBERG: That is due to what? The length of time to procure and put in operation some of the bigger ships?
GEN KUTER: that is correct, sir.
GEN VANDENBERG: All we can do is hope the Russians will wait that long, I guess.
GEN EDWARDS: I might say the Chief of Staff has approved for first priority, if we get one we get one additional group next year, that it will be a Strategic Reconnaissance Group – the only one priority unit we have in our entire program.
GEN LeMAY: I missed that important point. We do need them and need them badly.
GEN RAWLINGS: Have you any more thoughts on the intelligence situation? It seems to me that that is really the crux of the thing. Just looking at the dollar picture, it doesn’t seem to me we are putting the effort into it that we might in relation to the total dollars we are spending.
GEN LeMAY: I certainly agree with you. For every dollar that is spent on intelligence, it saves us a thousand dollars.
GEN RAWLINGS: Have any facts been brought out as to how we solve that problem?
GEN LeMAY: The only thing I have is the dollars. The old cloak-and-dagger business is gone. You buy information now – actually buy and pay for it. How it is to be done I don’t know. The only way it can be done is to have the President given a fund which he can spend without accounting for the expenditure of the money for this purpose, like a Manhattan project.
GEN RAWLINGS: Do you think photo-reccy is what you need? In other words, to get coverage of these targets with photo-reconnaissance. Would give you what you think we need?
GEN LeMAY: We have to have that in order to hit them. For instance, we might find that through other methods of intelligence we would strike a heavy airdrome in a certain area or by a certain town. Then we would have to go over and take pictures of it and make up the target folders.
GEN RAWLINGS: Would it be feasible to take a group of B-36s and convert them with the best camera equipment we have, put all of our effort on it send them across and get our pictures?
GEN LeMAY: I wouldn’t be too happy with that solution.
GEN RAWLINGS: What is the alternative?
GEN LeMAY: It is my experience that when you want to photograph the clouds are in the way. You have to have something of higher performance to go under any weather and take the photographs at low level to confirm this information.
GEN RAWLINGS: What are the other possibilities within a reasonable length of time as I recall, our schedules on -47s – and there you have very limited range in terms of the problem – anything beyond that is three or four years away no matter what you do.
GEN LeMAY: That is right. We have never done anything about reconnaissance.
GEN KEPNER: How can you send airplanes over there and not have another one of the things that occurred in there and not have another one the things that occurred in the Balkan Sea the other day?
GEN LeMAY: I would like to shoot back when some-body shoots at me. I don’t propose going over and taking photographs of the Russian airdromes at the present time when we have no idea where to look. However, I think would pay us dividends if we do that. How we get it is not for me to say.
GEN KEPNER: That all ties into the substance of those last four points you make there, starting with intelligence and then preparation for a war plan. Funds are something that we do nothing about here, but somebody else can. The idea of absorbing an atomic attack is a matter of policy. We absorb through national policy.
GEN LeMAY: I don’t see how I can absorb, on my bases, an atomic attack and then get off the floor and carry out my mission. I don’t believe I could do it. I am just fooling myself if I say I can. I certainly don’t agree with any national policy that tells me that that is what I must do because I don’t think it is possible.
GEN KEPNER: There are only two things. That is, to have an air defense that prevents an atomic attack or prevent by other action ahead of time; stop before they start.
GEN LeMAY: I don’t think we have the ability to stop it. One thing is to have the impregnable defense which I don’t think will work. The only defense is to know when it is coming, so, at best, you won’t be there when it hits you.
GEN EDWARDS: General Cabell.
GEN CABELL: I would like to make a comment concerning the major areas of possibility in the intelligence field.
General LeMay spoke of the fact that he thought the old cloak-and-dagger business was dead. I think what the situation is really not that it is dead, but no longer can we rely on that method as the exclusive source for our intelligence. However, it is and is becoming, in my opinion, more and more of a requirement than it ever was before as one of expansion of activity in the intelligence field.
As far that concerned, that is what I spoke of yesterday as to CIA’s making extended expansion in the cloak-and-dagger field-
The second point of importance is the Air Force Security Service and its relationship with the others in that same communications field. We have presented a program for the expansion of that and with the proper priorities it should begin to be in operation in a matter of a little over a year. That, in spite of priorities, is about a year or more away.
The third area of necessary expansion is the area that General LeMay spoke of, that of strategic reconnaissance, and that requires hardware and the capabilities to utilize that hardware.
As to the objective folder program, as I understand it now, SAC has in its hands fresh material, and in some instances that material is exceedingly fresh. That is, SAC looks at it and says, with respect to radar bombing, “we can’t use that material to get us our target”. Therefore, in the present program we are following that fresh material with adequate material.
As General LeMay brings out, we will not be able to produce that adequate material on many areas without aerial reconnaissance and that aerial reconnaissance either has to be done pre-D-Day or pre-launching of the operation against those particular targets.
So, in either case, that particular requirement boils down to strategic reconnaissance.
GEN MONTGOMERY: General, as for as hitting the industrial areas is concerned, it doesn’t bother us much. We believe the way for the bomb is expanded so much and we put in so much study on radar. I believe we can take a radar scope of it, though, and carry the mission out. What worries us now is the fact that even with four wings, if you didn’t have up-to-date information on the striking force. I don’t have up-to-date information on the striking force; I don’t believe you could do enough search reconnaissance to carry out a counter-weapon operation. For instance, we go in on one day and photograph a large segment of the striking force. By the time we plan and ready the planes and get an attack off, they may not be there.
For example, we have a plan in SAC that will be put into effect if we get a warning. We will put SAC on maneuver. The planes will be shipped around to us and delay the overseas deployment. We can get the overseas deployment on order while the maneuver is going on. That will help us save a striking force from attack.
Still, what General LeMay is mentioning, if I might say so, is the fact that we have a sustaining resources type of target system, and we don’t have near the type of intelligence to go into counter-weapons operation.
I don't believe a reconnaissance force, in itself, can do a counter-weapons job. It will help. Where you are searching hundreds and hundreds of square miles, I don’t believe we can do counter-weapons job that basis. We have to know almost exactly where and go right off.
GEN CABELL: I don’t disagree with a word General Montgomery has said. We feel the same way about it. As I said earlier, our best hope of obtaining of the Air Force Security situation.
GEN KERNER: Don’t you agree that they should have something similar to the Manhattan Project as the only way that that can be set up? It is going to require some concentrated effort beyond what we had heretofore.
GEN CABELL: Yes, but what I think General LeMay had in mind on the Manhattan Project was the CIA area of intelligence.
GEN LeMAY: Something like that. What I meant was that we have a block of funds that the agency we use can use to expand without having to go to Congress and ask for so many million dollars for private individuals or something of that sort.
GEN EDWARDS: General Grubbs.
GEN GRUBBS: I would like to pursue this retaliation a bit further. I hear a lot of talk among our own service personnel about the American having to be educated about this retaliation. I am personally of the opinion that we in the military, ourselves, are permeating the people of this country with the concept that we have to take the first blow. I have been around and I am not sure the people of this country hold the idea that we do have to take the first blow. A couple of years ago General Eisenhower came down to the Air University and made the statement that the people of this country wouldn’t stand for delivering the first blow.
We accepted the national policy about our treatment of Mexico according to the records of history. I don’t know about our strangling Japan with the hold on her jugular vein, and I don’t know about sending the destroyers to England. That is handing a gun to a second party to shoot a third. I think we in the military ought to do something about educating the people that we do not have to take the first blow. We have to teach the Secretary of Defense about this 5:00 o’clock in-the-morning business. I think we have to have the 2:00 o’clock in-the-morning stuff. I am not sure the American people will insist that we take the first blow.
GEN LeMAY: I didn’t mean by that statement that we should go out and attack Russia tomorrow. I do mean that there are many ways of determining when you are going to be invaded, one is to wait until somebody hits you on the head with a ballbat and then determine whether he is mad at you; the other is to start to swing and hit when the blow lands. That is what I am talking about.
GEN RAWLINGS: There is no question but what intelligence in the key to the question you pose. The thing is that we don’t have a solution to the problem you put to us.
GEN LeMAY: It is only one of the items, one of the important ones – but it is of the items.
GEN RAWLINGS: It is the trigger to the balance of the program where we may be spending billions of dollars for which we get nothing.
GEN STRATEMEYER: Can you get a suitable reconnaissance airplane by mid-52?
GEN EDWARDS: I would like to ask somebody – General Wolfe, General Chidlaw, or somebody – to give us an idea of where we stand on this long-range reconnaissance thing.
GEN WOLFE: General Chidlaw, are you going to give that?
GEN CHIDLAW: I am going to give a brief discussion.
GEN LeMAY: Right now we are equipped with some RB-29s. We are not fully equipped with these. There have been programmed some RB-50s but hey have been delayed and delayed and delayed. There also programmed some RB-47s, prior to the delivery of the RB-47, to modify for reconnaissance work. They have been delayed and delayed.
The last item I heard was that now [ILLEGIBLE] is getting the RB-45 for their tactical reconnaissance squadron prior to SAC receiving theirs, which I can’t understand, because a tactical squadron will probably go into action at least a year after we could, and they already have a satisfactory airplane with the B-26. Something like that will happen to us. The RB-36 is due out. It should be out just now but they are delayed. It will be at least the first of the year before we have a squadron up I believe.
GEN EDWARDS: Even so, all of these solutions are second-rate solutions.
GEN LeMAY: They are second-rate solutions and none of them is what we actually need.
What I am trying to get at is that we do not have in the program a good reconnaissance airplane. The only solution that I see to provide an airplane of the performance we need is the B-52. That is a long way off unless we accelerate the program and authorize overtime, and things of that nature.
GEN WOLFE: I would like to support General LeMay in his statement of business as usual. I don’t think there is a question as to whether the Air Force knows how to solve the problem, that the aircraft industry knows how; it is just a matter of money.
We are faced with deficiencies all throughout the Air Force. They are balancing deficiencies. I think the solution you talk about in the cloak-and-dagger business is one thing. I immediately say, “Well, 3-1/2 million dollars for reconnaissance airplanes; 35 million – how much intelligence can you buy?” Maybe that is the way to do it. I don’t see how we can get a better reconnaissance airplane than the one laid down now by the date set. It is too late.
GEN LeMAY: In research and development, over two years, we had the reconnaissance airplane – the F-12; it wasn’t perfect; it was pretty expensive for the times, too; but if we had bought it, then we would have something now. We could have used that airplane.
GEN WOLFE: That is right; but we didn’t buy it. What are we going to do between now and 52?
GEN LeMAY: Buy something for reconnaissance. That is the only answer. We have to buy something or we won’t have anything. We have nothing now; practically no reconnaissance capability.
GEN WOLFE: I say again that this business-as-usual is the thing that has us down. That is controlled by the dollars, not lack of knowledge, in my opinion.
GEN TWINING: It looks to me like what you want is the information. It seems to me that if the dollars are short, it is beyond what we can get. I think, with the urgency as great as it is, we ought to go to congress and present the problem. It is very vital. The reconnaissance airplane is important, sure. It is going to come too late.
The thing we want to find out now is he going to punch. I think we ought to show to the highest councils and say, “There is money involved and we have to get some help”. I don’t think we are getting enough help from our Allies. I don’t see why the British can’t protect the airdromes with fighters.
Why do we have to send fighters to protect fields in England? Why do we have to put a ground force over there? I don’t understand that. We could save a lot of fighters that could be kept in our own country to protect our own airdromes.
GEN CABELL: I would like to make one more comment about the spending of dollars for intelligence, In these three areas I spoke of, neither is an alternative to the other. We must have the cloak-and-dagger type, the Air Force Securities Service type, and the reconnaissance, and they have to go along together, hand in hand, and neither can be sacrificed by additional expenditure in the other field.
GEN MONTGOMERY: In order for SAC to plan and execute an effective counter weapons offensive aimed at the enemy’s long-range aircraft, up-to-date intelligence information is required on disposition of such aircraft. I would like to emphasize that time may not be available to cover hundreds of square miles with our reconnaissance planes prior to planning and launching such a mission.
There are several reasons for this: one, it would take too long; two, the enemy would probably relocate his force on observing our reconnaissance activities; three, the weather may prove a serious obstacle in completing such a reconnaissance program; four, since we cannot search all possible areas could miss some critical areas.
This all adds up to the need for accurate and up-to-date information coming from inside enemy territory. Undoubtedly, we will have to supplement such data by reconnaissance effort to varying degrees. It is true that SAC’s weakness in reconnaissance is one of our most critical “soft spots” and the entire reconnaissance organization should be strengthened, both in size and quality. We need more and better reconnaissance planes to execute the OFFTACKLE mission including the planned attack against sustaining resources, aerial mining, et cetera, with the heavy requirements for pre-strike and post-strike photography, surveillance of mine fields, and photographic development of target areas. However, a strong reconnaissance force alone will not, in my opinion take care of the counter weapons operation for the reasons I have mentioned.
In brief, if we are to strike the enemy’s anatomic forces before they can hit us, we have to know where they are before actual hostilities commence. This points up the need for the strong cloak-and-dagger type of organization that General Cabell mentioned.
GEN EDWARDS: May I ask what is probably a naïve question, General Montgomery? On the daylight portion of this mission you mentioned, is that a must to get to those targets? Or is it the circumstance that phased it that way?
GEN LeMAY: This particular plan that you saw is a night attack. If you want to attack at night, then you want to take advantage of all the darkness you can in the most critical areas with the penetration over the target area.
To do that on the night, you must fly a lot in the daytime so it is dark when you are over the target area. That means you are out over Scandinavia and France in the daylight. Under certain circumstance, you might be intercepted. We would like to have some fighter cover for that particular thing.
There are other ways of doing the job, but if you fly over those areas in darkness, then you make the penetration in daylight. If you want to do a daylight mission, that is the way it is done.
GEN MONTGOMERY: General, Leningrad in the summer months will always be a daylight mission, and the plan calls for a daylight attack with RB-50Ds. When you get to Moscow you have a situation where you have some night cover, but through the approaches and the crossing of the borders in the mid-summer it will daylight operation.
GEN LeMAY: These missions are running from 14 to 40 hours now, and on missions that long you always have to fly some portion of it in daylight, prior to darkness, regardless of the fact that it is a dark mission.
GEN EDWARDS: General McNaughton, when you talk to us tomorrow, are you going to speak about the deficiencies regarding SAC?
GEN McNAUHGTON: Yes, I am going to talk about that.
GEN CRAIG: I would like to ask if General LeMay considers the air attack of the bases more serious than the attack by saboteurs.
GEN LeMAY: You mean the bases in this country?
GEN CRAIG: Yes.
GEN LeMAY: Or the forward bases?
GEN CRAIG: In this country.
GEN LeMAY: Right now I am not much worried about the Russian air attack. As time goes on, their capability will increase, their stockpile, but our estimates now are not more than five or six bombs. With five or six bombs, I doubt if they would make an attack.
If they stumbled into war with us unintentionally, I think they would put those bombs on other targets, so I am not worried about an air attack at the present time here in this country.
GEN CRAIG: 1952?
GEN LeMAY: They will have a sufficient stockpile to expend some on SAC bases, and if I were in Joe’s shoes and were contemplating attack on this country, I think I could carry it out very well and we wouldn’t get off the ground to do a thing. At their leisure they could destroy whatever we choose to have destroyed before we would give in, but once you knock SAC out we are through – really through.
GEN RAWLINGS: Curt, I would like to pose a question. It seems to me, from what we have heard up to this point and without hearing other deficiencies that I know we have, that to really do the job, based on the situation as we see it with our present plans, it probably is going to take something like 7-1/2 to 8 billion dollars a year. I don’t think is too far off.
Based on the short experience I have had on the Hill with the Appropriations people, unless something very major happens very soon, I don’t see much possibility of our actually getting more than something like 5 billion or 5-1/2 billion dollars. Assuming that we are unable to put across a program effectively at the higher level, what happens to our concept if we are stuck with lower level figures?
GEN LeMAY: I think we have to establish priorities within our own establishment, but, to start out with, I, for one, am not satisfied with the country’s war plan. I think we are going to have to make up our minds as to how we are going to fight the next war and then build the equipment and assemble the resources to do it.
I think the primary task is the strategic offensive. We had better get ready to build that whether we have anything left to do anything else or not. I am talking about the split of funds between the three in the establishment of national defense.
We are spending a lot of money on the Navy and the Army. I don’t know what Army is going to do under OFFTACKLE; they are going to start assembling a land army to do something. In the plan start Sammy proposed yesterday, I noticed 80 fighter-bomber groups. It looks to me like a build-up for another Normandy invasion some place.
Apparently we are going to fight World War II over again. I don’t see how you can do it that may. We know at the start of World War II what you could do with air power, yet, we went on and our national policy was based on land invasion and hand-to-hand fighting.
I don’t think we can plan World War II that way. What I think is necessary is to determine how we are going to fight the war, what resources are necessary to do it, and then allocate the funds to the place to do it. I think, under the circumstances, maybe the 13 to 15 billion we are getting now will do the job, but it won’t do the job if 30 per cent to air, 30 per cent to Army, and 30 per cent to Navy.
GEN RAWLINGS: I have seen several years now where we have embarked on a program and the dollars are inadequate to support the program and then we have to make some adjustment to come within the limiting figure and you have about 24 to 48 hours to do it, so the program we finally get set with, dollar-wise, is the poorest program in terms of a concept of how you are going to fight the war.
Therefore, it seem to me we are leading ourselves into getting a dollars answer rather than an answer based on how you are going to fight.
GEN LeMAY: For this year, Ed, I say give intelligence what money they need, what they ask for and spend the rest on the striking force. If there is nothing left for anything else, that is too bad.
GEN VANDENBERG: I would like to comment at this minute on something.
In the first place, I would like to say that I agree, of course, with the concept of having the proper striking force and the proper defensive force. Of course, I do. But I think it might be interesting to throw in a few of the other viewpoints just so that everybody considers that.
Before I start that, I would like to say that the problem of money for intelligence, if you are talking about the CIA – unless it has changed measurably since I was in on it – does not exist. There is plenty of money there, and this kitty you are talking about does exist.
Now, for the other part, there is this viewpoint that is always put up: If we have a strategic striking force that can actually do the job that we what done in all its detail, and we operate against, first, the wrecking of atomic bases at that time in 1952, and second, we have a defensive system here that can fend off those that we miss – the statement is often advanced that the Russian army has stockpiled sufficient supplies of all sorts—so what even though we know their strike out the Russian army is capable of advancing to the coast and perhaps – and it is quite probable – they would have sufficient supplies to continue with the capture of the United Kingdom.
Then the problem comes as to what good it is going to do to knock out the Russian industry if all of the mainland of Europe and the United Kingdom is, in fact, overrun. The feeling in, we might say, the State Department circles, as well as the Army and the Navy in their advocacy of strong naval and land forces, in addition to this air job that has to be done, is that, given six to seven months of occupation of Western Europe and the United Kingdom, from then on out that part of the world is lost to us; that under the Russian system it would be impossible to initiate an uprising and another landing with an atomic bomb in the possession of the Russians and with the water distances we would have to do to recover those territories.
There is one other point I had in mind. It seems to me that that is a lot that we have to overcome.
GEN F. A. ARMSTRONG: It seems to me, from what you said, in the thinking on the high level it is a pretty dark picture.
GEN VANDENBERG: It has been dark ever since yesterday morning when we started.
GEN F.A. ARMSTRONG: I don’t say it is admission of defeat, but I wonder why it wouldn’t be possible for the persons who are on that level, believing what you have just said, to draw line – certainly somewhere beyond the United States like this old 54-40, or something, and fight – and then say, “If you come beyond that line we are going to fight,” and have the line far back so that they don’t continue to inch up and inch up.
GEN VANDENBERG: Frank, the argument, I think that would be presented to that is this: Given an optimistic viewpoint on this problem that we are trying to solve here, the invasion of North Africa was a lost hope before we ever went down there; yet, we accomplished a great deal more than anybody thought could be accomplished. In fact, everyone thought that the force would be swallowed up – those of us who started on in it. I am sure General Eisenhower thought it was good. The Army always points to that, and the Navy advocates too, and they say, therefore, we must not give up as readily and withdraw to this 54-40 line here, where we, ourselves, are the only people left in the world fighting against a great majority of the world’s populations, and that we would have to take what chance we can on gradually building up these forces over in Europe and trying to maintain o toehold over there. That calls for land sea forces.
The alternative to that, which is to withdraw within; really the boundaries of the United States and fight the whole world from here, is such an unpleasant one that I think you are going to have a devil of a lot of difficulty in selling it when they throw up to you these many, many other forlorn campaigns that have turned into successes.
GEN F.A. ARMSTRONG: I didn’t have in mind to withdraw. I had in mind to extend. We set up that line somewhere in Western Europe or beyond Formosa.
GEN VANDENBERG: You have nothing to defend with right at the present time. I agree with the problem of approaching it from a world position. It has to be done by air power but I would like to have you think of these other factors that also go into it.
GEN LeMAY: I certainly can’t accept the view that Russia has a capability of overrunning all Europe in the face of an atomic attack at home. While I was in Germany I certainly couldn’t find any great piles of stocks there. Granted that we estimated they had enough there probable to last them three weeks or a month and, at that time, we didn’t have much to stop them – they were scattered in small supply dumps along the roads; there wasn’t any great concentration of supplies to last them for six months or something of that sort; is that still correct, General Cannon?
GEN CANNON: Actually, the Russians have in Germany about a ten-day level of stocks only. They don’t keep a big stockpile in Germany.
GEN LeMAY: If we can have the check-points on those railroads with atomic bombs, when they have to ship them to the European gates, I think we can guarantee that they can’t get anything. If they can’t get supplies and everything, they are a dead duck. I don’t see how they are going to get into there without the chain of supplies. I know what would happen if we lost 50 to 75 cities in the United States and they were trying to carry on a campaign so many miles away; and they are not supermen either.
GEN EDWARDS: General Cannon saw the Russian army on the march and they don’t insist on carrying the supplies with them.
GEN LeMAY: They probably can eat all right off Europe, but they have to have something to shoot with.
GEN VANDENBERG: Well, going down beyond Kiev on the muddy road, at which I am sure the Services of Supply of the American Army would throw their hands up in horror, I saw men and women under guard carrying shells up to the guns in baby carriages in two feet of mud. Now, that is the type of individual we are fighting.
GEN CANNON: That is true. I made an inspection of the Russian front in the summer of '44. We saw that every place. The trains consisted of trucks, horse-and oxen-drawn vehicles, and, as General Vandenberg says, baby carriages – and all mixed up with women. The important fact was that they always went forward. They would come to a knocked-out bridge and, having no modern equipment, nevertheless, they were like ants. They would cut down the logs, the trees, and they would have a bridge across there in a hurry and keep going forward.
When they were doing that they had no enemy air against them at all; they were just free and out in the open. Their manpower is unlimited and they don’t hesitate to sacrifice manpower.
During the German-Russian campaign, they would make an encirclement and capture a large segment. On they come, more and more.
The transportation system in Germany, eastern Germany, is now worse than it was during the war. The Russians have actually taken up the double rails and taken then back to Russia. They have not stockpiled rails and come and out them down again when they go west. They are utilizing those rails to build up their own system within Russia. The transportation system across that area is vulnerable.
The plans in western Germany are to now arrange for blowing up the transportation system at vulnerable points in western Germany east of the Rhine, which, of course, would have to be done prior to any D-Day, with a man there to blow it at the right time.
How much they could be impeded is a question, of course. The Russians are not supermen, and the Russians are not the equivalent of average Americans by any means, but they have a lot more of them.
As far as their power goes, if they work it properly, the first thing you are going to know is that they are on you, and they have an awful lot that we won’t have to use atomic bombs on to wipe out installations. You can depend upon it, if they work it properly, that the strategic bases in England are going to be a first priority target.
GEN EDWARDS: Gentlemen, if there are no further questions, we will proceed with the presentation of the Air Materiel Command. General Chidlaw.
GEN WHITEHEAD: All of us who have heard the presentations and discussions at this conference should, I believe, now be fully aware of the situation.
By mid-1952 our country face an enemy who can destroy us unless before that date the United States Air Force increases its combat capability at a much rapid rate than has been the case in the past seventeen months.
As the atomic balance of power continues to shift in favor of the Soviet Union our capability to deliver a decisive atomic retaliatory offensive decreases. Our combat capability and our occupation forces in Germany and in the Far East must be maintained at current levels.
Alaska should be augmented to the extent that General Twining and the Alaskan Air Commander recommended. By mid-1952, while CONAC, for instance, will be stronger in early warning – in GCI – it will not have the system which is approved by the President and the Congress during 1949.
By the middle of 1952, as the Soviet atomic power increases, it is very questionable whether U.K. bases would be available for any portion of General LeMay’s atomic offensive against the Soviet Union. I, personally, believe that if the United States were hit with even a few A bombs tonight, Great Britain would declare neutrality tomorrow.
Under the current program, the Strategic Air Command will improve only qualitatively between now and 1952; the air defense fighter capability will improve only qualitatively between now and 1952 under the current program. Even the meager interceptor force is not now deployed so that it could obtain its maximum effectiveness and there is not now an approved program to correct this situation.
Headquarters U.S. Air Force does not expect to obtain any substantial additional funds to augment the present strength of the Air Force. I feel all of us agree that the survival of our country depends on one, or, at the most, two things: First, that we retain the capability to deliver a decisive atomic offensive, even though we are hit first by a surprise attack; and that we have enough air defense to insure the Strategic Air Command carrying out this mission; and, furthermore, to reduce the effectiveness of the attack sufficiently so that some kind of an orderly mobilization can be accomplished.
I feel that the conclusions above which I personally have reached require, inside the United States Air Forces itself, the following actions:
1. That we reprogram our Air Force manpower and our materiel resources to obtain more combat power out of our current manpower and our materiel on hand;
2. That we place this additional combat power into the atomic striking force and the air defense of Alaska and the Continental USA.
I recommend that the chief of staff of the United States Air Force assign this mission of going into the over-all program with a view to change in the Senior Officers Board, which is currently in being.
I further believe that once we in the Air Force, by reprogramming our resources, have obtained the maximum combat power for the atomic mission and the defense, the Secretary of Defense and the highest authority in our country must be fully briefed on the situation in order that they may reprogram the utilization of the national defense budget to best meet this situation.
Now, I want to reiterate that I think we face the real McCoy. I sympathize with other nations. I am interested in the United States. While these other people are also threatened, they have no hope, in my judgment, unless the United States succeeds in retaining its way of life. I also want to reiterate that I believe that by building for a date we can get more combat power out of the manpower and the materiel now authorized and project under the current program.
I also believe that the current over-all budget of the Department of National Defense is large enough to give the United States a D-Day combat capability which will insure its survival if the over-all defense budget is programmed to meet the most dangerous threat.
I, therefore, have recommended above that our entire effort be programmed and our mission be changed where necessary that we may attain the combat power required to win the next war; and that we select 1 July 1952 as D-Day.
GEN EDWARDS: I will see that the Chief of staff gets a copy of your comments as a matter of priority when we get back.
I am not going to call on each of the Commanders by name but, certainly, we invite any comments you might to offer at this time.
GEN STRATEMEYER: I would like to state a word of appreciation for having been invited to at attend this conference. We have learned a lot. We have been out the States for a year.
I concur generally in what General Whitehead has said. I would still like to see, however, my priority raised from No 10 to Group 2. We are on a power-keg and I would like to see that priority raised so that I can fight. I can’t fight today, with the equipment I have. I would like to see the priority raised.
GEN EDWARDS: General Kenney.
GEN KENNEY: I would like to endorse what General Whitehead has said 100 percent. I think we are at war and I think we ought to realize it. The only things we are doing is being on the defensive and slowly retreating. We have to make up our minds that someday we have to go on the offensive. I agree with General Whitehead that that date is probably around July 1, 1952.
GEN LeMAY: I, of course, want to endorse General Whitehead’s statement. I think I am well aware that the survival of the United States depends on the success or failure of my command.
I think we have been doing everything we can to get these combat potentials. We have been getting a lot of help from our support agencies, but we do need a new program or we will not be ready in time.
One of the reasons we are down here, if not the main reason, is to re-evaluate our program in light of the changed situation since Russia has the atomic bomb.
I think all of the points that I want to stress were given in the SAC presentation. However, I would like to reiterate the points I made to refresh the commander’s memories.
First, that I think the situation now is as bad, if not worse, than the situation that faced us in 1940 when mobilization was ordered. We, therefore, recommend that this reprogramming problem be taken up in the highest councils of the land and our national leaders be impressed with the need for taking the following steps:
Those steps are: Provide an overriding priority for the establishment of an intelligence system which will tell us where and when regarding the enemy’s atomic force; Second, place the Air Force on a war footing without further delay; Third, provide funds in such quantity as may be needed to insure that the striking force will be operational as a long-range inter-continental force not later than July of 1952; and lastly, reexamine present policies which imply that we must absorb the first atomic blow.
GEN EDWARDS: General Kuter.
GEN KUTER: Mr. Chairman, I would like to add a brief comment. I do not intend to expand the points made in my formal presentation. I feel that we have been listening to strong and forceful statements of real urgent requirements by the Air Force at this time in preparation for D-Day.
General Whitehead certainly stated it strongly and clearly. He has recommended action, however, which seems to be presented as a recommendation for new action. To that extent I would not subscribe to it.
We have heard here the Chief of Staff himself explain somewhat apologetically that he has been unable to convince the Chiefs of Staff to accept a more realistic war plan than OFFTACKLE. We have heard the comptroller express in detail -- in some detail – his inability to obtain from the Department of Defense and budgetary authorities the funds needed for these urgent requirements.
My Command has recently been surveyed and combed thoroughly, not by the Senior Officers Board but by many of the same individuals on the Budget Advisory Committee, wherein every action was governed by the minimum requirement to provide essential elements of support to an agreed war plan.
I feel, therefore, that have been talking in an atmosphere of some unreality. Every requirement that we discuss here can be solved if the Chief of Staff can reduce appropriations and personnel to the Army or to the Navy. I was in that business from five to ten years ago. The progress that has been made and shown by charts and war plans in the past five years, I think, has been extraordinary.
I, therefore, want to be one of the commanders recognizing requirements for additional funds and personnel in the Air Force. I want it clear that I am going to continue to prod the elements at Headquarters for those things. I do want to recognize, however, the fact that great accomplishments have been made by this same team in that field.
GEN EDWARDS: General Cannon.
GEN CANNON: I have no comments other than what I have made during the course of the meeting.
GEN EDWARDS: General Twining.
GEN TWINING: The things I want to mention about my own theater are on the record, but I do want to endorse what General Whitehead and General LeMay said – particularly setting a definite date to shoot at to get ready to fight this war.
In that connection, I think recommendations should be made to General Vandenberg to continue to convince the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the Army and Navy should do the same thing.
The other point is, I think, the intelligence feature that General LeMay discussed, which is of vital importance.
GEN EDWARDS: General Chidlaw.
GEN CHIDLAW: I subscribe in general, of course, to what General Whitehead and General LeMay have proposed. I am not entirely in accord with General Whitehead’s view that the problem of resolution of reprogramming be one assigned to the currently named Senior Officer Board.
I think that there are so many elements involved in this whole thing that we must proceed with a degree of caution in reprogramming and the entire Air Staff action must be involved. That is my personal view.
Now, following DUALISM down at Maxwell a year and half ago, we came back – I can say this for the Air Materiel Command at least – thoroughly imbued with the back-up of the offensive striking force.
As I pointed out, in January some 60 per cent of the logistic effort that we were able to provide went to the back-up of LeMay’s outfit. However, in recent months – if another analysis were made today—I think we would find a slightly lesser per cent assigned to that because of directives which filter in, primarily concerning the mission of CONAC.
Now, we at AMC are the carpenters; we are not the architects. I think that is the type of reevaluation that should certainly be studied.
GEN EDWARDS: General Harper.
GEN HARPER: I would like to state that I certainly subscribe to General Whitehead’s remarks. I can assure you that any reevaluation will affect our training command in the requirements which are absorb changes in requirements even though it is upsetting on the Command itself.
I can assure you further that we will do everything in our power to meet any changed requirements to have our forces in position and the strongest possible at the date 1 July 1952.
GEN EDWARDS: General Kepner.
GEN KEPNER: General, I want to endorse what has been said by General Whitehead and General LeMay. My Command is a small command. It is doubtful as to what its mission might be in the case of an emergency of war.
I think we should go ahead and study this matter or reprogramming very carefully; if possible, to reprogram it without losing time. Then, I think that is the thing to do. However, I think we should go along with the idea of taking equipment that we have on hand and that that we think we are going to have and carefully evaluate that its value to any war effort we might be called upon to make.
Whether it goes to the Senior Officers Board, or to whom it goes, I think that should be thought out very carefully. By all means, I think we should get ready by date that General Whitehead set, and if we can get ready before that, so much the better, and do it on a living basis a sturdy Air Force as well.
I certainly subscribe to what General Kuter said about the matter of funds. I don’t know why the thing should be divided three equal ways when we seem to be of the opinion that the first critical area of defense is going to be within the field of air power. I doubt if there will be any need for the use of land armies, if we don’t win the beginning of air war. If this thing comes to us as another Pearl Harbor or a blitz of that sort, it may well be something to consider.
I suppose we are all in the same boat. We feel this thing very deeply, and I think it is a matter of deep concern to each and every one of us. It should be a matter of deep concern to every citizen, and I think some effort should be made to pass on this thing in the right sort of form so that the mission as a whole will know as much about it as we know, within the realm of security that they can know, of course.
I think that is all I have to say.
GEN EDWARDS: General Armstrong
GEN ASMSTRONG: General, I am gracious for having had this opportunity to attend this meeting. I would like to say that I agree with General Whitehead. I am not ready, but I am sure willing to carry to carry out this plan.
I recommend that the Alaskan Air Command be looked upon as an entity and that planning be according it; that all tools necessary to carry out our assigned mission be made available at the earliest; that all operating units in Alaska, with the exception of SAC units, are staged through, and the 375th Recco be assigned and operated by the Alaskan Air Command.
The reason I made that suggestion is because I believe we are the only ones, if we ever support SAC, who are capable of maintaining, manning, training, and operating the 10th rescue, and I recommend that it be left in the Alaskan Air Command for all purposes.
GEN EDWARDS: I would like to call on all the other commanders, but we are rapidly exceeding our allotted time, and I think we had better get on.
I think there would be something missing in this conference without hearing the name of our late departed Sandy Fairchild.
As you all know, he organized and managed the first conference we had here – at Maxwell Field – a year ago last December.
I think I can speak for the whole group in stating that we certainly miss his very fine guiding and managerial
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