Military Helicopter Doctrines of the Major Powers, 1945-1992: Making Decisions about Air-Land Warfare

By Matthew Allen | Go to book overview

dressed the diverse requirements at these various levels and recognized that there was more than one way of employing the helicopter's primary characteristic--its mobility. In tactical combat, at battalion and brigade level, attack helicopters would be used more frequently and over shorter distances, fighting at the tempo of the ground forces with which they were cooperating. Corps commanders, however, needed to be able to dispatch strong forces over hundreds of kilometers--possibly into enemy territory--using helicopters at a higher relative speed and more independently, without tying them to the lower mobility of ground forces.

The different organizations, with different approaches, resolved (at least temporarily) the competing aims of satisfying the existing, established army view about helicopters and its need for their support, while providing the room for more innovative approaches to be developed and practiced. This differentiation reflected both political and military considerations but was only possible because of the massive defense buildup of the United States in the 1980s. In the most assuredly smaller army of the next few decades Army Aviation will have to fight continually to maintain its access to resources. But whatever the actual number of helicopters (and the U.S. Army will continue to be the best equipped in the world), it will be the relative status of the divisional and corps CABs that signals whether or not Army Aviation has achieved complete dominance in obtaining for its units the equipment and doctrine it believes they need. One is tempted to ponder the possible meanings of the Branch motto, "Above the Best"--will Army Aviation simply roam the skies above the best army--or will it, in the other meaning of "above," consider itself superior to the other arms and fly beyond them into new military theoretical territory?


NOTES
1.
James M. Gavin, War and Peace in the Space Age ( London: Hutchinson, 1959) 114.
2.
General Glen K. Otis (Commander, U.S. Army, Europe [ USAREUR]), Memorandum to General William Richardson, USAREUR (unpublished: U.S. Army, 1983) 1.
3.
General sources for early helicopter developments in the United States are Galvin, Air Assault; and Robert P. Weinert, A History of Army Aviation 1950- 1962, Phase I: 1950- 1954 (Ft. Monroe, VA: CONARC, 1971).
4.
Richard I. Wolf, Basic Documents on Roles and Missions ( Washington, DC: USAF, 1987) 74.
5.
Richard G. Davis, The 31 Initiatives--A Study in Air Force-Army Cooperation ( Washington, DC: USAF, 1987) 8-9.
6.
Gavin, War and Peace in the Space Age, 112.
7.
General (Ret.) Robert R. Williams, correspondence ( 1990). Williams was one of the most influential advocates for helicopters in the U.S. Army.

-58-

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Military Helicopter Doctrines of the Major Powers, 1945-1992: Making Decisions about Air-Land Warfare
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations and Translations xiii
  • Introduction xix
  • Notes xxvii
  • 1 - Above the Best--Developments in the United States 1
  • Notes 58
  • 2 - Revolutions at Every Turn-- 71
  • Notes 113
  • 3 - Double Trouble--Developments in the United Kingdom 127
  • Notes 168
  • 4 - A Tale of Two Helicopter Forces--Developments in West Germany and France 179
  • Notes 205
  • 5 - A Rotary-Wing Revolution?-- Helicopters and Air-Land Warfare 213
  • Notes 234
  • 6 - Deciding on Innovation-- Helicopters and the Decision-making Process 235
  • Conclusion 261
  • Notes 266
  • Appendix - Summary of Helicopters' Technical Characteristics 271
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 283
  • About the Author 295
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