Seeing the Enemy: Army Air Force Aerial Reconnaissance Support to U.S. Army Operations in the Mediterranean in World War II [open pdf - 4MB]
Alternate Title: Seeing the Enemy: Army Air Force Aerial Reconnaissance Support to U.S. Army Operations in the Mediterranean in World War 2
From the thesis abstract: "The Army Air Force entered World War II poorly equipped and underprepared to support ground commanders with photo and visual reconnaissance. While doctrine fared better, it lacked the depth needed to employ reconnaissance effectively from the outset. In the Mediterranean theater, one can trace reconnaissance employment in support of ground forces. Operations in North Africa frequently failed due to decentralized control and inadequate aircraft. Photo reconnaissance improved markedly for the invasion of Sicily, but lost relevancy after the invasion when ground forces often outpaced photo coverage. Visual reconnaissance supplemented this coverage during mobile operations, but lacked sufficient detail for wide area coverage. This same situation persisted in Italy when aerial reconnaissance supported Fifth Army; however, Fifth Army achieved a greater degree of success by effectively securing tactical control over photo and visual reconnaissance assets supporting its operations. Combined with liaison officers at all echelons, this unique situation proved quite effective for all levels during attacks against fixed defenses, but less effective at the division and below during mobile operations due to time delays. The experience gained in this theater helps explain the Army's current focus on obtaining unmanned aerial vehicles to minimize the administrative layers and improve intelligence timeliness."
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