Henry Percy (Hotspur)
Sir Henry Percy KG known as Sir Harry Hotspur, or Hotspur, was a late-medieval English nobleman. He was a significant captain during the Anglo-Scottish wars, he led successive rebellions against Henry IV of England and was slain at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 at the height of his career. Henry Percy was born 20 May 1364 at either Alnwick Castle or Warkworth Castle in Northumberland, the eldest son of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, Margaret Neville, daughter of Ralph de Neville, 2nd Lord Neville of Raby, Alice de Audley, he was knighted by King Edward III in April 1377, together with the future Kings Richard II and Henry IV. In 1380, he was in Ireland with the Earl of March, in 1383, he travelled in Prussia, he was appointed warden of the east march either on 30 July 1384 or in May 1385, in 1385 accompanied Richard II on an expedition into Scotland. "As a tribute to his speed in advance and readiness to attack" on the Scottish borders, the Scots bestowed on him the name'Haatspore'.
In April 1386, he was led raids into Picardy. Between August and October 1387, he was in command of a naval force in an attempt to relieve the siege of Brest. In appreciation of these military endeavours he was made a Knight of the Garter in 1388. Reappointed as warden of the east march, he commanded the English forces against James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas, at the Battle of Otterburn on 10 August 1388, where he was captured, but soon ransomed for a fee of 7000 marks. During the next few years Percy's reputation continued to grow, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Cyprus in June 1393 and appointed Lieutenant of the Duchy of Aquitaine on behalf of John of Gaunt, Duke of Aquitaine. He returned to England in January 1395, taking part in Richard II's expedition to Ireland, was back in Aquitaine the following autumn. In the summer of 1396, he was again in Calais. Percy's military and diplomatic service brought him substantial marks of royal favour in the form of grants and appointments, but despite this, the Percy family decided to support Henry Bolingbroke, the future Henry IV, in his rebellion against Richard II.
On Henry's return from exile in June 1399, Percy and his father joined his forces at Doncaster and marched south with them. After King Richard's deposition and his father were'lavishly rewarded' with lands and offices. Under the new king, Percy had extensive civil and military responsibility in both the east march towards Scotland and in north Wales, where he was appointed High Sheriff of Flintshire in 1399. In north Wales, he was under increasing pressure as a result of the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr. In March 1402, Henry IV appointed Percy royal lieutenant in north Wales, on 14 September 1402, his father, the Earl of Dunbar and March were victorious against a Scottish force at the Battle of Homildon Hill. Among others, they made a prisoner of 4th Earl of Douglas. In spite of the favour that Henry IV showed the Percys in many respects, they became discontented with him. Among their grievances were: the king's failure to pay the wages due to them for defending the Scottish border. Spurred on by these grievances, the Percys rebelled in the summer of 1403 and took up arms against the king.
According to J. M. W. Bean, it is clear. On his return to England shortly after the victory at Homildon Hill, Henry Percy issued proclamations in Cheshire accusing the king of'tyrannical government'. Joined by his uncle, Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, he marched to Shrewsbury, where he intended to do battle against a force there under the command of the Prince of Wales; the army of his father, was slow to move south as well, it was without the assistance of his father that Henry Percy and Worcester arrived at Shrewsbury on 21 July 1403, where they encountered the king with a large army. The ensuing Battle of Shrewsbury was fierce, with heavy casualties on both sides, but when Henry Percy himself was struck down and killed, his own forces fled; the circumstances of Percy's death differ in accounts. The chronicler Thomas Walsingham stated, in his Historia Anglicana, that "while he led his men in the fight rashly penetrating the enemy host, was unexpectedly cut down, by whose hand is not known."
Another is. The legend that he was killed by the Prince of Wales seems to have been given currency by William Shakespeare, writing at the end of the following century; the Earl of Worcester was executed two days later. King Henry, upon being brought Percy's body after the battle, is said to have wept; the body was taken by Thomas Neville, 5th Baron Furnivall, to Whitchurch, for burial. However, when rumours circulated that Percy was still alive, the king'had the corpse exhumed and displayed it, propped upright between two millstones, in the market place at Shrewsbury'; that done, the king dispatched Percy's head to York, where it was impaled on the Micklegate Bar, whereas his four-quarters were sent to London, Newcastle upon Tyne and Chester before they were delivered to his widow. She had him buried in York Minster in November of that year. In January 1404, Percy was posthumously declared a traitor, his lands
The Airspeed AS.51 Horsa was a British troop-carrying glider used during the Second World War. It was manufactured by Airspeed Limited, alongside various subcontractors. Having been impressed by the effective use of airborne operations by Nazi Germany during the early stages of the Second World War, such as during the Battle of France, the Allied powers sought to establish capable counterpart forces of their own; the British War Office, determining that the role of gliders would be an essential component of such airborne forces, proceeded to examine available options. An evaluation of the General Aircraft Hotspur found it to lack the necessary size, thus Specification X.26/40 was issued. It was from this specification that Airspeed Limited designed the Horsa, a large glider capable of accommodating up to 30 equipped paratroopers, designated as the AS 51; the Horsa was inducted in large numbers by the Royal Air Force. The type was used to perform an unsuccessful attack on the German Heavy Water Plant at Rjukan in Norway, known as Operation Freshman, during the invasion of Sicily, known as Operation Husky.
Large numbers of Horsa were subsequently used during the opening stages of the Battle of Normandy, being used in the British Operation Tonga and American operations. It was deployed in quantity during Operation Dragoon, Operation Market Garden, Operation Varsity. Further use of the Horsa was made by various other armed forces, including the United States Army Air Forces. In the early stages of the Second World War, the German military demonstrated its role as a pioneer in the deployment of airborne operations; these forces had conducted several successful operations during the Battle of France in 1940, including the use of glider-borne troops during the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael. Having been impressed by the performance and capabilities of German airborne operations, the Allied governments decided that they would form their own airborne formations as well; as a result of this decision, the creation of two British airborne divisions came about, as well as a number of smaller-scale units. On 22 June 1940, the British airborne establishment was formally initiated when the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, directed the War Office in a memorandum to investigate the possibility of creating a corps of 5,000 parachute troops.
During 1941, the United States embarked on a similar programme. While the equipment for the airborne forces was under development, it was decided by War Office officials that gliders would be an integral component of such a force, it was thought that gliders would be used to deliver paratroops. Transport aircraft would both tow a glider with a second party of troops; the idea arose as a response to the severe shortage of transport aircraft in the early part of the war, as in this way the number of troops that could be dropped in an operation by a given number of transport aircraft would be enhanced. The empty gliders would be towed back to base. However, thinking evolved into using gliders to land both troops and heavy equipment in the theatre of operations; the first glider to be designed and produced was the General Aircraft Hotspur, the first prototype of which flew on 5 November 1940. However, it was soon determined that there were several problems with the Hotspur's design, the principal of these being that the glider was incapable of carrying sufficient troops.
Tactically, it was believed that airborne troops should be landed in groups far larger than the maximum of eight equipped paratroopers that the Hotspur could transport, that the number of aircraft required to tow the gliders needed to carry larger groups would be impractical. There were concerns that the gliders would have to be towed in tandem if used operationally, which would be difficult during nighttime and through cloud formations. Accordingly, it was decided. While British industry continued with the development of several different glider designs, including a larger 25-seater assault glider, which would become the Airspeed Horsa. On 12 October 1940, Specification X. 26/40 was issued. Amongst the requirements given on the specification was that the aircraft should make use of wood construction where possible in order to conserve critical supplies of metal. Airspeed was amongst those aviation companies to receive Specification X.26/40. Airspeed assembled a design team, headed by aircraft designer Hessell Tiltman.
Tiltman's design efforts were carried out at the de Havilland technical school at Hatfield, before relocating to Salisbury Hall, London Colney. It was planned that the Horsa would have been used to transport paratroopers, who would jump from doors installed on either side of the fuselage, while remaining under tow throughout; the set doors enabled simultaneous egress to be conducted, as well as for troops on board to fire upon nearby hostiles from within the glider. However, the idea was soon dropped, it was decided to have the glider land airborne troops. In February 1941, an initial order was placed for 400 of the gliders.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing
The Westland Lysander is a British army co-operation and liaison aircraft produced by Westland Aircraft used before and during the Second World War. After becoming obsolete in the army co-operation role, the aircraft's exceptional short-field performance enabled clandestine missions using small, improvised airstrips behind enemy lines to place or recover agents in occupied France with the help of the French Resistance. British Army air co-operation aircraft were named after historical military leaders. In 1934 the Air Ministry issued Specification A.39/34 for an army co-operation aircraft to replace the Hawker Hector. Hawker Aircraft and Bristol were invited to submit designs, but after some debate within the Ministry, a submission from Westland was invited as well; the Westland design, internally designated P.8, was the work of Arthur Davenport under the direction of "Teddy" Petter. It was Petter's second aircraft design and he spent considerable time interviewing Royal Air Force pilots to find out what they wanted from such an aircraft.
Less clear was whether he or the pilots understood the army co-operation role and what the army wanted, tactical reconnaissance and artillery reconnaissance capability – photographic reconnaissance and observation of artillery fire in daylight – up to about 15,000 yards behind the enemy front. The result of Petter's pilot enquiries suggested that field of view, low-speed handling characteristics and STOL performance were the most important requirements. Davenport and Petter designed an aircraft to incorporate these features with unconventional results; the Lysander was powered by a Bristol Mercury air-cooled radial engine and had high wings and a fixed conventional landing gear mounted on an innovative inverted U square-section tube that supported wing struts at the apex, was in itself resilient, contained springs for the faired wheels. The large streamlined spats each contained a mounting for a Browning machine gun and for small, removable stub wings that could be used to carry light bombs or supply canisters.
The wings had a reverse taper towards the root, which gave the impression of a bent gull wing from some angles, although the spars were straight. It had a girder type construction faired with a light wood stringers to give the aerodynamic shape; the forward fuselage was duralumin tube joined with brackets and plates, the after part was welded stainless steel tubes. Plates and brackets were cut from channel extrusions rather than being formed from sheet steel; the front spar and lift struts were extrusions. The wing itself was fabric covered, its thickness was maximized at the lift strut anchorage location, similar to that of marks of the Stinson Reliant high-winged transport monoplane. Despite its appearance, the Lysander was aerodynamically advanced; these refinements gave the Lysander a stalling speed of only 65 mph. It featured the largest Elektron alloy extrusion made at the time: the one-piece frame mentioned that supporting the wings and wheels; the Air Ministry requested two prototypes of the P.8 and the competing Bristol Type 148 selecting the Westland aircraft for production and issuing a contract in September 1936.
The first Lysanders entered service in June 1938, equipping squadrons for army co-operation and were used for message-dropping and artillery spotting. When war broke out in Europe, the earlier Mk Is had been replaced by Mk IIs, the older machines heading for the Middle East; some of these aircraft, now designated type L.1, operated with the Chindits of the British Indian Army in the Burma Campaign of the Second World War. Four regular squadrons equipped with Lysanders accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France in October 1939, were joined by a further squadron early in 1940. Following the German invasion of France and the low countries on 10 May 1940, Lysanders were put into action as spotters and light bombers. In spite of occasional victories against German aircraft, they made easy targets for the Luftwaffe when escorted by Hurricanes. Withdrawn from France during the Dunkirk evacuation, they continued to fly supply-dropping missions to Allied forces from bases in England. 118 Lysanders were lost in or over France and Belgium in May and June 1940, of a total of 175 deployed.
With the fall of France, it was clear that the type was unsuitable for the coastal patrol and army co-operation role, being described by Air Marshal Arthur Barratt, commander-in-chief of the British Air Forces in France as "quite unsuited to the task. The view of Army AOP pilots was that the Lysander was too fast for artillery spotting purposes, too slow and unmanoeuverable to avoid fighters, too big to conceal on a landing field, too heavy to use on soft ground and had been developed by the RAF without asking the Army what was needed. Throughout the remainder of 1940, Lysanders flew dawn and dusk patrols off the coast and in the event of an invasion of Britain, they were tasked with attacking the landing beaches with light bombs and machine guns, they were replaced in the home-based army co-operation role from 1941 by camera-equipped fighters such as the Curtiss Tomahawk and North American Mustang
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
The Armstrong Whitworth A. W.38 Whitley was one of three British twin-engined, front line medium bomber types that were in service with the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of the Second World War. Alongside the Vickers Wellington and the Handley Page Hampden, the Whitley was developed during the mid-1930s according to Air Ministry Specification B.3/34, which it was subsequently selected to meet. In 1937, the Whitley formally entered into RAF squadron service. Following the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Whitley participated in the first RAF bombing raid upon German territory and remained an integral part of the early British bomber offensive. By 1943, it was being superseded as a bomber by the larger four-engined "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster, its front line service included maritime reconnaissance with Coastal Command and the second line roles of glider-tug and transport aircraft. The type was procured by British Overseas Airways Corporation as a civilian freighter aircraft; the aircraft was named after Whitley, a suburb of Coventry, home of one of Armstrong Whitworth's plants.
In July 1934, the Air Ministry issued Specification B.3/34, seeking a heavy night bomber/troop transport to replace the Handley Page Heyford biplane bomber. John Lloyd, the Chief Designer of Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, chose to respond to the specification with a design designated as the AW.38, given the name Whitley after the location of Armstrong Whitworth's main factory. The design of the AW.38 was in fact a development of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.23 bomber-transport design that had lost to the Bristol Bombay for the earlier Specification C.26/31. Lloyd selected the Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX radial engine to power the Whitley, capable of generating 795 horsepower. One of the more innovative features of the Whitley's design was the adoption of a three-bladed two-position variable-pitch propeller built by de Havilland; as Lloyd was unfamiliar with the use of flaps on a large heavy monoplane, they were omitted from the design. To compensate, the mid-set wings were set at a high angle of incidence to confer good take-off and landing performance.
Although flaps were included late in the design stage, the wing remained unaltered. The Whitley holds the distinction of having been the first RAF aircraft with a semi-monocoque fuselage, built using a slab-sided structure to ease production; this replaced the traditional tubular construction method employed by Armstrong Whitworth, instead constructing the airframe from light-alloy rolled sections and corrugated sheets. According to aviation author Philip Moyes, the decision to adopt the semi-monocoque fuselage was a significant advance in design. On June 1935, owing to the urgent need to replace biplane heavy bombers in service with the RAF, a verbal agreement was formed to produce an initial 80 aircraft, 40 being of an early Whitley Mk I standard and the other 40 being more advanced Whitley Mk IIs. Production was at three factories in Coventry. During 1935 and 1936, various contracts were placed for the type. On 17 March 1936, the first prototype Whitley Mk I, K4586, conducted its maiden flight from Baginton Aerodrome, piloted by Armstrong Whitworth Chief Test Pilot Alan Campbell-Orde.
K4586 was powered by a pair of 795 hp Tiger IX engines. The second prototype, K4587, was furnished with a pair of more powerful medium-supercharged Tiger XI engines; the prototypes differed little from the initial production standard aircraft. After the first 34 aircraft had been completed, the engines were replaced with the more reliable two-speed-supercharged Tiger VIIIs. K7243, the 27th production Whitley, is believed to have served as a prototype following modifications; the resulting aircraft was designated as the Whitley Mk II. A total of 46 production aircraft were completed to the Whitley Mk II standard. One Whitley Mk II, K7243, was used as a test bed for the 1,200 hp 21-cylinder radial Armstrong Siddeley Deerhound engine. Another Whitley Mk I, K7208, was modified to operate with a higher gross weight. K7211, the 29th production Whitley, served as the prototype for a further advanced variant of the aircraft, the Whitley Mk III; the Whitley Mk III featured numerous improvements, such as the replacement of the manually operated nose turret with a powered Nash & Thompson turret and a powered retractable twin-gun ventral "dustbin" turret.
The ventral turret was hydraulically-powered but proved to be hard to operate and added considerable drag, thus the Whitley Mk III was the only variant to feature this ventral turret arrangement. Other changes included increased dihedreal of the outer wing panels, superior navigational provisions, the installation of new bomb racks. A total of 80 Whitley Mk III aircraft were manufactured. While the Tiger VIII engine used in the Whitley Mks II and III was more reliable than those used in early aircraft, the Whitley was re-engined with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in 1938, giving rise to the Whitley Mk IV. Three Whitley Mk I aircraft, K72
Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force,or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and after World War II, successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, the Army Air Forces; each of these forces had a commanding general. The AAF administered all parts of military aviation distributed among the Air Corps, General Headquarters Air Force, the ground forces' corps area commanders, thus became the first air organization of the U. S. Army to control its own installations and support personnel; the peak size of the AAF during the Second World War was over 2.4 million men and women in service and nearly 80,000 aircraft by 1944, 783 domestic bases in December 1943.
By "V-E Day", the Army Air Forces had 1.25 million men stationed overseas and operated from more than 1,600 airfields worldwide. The Army Air Forces was created in June 1941 to provide the air arm a greater autonomy in which to expand more efficiently, to provide a structure for the additional command echelons required by a vastly increased force, to end an divisive administrative battle within the Army over control of aviation doctrine and organization, ongoing since the creation of an aviation section within the U. S. Army Signal Corps in 1914; the AAF succeeded both the Air Corps, the statutory military aviation branch since 1926, the GHQ Air Force, activated in 1935 to quiet the demands of airmen for an independent Air Force similar to the Royal Air Force, established in the United Kingdom / Great Britain. Although other nations had separate air forces independent of their army or navy, the AAF remained a part of the Army until a defense reorganization in the post-war period resulted in the passage by the United States Congress of the National Security Act of 1947 with the creation of an independent United States Air Force in September 1947.
In its expansion and conduct of the war, the AAF became more than just an arm of the greater organization. By the end of World War II, the Army Air Forces had become an independent service. By regulation and executive order, it was a subordinate agency of the United States Department of War tasked only with organizing and equipping combat units, limited in responsibility to the continental United States. In reality, Headquarters AAF controlled the conduct of all aspects of the air war in every part of the world, determining air policy and issuing orders without transmitting them through the Army Chief of Staff; this "contrast between theory and fact is...fundamental to an understanding of the AAF." The roots of the Army Air Forces arose in the formulation of theories of strategic bombing at the Air Corps Tactical School that gave new impetus to arguments for an independent air force, beginning with those espoused by Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell that led to his court-martial. Despite a perception of resistance and obstruction by the bureaucracy in the War Department General Staff, much of, attributable to lack of funds, the Air Corps made great strides in the 1930s, both organizationally and in doctrine.
A strategy stressing precision bombing of industrial targets by armed, long-range bombers emerged, formulated by the men who would become its leaders. A major step toward a separate air force came in March 1935, when command of all combat air units within the Continental United States was centralized under a single organization called the "General Headquarters Air Force". Since 1920, control of aviation units had resided with commanders of the corps areas, following the model established by commanding General John J. Pershing during World War I. In 1924, the General Staff planned for a wartime activation of an Army general headquarters, similar to the American Expeditionary Forces model of World War I, with a GHQ Air Force as a subordinate component. Both were created in 1933 when a small conflict with Cuba seemed possible following a coup d'état, but were not activated. Activation of GHQ Air Force represented a compromise between strategic airpower advocates and ground force commanders who demanded that the Air Corps mission remain tied to that of the land forces.
Airpower advocates achieved a centralized control of air units under an air commander, while the WDGS divided authority within the air arm and assured a continuing policy of support of ground operations as its primary role. GHQ Air Force organized combat groups administratively into a strike force of three wings deployed to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts but was small in comparison to European air forces. Lines of authority were difficult, at best, since GHQ Air Force controlled only operations of its combat units while the Air Corps was still responsible for doctrine, acquisition of aircraft, training. Corps area commanders continued to exercise control over airfields and administration of personnel, in the overseas departments, operational control of units as well. Between March 1935 and September 1938, the commanders of GHQ Air Force and the Air Corps, Major Generals Frank M. Andrews and Oscar Westover clash