These two documents relate to essentially war plan OFFTACKLE, and both are from the same planning conference in 1950. I just finished quality control checking the fuller transcript of the 26 April 1950 conference and uploaded it.
Commander's Conference (USAF) – SAC Presentation (25-27 April 1950)
http://alternatewars.com/WW3/WW3_Docume ... Apr_50.htm
Commander's Conference (USAF) (26 April 1950) (BRAND NEW)
http://alternatewars.com/WW3/WW3_Docume ... R-1950.htm
Here's the 26 Apr 1950 discussion:
(Whereupon, on Wednesday, 26 April 1950, at 8:88 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 supports 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, end 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 MONGOMERY: 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.