Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “us army air forces”

Women Pilots with the AAF, 1941-1944

Women Pilots with the AAF, 1941-1944, by J. Merton England and Joseph Reither (1946). 122 pages. – http://www.afhra.af.mil/Portals/16/documents/Studies/51-100/AFD-090529-109.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • When did women pilots start to fly with Army Air Forces (AAF)?
  • How were women pilots trained and did it differ from the training offered to men?
  • What tasks did women pilots perform?
  • How were women pilots perceived by their male counterparts and commanding officers?
  • When was the program of allowing women pilots terminated?

Description:

From the introduction:

This study describes the adoption of the program, the training of women pilots, the uses made of them, and the attempt to incorporate them into the Army. In connection with these topics, consideration is given to the administration of the program–including the differing ideas about how many women pilots there should be, how they should be organized, and how they should be directed.

The main text of the work is followed by a glossary, a bibliographical note, an appendix featuring commentary from reviewers and an index.

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Special Operations: AAF Aid to European Resistance Movements, 1943-1945

Special Operations: AAF Aid to European Resistance Movements, 1943-1945, by Harris G. Warren (1947). 259 pages.
(PDF)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find maps of drop zones used to supply Resistance cells?
  • What were some of the propaganda periodicals dropped by the Allies?
  • What were enemy soldiers expected to take away from “One Minute That Could Save Your Life?”
  • Where did the Maquis operate? What did they do?
  • What was it like to be on a flight to supply the Greek Resistance?
  • What was it like to be an Allied officer fighting with the French Resistance?

Description:

From the forward:

The study describes special operations of the AAF in both the European and Mediterranean theaters, giving the background of the resistance movements; the establishment of Allied agencies and air units to aid the Underground; the planning and execution of the missions; supply operations to western Europe, the Balkans, Italy and Poland; infiltration and evacuation of personnel; and propaganda-leaflet missions from the United Kingdom and Italy. Twenty-three appendixes contain detailed analyses, while a number of maps and charts illustrate the problems encountered in these special operations.

This work has potential to inform activities and characteristics of fictional resistance groups in many eras.

Initial Selection of Candidates for Pilot, Bombardier, and Navigator Training (WWII)

Initial Selection of Candidates for Pilot, Bombardier, and Navigator Training, by Robert L. Thompson (1943). 66 pages. – http://www.afhra.af.mil/Portals/16/documents/Studies/1-50/AFD-090602-023.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Were 28 year olds less likely to graduate from flight school than younger students?
  • When did the Army Air Forces start pilot training for African Americans?
  • What were the three aptitude tests pilot cadets had to pass before being accepted into training prior to 1942?
  • What was an example of a reading comprehension question required by the Aviation Cadet Qualifying Examination?

Description:

The PDF file for this work is mostly blank up until page 13, where you will find the table of contents. The first part of the book covers World War I and the interwar years. Material pertaining to World War II will be mostly found in two chapters:

  • IV – The Aviation Cadet Qualifying Examination, 1942-1943
  • V – Other significant changes in the initial selection procedures, 1941-1943

The work also contains a bibliography, a glossary of Abbreviations and an index.

Individual Training of Bombardiers (WW II)

Individual Training of Bombardiers, by Ben R. Baldwin (1944). 186 pages. – http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-090602-027.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the ratio of bombardiers to pilots during World War II?
  • What subjects was a potential bombardier expected to master during his twelve week ground training?
  • Where were bombardier schools located?

Description:

This work includes the following chapters:

  • Procurement and preflight training of bombardiers
  • Advanced training in tactical units
  • Advanced bombardier training in Air Corps schools
  • Dual bombardier-navigator training in Air Corps Schools
  • Instructors and bomb-approach pilots
  • Material factors (airplanes, bombsights and bombs)

In addition to these chapters, the book also has a bibliography, a glossary of the abbreviations, an index and several appendices; including on the deficiencies of the Sperry Bombsight.

Air Force Timelines Page (World War II section) (Air Force Historical Research Agency)

Air Force Timelines Page (World War II section) (Air Force Historical Research Agency) – http://www.afhra.af.mil/timelines/index.asp

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How can I locate an US Army Air Force base in the United Kingdom?
  • Where were the Tuskegee Airmen trained?
  • What did someone have to do to earn a Distinguished Flying Cross in World War II?

Description:

The Timelines section of the Air Force Historical Research Agency features chronologies from a number of conflicts. Here we focus on the section devoted to World War II, which features the following documents:

  • Army Air Forces Statistical Digest World, Part I [PDF]
  • Army Air Forces Statistical Digest World, Part II [PDF]
  • Army Air Forces Statistical Digest World, Part III [PDF]
  • The Army Air Forces in World War II (used by permission of HyperWar Foundation)
  • Tuskegee Airmen Chronology [PDF]
  • Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal Criteria (Theater and Command) [Word Doc]
  • Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal Criteria (Chronological) [Word Doc]
  • USAAF European Airfields [PDF]
  • USAAF Bases in United Kingdom [PDF]
  • Installations, USAAF Combat Units in UK, 1942 – 1945 [PDF]
  • USAAF Aerial Victory Credits Over German Jets [PDF]

Not all of the documents here are chronologies. For instance, the publication “USAAF Bases in United Kingdom” is a finding aid. A finding aid to USAAF bases is essential to writers of WWII stories because during the war itself there were few references to names or locations of bases. All references in correspondence refer to base numbers.

For items that are chronological, such as the Tuskegee Airmen Chronology, the annotations next to dates can be up to a paragraph and have a reference for further reading.

For a birds eye view of the Army Air Forces in World War II, see the Army Air Forces Statistical Digest volumes, which contain summary statistics on AAF personnel, aircraft, equipment, combat operations and other activities during World War II.

If your story features a character with an air medal, be sure to check out the Distinguished Flying Cross documents above as the criteria changed several times of the course of the war. This document also provides descriptions and photographs of these air awards.

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