Chapter I
          In the days immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the armed forces of the United States had to face the threat of a similar catastrophe on their eastern defenses.  The Germans fully appreciated the advantages of swift offensive action in the Atlantic.  They knew that American participation in the war would depend on the free and rapid movement of supply.  Consequently, with the entry of the United States into active warfare, the Battle of the Atlantic became a key point in German strategy.  And the Germans possessed in their submarine fleet, already used with devastating effect in the eastern Atlantic, the means of prosecuting this "trade war" to the utmost.  It is not yet clear why the U-boats took nearly a month to become operative in American waters, but it appears that a detachment of the German submarine fleet was sent to the western Atlantic as soon as practicable after the formal entry of the United States into the war.  
          On 31 December a Coast Guard cutter reported a periscope in Portland Channel, and on 7 January an Army plane sighted a submarine off the coast of New Jersey.  On that same day the Navy reported the presence of a fleet of U-boats in the waters south of Newfoundland.  The SS Cyclops was sunk off Nova Scotia on 11 January; three days later the tanker Norness went down southeast of Nontauk Point, Long Island.  These sinkings merely head the tragically long list of similar losses which  


  served almost more then the disaster of Pearl Harbor to bring home to the American public the grim realities of total war.  Here was not only a drain on supply lines of our war effort, perilously thin at best, but an attack virtually on our Atlantic seaboard.  In the remaining days of January, 13 more ships sank in the North Atlantic Naval Coastal Frontier.1  
          The situation rapidly became desperate.  During the 76 days following the sinking of the Norness, 53 ships amounting to over 300,000 gross tons had gone down.  With March sinkings at an annual rate of over 2,000,000 tons, the morale of merchant crews showed signs of rapid deterioration, and insurance companies had ceased writing marine insurance.2  Worst of all was the fact that, prior to May 1942, the enemy submarines operated with relative impunity in American coastal waters.  
          The question thus arose: what sort of antisubmarine defense could be brought to bear against this threat to the entire U. S. strategy in the Atlantic?  According to general defense plans, which will be discussed in some detail a little later, the Navy had assumed responsibility for operations beyond the coastline, leaving to Army aircraft only a supporting, emergency role in coastal defense.  Steps had been taken to provide the means of cooperation between the services, resulting in the completion of a joint control and information center at New York 4 days after war was declared.3  Nevertheless, the shock of Pearl Harbor found the Navy quite unable to carry on the offshore patrol necessary to the fulfillment of its mission.  The  


  Commander of the North Atlantic Naval Coastal Frontier4 (later Eastern Sea Frontier), on whom fell naturally the initial responsibility for countering the submarine menace, had at his disposal on 7 December 1941 approximately 20 surface vessels, including 4 PY boats, 4 SC boats, one 165-foot Coast Guard cutter, six 125-foot Coast Guard cutters, 2 PG boats, and 3 Eagle boats to patrol the 1,200-mile coast line from Maine to Key West.  Of this force he wrote to COMINCH on 22 December:  "There is not a single vessel available that an enemy submarine could not out-distance when operating on the surface.  In most cases the guns of these vessels would be out-ranged by those of the submarine."5  Nor was it possible to augment the surface forces rapidly enough to make antisubmarine patrol, even convoy, practicable.6  The only destroyers available were those which happened to be in the ESF on fleet duties.  In actual practice an average of only two destroyers per day was available for use.  Repeated requests made to COMINCH for reinforcements apparently could not be met.  For example, on 30 March 1942 the Commander, ESF sent a message in which he requested additional destroyers because four submarines had been sighted off Cape Hatteras and two more were believed to be operating there, while all except one of the four destroyers in the area were searching for survivors of a lost ship or were refueling or were under repair.  COMINCH replied on 31 March briefly:  "Your knowledge of other demands for DD's as imperative as your own is not given sufficient credit in your message 302218."7  



          If the surface forces were wholly inadequate, the naval air arm was little stronger.  In December, the naval planes at the disposal of the Commander, ESF totaled 103.  Of these, however, the majority were trainers or utility ships; only one was listed as a bomber, although 9 were classified as patrol or torpedo bombers.8  A month later the picture appeared little if at all brighter.  Of the 63 aircraft available for duty between Salem and Elizabeth City (including four lighter-than-air ships at Lakehurst), only 49 were actually in commission.  Of these, the majority could carry only one depth bomb.9  Adm. Adolphus Andrews, Commander, ESF summed up the situation in words reminiscent of those he used to describe the paucity of surface vessels.  He wrote to COMINCH on 14 January 1942:  "There are no effective planes attached to the frontier, First, Third, Fourth, of Fifth Naval District capable of maintaining ling-range seaward patrols."10  Nor did he receive much more comfort from higher headquarters on this topic than on that of the extra destroyers.  In reply to his urgent request for air reinforcement he received the reply that allocation of additional air forces was "dependent on future production."11  Here, as elsewhere in the early days of 1942, the demands for men and equipment were great but the supply small.  
          So the burden for antisubmarine patrol fell mainly on the Army Air Forces whose units had been neither trained nor equipped for that specific task, but were nevertheless better able than the Navy's air arm to present a menacing front to the enemy.  As soon as the news of Pearl Harbor arrived, the Commander of the North Atlantic  


  Naval Coastal Frontier requested the Commanding General of the Eastern Defense Command to undertake offshore patrols with all available aircraft.  On the afternoon of 8 December 1941, units of the I Bomber Command began overwater patrols,12 and for nearly 10 months that command bore the brunt of the air war against the U-boats.  But it was a motley array of aircraft that the Bomber Command assembled in December and January to meet the submarine threat.  Almost on the same day on which it was called upon to undertake overwater patrol duties it was stripped of the best trained of its tactical units for missions on the West Coast and for overseas assignment.13  Every available Army plane in the First Air Force capable of carrying a bomb load was drafted to augment what was left of I Bomber Commend."  As a result of these frantic efforts approximately 100 two-engine aircraft of various sizes and types were assembled and placed at the disposal of the naval commander.  To this force, likened by one observer to the taxicab army by means of which the French attempted, in 1914, to stem the German advance, the I Air Support Command* added substantial aid in the way of reconnaissance.14  Admiral Andrews described the operation of these Army Air units, on 14 January 1942, as follows:15  
        The Army Air Support Command is operating during daylight hours patrols in single-motored land observation planes extending about forty miles offshore from Portland, Maine, to Wilmington, N.C.  These planes are not armed and carry only sufficient fuel for flights of between two or three hours.  The pilots are inexperienced in the type of work they are endeavoring to do.  Not more than ten of these observation planes are in the air along the Coastal Frontier at any one time.
  *  The designation "1st" was used prior to September 18, 1942.  


        The First Bomber Command has been maintaining, since the week of 7 December 1941, patrols from Westover Field, Mass,; Mitchel Field, N. Y.; and Langley Field, Va.; and as of 11 January 1942 are commencing patrols from Bangor, Maine.  These patrols, averaging three planes each, have extended, weather permitting and according to the type of plane, to a maximum distance of six hundred miles to sea.  Two flights each day are being made from the aforementioned fields.  The First Bomber Command has been utilizing approximately half of its available equipment in order to maintain these patrols, at the expense of a striking force which could be called upon in case of enemy attack.
          It was a creditable effort, all things considered, but the Army forces were themselves pitifully inadequate.  By 31 January 1943, the I Air Support Command reported 114 planes, of which 93 were in commission; the I Bomber Command numbered 119 planes of which only 46 were carried as in commission.16  
          If the forces available during December and January for antisubmarine activity were too small for the job, they were even weaker in equipment and organization.  Hunting submarines is a highly specialized business, as all those concerned found out during the next few months.  Yet little had been done prior to the outbreak of hostilities to develop the specialized technique and material required to carry it on successfully.  Except for the establishment of a Joint Control and Information Center little had been done to set up the system of communication and intelligence necessary to cope adequately with such a highly mobile, not to say illusive, enemy.  Fortunately, the U-boats did not begin operations in U.S. waters for nearly a month, which gave the I Bomber Command time to organize some sort of wire communication to all its bases, to establish an intelligence  


  system through which information could be relayed from Bomber Command headquarters to the squadron operations room, and from Bomber Command airplanes to headquarters.17  By the end of January, however, the problem of transmitting intelligence remained a vexing one.  
          The Army suffered also from poorly equipped planes and inadequately trained personnel.  Charges to this effect were frequently made and were well justified.  Most of the units involved in the antisubmarine war were, at this early date, still in a training status, and those best trained had been taken away for service in the West.18  In addition, prewar agreements had assigned overwater operations to the Navy and had placed restrictions on Army overwater flying.19  So it is scarcely surprising that the Army planes entered on their adopted task with demolition bombs instead of depth charges and with crews who were ill-trained in naval identification or in the best method of attacking submarines.  The aircraft used against the U-boats were generally unsuited to that kind of work.  All, with the exception of a squadron of B-17's, were of relatively short range and limited carrying capacity.  And all, of course, as yet lacked special detection equipment.  The old B-18, though obsolescent, proved to be the most useful in the early months, but even they were at first scarce.20  
          Those in charge of the antisubmarine war attacked these problems wholeheartedly.  They revived the training program to convert crews, hitherto accustomed only to high-altitude bombings, to the intricacies of low-level attack on submerged targets.  They adapted the aircraft as fast as the materials became available and the necessary research  


  could bear fruit.  As operations continued and experience was collected, it became evident that successful warfare against U-boats demanded improved methods of joint control in order to dispatch both air and surface forces to the scene of a sighting as rapidly as the situation required.  Here the British, who had accumulated a good deal of experience in this sort of work, contributed vitally to the improvement of the joint control system.  With the help of several experienced liaison officers, sent to America for the purpose, a new "control room" was projected which led to more effective cooperation between Army and Navy forces.  The original control room permitted "joint" operations, but the two services worked independently in different parts of the same building, each maintaining its own situation plot and receiving intelligence from different sources.  There was little interchange of information or methods.21  
          By the end of March it is possible to notice very real improvement in the situation.  Though the U-boats continued in increasing numbers to exact an increasing toll of merchant shipping, they also met increasing opposition in the coastal waters.  Operational hours flown by AAF planes in March were well over double those flown in January.22  Relatively few attacks were made even yet, and their quality left much to be desired.23  But the submarines were being forced more and more to submerge, which prevented as free hunting on their part as they had formerly enjoyed.  A very few Army planes were beginning to be equipped with radar, another step, though a small one, in the right direction.  In March too, the first offshore patrol missions were  


  flown by the Civil Air Patrol.  Although totally unsuited in both training and equipment to antisubmarine warfare, these auxiliary units were able to assume some of the burden of reconnaissance flying.24  
          Many difficulties of course remained.  More and better-trained personnel, more and better-equipped aircraft, a better communications system -- these were only the more obvious requirements in the Army antisubmarine force.  Much more deeply rooted was the problem of jurisdiction which arose out of the anomalous position of the AAF units engaged in antisubmarine operations.  The I Bomber Command was, in fact, waging full-scale antisubmarine war, yet it enjoyed no correspondingly adequate legal position.  It was still theoretically acting in an emergency capacity, in support of Naval forces, and might at any time be withdrawn to its normal duties of bombardment.  Indeed, training had to be conducted literally on two levels, both for low-level antisubmarine attacks and for high-level bombing in connection with coastal defense.25  Worse still, no system of unified command had been set up specifically for that type of joint operations peculiar to antisubmarine warfare.  Prior to 26 March 1942, in fact, even the command relationship existing between Bomber Command and the Eastern Sea Frontier remained indefinite, the former serving without specific directives under the "operational control" of the latter.26  Any decision on these questions of jurisdiction would necessarily have involved a radical review of the existing relationship between the  


  services, especially in their relation to the air arm.  And some decision was obviously necessary if antisubmarine operations were not to founder hopelessly in a maze of overlapping jurisdictional boundaries and tortuous command channels.  It was a kind of fighting that demanded extreme mobility on the part of the antisubmarine forces and almost instantaneous transmission of intelligence if the the enemy, itself extremely mobile and under closely integrated command, were to be successfully engaged.  
          Almost from the beginning it began to appear that, if the Army Air Forces were to continue in the antisubmarine business, their units engaged in that work would have to be organized into a specially trained and equipped command with antisubmarine operations as its sole duty.  Such a prospect at once raised a family of problems.  In the first place, who, Army or Navy, should control this command?  Secondly, should it be deployed defensively, in support of the fleet, primarily for the protection of the shipping lanes, or as a highly mobile force capable of carrying the battle aggressively to the enemy wherever the latter might be located?  On these two grounds, the jurisdictional and the strategic, there arose a long and intensive controversy, a debate which centered on the creation, organization, and deployment of an AAF antisubmarine command, but which involved issues of much broader scope.  In order, therefore, to understand these issues and to explain the confusion as a result of which the Army Air Forces found itself engaged in the submarine hunt, it will be necessary to review in some detail the evolution of policy governing the use of the air arm in overwater operations.  


          Ever since the advent of air power the Army and the Navy had argued over its control.  Each service took a logical enough position.  To the Army, control of land-based aircraft whether operating over land or water should be its responsibility.  To the Navy, it seemed equally natural that operations over water, against seaborne targets, should be a naval responsibility.  It all depended on where the respective arguments started:  if it was a question of the primary mission of land-based aircraft, as a result of which they had been developed as such, the Army had a strong position; if it became a question of where the actual operations took place, whether as a result of the primary mission of the forces or merely ancillary to it, the Navy was well able to claim control over seaward aviation.  No one disputed the Navy's control over seaplanes and carrier-based aircraft which operated clearly as an air arm of the fleet.  Actually, logic had very little to do with the problem.  Since the air was a medium which extended over both land and water, arguments concerning its control could drift more or less at will.  So it all became a question which would have to be answered either arbitrarily, by some competent authority, or with reference to some factors contingent upon the tactical or strategic situation.  As things turned out, it was answered by both.  
          As early as 1920 it had been recognized that, in providing an air arm for both services, there lay a serious danger of duplicating installations and equipment.  In that year Congress had enacted that Army aviation should control all aerial operations from land bases and that naval aviation should control all such activity attached to  


  the Fleet, including the maintenance of such shore installations as were necessary for operation, experimentation, and training connected with the Fleet.27  
          Joint Action of the Army and Navy, 1935 (FTP-155) did much to clarify the relationship between the services.28  The Navy not only retained control of aviation connected with the Fleet, but was given responsibility for all inshore and offshore patrol for the purpose of protecting shipping and defending the coastal frontier.29  It was further stated that Army aircraft might temporarily execute Navy functions in support of, or in lieu of, Navy forces, and, conversely, that Navy aircraft might be called upon to support land operations.50  In neither case should any restriction be placed by one service on the freedom of the other to use its power against the enemy should the need arise.31  Each service was declared responsible for providing the aircraft needed for the proper performance of its primary function:  in the Army's case, the conduct of air operations over land and such air operations over sea as were incident to the accomplishment of Army functions; in the case of the Navy, conduct of operations over the sea and such air operations over the land as were incident to the accomplishment of Navy functions.32  
          All of which left the responsibility for the conduct of seaward patrols and the protection of shipping pretty definitely up to the Navy.  But no formal agreement could be expected to end discussion of the matter, especially since the particular tactical situation was likely to change frequently.  It was still, for example, an open  


  question whether the Navy should control all air operations in frontier defense or whether it should control only those operations specifically in support of the Fleet.  Naval spokesmen claimed that unity of command should be vested in whichever service held paramount importance in a given situation.  Then, assuming that naval preeminence existed over land and air forces in all coastal defense, they claimed that unity of command in such operations should rest with the Navy.  The Army, sensing a train of logic which might prove ruinous to its control of air forces, raised its voice in protest.  The assumption of naval preeminence in coastal defense it declared unsound, witness the case of Alaska where land-based bombers were likely to be the principal arm employed.  Furthermore, since most situations in which the Navy would be called upon for defensive operations would be ones in which the air forces would also be present, owing to their mobility and striking power, the Navy would, according to this argument, gain control of Army air forces, wherever the latter were most likely to be used in a tactical situation.  This, the Army felt, would lead ultimately to a complete naval control of the Army air forces.33  In short, the Army felt that the primary mission of its air arm was not support of the Navy, however likely such support might be in frontier defense.  
          When it came time to implement plans for frontier defense, it was clear the Navy held the responsibility for protection of coastwise shipping and for the conduct offshore patrols.  And this province was guarded jealously.34  Units of the GHQ Air Force had been effectively discouraged from undertaking practice reconnaissance flights  


  over water beyond the 100-mile limit, and their part in joint Army-Navy exercises had been strictly limited to a supporting role against a carrier-borne or shore attack;35 this despite the fact that plans explicitly made the GHQ Air Force responsible for whatever reconnaissance was essential to its combat efficiency in operations along the coast, regardless of whether or not the Fleet were present.  Without an air arm trained in long- or even medium- range reconnaissance over water, the seaboard would clearly become vulnerable to submarine attack.  Yet the Navy had done very little to prepare for antisubmarine air patrol by any type of aircraft, much less by long-range types.  Joint Action had not only implied that this function belonged to the Navy, but had stated that it was up to the Navy to provide and retain the equipment and installations necessary to the fulfillment of that function.  Yet 7 December 1941 found the North Atlantic Naval Coastal Frontier practically without effective planes capable of conducting long-range seaward patrols, and with pathetically few surface craft capable of chasing a submarine.  
          Fortunately, some preparations had been made for joint operations.  A "joint" control room had been completed and provision had been made for I Bomber Command and I Air Support Command to operate on seaward patrol missions whenever requested to do so by the naval authority.36  It was in fulfillment of these plans that the I Bomber Command undertook seaward patrol duty promptly on 8 December.  But even this meager air force had been equipped not for antisubmarine activity but for normal bombardment action, and had been systematically discouraged from increasing its knowledge of overwater flying.  


          Every contingency, including enemy submarine activity in the coastal shipping lanes, had been considered in Joint Action.37  Yet nothing had been planned specifically to counter a campaign by enemy submarine forces.  Training exercises off the Atlantic coast had apparently envisaged a surface task force, supported by carrier-based aircraft, as the only likely form of enemy action.38  The British had also failed at first to take the U-boat threat seriously, feeling that it should not be relatively as great in this as in the last war.  After the Germans had built submarine bases on the west coast of France, however, the British answered this increased menace by creating the Coastal Command, a separate RAF agency under the operational control of the Admiralty.  No such plan had been laid or agencies established in the United States.  
          By the time the German submarines began to appear in American waters, the idea had become pretty well fixed that long- and medium- range land-based bombers would be, if not the backbone of the antisubmarine campaign, at least an indispensable part of its composition, especially in view of the fact that operations from ice-bound north atlantic bases would be limited virtually to aircraft of that type.39  In a very natural effort to implement the Navy's responsibility for offshore patrol, Admiral King at once requested that 200 B-24's and 400 B-25's be allocated from future production of Army-type planes for Navy use, the total number to be made available by 1 July 1943.40  This request did little to improve relations between the services,  


  coming as it did on top of a long discussion of the problem of jurisdiction over coastal defense operations, and at a time when the Army was confronted by urgent obligations, and at a time when the Army was confronted by urgent obligations in half a dozen theatres, all demanding heavy- and medium-bombardment planes.  The Navy received part though not all, of the Army-type allocations asked for, but had to be content for the time being with the forces supplied mainly by the I Bomber Command and related units.  Considerable effort was made to increase the number of aircraft allocated by the Army to antisubmarine activity, but it was felt in the War Department that diversion beyond that already made would seriously jeopardize other equally important projects.41  
          And so, from the very first, the Army's participation in the antisubmarine campaign became involved in, and at times overshadowed by, the issues of jurisdiction and organization which it had raised.  The Navy request for Army-type planes raised again, or rather reinvigorated, the standing controversy concerning control of the air arm.  To Admiral King's request, General Arnold replied that for the Navy to build up a force of land-based aircraft would lead to a duplication of equipment, maintenance, and supply that would eventually "deny the essential differences between armies and navies."43  Some felt that, if Army aircraft were so vital a part of coastal defense, unity of command over joint operations in the coastal frontiers should be vested in the Army.43  This notion, of course, ran counter to the established policy as outlined in Joint Action, and would in any case  


  have lacked the support of the Navy.  General Arnold proposed to settle the question in a practical compromise.  In a letter to Admiral King, 9 May 1942, he wrote:  "To meet the present situation, I propose to recommend the establishment of a Coastal Command, within the Army Air Corps which will have for its purpose operations similar to the Coastal Command, RAF," operating "when necessary under the control of the proper Naval authority.44  The virtues of such an organization would, he felt, be many:  it would not only do the job, it would also have the flexibility necessary for antisubmarine action, and could readily be decreased as the need decreased, the units then simply reverting to normal bombardment duty without becoming stranded wastefully in a naval program which left no place for them.  In this proposal General Arnold pointed the way to the settlement finally adopted in the creation of the AAF Antisubmarine Command.  
          Many other influences were tending in the same direction by May of 1942.  Above all, of course, was the ugly fact that in that month sinkings in the sea frontiers had risen to a new and terrifying point.  Something had obviously to be done to improve the organisation of the antisubmarine campaign.  Closely related was the fact that the enemy had shifted his strategy and had once more caught the U. S. defenses badly prepared.  Most of the May sinkings had occurred in the Gulf and Caribbean areas.  Scarcely adequate to protect shipping in the ESF, the existing organization of antisubmarine operations proved quite inadequate to cope with a greatly extended area of activity.  


          In answer to a request for reinforcement from the Commander, Gulf Sea Frontier, a few B-18's were sent south, and shortly after, on 26th May, Maj. Gen. Follett Bradley, Commanding General of the First Air Force, created the Gulf Task Force.45  This unit was to control all aircraft of the First Air Force which were operating, according to the agreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for such situations.46  under the operational control of the Gulf Sea Frontier.  For a time located at Charleston, S. C., the new headquarters was finally set up at Miami.  
          The situation in the Gulf and Caribbean areas had, however, become so serious that General Arnold requested the Third Air Force to use certain of its units for antisubmarine patrol during their regular overwater training missions.47  General Frank responded by advising the placing of the appropriate units under the operational control of the Gulf Task Force and the routing of training missions over sea and Gulf shipping lanes.  This plan was approved on 1 July, and steps were at once taken to put it into effect.48  Meanwhile, arrangements were made to establish a combined operations center at Miami, to be built on the general pattern being laid down for similar purposes in New York City.  This project was initiated early in June.49  
          Considerable progress was made in relocating units to meet the expanded and fluid nature of the campaign.  Beginning in January with operations from four states only, from Bangor, Maine, to Langley Field, Va. the I Bomber Command by September 1942 was operating in seven states, from Westover Field, Mass., to Galveston, Tex.50  


          Despite this energetic effort to meet a rapidly changing situation with complicated machinery constructed essentially on static principles, the extension of AAF antisubmarine operations emphasized the need for reform in the existing system of joint command.  Only recently had any attempt been made to clarify even this existing system.  Prior to 26 March 1942, units of the I Bomber Command and the I Air Support Command had been operating under the control of the Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier, but the system rested only on very general directions set forth in Joint Action.  And there had been some talk of "mutual cooperation" rather than "unity of command."51  On that date the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a message to the commanding general of the defense commands which read, in extract, as follows:"52  
        Pending the reaching of agreements as to terms under which unity of command will be exercised . . . unity of command as set forth in . . . Joint Action of the Army and Navy, 1935, is hereby vested in Sea Frontier Commands over all Navy forces duly allocated thereto and over all Army air units allocated by defense commanders over the sea for the protection of shipping and for antisubmarine and other operations . . . Defense commanders will allocate Army air units on full time basis but may rotate them in not less than two week periods as requisite for essential training. . . .
  This seemed a convenient temporary arrangement, but in reality it did nothing to meet the administrative and tactical problems.  It merely made more definite what had hitherto been left studiously vague.  
          The fact that the two services were not organized for this type of joint control.  Command boundaries overlapped:  the areas assigned to the First Air Force and the I Bomber Command extended beyond the Eastern Sea Frontier into the territory of the Gulf Sea  


  Frontier, and the Third Air Force had to share the operational control of the Commander, Gulf Sea Frontier with the First Air Force.  Worse than that, joint operations involved two complete sets of headquarters through which orders must be filtered before reaching the combat unit.  
          General McNarney described the command situation in April as follows:53  
        At present the Bomber Command is allocated to the Eastern Sea Frontier for operational control.  The Civil Air Patrol is under the Air Support Command for operational control.  The Air Support Command is under the Bomber Command for operational control The Bomber Command is operating under a directive from the Navy, which was a two page, seven paragraph letter, which was very verbose.
  He might have added that the Bomber Command was under the First Air Force and the Eastern Defense Command for administration, if any further complication were desired.  
          Desired or not, further complication did enter the picture when in May it became necessary to extend operations into the Gulf and Caribbean areas.  The I Bomber Command was still the only agency equipped and situated to provide the Army air coverage necessary for successful antisubmarine activity.  It was therefore essential to extend its operation southward to include the entire EDC and that part of the Southern Defense Command which borders on the Gulf of Mexico.  In this area I Bomber Command operated under the control of the Gulf Sea Frontier.  To augment this over-extended force, some aircraft had been loaned by the Third Air Force to the ESF and GSF commanders for patrol purposes.  These units, however, operated under the direct  


  control of the Bomber Command, which retained responsibility for Army antisubmarine patrol in the coastal frontiers.  The plight of these few pilots, who were connected administratively or operationally with two defense commands, two sea frontiers, two air forces, and an antisubmarine bomber command, simply represents the reduction ad absurdum of the command situation.54  
          The trouble was obvious.  A multiplicity of headquarters would have slowed up the functioning of any dependent organization.  It was all the more serious in its effects on antisubmarine operations which depended above all else on rapid coordination and extreme mobility.  The division of the sea frontiers into districts and subdistricts had been enough of a handicap especially in view of the habit of thinking in terms of rigid boundaries or "chop lines" which seemed to be an ingrained part of the naval administrative mind.  Yet local arrangement had been made to mitigate this handicap.  Army air units were apparently not attached to district naval commanders, a practice which, if adopted, would have ruined the effectiveness of the Army antisubmarine forces.  The real trouble came when aircraft were required in other sea frontiers, all of which were under COMINCH, but without liaison or means of rapid inter-communication.55  Yet the antisubmarine campaign depended on the ability of air striking units to follow the submarines wherever they might go and to change stations rapidly.  
          Unity of command, then, became the first prerequisite for improved operations.  The antisubmarine campaign needed other things:  


  better equipment, a better training program, a better communication system, and an organization devoted completely to the task of hunting U-boats, unimpeded by competing claims on its services.56  Above all, it required mobility of forces.  But all these needs were subordinate to, and in one way or another dependent upon, the attaining of unity of command.  
          With these needs in mind, and impelled by the desperate shipping situation, the War Department began, in May, to take concerted action to improve the situation.  On the 20th of that month, Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, then Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, directed the commanding generals of the AAF and the EDC to do everything in their power to improve the antisubmarine activity being undertaken by the First Air Force.  Specifically he directed that all available planes on the eastern seaboard be fitter with bomb racks and all B-18 aircraft be equipped with radar, even at the expense of prior allocations.  All necessary bases were to be made available, and the EDC was to cooperate with the First Air Force in the solution of problems of supply, maintenance, and communications for the antisubmarine squadrons.  An organization was to be established "with the least possible delay" for the purpose of engaging in the development of antisubmarine weapons, tactics, and techniques in cooperation with all agencies working toward a similar end.  A training unit was also authorized in order to make available crews trained in the use of these devices and techniques.  


          Finally, General Arnold was requested to reorganize the I Bomber Command in such a way as to"fulfill the special requirements of antisubmarine and allied air operations, in consonance with the Army responsibility in operating in support of, or in lieu of naval forces for protection of shipping."57  
          This action on the part of the War Department General Staff marks the beginning of plans for a separate, mobile air striking force organized within the Army for the sole purpose of hunting submarines.  In taking this action the Army in effect accepted the responsibility for a job not generally considered part of its function.  No longer considered simply as an emergency, short-term measure, the participation of AAF units in the antisubmarine was now became admittedly part of the Army program.  And, in the circumstances, the Army found itself in a relatively strong position.  Its air force had the weapons, and had already taken part in antisubmarine activity for nearly 5 months during which time it had developed some sort of organization, some special techniques, and many ambitious plans.  
          Plans of a more or less specific nature soon followed.  General Eisenhower had stated in his directive that "although unity of command is vested in the Navy, it is felt that the Army must be prepared to submit recommendations and to take every action to make antisubmarine warfare fully effective."  He had requested that General Bradley and Brig. Gen. Westside T. Larson, Commanding General, I Bomber Command, confer with the Assistant Chief of Staff and present plans for future development.58  


          Plans had for some weeks been evolving in the minds of the AAF officials concerned.  In general they had been shaped along the lines suggested in General Eisenhower's directive:  a separate organization was to be created for the purpose of waging antisubmarine warfare, with mobility and striking power as its chief characteristic, and with an experimental agency acting as an auxiliary for developing new techniques and for training personnel in their use.  But they were naturally more specific and somewhat more radical in their color than that directive called for.  Through all this initial planning can be seen the strong influence of the British Coastal Command.  And naturally so, because that command had pioneered since the beginning of the war in antisubmarine warfare under circumstances roughly analogous to those in which the American forces found themselves in 1942.  A few officers from the British Coastal Command had been detailed to advise the I Bomber Command in its early efforts to combat the U-boats, and their influence was in many respects decisive.59  In February, Wing Commander P. F. Canning, RAF, had outlined the Coastal Command system of operational control as a pattern for a similar organization modified to suit the situation in the western Atlantic.  Admittedly far from perfect, this system bore the authority of 4 years' experience in joint action for the specific purpose of antisubmarine warfare.60  In March, Wing Commander S. R. Libles, RAF, submitted a report on his observations of antisubmarine activity in which he stressed the need for a clearer allocation of responsibility between Army and Navy, for closer cooperation between the headquarters involved, and for a decreased  


  emphasis on rigid command boundaries.  All these factors pointed toward the ultimate solution in the form of a separate command, presumably shaped on lines similar to those of the British Coastal Command.61  
          General Eisenhower had suggested that a conference on antisubmarine measures be held in Washington.  In preparation for this meeting, Generals Bradley and Larsen drew up and discussed various plans.  Although a detailed critique of these proposals is unnecessary, some of the points heightened in them clarify the train of thought that led to the establishment of the Antisubmarine Command.  A precis of the principal plans follows:  
          1.  The basic principle upon which successful antisubmarine warfare must rest is unity of command.  The submarine possesses great mobility; successful action against it necessitates elimination of overlapping jurisdiction in order that prompt action may be facilitated.  Command channels must be direct, and the "maddening and intolerable" system of verbal orders from one office and written orders from another must be eliminated.  Mobility is essential.  A successful antisubmarine force must be able to move units from point to point to meet the requirements of a shifting strategic situation.  
          2.  A "Coastal Air Force" should be organized with the I Bomber Command as its nucleus.  The chain of command then would be free from Commanding General, AAF, to Commanding General, Coastal Air Force, to Coastal Air Force Controller to Squadron Commander.  An operations control room would be set up at each base, and steps would be taken  


  to establish adequate coordination of intelligence with the Navy.  The Navy would, however, no longer exercise direct operational control over Army planes, because all orders would pass through Headquarters, Coastal Air Force.  
          3.  In the Coastal Air Force, the area of operation would be unlimited and not confined by existing boundaries of commands having other missions to perform.  
          4.  A chain of bases should be set up on the Atlantic coast to operate directly under the Coastal Air Force.  Weather, intelligence, communications, maintenance and housing and all housekeeping facilities would be provided by the bases, leaving the striking forces to consist of combat and key personnel only.  The combat squadrons would therefore be "in reality mobile."62  
          Another plan, evidently prepared by General Bradley for use in the conference with General Eisenhower, proposed that the I Bomber Command, or similar organization, be charged with the protection of all coastal shipping, the operation to be under the direct control of the Commanding General of the First Air Force.  Not only would all Army aircraft thus be placed under an Army officer, but all Navy and Marine heavier-than-air aircraft allocated to antisubmarine activity would also be under the I Bomber Command for operational control, only dirigibles (a waning force) remaining under the Navy.  
        All other coordinations between Army and Navy to be by cooperation rather than by unity of command, as is now the case between Eastern Defense Command and Eastern Sea Frontier.  If operational control by Navy must be continued, a single Navy commander, not three, should be responsible for the entire East and Gulf Coasts and Bermuda, and exercise operational control or unity of command over those Army Air Forces which are allotted to him.63


          In short, the Navy had been relegated to a position of remote and shadowy authority.  But they left no doubt on certain other points: the need for unity of command, a more direct chain of command, greater potential mobility, and a continued and increased participation of Army air forces in the "trade war," all of which depended in some way on the creation of a separate command, organized, trained, and equipped for the purpose.  
          Running through this entire discussion there may be discerned an already well-defined strategic doctrine, namely, that, in antisubmarine warfare, defensive measures, through essential, can never destroy the U-boat menace, but must be supplemented by a vigorous offensive campaign.  The authors of the plans outlined above considered the protection of convoys by aircraft "a last ditch defense."  Such purely defensive tactics were, and should be, the first priority, but they were "the smaller part of the total effort necessary to force the enemy from our coastal waters."  A well-coordinated offensive by aircraft and surface vessels could drive the enemy craft a considerable distance from the coast or restrict their operations to such an extent that their results would become ineligible.  Admittedly the airplane as it was then equipped failed to posses the necessary killing power to destroy the U-boat; but it did have great searching power, and was quite able to keep a submarine submerged so long that its effectiveness decreased.64  Whenever a sinking occurred or the presence of a submarine was detected, long-range planes should be sent to that area for intensive search.  Constant air patrol should be conducted within 300 miles of the coastline.65  Even if these measures failed to sink a  


  single submarine, it was argued, they would keep the enemy submerged and so require him to use so much time going to and from his bases that his operating period would materially be shortened.  Moreover, the submarines could thus be prevented from concentrating rapidly and effectively on convoys, and the morale of their crews would be seriously impaired.66  
          Here again the example of the RAF Coastal Command exercised a profound influence.  Although it has apparently taken the Admiralty some time to revise its doctrines to such an extent that it could incorporate within them an air striking force organized for an aggressive antisubmarine campaign,67 still that was the end finally attained.  Two of the cardinal principles governing the British antisubmarine warfare were stated by Air Marshal Joubert:68  first, close cooperation between sea and air forces, between Admiralty and Coastal Command; and secondly, constant offensive action.  He advised that  
        while a certain amount of close escort of convoys, particularly when threatened, is a necessary feature of air operations, the main method of defeating the U-boat is to see and strike.  The greater portion of the air available should always be engaged in the direct attack of U-boats and the smallest possible number in direct protection of shipping.  Our experience is that a purely defensive policy only leads to heavy loss in merchant shipping.
          Ideas such as these may seem natural enough to those unacquainted with the conflict of policies between Army and Navy.  There would, for instance, seem to be little objection on any score to action which, while preserving the existing convoy system and routine patrol, would carry the war to the enemy as well.  But to organize an offensive  


  would mean to reorganize the entire antisubmarine campaign.  Specifically it would require the creation of just such a semi-independent and mobile command as the AAF planners had in mind.  For at the time, only such a body could carry out a strategic policy that reached beyond the Navy's defensive doctrine of convoy and offshore patrol, and be able to attack the U-boats at their point of greatest concentration.  Moreover, the long-range Army-type bombers alone combined the range and striking power necessary for such offensive action, and as yet the AAF was better able than the Navy to equip such a force.  In short, under existing conditions, an offensive strategy simply would not fit into the Navy scheme of things.  Not only did it run counter to the Navy's preference for a defensive antisubmarine war, but it also would tend to weaken naval control over the Army elements engaged in the antisubmarine campaign.  
          By the summer of 1942, therefore, it is possible to see the outlines of these two related controversies, the jurisdictional and the strategic, which determined the history of the AAF antisubmarine effort.  The AAF plans, as shaped in May, could lead only in one direction.  Unchecked they would eventually have placed the entire responsibility for the air antisubmarine campaign in the hands of those who held the aggressive strategic doctrine and who were in immediate possession of the organization and the weapons necessary to carry out that doctrine.  But the Army plans did not remain unchecked.  They met consistent opposition of the Navy, energetic in this defensive action as in its defensive Battle of the Atlantic.  


          In view of all this discussion it is surprising to find formal action taking a much slower and more compromising course.  For the rest of the summer little was done in a radical way to reorganize the antisubmarine campaign.  In immediate response to General Eisenhower's directive of 20 May, General McNarney, Assistant Chief of Staff, WDGS, informed Admiral King that 10 B-18's, ASV equipped, together with 10 additional medium bombers without ASV, had been sent to the bedeviled Gulf area where they would work under the operational control of the Gulf Sea Frontier commander.  He also outlined a proposed reorganization of the Army Antisubmarine program.  The I Bomber Command was to be organized as a unit to wage antisubmarine "and related operations" on the East and Gulf coasts.  Air bases were to be established at strategic locations in order to take maximum advantage of the mobility of land-based aircraft.  As soon as available, ASV-equipped aircraft would be welded into units "particularly suited for hunting down and destroying enemy submarines by methods developed by our experimental units which have been operating off Cape Hatteras."  Mobility was to be the keynote of this reorganized force.  When a unit moved to an area outside of the EDC, it would operate under the control of the particular sea frontier commander concerned, but it would still remain assigned to the I Bomber Command.  "Movement to and operation in areas beyond the jurisdiction of the latter will be viewed as a temporary detachment therefrom."69  
          Admiral King's reaction to these cautious proposals was expressed with equal caution.  They were, he felt, satisfactory, but he planned  


  to place the control of aircraft assigned to each sea frontier in the hands of the commander of that frontier.  Moreover, in providing air coverage for convoys it would not be necessary for planes attached to one frontier to operate in another "unless exceptional conditions make it necessary."  In a note to the sea frontier commanders, concerning General McNarney's letter, he said, further: "It will be noted that the division of aircraft, both Army and Navy, as between the sea frontiers, will be a matter under the cognizance of the Commander in Chief, and that air operations within the sea frontiers will be under the direction of the Commander Sea Frontier concerned."70  In other words, rigid geographic lines were to be retained in the use of Army planes, and such use was to be dictated unequivocally by naval authorities.  
          While these plans were under discussion, the heavy shipping losses continued at such an alarming rate that on 19 June 1942 General Marshal expressed to Admiral King his fear that "another month or two" of similar losses would "so cripple our means of transport that we will be unable to bring sufficient men and planes This note of alarm elicited a definite statement of the Navy's strategic doctrine in its campaign against the U-boat.  Admiral King had already made it clear that the system of Navy regional control would remain a part of the united command that the Navy was to exercise.  Now he set himself clearly in opposition to the Army's offensive doctrine.  If that doctrine had not been emphasized officially, it had certainly  


  been given enough informal currency to have established it as a basic point of difference between the two services.  And Admiral King apparently took General Marshall's memo as an implied criticism of the Navy's antisubmarine strategy.  The Navy had, he said in reply, employed and would continue to employ, all available forces in the antisubmarine war and that "not only the Navy itself but also all other agencies concerned must continue to intensify the antisubmarine effort."  But that intensified effort to him meant intensified convoy protection.  "Escort," he declared, "is not just one way of handling the submarine menace; it is the only way that gives any promise of success. . .  We must get every ship that sails the seas under constant close protection."  The work of I Bomber Command had been valuable in this respect, and after 15 May the coastal waters of the United States had been quite safe for coastwise shipping under convoy.  The convoy system was being extended, as rapidly as possible, but the Army should supply at least 500 medium bombers for use in the four sea frontiers - - Eastern, Gulf, Caribbean, and Panama - - to augment the force of 850 planes the Navy hoped to operate in those areas.72  
          The Army was thus exhorted to bend every effort in the common cause.  It had, however, been far from idle.  The I Bomber Command had been useful, if not determinative, in making the Atlantic seaboard unhealthy for U-boats.  Lack of proper equipment and training continued to keep the quality of attacks on a comparatively low level.  But, from July on, improvement in material and a half year of experience in actual submarine hunting had made it possible for the Army antisubmarine units to contribute impressively to the campaign which made the  


  Germans reconsider the value of operations in U.S. coastal waters.  
          The figures themselves are misleading.73  In 59,248 operational hours flown between January and October 1942, not many more than 200 sightings were reported, of which several were no doubt mistaken identification by inexperienced crews.  In 81 instances attacks followed which resulted in one U-boat definitely destroyed, six seriously damaged, and seven damaged to some extent.74  The aircraft made their contribution rather in forcing submarines to submerge so frequently that their targets were lost and their activity slowed up to the point where the returns became marginal or submarginal.  
          The quality of the patrols and especially of the attacks improved steadily as suitable equipment became available and crews gained in experience.  The first attack that was assessed as in any degree damaging in the U-boat did not occur until 2 April 1942.  During the next 4 months the bulk of the damaging attacks were made.  The frequency of attacks roughly paralled the density of U-boats in the area and also the sinking of merchant vessels.  It is estimated that, during May and June, when the U-boats were thickest and their work most deadly, each was attacked on an average of twice each month by aircraft of the I Bomber Command.75  
          After June, enemy activity fell off rapidly in the coastal waters.  Here again a look at the figures alone would convey a false impression.76  It is clear from them, and perfectly true, that in August the enemy began to withdraw to other areas, and by October had virtually abandoned the Eastern and Gulf Sea Frontiers.  After 4  


  September no more bombings occurred in 1942 as a result of enemy submarine action in those waters.  The Germans had shifted their area of activity steadily farther south in approximately direct proportion to the intensity of the aerial defense.77  June 1942 saw the pattern of sinkings moving toward the Caribbean area.  By August the Gulf was practically free of sinkings which were by that time concentrated around Cuba and in the Trinidad area.  By September the enemy had given up attacks around Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico, but continued in the Trinidad area until November when a certain amount of coordination, previously lacking, was achieved between air and surface defenses.  
          This progressive withdrawal of the enemy submarines does not, however, mean that the I Bomber Command had by itself made the Eastern and Gulf Sea Frontiers untenable.  Its activity was a contributing, perhaps a determining factor, but it was not the only one.  It appears that in the late summer of 1942 the U-boat fleet had been forced to abandon to some extent its original strategic mission of striking at Allied shipping wherever it might be found in most profitable quantities, and to have adopted a more defensive strategy dictated by Allied plans in Russia and North Africa.  This shift in strategy involved greater concentrations in the northern and eastern Atlantic waters at the expense of operations in the American shipping lanes.  The convoy system also did much to discourage attacks, although convoys without adequate air coverage were extremely vulnerable.  And an increasingly large share of this coverage, as well as of routine patrol, was being provided by Navy planes, which accounted for 75  




  out of the total of 125 attacks made in the western Atlantic prior to 5 September 1942.78  The AAF 1st Sea-Search Attack Group, operating primarily as an experimental unit from Langley Field, under the operational control of the Bomber Command, also made five successful attacks during the period from July to October.79  At any rate, the constant air patrol maintained by the various agencies in the antisubmarine campaign undoubtedly exercised a determining influence in the enemy's strategic withdrawal.80  However, the enemy had not been defeated, scarcely even embarrassed; he merely concentrated his efforts in other areas, and so effectively that in November, 2 months after he had virtually abandoned the U. S. coastline, total Allied shipping losses reached a new high.81  
          Steps had been taken by the Army Air Forces to increase the efficiency of its antisubmarine units.  An effort had been made to increase the number of medium bombers deployed in the campaign, and to equip as many of them as possible with ASV.  Above all, the Army Air Forces had established in June the Sea Search Attack Development Unit (SADU) for the purpose of research in antisubmarine techniques and devices.82  By August this agency was in full operation.  It was through the medium of this technical development that Dr. Edward L. Bowles, Expert Consultant to the Secretary of War, hoped to revitalize the antisubmarine campaign.  Considerable attention had been given to the problem of equipment, especially radar, by the Joint Committee on New Weapons and Equipment (JNW) and it was becoming pretty evident that, if the submarines were to be defeated, some aid must be sought from these technical sources.  


          Unfortunately, a research unit could not win the "trade war" by itself.  It was one thing to develop the weapons and quite another to use them effectively.  The latter demanded a correspondingly streamlined organization of the entire program, which meant in this instance the creation of a new command committed to an aggressive, closely knit campaign of U-boat destruction.  Again the whole basic controversy was opened.  It was, Dr. Bowles insisted, no longer so much of a question of command between Army and Navy.  That could well be conceded to the Navy.  It was rather a question of organization within the Army itself, and for a frankly offensive campaign reaching beyond coastal patrol into the deeper waters of the mid-ocean.  
          He therefore proposed that an "Air Antisubmarine Force" be organized under the command of a general officer who could control the entire land-based air component of the antisubmarine forces, including the Navy land-based inshore patrol aircraft, and the research and training unit.  In this way, without disturbing the ultimate unity of command, the vexing question concerning the allocation of land-based aircraft, which was tending dangerously toward the creation of two separate air forces with duplicated function, would be solved.  This entire force would be placed under the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, in order to relieve it from dependency on any local command.  It would confine its operations to U. S. coastal waters, but would be free to send "detachments or task forces to other parts of the world."83  


          The last of the major arguments that led to the establishment of the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command had now been presented in this penetrating document.  The problem of aircraft allocations to Army and Navy, the evident tactical need for unity of command and mobility of organization, and the Army's strategic doctrine of the coordinated offensive were all leading in an intricate and overlapping pattern of influences to the creation of a separate command.  Now the requirements dictated by the employment of new devices added one more telling item to this list which, together with the continuing grave situation in the Atlantic, made action essential.  
          None of the plans prepared and discussed in the summer of 1942 was used as the final pattern--none, that is, in its entirety.  The ideas developed in the plans, however, determined the nature of the new command.  Allowance naturally had to be made for the views of the Navy which had not been favorable to the establishment of such an organization.  So the solution finally adopted was a modest one, retaining most of the reforms proposed by Army planners except those specifically reducing the authority of the Navy.  
          The first step in setting up the new command was taken by General Marshall.  On 14 September, he wrote to Admiral King:  
        Experience with the First Bomber Command in antisubmarine operations since March indicates that the effective employment of air forces against the submarine demands rapid communications, mobility, and freedom from the restrictions inherent in command systems based upon area responsibility.
  Accordingly, he proposed to create the "First Antisubmarine Army Air Command," which would absorb those portions of the I Bomber Command  


  engaged in antisubmarine work.  Control of the new unit would be centralized in the War Department in order that it might "be promptly dispatched" to successive zones of submarine activity.  It would begin operation in Atlantic coastal waters, the Gulf and the Caribbean; its expansion to other areas "will depend upon the planes available."  Operations "naturally will be under the operational control of the sea frontier concerned."  The closest cooperation with the Navy, especially in the transmission of intelligence which could only be compiled through naval sources, would be essential to the proper functioning of this antisubmarine command.  Provision would therefore have to be made for liaison between "our immediate headquarters."84  
          Admiral King replied at once, concurring in general, but expressing his belief that "the preferable method" was allocation of air units to sea frontiers, changing the allocations from time to time and from frontier to frontier as the exigencies of the war dictated.  He would, he said, continue to exercise control over Army planes through the commander of the various sea frontiers.  To provide the close liaison suggested by General Marshall, he has designated Adm. P. N. L. Bellinger, Deputy Chief of Staff of the U. S. Fleet, as liaison officer.85  
          On 22 September, General McNarney instructed General Arnold to organize the First Antisubmarine Army Air Command, using the I Bomber Command as cadre.  The principal mission of the command was to be "the location and destruction of hostile submarines."  As a necessary  



  means to this end it had the secondary mission of training crews and developing devices and techniques.  The command was to be directly under the CG AAF, although operations were to be conducted under naval control.  It was not to be limited by the boundaries of defense areas, and its operations in areas other than the EDC or SDC were to be coordinated with OPD, WDGS.86  It was activated 15 October 194287 under the designation, Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command.  
          The mission of the command was elaborated in subsequent orders which gave considerable latitude to its activities.  It was to attack hostile submarines "wherever they may be operating."  Although operations on the Eastern and Gulf Sea Frontiers were to be conducted under the tactical control of Navy officials, direst control over the command was vested in the office of the Commanding General, AAF; and provision was made for future transfer of units to extra-continental area on a detached service base.  General Larson, as Commanding General, was responsible for operations under the Director of Military Requirements, through the Director of Bombardment, but matters of "policy, broad plans, and the development of new weapons and equipment" remained with the Commanding General, AAF.88  
          Such were the plans and orders under which the Antisubmarine Command was organized and under which it operated during the short course of its restless career.  



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