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Aerial Interdiction Air Power and the Land Battle in Three American Wars

Author Eduard Mark has done a superb job of recounting the strengths and weaknesses of aerial interdiction efforts in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Starting with the Allied invasion of North Africa, Mark examines how the three-tiered system of Allied air operations was developed (primarily through British influence) and how that system remained in effect throughout the succeeding wars. As the author discusses the various operations in World War II, he is not afraid to state that things did not always go well regarding interdiction efforts and on more than one occasion, airmen could not deliver their promised results. At times, this was crucial, as in Sicily when controversial command decisions coupled with non-effective employment of air and naval assets allowed nearly 40,000 Germans to escape to Italy.

At other times, as in preparation for D-Day, aerial interdiction played a key role in preventing or delaying German troops and supplies from reaching the Normandy beachhead. As World War II gave way to Korea and later, Vietnam, Mark does an excellent job of providing insight into how those wars differed from World War II, how political constraints hampered the effectiveness of interdiction efforts, and how the Air Force's own single-mindedness of pursuing the strategic mission overshadowed equipment and training needed to successfully prosecute interdiction missions. Also, the limited effectiveness of interdiction due to sophisticated antiaircraft defenses and topographical features is examined. In sum, Mark presents a very well-balanced account of aerial interdiction from its development in North Africa through Vietnam. His frankness in stating when things went well and when they didn't go well, along with his analysis, add to the credibility of his writing. Lastly, his use of maps at the beginning of each chapter, coupled with photos throughout the book make it easy for the reader to visualize where things are happening and how they are unfolding.
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Aerial  Interdiction Air Power and the Land Battle in Three American Wars
Eduard Maximilian Mark
Center of Air Force History
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