Allied operations in the Mediterranean Theatre from 1942 on proved the importance of airpower in supporting ground troops.
This article written by James Holland for HISTORY NET notes the following:
- In 1943, at the town of Trapani on Sicily’s west coast, German fighter pilot Johannes “Macky” Steinhoff was in trouble, being outnumbered by the enemy, his Wing had insufficient aircraft, spares, fuel, and it was blisteringly hot.
- A year earlier on Malta, British pilots had been suffering in the sweltering heat, without enough food, spares, fuel or aircraft.
- In May 1942, with Malta all but defeated, the Luftwaffe was pulled out of Sicily and sent to North Africa to support Erwin Rommel’s new offensive.
- The RAF on Malta clung on, then fought back, and by July, they had regained air superiority amassing a staggering 3,500 aircraft in the Mediterranean Theater.
- Conflict in the Mediterranean Theatre during WW2 illustrates the vital importance of airpower to all sides.
- Meanwhile, in Libya, the RAF’s Desert Air Force was able to save the British Eighth Army from decimation after the fall of Tobruk.
- The tactical air forces of both the RAF and the U.S Army Air Forces continued to be improved and, by 1943, had become the spearhead of future operations.
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