Talk:Close air support

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Close air support is not equivalent to tactical bombing[edit]

CAS is not equivalent to tactical bombing. Close air support doesn't have to use bombs at all: it can be done by fighter and attack aircraft on strafing runs, and by special purpose gunships like the AC-130. Isomorphic 01:13, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)


This is not a US encyclopaedia, general and introductory paragraphs should be kept non specific to any country or service. Brettr 06:09, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

stop removing CAIRS! CARS is not the only standard abbreviation, CAIRS is very common in non US militaries. Brettr 08:06, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Calm Down

Take it easy there buddy. No reason to start a war. It may work better to break the sections out by country. Where you are at it "soldiers" may not call in indirect fire but where I am from they do. The article should reflect this. May also want to include combined doctrine as well? No one is looking to make this a US only page but that does not mean we should have lines that read "Commisioned Officer only"--Looper5920 08:37, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Great, that is what the discussion page is for. Unilaterally editing pages is unacceptable.

My text does not say only officers can do this. One of the jobs of comissioned officers is to coordinate indirect fire - including USMC officers. Soldiers have to be specifically trained for this. "Any does not mean only. The para as it is is correct. The introduction is generalised then the following sections make specific mentions of other countries - no problems there. [This user is proud to be an Australian army officer] Brettr 09:03, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Let's start small here..I am actually in Australia as well and am very familiar with your doctrine especially in regards to Close Air Support. That being said, I have never heard the term CAIRS in my time here or ever as a matter of fact. I have never heard the Brits mention it either. Help me out...WHere does this come from??

Yeah, great then the next American comes along and I have to start again. Here is one example http://www.ausairpower.net/TE-Upgrades-94.html Brettr 09:30, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I'll let the smart ass comments go. The article was originally published in 1994. Close Air support doctrine has evolved immensely since then. If you refer to your own ADFP 3-3 (Aussie bible on Offensive Air Support) no where is the acronym CAIRS used. That being said, if you can produce an actual military publication written in the last 5 years that mentions the term CAIRS then I will refrain from deleting the next time I see it.--Looper5920 09:36, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I haven't got an opinion on the acronym issue (I've only seen CAS, but I'm no expert.) I think your argument over who can call in support is missing the point, though. Whether or not it's U.S.-centric, both versions are definitely time-centric. Anybody know what German doctrine in WWII was? What about Soviet doctrine? I'd be willing to bet that in the early days, artillery observers were used for this, as I think an earlier version of this article stated. Any general statement you make will probably be wrong for some army, some time, so why make generalizations at all? I'm going to try a compromise version. Let me know what you think. Isomorphic 03:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Agree with the change. Reads much better. ANy ideas on how to break this one out better? It needs alot of works. Done by era and then subsivided by country or maybe by country and subdivided by era??--Looper5920 05:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Follow up to the previous comments. I just checked the ADDP 3.1(Offensive Support) & ADDP 3.3(Aerospace Battle Management) publications. No where in these Australian publications are the terms/acronyms CARS or CAIRS used. These terms are not taught on your Intro to Joint Warfare Course, Joint Operational Planning Course at Staff College or at FACDU (the unit responsible for training Australian Tactical Air Controllers.) I can also state that the U.K., U.S. and Canada do not use these terms. I don't know about N.Z. but they don't count since they got rid of their Air Force. That is every viable military in the English speaking world. They may be still be used in the Australian Army, as legacy terms, because they were used in the past but it is false to say they are common outside of the U.S. Your mention is the first I have ever heard of them and I have trained with a fair number of nations. It may still be refered to in some of your unit SOPs but they are just SOPs, not doctrine and outdated. If the intro paragraph is supposed to be a synopsis then those terms do not belong since they are outdated, no longer used and irrelevant If you want to add a legacy section or reference them in another way outside of the main intro paragraph that is fine but everytime I see them there I will delete them.--Looper5920 05:18, 13 December 2005 (UTC)


The "compromise" version is not better. What I wrote is not specific to any force, it is generic. It is the job of commissioned officers to direct indirect fire in ALL armies. That is simply what officers do. There are specialists such as FOs and their are soldiers trained as well, especially special forces but it is the job of officer to do this.

As for "say anything about who calls in support" that is ridiculous, this an article about close air support, who does it is an important fact.

Brettr 07:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems we are arguing 2 different points. I am describing the actual terminal control of the aircraft. It is regularly done by enlisted personnel. It seems that you are talking about the command and control process involved with close air support. You are correct in stating is done almost exclusively by officers. I would also hesitate to refer to CAS in the same manner as other indirect fires. I think we should leave the sentence as is to reflect the actual process of getting bombs on target. That being said, I think it might be beneficial to open a page on the command and control processes involved with Close Air Support. Interested to hear your thoughts--Looper5920 14:24, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

What about other uses for CAS than offensive ones? CAS for reconnaissance?

  • Then it wouldn't be CAS....it would be a request for aerial reconnaissance--Looper5920 10:11, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Early History[edit]

I'd like to see more on the early history of close air support. IIRC, close air support wasn't used much in the partioning of Poland but came to be used later. --Jeffrey Henning 04:10, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Merge with Ground attack aircraft[edit]

See Talk:Ground attack aircraft#Merge for the discussion on this subject --Philip Baird Shearer 10:07, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Absolutely not. CAS and CAS doctrine are completely separate topics from Ground attack aircraft.--Looper5920 10:17, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
  • No, do not merge. Close Air Support is, as indicated by Looper5920, a totally separate Air Force function from Ground attack aircraft. One way of looking at it would be to say that Close Air Support tactics and doctrine definitely do utilize Ground attack aircraft, but the topic definitely deserves a separate WP article in the encyclopedia. N2e 00:22, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
  • No, do not merge. Judging by this and the Ground attack aircraft talk page, there's no support for the merge; its' been a month, taking the tag off. --Mmx1 02:02, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. As has been previoulsy stated, ground attack is not the same as CAS. One ground attack mission is CAS, but there are many others such as interdiction and Strikes. As soon as I can figure out how to deconflict this, I will.Stanleywinthrop 16:19, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Additions[edit]

90% of my additions are coming from Jonathan House's Combined Arms Warfare in the 20th Century, an excellent treatment of combined arms warfare. It's quite light, though, on the USMC history, which has been closely tied to CAS. After finishing House's contributions, I'll dig up Simmons and put in the USMC history. Dorr's Marine Air is mainly primary accounts and much more difficult to incorporate as it requires me to perform some level of synthesis.

House is also very light on the Russian history (which is natural for a Western source). Any suggestions would be appreciated. --Mmx1 04:26, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

  • So good so far with the WWII stuff. It gets much heavier once you start progressing into the modern era. Topics to be included which I one day plan to help tackle include: Use of radars to drop bombs in Korea, ASRT in Vietnam, introductions of GPS munitions, Laser range finders, laser designators and IR pointers, use of targeting pods, etc... I swear one of these days I will get around to helping beef up this article--Looper5920 10:17, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Found a chapter on the AN-MPQ-14 in Victor Krulak's First to Fight. Though the history's there, it's sketchy on the operation and I'm not sure exactly how it worked. As far as I can tell, it was a system to guide a plane to the proper release point; it's unclear if control was from the ground or the air (in the development version control was from the ground), or if it was automated or manual (it hints at automatic but is not clear) --Mmx1 23:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

A-10[edit]

An entry on CAS without any reference to the A-10? 64.179.121.98 05:57, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes —Preceding unsigned comment added by Movieevery (talkcontribs) 23:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The A-10 is now mentioned, but I think the entire Aircraft section needs a rethink. It again confuses CAS with tactical bombing. I don't think there were any dedicated CAS aircraft in WW2, perhaps ever (exception may be attack helicopters). To say that the Stuka was a dedicated CAS aircraft must be wrong - it was used in many other roles including interdiction and anti-shipping. This article should probably just give a flavour and defer to ground attack aircraft. Cyclopaedic (talk) 12:21, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Cab rank[edit]

I humbly offer a link to my own page on the subject: http://tactical-airpower.tripod.com/cabrank.html And no, it wasn't always three and only three a/c -- it was from two to a full sqn.

Cheers, Wolseleydog (talk) 17:48, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

The Cab rank page is a disambiguation page which previously pointed nowhere (so far as military usage was concerned). It had a short paragraph on the RAF cab rank which should not be on a disambig page, so I moved it to this page (minus some irrelevant material about the Hawker Hunter). However, I have some doubts about the accuracy of the wording - eg did it really only use three aircraft (and always three) and did they really have to wait for the third one to take off? The revised wording as pasted into the article is copied below; I have added a Fact tag.

It used a series of three aircraft, each in turn directed by the pertinent ground control by radio. One aircraft would be attacking, another in flight to the battle area, while a third was being refuelled and rearmed at its base. If the first attack failed to destroy the tactical target, the aircraft in flight would be directed to continue the attack. The first aircraft would land for its own refuelling and rearming once the third had taken off.[citation needed]

Cyclopaedic (talk) 23:04, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Actually the number of three is only to make clearer that the aircraft would be used in a continuous 'conveyor belt' manner. The actual number of aircraft could be as few as three to as many as a whole squadron or even many combined squadrons. The point of the Cab Rank system is that it is continuous, the Forward Air Controller (FAC) being able to call in as many aircraft as necessary to destroy the target(s). This could be carried on for a whole day if required, the only limit being the fatigue states of the pilots. The method's advantage being that it subjects the enemy to continuous attack until they are either destroyed, withdraw, or surrender. Probably the most notable example of the Cab Rank's effectiveness was the Battle of the Falaise Gap, where Typhoons attacked German tank concentrations with cannon, rockets, and bombs. Flying from Forward Landing Grounds just behind the front line, the aircraft could be over the target in just a few minutes from receiving the FAC's call. The effect on the nerves of such continuous attacks was so debilitating that numbers of the German tank crews just abandoned their undamaged vehicles.
BTW, it was called the 'Cab Rank' system because like a taxi rank, it operates on a 'first-come, first-served ' basis, the FAC being able to call in any aircraft available when he needs them, rather in the manner that one uses a taxi, the aircraft at the front of the rank being the next one used. The squadrons and pilots employed are irrelevant to the FAC, the aircraft called in being the next ones 'whose turn' it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.86.52 (talk) 10:56, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Abbreviations[edit]

Do we need to abbreviate close air support to CAS? Whilst recognising that this is current military jargon, I think it would be better for general readers if we either wrote it in full, or where appropriate shortened it to "air support".

Also, I am used to seeing the Army Air Force abbreviated to USAAF, not AAF. Is that just my British usage or should we replace AAF with USAAF? Cyclopaedic (talk) 23:16, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

WW2[edit]

World War II World War II marked the universal acceptance of the integration of air power into combined arms warfare as close air support

Er... no it didn't. This section is almost completely wrong - both in its conception and excecution although it is written in a good style.

I'm sorry, but the phrase 'close air support' was not even used, let alone 'universally accepted'. There seems to be huge confusion, (as mentioned before here) between ground attack aircraft and the close support of ground troops by air, called down by troops facing fire: which is a modern concept. The only example given is the use of Stukas at the Meuse: an early war event where a river separated the combatants! reference is made to 'blitzkreig' combined ground and air attacks. Actually, Gudrian regarded the Stukas as mobile artillery and they were used to 1) hit pre-planned concentrations of the enemy before the attack wrent in and 2) to suppress centres of command and control, like towns, which the armoured attacking force would by-pass! Stuka pilots had difficulty peering over their nose cones: the idea they could be used in close proximity to friendlies is fantasy.

As for the allies, look at the weapons their ground attack planes were fitted with: bombs and rockets among other things. Their Hurricanes, P47s and Typhoons were used against heavy targets in rear areas not for supporting ground troops closely ('close air support'). Furthermore, the Forward Air Controllers in the Allied armies seem to have been attached at the lowest level of command, to company HQs: a position behind the front! Examination will easily show that air support was more likely to be a matter of miles in front of friendly forces, not yards or even hundreds of yards as the term 'close' implies.

The phrase:

World War II marked the universal acceptance of the integration of air power into combined arms warfare as close air support

should be altered to:

World War II marked the universal acceptance of the integration of air power into combined arms strategies and eventually paved the way to what is now called close air support

and the rest of this artical should be altered to reflect a context of 'paving the way' and the impression that there was planned 'close air support' in WW2 removed.

Anyone objecting to these changes, should really provide some concrete examples of air power used to support ground troops at a tactical level, which is what the word 'close' means. They should also provide contemporary reference to the phrase 'close air support' being used in WW2 by both sides. Otherwise terms used at the time should be used if the whole artical is not to become a confused revisionist fantasy.

Cheers (Cacadores (talk) 18:43, 1 December 2009 (UTC)).

Look at the sources a Google Book search on "Close air support" for books written on or before 1945 shows that the term was in use.
Here are two were volumes picked because they appear on the first page of a Google search on [Typhoon tiger close air support] and are more than a snippet view. But there are lots of other sources that support the use of close air support during WWII
  • Revolutionary guerrilla warfare, By Sam Charles Sarkesian, makes it clear that from the selection of primary sources that Sarkesian uses the USAAF did not have the training for close air support but the RAF did, pp. 104-107
  • Air power at the battlefront: allied close air support in Europe, 1943-45, By Ian Gooderson., seems to be a book on the subject. The first sentence of the Acknowledgements starts "This study of close air support during the Second World War ..."
-- PBS (talk) 16:45, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

separate out RAF & USAAF etc[edit]

The para on Royal Air Force and US Army Air Force in WWII should be seperated into separate paras on the Royal Air Force (with the section on the ‘cab rank’ system in North Africa) and on the USAAF. It starts off quite properly with the RAF in 1940 (when the USAAF was not involved), then is mainly USAAF. And sort out the chronology; the second para refers to 1944 and Normandy, then in para three it is back to 1941 and North Africa!

The para on the (Soviet) VVS RKKA refers to the T-34 & KV-1 as improved” (meaning later?) versions of the Soviet tanks. But both the T34-76 & KV-1 date from 1941 and the Germans met them soon after the start of Barbarossa; only the (mis)control of the Red Army by Stalin’s cronies and party commissars saved them. The improved Soviet tanks were the T34-85 (medium); and the KV-85 then the Stalin series (heavy). Hugo999 (talk) 12:07, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

The section covers both the RAF and the USAAF (not called the AAF, as in the text) action in North Africa, so I think they fit well together, and should probably stay together, posibly renaming hte section. There are also other time-related innacuraccies, probably the result of different editors inserting there own additions haphazardly. Most of the sections are unsourced, or only have one source. The whole articel could use a good rewrite. - BilCat (talk) 22:13, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Have moved sections into chronological order Hugo999 (talk) 10:21, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

FYI, the RAF 'cab rank' system has continued up until the present day, and was in fact what the original Harrier GR.1 was intended for. An updated jet equivalent of the rocket-armed Hawker Typhoon able to operate from improvised take-off and landing areas close to the ground troops.
BTW, what made the RAF's WW II close air support system, initially with the Desert Air Force, possible was the introduction of VHF RT portable radio systems that were small enough for the FAC on the ground to carry and conceal. Prior to this all air-to-ground/ground-to-air radio communications were by WT, i.e., morse. This made the system too slow to be of much use in the field, the equipment also being too bulky and heavy to carry and conceal, often the wireless equipment needing a dedicated vehicle to carry it. The introduction of RT (Radio Telephony - i.e, speech) systems operating in the VHF band made the system usable, the FAC being able to give real-time spoken directions and corrections to the supporting aircraft from right up with front with the friendly troops. The FAC was always an RAF officer who knew what difficulties the supporting pilots would be facing, and who could give them the best advice on attacking the target, what direction to come in from, etc. By the time of D-day in co-ordination with the No.2 TAF under Leigh-Mallory and Coningham it had become an excellent and well-practised system that could literally pound away at a target all day if necessary. If that didn't work then "the heavies" could be called in, such as happened at Caen. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 18:54, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

A few points:[edit]

A whole article of CAS, and there is only a few sentences on the Red Air Force and the Il-2? I was under the impression that was an aircraft that was used largely for CAS functions, and that the Russians developed a very sophisticated system for utilizing CAS aircraft. Maybe I'm mistaken.

If we agree that there is generally more than 3 aircraft involved in a cab rank, and that is just being used to convey the idea, perhaps it should say "although in reality, there were generally far more than 3 aircraft involved in attacking"? I read that and assumed someone was saying that only one plane attacked any given target at a time, which I was pretty sure was wrong. Other people may not know enough to realize that, and take it literally.

The place where it says that the Germans took the example of the SBC Helldiver...pretty sure it was a different plane they were inspired. I've read Udet tried dive bombing in a Curtiss F11C Goshawk, and was impressed, thus brought the doctrine to Germany. The page on the Ju 87 says the same thing. Whatever plane it was, it didn't "result in the famous Ju 87 Stuka", it resulted in the Henschel Hs 123, which is a lot closer to a small fighter-based bomber than the large, long-range 2-seat SBC, which was a fleet scout bomber that could also dive-bomb. Big,long-range, 2-seat designed as a fleet scout/dive bomber vs. small, single seat, short range aircraft designed as a close air support aircraft (most internet articles give the SBC's range as "405 miles", but according to Hamlyns, it was 590mi with a 500lb bomb. The Wiki for the Hs 123 says 298mi with a 400lb bombload). The two share nothing besides biplane wings and a ability to dive bomb. The Hs 123 was also influenced by the earlier He 50, which was ordered by Japan, who was also interested in dive bombing, and who developed the He 50 into the Aichi D1A. The Stuka came later, to replace these older types.

Since we're on the topic of the Stuka, most of the mission the Stuka flew in Poland and the first part of the war on the Eastern front were not actually "close air support" missions. They were used primarily as tactical bombers, attacking retreating and advancing troop concentrations, defending the flanks of armored thrusts, taking out bridges and other communications. These are not CAS missions. They were tactical missions intended to keep the enemy so panicked and disorganized that they wouldn't get much chance to fight the ground forces, who would thus not need much actual CAS. When actual close-proximity CAS was called for, the Hs 123 stood in. The Hs 123 was retained in service because the Stuka was unavailable to fly the CAS mission it was designed for, which was true until the Hs 123s disappeared through attrition and other types of aircraft took over the tactical bombing role. The Stuka was not widely used as a CAS aircraft until later in the war..45Colt 15:07, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

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