An account of Sir John Cotesworth Slessor (1897–1979), one of Great Britain's most influential airmen
Sir John Slessor played a significant role in building the World War II Anglo-American air power partnership as an air planner on the Royal Air Force Staff, the British Chiefs of Staff, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He coordinated allied strategy in 1940–41, helped create an Anglo-American bomber alliance in 1942, and drafted the compromise at the Casablanca Conference that broke a deadlock in Anglo-American strategic debate.
Slessor was instrumental in defeating the U-boat menace as RAF Coastal Commander, and later shared responsibility for directing Allied air operations in the Mediterranean. Few aspects of the allied air effort escaped his influence: pilot training, aircraft procurement, and dissemination of operational intelligence and information all depended to a degree on Slessor. His influence on Anglo-American operational planning paved the way for a level of cooperation and combined action never before undertaken by the military forces of two great nations.
I. The Object
II. The Main Offensive
III. The Supplementary Offensive. The Destruction or Neutralization of Enemy Air Forces
IV. The Supplementary Offensive (contd.)
V. Strategic Concentration
VI. Fighting Troops and Supply
VII. Air Attack on Communications
VIII. The Story of the Battle
IX. The R.A.F. in the Battle--The Air Plan
X. The R.A.F. in the Battle (contd.)--Tactical Concentration
XI. The Third Revolution
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Cotesworth (Jack) Slessor GCB, DSO, MC (June 3, 1897–July 12,1979) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force (RAF). A pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, he held operational commands in World War II and served in the RAF's most senior post, Chief of the Air Staff, from 1950 to 1952. He was considered a strong proponent of strategic bombing and the nuclear deterrent, and published several books, including an autobiography.
“As the Royal Air Force’s top air-power philosopher, Slessor show[ed] great talent by his ability to weld experience and theory. In 1936 he wrote the pioneer text [Air Power and Armies] on strategic air bombardment; in World War II he used it.” —Time
“Slessor is an authority on the tactical use of air power. . . . Air Power and Armies is a classic.” —Flight