The Creation of Army Co-operation Command
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This chapter analyses the full fallout from the Battle of France and the moves made by the army in Britain to gain operational control of tactical air power resources in Britain. This was partly done through the army’s official investigation of the fighting in France conducted under General Sir William Bartholomew. This report placed the majority of the blame for the BEF’s defeat on the lack of tactical air power from the RAF and that what tactical air power that was provided was not the in the correct form. The Bartholomew Report misread German capabilities, claiming that the Wehrmacht could call on close air support on an impromptu basis. This lead to the RAF devising such a capability through signals experiments conducted in Northern Ireland under Lieutenant-Colonel J.D. Woodall and Group Captain A. Wann. The aftermath of France also led to moves by the army to have the RAF take the development and application of tactical air power in Britain more seriously, resulting in the creation of Army Co-operation Command in December 1940 under Barratt. Army Co-operation Command was a War Office idea and the RAF felt that, with the inter-Service political pressure being applied, they had to acquiesce. The first action of Army Co-operation Command was to codify the Wann-Woodall experiments as informal doctrine.