Course Curriculum

    1. Warfare Mastery Intro Trailer

    2. Course Introduction, Overview and Updates

    3. Path to Warfare Mastery Learning Guide

    1. Introduction, Overview and Updates

    2. Pacific War Interactive Map and Timeline

    3. Pacific War 10-Question Basic Quiz

    4. Pacific War 10-Question Challenge

    5. Pacific War 100-Question Challenge

    1. Introduction, Overview and Updates

    2. Interactive Map: South Pacific Airfields and Aircraft Combat Ranges

    3. Overlay Map: Port Moresby Airfield Complex, Papua, New Guinea

    1. Introduction, Overview and Updates

    2. Combat Aircraft: Performance, Comparison and Squadron Markings

    1. Introduction, Overview and Updates

    2. U.S. Army Air Corps Aces

    1. Introduction, Overview and Updates

    2. Air Combat Tactics: The Thach Weave

About this course

  • Included in Membership
  • 18 Lessons
  • Evolving Course - More lessons in development

Course Description

This case topic will cover the Pacific Air War from 1941-1945 during the Second World War. We believe this topic offers many interesting lessons that have wide applications to contemporary problems and mission sets. Many aspects of the Pacific Air War remain unexplored by popular or academic writing but could prove very educational for military leaders, national security professionals and serious students of warfare. There are also many good sub-topics for more detailed “case studies” within the context of the Pacific Air War (for more information on our approach to dividing case topics from case studies click HERE).

Below is our general “roadmap” for building out the case topic project. As with all of our learning materials, we intend this case topic to be a series of “living” resources and documents that we will constantly improve, refine and upgrade over time with the help of our readers and scholar community (for more information about how we create “living” learning content click HERE). This general roadmap will offer an outline or structure that our writers, contributors and community members can use to develop new content and incorporate it into the larger body of learning materials. While the structure can and will evolve over time, we chose to start by focusing on the following themes.

Theme 1: Innovation and Adaptability

In more ways than one, at the time it was unfolding, the Pacific air war was not considered the “main event” in either WWII or air warfare in general. As is often the case in history, this lack of attention and resources forced leaders in the Pacific to be especially innovative and find creative ways to adapt to their mission environment and make the best of what they had. As we study the Pacific Air War, we plan to devote special attention to such innovations and explore the underlying conditions and leader decisions that made them possible.

Theme 2: Basing, Logistics and Operational Planning

The story of the Pacific War is in many ways the story of combatants hopping from one island to another and building one air base after another. These air bases slowly extended the umbrella of air support and air superiority to cover the various naval operations, ground invasions and the logistical supply lines serving both. Understanding the details and mechanics of how this process unfolded is relevant to any military operation but particularly to contemporary plans for future wars in the Pacific.

Theme 3: Weapons Technology and Procurement

Beyond simply providing reference materials about the performance and capabilities of each aircraft, we will attempt to go deeper and examine underlying questions of why certain decisions about aircraft design emerged in the first place, how these decisions were either well-founded or ill-founded, and how leaders adapted tactics and operational approaches to the available aircraft. 

Theme 4: Leaders, Aces and Organizational Culture

In the air war over the Pacific, leaders, heroes and colorful personalities on both sides had a powerful effect on the course of the contest. Ace pilots made a disproportionally large contribution to victory. Therefore, to better understand the Pacific air war it is worth studying these important individuals and understanding the events, organizational conditions and personality traits that allowed them to achieve success and rise to positions of influence.

Theme 5: Tactics and Air Combat

Tactics are where the “rubber meets the road,” and without sound tactics, it is difficult for any military force to win on the battlefield. This case topic will  study the specifics of air combat tactics, how tactical techniques evolved on both sides and how they contributed to success or failure in the air. In short, this case topic will not just teach you about the events that took place in the air war over the Pacific but rather try to place you “in the cockpit” to show you how to fight, win and survive as a fighter pilot or bomber pilot.

About the Instructor

Warfare Mastery Institute

At the Warfare Master Institute (WMI), our team of interservice combat veterans and military scholars are constantly seeking new and innovative approaches to learning the art and science of warfare. Our focus is on developing, community-based online courses that constantly evolve and improve over time based on user feedback. Our courses employ unconventional learning methods, cutting edge graphics and interactive multimedia content focused on military history, technology, strategy, operations and tactics.


The first 1000 members will get honorary "Plank Owner" certificates and complimentary access to the Special Tactics Infantry Rural Combat Course


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