NATO Dispersed Operating Bases

NATO Dispersed Operating Bases

Military Conflict
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NATO Dispersed Operating Bases

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Description:
NATO Dispersed Operating Bases (DOBs) were developed to improve air power survival when NATO began planning for tactical air bases and aircraft in western Europe during the early Cold War years of the 1950s.

History

Dispersal tactics and protective measures were very common during World War II and practiced by all nations. The USAAF was less concerned than its allies about base defence and dispersal due to the total air superiority and unlimited resources of aircraft, aircrews and ground personnel to replace combat losses.

After D-Day as allied tactical air forces moved rapidly across France, investment in base and aircraft survival was impractical. It was quicker and cheaper to use captured Luftwaffe facilities. By 1948 these small airfields had been abandoned and most structures were removed or were in a state of disrepair.

With the advent of the Cold War, NATO faced several problems when attempting to solve the air power survival equation. Planning for first strike survival in both conventional and nuclear wars had to be considered. The main air bases were built on small parcels of land with very limited dispersal space. It was decided to build DOBs at least 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the main air bases to be used in the event of an emergency. The goal was to have no more than one fighter squadron on each main or dispersed base in the event of war.

Beginning in 1953 USAFE DOBs were constructed in France and were completed in about two years. Each was built...
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