Down to Earth: USAAF Tactical Strike in Europe The ground attack operations of the USAAF's 9th Air Force in western Europe and 12th Air Force in southern Europe crippled enemy air power, paralyzed enemy mobility and destroyed enemy units and materiel. Their efforts played a key role in the defeat of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Tactical Air Power Defined The U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) divided the air power effort into strategic and tactical operations. Strategic operations focused on the enemy's homeland, while tactical operations generally supported ground forces. Click on the following links to learn more about the USAAF in Europe in World War II. USAAF Tactical Ground Attack in Western Europe USAAF Tactical Ground Attack in Southern Europe Flakvierling 38 20mm Antiaircraft Gun Fliers' Menace: Flak A-2 Jacket with Art Click here to return to the World War II Gallery.