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Southwest Air Defense Sector

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Southwest Air Defense Sector
Southwest Air Defense Sector.jpg
Emblem of the Southwest Air Defense Sector
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force
RoleAir Defense
Nickname(s)Sierra Pete

The Southwest Air Defense Sector (SWADS) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the First Air Force, being stationed at March Air Force Base, California. It was inactivated on 31 December 1994.

Historical map of Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, 1959–1966
Historical map of Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, 1959–1966

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  • ✪ Defense of Poland - Under Siege - Extra History - #2
  • ✪ Tunisian Victory


September 7th Danzig For a week, the peninsula garrison at Danzig has held out against attacks from land, sea and air. But they've fired their last bullet. There's no option but surrender. They've fought as long as possible. And that, after all, was always the plan. Hold out long enough for France and Britain to intervene. And indeed, as they surrender, eleven French divisions cross Germany's western border. They move almost unopposed, outnumbering German forces in the sector two to one. They take twelve settlements in a week. But then they stop. They'll go no further. And Poland fights alone. September 8th Warsaw This series is brought to you by World of Tanks PC. Check out the game at the link below and use the invite code ORLIK for extra goodies. September 8th, Warsaw Panzers drive into the city, smashing barricades and mounting the city's ruins. The Siege of Warsaw has begun. Rubble chokes the thoroughfares. Defenders have overturned street cars and dug anti-tank ditches. The Luftwaffe has nearly flattened the city, but in doing so, they've also created a landscape where it's easy to hide anti-tank guns and ambushing parties... ...and German troops have no experience in urban combat. Hidden artillery drives the first tank assaults back. Throughout the next several days, Polish tanks clash with German armored units as they probe the city, battling in barricaded squares and ancient graveyards. And as the city fights, an American photographer chronicles the horrors of the siege. Julien Bryan had arrived just before the Germans, the only foreign reporter in the city. He captures footage of a maternity hospital where new mothers shelter from bombs. Women machine-gunned in fields as they try to harvest potatoes. The city alight from firebombs. Its firefighters without water because bombers have cracked its plumbing. He'll smuggle out the film two weeks later. His resulting short documentary, Siege, will gain an Oscar nomination and help sway public opinion against the Nazis. Things are equally grim outside the city. South of Warsaw, the battered 1st Light Tank Battalion fights a rearguard action to cover the retreat toward Warsaw. They give better than they get - four Panzers destroyed for two 7TPs but they're outnumbered and increasingly outmaneuvered. The mechanized German army can advance faster than the Poles can fall back, and it's turning into a rout. German bombing has snarled communications, and Marshal Rydz-Śmigły's decision to move his headquarters to Brest has created an inability to contact command. When units receive orders, it's like the generals don't even know where they are sometimes, they receive two contradictory orders, one from Brest and one from Warsaw. Worse, the 1st Battalion has lost touch with their logistics company. It's become impossible to repair one tank without cannibalizing another, and the constant moving and fighting means 7TPs break down at an alarming rate. Desperate crews siphon diesel from trucks and civilian vehicles to keep rolling. When that runs out, they use kerosene. It will ruin the engines long-term, but there's nothing long-term about this fight, every decision is about surviving until tomorrow. The next day, the 1st Light Tank Battalion drives at the German front, Polish infantry riding on their backs. The army is withdrawing across the Vistula River, and needs breathing space to get across. 7TPs hit the German line, pushing it back long enough for more troops to escape toward Warsaw. When it comes time for the 1st Battalion to cross, they take stock - 18 tanks lost in the last few days. Several others have so little fuel, the crews drive them into the river before crossing. A week before, the battalion had 49 7TPs, only 20 crossed the bridge to fight on. September 9th Brest Marshal Rydz-Śmigły monitors reports at his new headquarters. Things are still progressing according to plan, the Polish Army is making a fighting withdraw to the Vistula River, trying to stall the Germans long enough for the French to intervene. The Germans are progressing faster than he'd hoped. But all is not lost. Back in 1920, Poland had stopped the Red Army outside Warsaw and pushed it back to Russia. They could do the same for the Germans, if the French invasion takes pressure off. For days, his generals have championed a plan to counterattack south - take pressure off Warsaw, allow more troops to withdraw there before the door slammed shut. Mass enough troops to outnumber the Germans. It's a gamble, but he agrees. A quarter of the Polish Army will cross the Bzura River and take the fight to the Germans. The initial thrust takes the Germans off-guard. A day of bloody combat sends two German divisions into retreat. But this success is short-lived. Panzers withdraw from Warsaw to deal with this new Bzura Pocket. German reserve troops flank the Poles. Within days, they've been pushed back to the river. By September 16th, they've been encircled. A quarter of the Polish Army, trapped in the Bzura Pocket. Then, the final hammer blow falls - Soviet troops cross the eastern border. September 17th Eastern Poland When Polish troops first encounter the Red Army, they believe the Soviets have come to help. Then a rifle goes off. A Polish soldier falls. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact the week before was no mere non-aggression pact, it's suddenly clear. Indeed, it included a secret protocol where Germany and the Soviet Union would carve up Eastern Europe if the borders changed - giving each a buffer state. With the invasion, the borders had changed, and the Soviets were here to take their due. Most Polish divisions have withdrawn west to fight the Germans around Warsaw. The few Polish troops in the east can do little to stop the Soviet onslaught. Poland is surrounded. The Romanian Border that Night Marshal Rydz-Śmigły is now on his third headquarters location, and he's preparing to evacuate yet again - this time, across the border. The strategic situation is untenable. Poland cannot fight the Germans in the west and the Soviets in the east. And he's just received word that the French aren't coming. They've gotten gun-shy. Britain had tried to send supplies through Romania, but Hitler used diplomatic pressure to impound them. British promises to bomb Germany never materialized - they're afraid of retaliation. So Rydz-Śmigły broadcasts a new order: Escape. All Polish forces are to attempt a breakout and cross the Romanian or Hungarian border. Poland would fall, but it would not surrender. They would reform the Polish Army in France and continue fighting. Survival was their new objective. September 18th The Bzura Pocket Polish troops, cut off for eight days, reach the breaking point. The defensive line disintegrates. German infantry and armor rush through the gaps. The Bzura counteroffensive has drawn German forces away from Warsaw, but at a terrible cost - nearly the entire Polish force is wiped out. A full quarter of the Polish Army are now dead, wounded or prisoners of war. A few units - unaware of the evacuation order, or seeing no other path open - manage to break out toward Warsaw. They trickle in, joining the defenders. Meanwhile, far to the southwest, the 1st Light Tank Company leads a desperate attack. They hope to smash through German lines and allow their comrades to reach the Romanian border. But the assault stalls. Within three days they're surrounded, running out of ammunition, almost combat ineffective. They surrender. Anyone who can makes a last-minute dash for Romania. One depleted group of TKS Tankettes rushes south, only to find their way blocked by Soviet armor. Without orders, they wheel and cross the Hungarian border instead. During another encounter, a few remaining 7TPs driving for Hungary exchange fire with Soviet tanks. When it's clear they can't break through, the crews dismount and destroy their vehicles, slipping across on foot. Other units fight rearguard actions, giving their comrades time to escape. Among them is a TKS commander named Roman Orlik. He's just taken a position hidden in the trees on the crest of a hill, when he sees panzers coming through the fields below. He's alone up here, the only tank in his company with a 20mm cannon. But he has surprise on his side. Firing from concealment, he holes three Panzers, blunting the charge. Before the fighting is over, he'll destroy ten more vehicles, becoming the only TKS ace of the war. But he will not reach the border. Instead, he and his company will defend Warsaw. September 28th Ten days later, Warsaw is falling. After a punishing artillery bombardment, German troops overwhelm the fortresses on the city's southern flank. Food, water, and ammunition have nearly run out. For nearly three weeks the Poles have repelled assault after assault, but the Germans have finally cracked the armor. At 2:00 PM, the Polish commander orders the garrison to stand down. Forty thousand have died in the city's defense. Fighting continues. Some cities hold out a few more days. Troops situated on good defensive ground last another week. Combat finally ends on October 6th. The Germans and Soviets go about dividing the country, as per their agreement. Sixty-six thousand Polish soldiers are dead, and over 130,000 wounded. Three-quarters of a million are prisoners. Many of these will not live to see the end of the war, dying from mistreatment or Soviet execution programs. Civilian deaths are equal or higher. Poland had held out for five weeks while being invaded by two of the largest militaries on Earth. It proved costlier than expected. Sixteen thousand Germans have been killed, and twice as many wounded. The Poles had destroyed 674 tanks and 319 armoured vehicles, with more damaged and needing repair. Meanwhile, Polish troops are making their way west. They escape from internment camps in Romania and Hungary, dressing in civilian clothing, dodging police and slipping across borders. Tense of thousands make it to France and form an army. Polish troops will fight for the rest of the war in France, the Middle East, Arnhem, and Monte Cassino. They'll enter Berlin with the Red Army. A Polish squadron, the 303rd, will claim more kills than any other in the Battle of Britain. And the same Polish tankers whose 7TPs dueled Panzers in 1939 would come ashore at Normandy in Sherman tanks. Meanwhile, in occupied Warsaw, resistance forces begin building an underground army. Poland has fallen - but it is not defeated. Thanks World of Tanks PC for sponsoring this series. If you think that looks as epic as I do, check out the game at the link below and use the invite code ORLIK for extra goodies. Tell them Extra Credits sent you!


Los Angeles Air Defense Sector

The Los Angeles Air Defense Sector (SAGE) (LAADS) was designated by Air Defense Command in February 1959 while NORAD's July 25, 1958, SAGE Geographic Reorganization Plan was being implemented.[1] Assuming control of former ADC Western Air Defense Force units, the sector's region consisted of ADC atmospheric forces (fighter-interceptor and radar units) located in southern California north to Santa Barbara and the southern Central Valley. The Manual Air Direction Center (MDC) was at Norton AFB, California, until the Air Defense Direction Center (DC-17) was completed in 1959 for the Semi Automatic Ground Environment.

On 1 April 1966, LAADS was inactivated, as did the other 22 sectors in the country. Most of its assets were assumed by the 27th Air Division.

SWADS Region shown in NORAD Region/Sector Configuration, 1987–2005
SWADS Region shown in NORAD Region/Sector Configuration, 1987–2005

Reactivated as the Southwest Air Defense Sector (SWADS) on 1 July 1987 at March AFB, California, in the 26th Air Division; the sector received the 26th AD assets when it became inactive on 30 September 1990. SWADS was responsible for the atmospheric defense of approximately one-fourth of the Continental United States. Its eastern border was at the intersection of the 36th parallel north and 97th meridian west south to the Gulf of Mexico at the 28th parallel north. Its region extended west to include the region south of the 36th parallel north to the Pacific Ocean at the 122nd meridian west. It came under the Continental NORAD Region (CONR) Headquarters at Tyndall AFB, Florida. The Joint Surveillance System Sector Operations Control Center (SOCC) was at March AFB and Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR) data from several JSS radar stations and tethered aerostat radar balloons (e.g., Ground Equipment Facility J-31 near Los Angeles).

On 1 January 1995, the SWADS consolidated with the Northwest Air Defense Sector, headquartered at McChord AFB, Washington and the combined command was designated as the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS).


Air National Guard units aligned under 1AF (AFNORTH) formerly with an air defense mission under SWADS were:


  • Established as
    Emblem of the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector.png
    Los Angeles Air Defense Sector on 1 February 1959 by redesignation of 27th Air Division
Inactivated on 1 April 1966; redesignated as 27th Air Division
  • Redesignated as Southwest Air Defense Sector (SWADS) and activated, 1 July 1987
Inactivated on 31 December 1994, assets reassigned to Northwest Air Defense Sector





Oxnard AFB, California, 1 October 1959 – 1 April 1966

Interceptor squadrons

Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1 January 1960 – 1 May 1961
George AFB, California, 1 October 1959 – 1 April 1966
Castle AFB, California, 1 August 1963-1 April 1966

Radar squadrons

Ajo AFS, Arizona, 1 January 1960-1 May 1961
Santa Rosa Island AFS, California, 1 October 1959
Lompoc AFS, California, 1 April 1963-1 April 1966
  • 682nd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Almaden AFS, California, 1 August 1963
Madera AFS, California, 1 August 1963-1 April 1966
Vincent AFB, Arizona, 1 October 1959-1 May 1961

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ 1959 NORAD/CONAD Historical Summary: January–June
  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.}
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Los Angeles Air Defense Sector
This page was last edited on 7 January 2019, at 01:58
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