On 30 July, the Far East Air Forces had 890 planes-
626 F-80's and
only 525 of them were in units and available and ready for combat. [15-35]
Rockets, napalm, and .50-caliber machine gun fire in strafing were the effective weapons used by the close support fighter planes. Napalm, the jellied gasoline carried in wing tanks, generated a searing heat when ignited by a contact fuze upon striking the ground. The splashing, flaming liquid is a two-edged weapon: it burns and consumes, and it strikes men with terror when it bursts on or near their positions. No one who has seen the huge, pod like tanks hurtle to the ground and burst into orange balls of flame, quickly followed by billowing clouds of dense, black smoke, would care to withstand this form of attack.
The consumption of aviation gasoline was so great in the early phase of the war, as compared to the available supply in the Far East, that it became one of the serious logistical problems. Ocean tankers could scarcely keep pace with the rate of consumption. The situation never got to the point where air operations stopped, but it came near to that. There were times when the gas terminals in Japan were empty-all the fuel was in the stations. [15-36]
Just as Eighth Army prepared to fall back behind the Naktong River, important ground reinforcements from Hawaii and the United States arrived in Korea. The United States had barely won the race against space and time.