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ANZAC
05 Jan 09,, 05:29
How effective do you think the Strategic bombing offensive was?

zraver
05 Jan 09,, 07:50
How effective do you think the Strategic bombing offensive was?

1- It forced Germany to disperse as much of its manufacturing as possible thus inducing delays and slow downs while increasing the transportation load.

2- It sucked high velocity 88mm guns and millions of rounds away from the front lines.

3- it forced the Luftwaffe to retreat from the fronts. Without that retreat and crippling of the Luftwaffe's fighter strength-D day is a no go.

4- it was a visible and audible reminder to Europe that the Nazi's had not won.

5- it drove radar and radar counter measures technology and electronic navigation and formation night flying.

6- indirectly the German quest for a response via the V1 and V2 would give us cruise missiles and the moon shot.

7- B-24's and other bombers used in the maritime role were devastating on the U-boats.

8- Once allies fighters had the range, their marauding attacks crippled the German rail grid.

9- Postwar the threat of nuclear armed strategic bombers kept the USSR honest.

Johnny W
05 Jan 09,, 20:15
1- It forced Germany to disperse as much of its manufacturing as possible thus inducing delays and slow downs while increasing the transportation load.

2- It sucked high velocity 88mm guns and millions of rounds away from the front lines.

3- it forced the Luftwaffe to retreat from the fronts. Without that retreat and crippling of the Luftwaffe's fighter strength-D day is a no go.

4- it was a visible and audible reminder to Europe that the Nazi's had not won.

5- it drove radar and radar counter measures technology and electronic navigation and formation night flying.

6- indirectly the German quest for a response via the V1 and V2 would give us cruise missiles and the moon shot.

7- B-24's and other bombers used in the maritime role were devastating on the U-boats.

8- Once allies fighters had the range, their marauding attacks crippled the German rail grid.

9- Postwar the threat of nuclear armed strategic bombers kept the USSR honest.


I agree with almost all of those, except #3. Even if the Allies didn't wear down the Luftwaffe with bombing, they could more than likely still establish air superiority over Normandy. The landings would have been far more difficult, but I think they still would have happened.

zraver
05 Jan 09,, 20:46
I agree with almost all of those, except #3. Even if the Allies didn't wear down the Luftwaffe with bombing, they could more than likely still establish air superiority over Normandy. The landings would have been far more difficult, but I think they still would have happened.

The RAF and USAAF both tried fighter sweeps, as did the Luftwaffe. Only to find they were ignored by the other side. Bombers however force the fighters to take off and get into the fight.

Johnny W
06 Jan 09,, 15:27
The RAF and USAAF both tried fighter sweeps, as did the Luftwaffe. Only to find they were ignored by the other side. Bombers however force the fighters to take off and get into the fight.


I don't disagree. My point was that the allies would have went ahead with Normandy even if the Luftwaffe had not been completely worn down by years of bombing. The Allies would have put hundreds of fighters over the Normandy beachhead in an attempt to establish local air superiority. It would have made the invasion more difficult and more bloody, but I think in the end they would have succeeded anyway.

aktarian
08 Jan 09,, 13:03
1- It forced Germany to disperse as much of its manufacturing as possible thus inducing delays and slow downs while increasing the transportation load.

2- It sucked high velocity 88mm guns and millions of rounds away from the front lines.

3- it forced the Luftwaffe to retreat from the fronts. Without that retreat and crippling of the Luftwaffe's fighter strength-D day is a no go.

4- it was a visible and audible reminder to Europe that the Nazi's had not won.

5- it drove radar and radar counter measures technology and electronic navigation and formation night flying.

6- indirectly the German quest for a response via the V1 and V2 would give us cruise missiles and the moon shot.

7- B-24's and other bombers used in the maritime role were devastating on the U-boats.

8- Once allies fighters had the range, their marauding attacks crippled the German rail grid.

9- Postwar the threat of nuclear armed strategic bombers kept the USSR honest.

10. rather then focus on critical chokepoints it was directed over entire industrial sector, reducing it's capability (few examples of success in hitting chokepoints were raid on ball-bearing factories, however when targets were switched Gemrany was able to "bounce back")

11. rather then focus on preventing flow of coal to factories it was directed at factories themsselves

12. it was effective but not efficient

Parihaka
08 Jan 09,, 13:19
You need to factor in that bombing raids weren't just against the major cities and industrial centres but also against bridges, trains & lines, tunnels, canals etc. and were extremely disruptive to transport.

aktarian
08 Jan 09,, 13:48
You need to factor in that bombing raids weren't just against the major cities and industrial centres but also against bridges, trains & lines, tunnels, canals etc. and were extremely disruptive to transport.

how much of that was actual strategic bombing rather then battlefield interdiction designed to isolate Normandy and limit German capability to reinforce there?

zraver
08 Jan 09,, 14:02
I don't disagree. My point was that the allies would have went ahead with Normandy even if the Luftwaffe had not been completely worn down by years of bombing. The Allies would have put hundreds of fighters over the Normandy beachhead in an attempt to establish local air superiority. It would have made the invasion more difficult and more bloody, but I think in the end they would have succeeded anyway.

Got ya.

Triple C
08 Jan 09,, 17:31
The diversion and destruction of the Luftwaffe in the west at 1943 has profound implications on the Eastern Front. IIRC by 1943 fighter cover of Wehrmacht ground forces virtually disappeared and so, German troops were at the mercy of Red Army aviation and had no dependable aerial reconaissance. This would not have happened without Strategic Bombing.

Triple C
08 Jan 09,, 17:40
There was also the war on oil. The disruption of German oil production is arguably one of the most significant contribution of the western allies war as it took out Germany's ability to sustain mobile operations all over the board on land and in the air.

bugs
08 Jan 09,, 19:20
The diversion and destruction of the Luftwaffe in the west at 1943 has profound implications on the Eastern Front. IIRC by 1943 fighter cover of Wehrmacht ground forces virtually disappeared and so, German troops were at the mercy of Red Army aviation and had no dependable aerial reconaissance. This would not have happened without Strategic Bombing.
The Eighth United States Army Air Force despatches 376 Boeing B17 Flying Fortress strategic bombers to two targets in southern Germany - the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt (230 aircraft) and the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg (146 aircraft). No long-range fighter escort could be provided and as a consequence casualties amongst the attackers are heavy - sixty aircraft fail to return.
14 October 1943
Following their raid of 17 August 1943, the United States Eighth Army Air Force launch a second attack on the important ball-bearing production factories located at Schweinfurt in southern Germany. A total of 291 heavy bombers are despatched without long-range fighter escort and sixty are lost. Faced with such heavy losses, the USAAF suspends daylight heavy bomber operations against German targets.

Triple C
09 Jan 09,, 03:30
Bugs,

Luftwaffe lost more fighters in the west almost every month after March 1943; of the German 536 fighters shot down during the Kursk Offensive in July, 335 were lost in the west. Luftwaffe casaulties in fighting with unescorted RAF/USAAF bombers was hardly trivial. There is also the word diversion. Strategic bombing pulled the Luftewaffe from the line in the east to protect heartland Germany regardless of actual losses inflicted.

Kernow
09 Jan 09,, 04:08
617 Squadron, RAF, "The Dambusters" was a single squadron formed during the Second World War to carry out a single special and dangerous task. That operation "Chastise" has since become a legend in the annals of military history and it possess all the traditionally admired military attributes of originality, surprise and heroism coupled with a very dramatic outcome. Operation Chastise has in many ways overshadowed the later exploits of the men who formed the squadron.
Over the last few years some people have questioned the actions of Bomber Command and the actions taken to destroy the industrial and domestic centres of Germany during the Second World War. I myself, have taken a sideline to this question. I do not condone or sanction what Bomber Command did in its attempt to destroy the industry of Germany. I believe that the most dangerous thing on this planet is man, as soon as people start to attack each other, the animal instinct takes over. Each will try to outwit or kill one another singly or in bulk should the chance arise. To this end any aspect of war is bad.
People can pass comment on certain aspects of all wars but I do not believe it is right to criticise someone or something that they were not involved in or with. Modern information technology has made vast amounts of statistical and anecdotal evidence available to the historian but what sometimes gets lost in this mass of information is the immediacy and emotion caused by the raw fear of warfare. Normal reactions to events judged sitting in the arm chair by the fire side are not the same as those as when ones life and existence is tangibly at risk.
This website is a tribute to the personnel of and people associated 617 Squadron, "The Dambusters" primarily during the war years. It also serves as a tribute to all those of Bomber Command from whom the members of 617 Squadron were drawn, who served, fought, suffered or died during the Second World War.

ANZAC
09 Jan 09,, 06:01
The Strategic bombing offensive seems to still get a bad rap at times for failing to break the morale, or the production rates of the Germans until near the of the war and sometimes is thought as not cost effective and a waste of materials and manpower.

But from the time the long range fighters destroyed the Luftwaffe fighter arm in the months leading up to Overlord, and the offensive concentrated on oil and the transportation network, Germany would have been doomed even if the ground forces weren't over running the Reich.

Germany was always living on a knives edge when it came to oil production, any serious reduction would have them in trouble, and Ploesti was almost 80% of Germany's crude output, and by the time the Red army over ran it, it was down by 80% because of bombing raids. Synthetic oil was also down by almost 80%.

In early 1944, strategic targets were attacked [rail heads, rail lines, bridges etc.] The destruction of these targets effectively paralysed Germany.


The destruction of oil production, oil refineries and tank farms plus the transportation network, was decisive, but as this occurred sufficiently late in the war and that Germany was due to be defeated it's often overlooked.

aktarian
09 Jan 09,, 11:35
The Eighth United States Army Air Force despatches 376 Boeing B17 Flying Fortress strategic bombers to two targets in southern Germany - the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt (230 aircraft) and the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg (146 aircraft). No long-range fighter escort could be provided and as a consequence casualties amongst the attackers are heavy - sixty aircraft fail to return.
14 October 1943
Following their raid of 17 August 1943, the United States Eighth Army Air Force launch a second attack on the important ball-bearing production factories located at Schweinfurt in southern Germany. A total of 291 heavy bombers are despatched without long-range fighter escort and sixty are lost. Faced with such heavy losses, the USAAF suspends daylight heavy bomber operations against German targets.

and yet these two raids put serious strain on gemran armed forces. Ball bearings seem trivial but they are crucial for mechanisation. Granted USAAF suffered heavy losses but gemrany suffered as well. It was a question of whether continue with costly attacks that did serious damage or switch to less costly but less effective targets. USAAF chose later, though I can't say whether they knew how much damage they actually inflicted. If they didn't they might have felt that such raids are not worth it and went after soemthing else.

bugs
09 Jan 09,, 15:05
The diversion and destruction of the Luftwaffe in the west at 1943 has profound implications on the Eastern Front. IIRC by 1943 fighter cover of Wehrmacht ground forces virtually disappeared and so, German troops were at the mercy of Red Army aviation and had no dependable aerial reconaissance. This would not have happened without Strategic Bombing.

the 1943 kursk order of batle reads:
2,110 german aircraft versus 2,792 russian aircraft
The soviets lost about 1000 aircrafts.

Parihaka
09 Jan 09,, 19:40
how much of that was actual strategic bombing rather then battlefield interdiction designed to isolate Normandy and limit German capability to reinforce there?

It was constant from BoB onwards. Usually it was small squadrons or even single planes but the strategy was that of constant harrassment and degradation of the enemies lines of supply. While the massed formations have gone the way of the dodo, precision bombing which this was the beginnings of is now SOP.

Triple C
10 Jan 09,, 05:16
the 1943 kursk order of batle reads:
2,110 german aircraft versus 2,792 russian aircraft
The soviets lost about 1000 aircrafts.

To the German loss of 201 fighter aircrafts, the RAF and USAAF destroyed 335 in the bombing raids. The Russian did achieve defense parity in this battle so I believe the western contribution to this victory was substantial.

After the Big Week in the West Soviet bombers were liquidating German pockets at will.

bugs
10 Jan 09,, 16:36
The Russian did achieve defense parity in this battle so I believe the western contribution to this victory was substantial.
After the Big Week in the West Soviet bombers were liquidating German pockets at will.
You are talking about the Bagration ofensive ?

Triple C
11 Jan 09,, 04:10
Big Week was February 44 when USAAF resumed bombing with long range escorts after the operational pause of previous year.

cape_royds
11 Jan 09,, 12:01
Before mid-1942, the RAF Bomber Command didn't have the resources to carry out a significant air offensive against Germany. The USAAF couldn't muster enough strength to become a factor until early 1943.

From March to September 1944, the Allied heavy bomber forces were mostly dedicated to operations supporting the ground forces.

After September 1944, Germany was approaching collapse, and while there were some extremely effective bombing operations carried out in the latter months of the war, it is difficult to use these as proper examples of the success of independent strategic bombing campaigns.

So from my perspective, the most instructive period to study runs from mid-1942 to early 1944. This period represents a time during which the bombing campaigns were as "independent" as they could be.

Could strategic bombing alone defeat Germany? The hope of air strategists was that it could. Those hopes were disappointed.

Was strategic bombing effective? Yes, it was, even on a relative-cost basis.

The Allies did not gain the success they were looking for. Strategic bombing did, however, do more damage to Germany than it cost the Allies. A series of body-blows, rather than a knock-out.

The slow, costly and brutal process of destroying many German towns and cities could be seen as justifiable in the context of a large, long, total war.

Considering that the Western Allies were long unable to mount a major invasion of Europe, strategic bombing was an important form of attrition in which the superior economic resources of the Allies could be brought to bear against Germany in the absence of a "second front."

Favourable attrition was not what the air strategists had in mind--indeed strategic air power had been seen as a way to avoid attritional warfare. But favourable attrition was what they got.

Triple C
11 Jan 09,, 15:14
In so far as I could remember, bombing on deep strategic targets paused in September mainly due to overcast skies. There were enough planes to do close air support as well as strategic bombing. Those missions were not mutually exclusive since aircrafts that flew one type of mission was not needed in another. But in terms of clout, by late 1944 the ground forces generals as well as the defense chiefs and politicians were sick and tired of USAAF and Bomber Command's promise of quick victories and began to demand that they subordinate their efforts to the ground troops.

German civilian morale turned out to be resilient, and nothing short of through conquest could break it. Forerunner of the shock and awe, I suppose. In any rate, it was worth trying.

ANZAC
12 Jan 09,, 05:40
The Strategic bombing survey came to this conclusion.............

The German experience suggests that even a first class military power -- rugged and resilient as Germany was -- cannot live long under full-scale and free exploitation of air weapons over the heart of its territory. By the beginning of 1945, before the invasion of the homeland itself, Germany was reaching a state of helplessness. Her armament production was falling irretrievably, orderliness in effort was disappearing, and total disruption and disintegration were well along. Her armies were still in the field. But with the impending collapse of the supporting economy, the indications are convincing that they would have had to cease fighting -- any effective fighting -- within a few months. Germany was mortally wounded.