The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Matthew Ellard » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:10 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote: Isn't Mary Q temporarily banned?
Mary came off suspension yesterday. However the forum members, whose quotes he faked, have some lovely ammunition to throw against him.

I imagine Mary will simply reappear making a drive-by comment, in the anti-holocaust denial sub-forum and see if he is going to be attacked for his fabrications. He will simply copy David's technique of sneaking in, in another thread, to avoid the threads with all those outstanding pending questions.


Have you noticed that we can never get the holocaust deniers to talk amongst themselves? It's the same thing with Mary and the UFO fans. They just won't talk to each other on skeptic forums. Yet, if I go to CODOH or a UFO fan forum they are all chatting away non-stop. I don't think it is significant but I do think it is indicative about those who troll here. I think they have a need to impress normal people to justify their own existence. It's more about low self esteem.


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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeff_36 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:10 am

I insist that my views may be more reasonable if this issue were not a sacred cow for deniers. Our very own Monstrous has mentioned it several times....... {!#%@} it. It was a case of roosting chickens.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:35 am

Well, that's a start. As with any 12 step program, the first thing is to recognize that you have a problem.

Truly, deniers aren't important. There are actual issues at stake here. Beyond idiots talking shite and us going to lengths to prove they're talking shite.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:27 pm

So, Jeff_36, are we to let denier idiocy shape our view of the history and morality of - and what the evidence says about - such matters as Katyn, the Holodomor, Madagascar, Jim Crow and eugenics in America, Netenyahu, Irene Zisblatt, etc?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Cerdic » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:20 pm

Somewhat forgotten compared to Germany is the bombing of France, I noticed driving around western France last year. Rouen and Royan were mostly destroyed, but most tragic was the destruction Saint Malo. Almost none of the medieval-looking buildings there are original.

A bit OT, but this reminds me "history" as we think of it doesn't just happen at the name we all know - Auschwitz, Dresden. I could hardly go anywhere in Germany without stumbling on some of the history. Cochem; a concentration camp on the hill above; Aachen, an exhibit on the local resistance movement in the town hall; the Ahrtal, a memorial to forced labourers who died building the V2 rockets.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:38 pm

Ha, ha. As a counternote, all over the USA...nothing of note ever happened....and continues today. Exceptions of course up and down the coasts.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Cerdic » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: The Allied bombings of Germany. I have read the US and British postwar reports, read the statements of German leaders, and historians of this area of WW2 (Overy and Hastings). The indication from these sources is that the bombing of German transport links, especially, and industry, was more important in contributing to the Allied victory than civilian bombing was. Immediately after the bombing there was much disorganisation, as you can expect, but industrial production tended to return to prebombing levels within weeks. Sources differ about the impact on "morale", the US survey did find bombing was somewhat significant in reducing German morale, but there were other factors (ie, losing the war) that also contributed. Most Germans fought on to pretty much the end, when their area was occupied by the advancing Allied armies.

Reading the US reports, it's notable they say almost nothing about the civillian side - they focus almost exclusively on precision bombing. It's clear what they thought was more important.

It took up a great share of British resources - 100k men, and production of munition. Hastings suggested these would be better redirected towards the battle of the Atlantic. IIRC the British justified area bombing as it was not possible to target specifically, but the Americans later showed it could be done. I think it was not until 1944 Harris was convinced to allow precision bombing. There were alternatives other than the

Whatever your view, we should reject denier moral equivalence between the Nazis' genocide and a previously untested attempt to win the war. Talk of a "bomb holocaust" is ofcourse entirely inaccurate, the proportion of Germans who died was something like half a percent. But that means rejecting those (particularly in my own country) who would seek to dehumanise Germans. There are some in this country whose view of Germany has not progressed past 1945 - well, leaves more space for those of who have.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:51 pm

As an Air Force Brat...I grew up in Germany near right after the War....and later in Japan...so the time did give some dust to settle.

But.....as I have never posted this before...and kinda fits here.....I posted above "There were no civilians in Japan." .... because that is the History I have read....the entire citizenry training in how to use sharp sticks to defend their God Emperor. Yet...when he called it quits...the country and its people did comply.

Likewise the Germans? Said above: they supported the war....until occupied. Well.......in 1950...Germans invaded our home and threw acid on me in protest for our occupying their country. Didn't know that until years later when I commented to Mom that sometimes I got afraid in the dark. She said that happened the night of the acid attack. I noticed my skin disturbance but had never thought anything of it. Good thing they missed my face...and its a small area on my upper arm.

So.......I mean really............what morals apply to civilians?============I mean........REALLY!
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:07 pm

Great post, Cerdic, that matches my initial thoughts based on having read general war histories years ago, Nick's links, Biddle's article. "Firestorm" arrived a day early, but, alas, I have a class tonight so I won't start reading it 'til tomorrow. And, no, the Allies record, though imperfect, is not morally equivalent to that of the Nazis, by many moon shots. That doesn't mean, fervently as people wish it, that the war effort was noble in all its aspects, etc. Where it fell off was just as you say - dehumanizing "the enemy" and,in the matter under discussion, lumping in civilians with the enemy military,
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Balsamo » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:07 am

Cerdic wrote:Somewhat forgotten compared to Germany is the bombing of France, I noticed driving around western France last year. Rouen and Royan were mostly destroyed, but most tragic was the destruction Saint Malo. Almost none of the medieval-looking buildings there are original.

A bit OT, but this reminds me "history" as we think of it doesn't just happen at the name we all know - Auschwitz, Dresden. I could hardly go anywhere in Germany without stumbling on some of the history. Cochem; a concentration camp on the hill above; Aachen, an exhibit on the local resistance movement in the town hall; the Ahrtal, a memorial to forced labourers who died building the V2 rockets.
I know i am becoming annoying, here.
But it stressed out that distinction should be made among the martyr cities.
Unfortunately, Saint-Malo was a fortress, and as a matter of fact it was bombed to dust, like other places in Normandy, one can think of Saint-Lo, but those destruction are no longer the result of Strategic Bombing doctrine. Just like Weilun in Poland, these destruction took place amidst an global military operation - D-Day - hence, those were tactical bombings which are not contrary to the customary rules of war.
Maybe only the concept of proportionality can be invoked, but let's face it, as bobbo puts it, war is war.

The city of Sedan in May 1940 was completely destroyed as well, just like the Verdun during WW1 in 1939 and Saint-Lo in 1944.

I know i am repeating myself, but the medieval city of Saint-Malo, turned into a fortress by the Germans, could have been erased the same way by the Artillery.

Saint-Malo was not bombed with the expectation to lower the moral of the enemy - those were French - but to weaken the defenses as the city had to be taken, others small localities in Normandy were destroyed in order to confuse the communication and the displacement of German troops before the invasion.
More cynically, many towns in Northern France (Pas-de-Calais) will also be bombed in order to convinced the German that the landing will take place there.

But thank you Cerdic for having point out that those bombings did not concern Germany - and those evil Germans - only. Actually, France paid a very heavy tribute to victory: half a million tons of bombs will be dropped on France, making up to 75.000 victims (number which should refrain the German casualties down players, ;)).

Most of those bombings were Strategic Bombings.

This is a very interesting example, as it shows the limits of what can be achieved through them, and the risk.

Strategic bombings on occupied cities gave a boost on the collaborationist parties - especially in France where Mers el Kebir had a incredible impact- fueling an anti-British sentiment which dissapeared only after liberation - all of sudden, i must add.
The worst bombing on Paris took place in April 44. killing or wounding over 1000 people. Petain visited the ruins and was acclaimed by over a hundred thousands Parisians!
The sentiment was so negative that the Resistance begged de Gaulle to intervene, and de Gaulle pressed his Allies to reduce non essential Aerial bombings to a minimum.

Here is a video
[ytube][/ytube]
For those who does not speak French, go straight to 4.38 where the Marechal addressed the crowed. This took place AFTER D-Day in July 1944.

As the Bombing campaigns were not targeting the "will of the people" but infrastructures, industry, Ports, etc. not only did they reinforce in someway the Vichy regime, but the real impact in France industrial inputs was rather small. The example of the city of Nantes, on the Atlantic coast, is a good illustration.
in 1943, an important operation is launched with the objective to obliterate the port...the result is the obliteration of the historic center, while the port was left intact.
It was obvious and known that there could not be any precision in those strikes whatever the objective, nevertheless the British chose to conduct the bombings by night, increasing the imprecision even more.

In 1944, France suffered 330 bombings in three months. The Vichy regime did not need Goebbels' help in order to charge the Allies with "terror bombing".

Nevertheless, most of the bombings over France were targeting what would become "legitimate" target, and not the "will of the people"...If it succeeded in some cases, the question is raised whether it was worse the price paid. As shown, those tens of thousands of victims were twice victims, occupied as well as killed by liberators, but i guess studies should be made in order to grasp a ratio between efficiency and what is now called "collateral damages".

The important point i want to stress out here is that it took the French Resistance to call for a stop because the damages it was doing to the "cause", besides, the damages to production were quite relative, so the RAF had all the elements to conclude to the inefficiency of the whole doctrine, almost a year before Dresden.

I also agree that we should not focus on Dresden, as a symbol.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:43 am

I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
Question for Groening by a reporter:
“Mr. Groening, what do you say to those who still deny the Holocaust?”

Groening:
“Nothing. They are hopelessly lost.”


Hhhhhhhmmmmmm, is it possible that Carlo Mattogno is the greatest scholar the world has ever known?
:lol: :lol:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:00 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:04 am

Xcalibur wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No.
Wow, that was pithy.

Would you like to elaborate?
Question for Groening by a reporter:
“Mr. Groening, what do you say to those who still deny the Holocaust?”

Groening:
“Nothing. They are hopelessly lost.”


Hhhhhhhmmmmmm, is it possible that Carlo Mattogno is the greatest scholar the world has ever known?
:lol: :lol:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:12 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Xcalibur wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No.
Wow, that was pithy.

Would you like to elaborate?

Wasn't meant to be; just a simple answer to a simple question.

Elaboration: If one accepts that the original concept of are bombing had not produced the desired results in the prior years to 1945 why would a continuation of it possibly gain any more legitimacy?

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:26 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No. Because Dresden is only one city that was bombed, and the question, as Balsamo just re-explained, is area bombing of cities. Not area bombing of Dresden. The question concerns the efficacy and legitimacy of area bombing of cities and targeting of civilians.

UPDATE: Xcalibur said it more tersely than I did, but doesn't he always? :mrgreen:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:38 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No. Because Dresden is only one city that was bombed, and the question, as Balsamo just re-explained, is area bombing of cities. Not area bombing of Dresden. The question concerns the efficacy and legitimacy of area bombing of cities and targeting of civilians.

UPDATE: Xcalibur said it more tersely than I did, but doesn't he always? :mrgreen:
And I wasn't trying to be "pithy", no,no,no :lol:

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeff_36 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:49 am

Deniers, Nazi apologists and moral relativists who bitch about the bombings are (IMO) much like Neo-Confederates, Klansman, and southerners who bitch about Shermans March to the Sea. I say bah, humbug.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:54 am

Jeff_36 wrote:Deniers, Nazi apologists and moral relativists who bitch about the bombings are (IMO) much like Neo-Confederates, Klansman, and southerners who bitch about Shermans March to the Sea. I say bah, humbug.
And your thoughts on those who read history and conclude they were of somewhat doubtful contributions to Allied victory? (No pithy).

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:56 am

Xcalibur wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Xcalibur wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No.
Wow, that was pithy.

Would you like to elaborate?

Wasn't meant to be; just a simple answer to a simple question.

Elaboration: If one accepts that the original concept of are bombing had not produced the desired results in the prior years to 1945 why would a continuation of it possibly gain any more legitimacy?
But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?

The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.

What surprised them is how much Speer dismissed the effect of mass bombing.

So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say.

Let me go further:

At this point the concern of the military wasn't the care of German civilians but the men under their command. Continuing to hit the enemy was their job, including hampering their ability to move. So the idea of letting up is a little ridiculous considering the Germans were continuing to fight as hard as they did. At this point Eisenhower and the others wanted to save the lives of their men and shorten the war. One of those ways was continuing the bombing campaign, whether or not they knew at the time how effective that campaign was.

One of my points is this:

It's easy to look back 70 years and criticize the decisions made by men under a great deal of stress, not to mention beholden to the citizens of the United States and Britain. They wanted to end the war and minimize the casualties of their men as much as possible.
Question for Groening by a reporter:
“Mr. Groening, what do you say to those who still deny the Holocaust?”

Groening:
“Nothing. They are hopelessly lost.”


Hhhhhhhmmmmmm, is it possible that Carlo Mattogno is the greatest scholar the world has ever known?
:lol: :lol:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:59 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I agree that Dresden often takes center stage on the bombing campaign.
The upshot is that allies bombed Dresden in February of 1945. Naturally no one knew how long it would take to end the war in Germany. In spite of severe setbacks Hitler managed a counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge just two months earlier so there were no indications on Germany's side that it was giving up.
So, based upon the fact that Germany kept fighting, does the continued bombing campaign look more legitimate?
No. Because Dresden is only one city that was bombed, and the question, as Balsamo just re-explained, is area bombing of cities. Not area bombing of Dresden. The question concerns the efficacy and legitimacy of area bombing of cities and targeting of civilians.

UPDATE: Xcalibur said it more tersely than I did, but doesn't he always? :mrgreen:

This is my reply:
But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?

The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.

What surprised them is how much Speer dismissed the effect of mass bombing.

So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say.

Let me go further:

At this point the concern of the military wasn't the care of German civilians but the men under their command. Continuing to hit the enemy was their job, including hampering their ability to move. So the idea of letting up is a little ridiculous considering the Germans were continuing to fight as hard as they did. At this point Eisenhower and the others wanted to save the lives of their men and shorten the war. One of those ways was continuing the bombing campaign, whether or not they knew at the time how effective that campaign was.

One of my points is this:

It's easy to look back 70 years and criticize the decisions made by men under a great deal of stress, not to mention beholden to the citizens of the United States and Britain. They wanted to end the war and minimize the casualties of their men as much as possible.


I never bother to be pithy.
Question for Groening by a reporter:
“Mr. Groening, what do you say to those who still deny the Holocaust?”

Groening:
“Nothing. They are hopelessly lost.”


Hhhhhhhmmmmmm, is it possible that Carlo Mattogno is the greatest scholar the world has ever known?
:lol: :lol:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:17 am

>"But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?

The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.

What surprised them is how much Speer dismissed the effect of mass bombing.

So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say."

Don't put words in my mouth like "obvious". Clearly there was dissent about the efficacy of this policy well before 1945 within Allied HQ. Harris had an idee fixe that Bomber Command was going to break the back of Germany's will to fight. As for Speer, the US bombing survey was much more surprised that he was able to keep production going despite the bombing (nothing to do with civilian morale)... And Speer did admit that one concentrated campaign againt petroleum product, fuel hydrogenation facilities, etc, had it continued, might have severely hampered the German war effort.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:29 am

Xcalibur wrote:>"But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?

The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.

What surprised them is how much Speer dismissed the effect of mass bombing.

So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say."

Don't put words in my mouth like "obvious". Clearly there was dissent about the efficacy of this policy well before 1945 within Allied HQ. Harris had an idee fixe that Bomber Command was going to break the back of Germany's will to fight. As for Speer, the US bombing survey was much more surprised that he was able to keep production going despite the bombing (nothing to do with civilian morale)... And Speer did admit that one concentrated campaign againt petroleum product, fuel hydrogenation facilities, etc, had it continued, might have severely hampered the German war effort.

Calm down, "X." I'm not putting words in your mouth.

I'm playing devil's advocate.

I want to keep the discussion going, that's all. There are multiple ways of looking at this subject. I can see your point, SM's as well. My point is that it is really easy to look back and criticize those making these decisions.

This is why I wanted to bring this up. We rightly criticize the Germans for what they did, however, the allies certainly weren't white knights.
Question for Groening by a reporter:
“Mr. Groening, what do you say to those who still deny the Holocaust?”

Groening:
“Nothing. They are hopelessly lost.”


Hhhhhhhmmmmmm, is it possible that Carlo Mattogno is the greatest scholar the world has ever known?
:lol: :lol:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:33 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?
I'd put the question differently: first, was there a more effective strategy available that planners could have known about and used? second, could they have known about the effect of the urban bombing program?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.
I read the Speer stuff differently. One reason Allied interrogators questioned Speer so intently was to figure out how the hell Germany kept things up, which indicates that the Allied command knew at least that the urban bombing program wasn't what its advocates promised. Later, I will go back through Kitchen and some other stuff on this.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say.
But I didn't say it was obvious. In fact, I've written, in reply to Jeff_36, that it isn't clear or an easy case - it wasn't in 1940-1945, it isn't now. There was debate among Allied planners at the time (urban bombing vs targeted strikes on oil and other strategic goods), and there were indications at the time that the urban program wasn't breaking Germany's back.

My reply here was, however, to make what I do think is an obvious point: the bombing of Dresden was not a departure from a policy but a product of a policy. It's the general policy I'm trying to get at: deliberately bombing civilians to "de-house" them, to uproot them, to kill numbers of them, and to terrorize many of them. Was this a good policy?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:At this point the concern of the military wasn't the care of German civilians but the men under their command.
First, I don't know how bombing of civilians shows concern for men under the command of the Allied military. This strikes me as a non sequitur at best or, more likely, a rhetorical flourish. Second, in terms of international law, what you say is not true. Now, you can argue that the Allies should have ignored international standards and norms. But that needs to be an explicit argument, which deals with the ramifications and potential double standards involved, IMO.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Continuing to hit the enemy was their job
Of course. Has anyone argued differently? Jeff_36 has written as though some of us have, but none of us made any argument that the Allies shouldn't have continued to fight and fight hard.

Somehow, Balsamo and I must be failing to be clear: having an air strategy not tied up in area bombing of cities is not tantamount to backing down, failing to hit the enemy, letting Germany win, or whatever.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:including hampering their ability to move.
I've written the same thing, about the importance of hitting logistics and maneuverability, and the arguments in the articles Nick linked to also said the same thing. I don't see how questioning area bombing of civilians is taken as backing off on this. Targeting a stadium and civilian housing in a large city is probably not the best way to hamper the military's ability to move and maneuver.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:So the idea of letting up is a little ridiculous considering the Germans were continuing to fight as hard as they did.
Again, I wrote earlier specifically against the idea, used by some who debate deniers, that the war was over or virtually over when Dresden was hit. And, again, I am not focusing on Dresden. Of course, the war continued in earnest - the question is whether striking at civilians - area bombing of cities - was a good way to win the war. The alternative isn't relenting, backing down, weeping for Nazis, moral relativism, etc. - it's all about what tricks the Allies had in their bag o' tricks, which ones they should have developed, and what was best to use.

I am a bit mystified as to why raising questions about how the war was fought gets equated with defeatist or apologist thinking of some sort.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:At this point Eisenhower and the others wanted to save the lives of their men and shorten the war. One of those ways was continuing the bombing campaign, whether or not they knew at the time how effective that campaign was.
Well, I won't give professionals at the highest level this kind of free pass. Harris and others pushed for a particular strategy, one that they thought was preferable to other strategies - they were grown ups, they earned the responsibility for what they advocated. In my further reading I will be looking for examples, some of which were discussed in what Nick Terry linked to, of planners who argued against the urban bombing program and what their arguments were. I have read enough to know that there was debate - one of Biddle's points in her article on Dresden is that by the time of that bombing, the questions were no longer being raised, she ascribes this to brutalization. Of which, frankly, the urban bombing campaign played some small part.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:One of my points is this:

It's easy to look back 70 years and criticize the decisions made by men under a great deal of stress, not to mention beholden to the citizens of the United States and Britain. They wanted to end the war and minimize the casualties of their men as much as possible.
I still don't think this point is valid: 1) some people advocated different strategies 70 years ago, 2) 70 years hence there is debate about these ideas. We can legitimately ask what, based on what was known in 1940, what was the best strategy available to Allied planners - and we can also ask a different question: have we learned anything since WWII from what strategies were pursued then. These are different questions in my mind.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I never bother to be pithy.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Xcalibur » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:49 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Xcalibur wrote:>"But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?

The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.

What surprised them is how much Speer dismissed the effect of mass bombing.

So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say."

Don't put words in my mouth like "obvious". Clearly there was dissent about the efficacy of this policy well before 1945 within Allied HQ. Harris had an idee fixe that Bomber Command was going to break the back of Germany's will to fight. As for Speer, the US bombing survey was much more surprised that he was able to keep production going despite the bombing (nothing to do with civilian morale)... And Speer did admit that one concentrated campaign againt petroleum product, fuel hydrogenation facilities, etc, had it continued, might have severely hampered the German war effort.

Calm down, "X." I'm not putting words in your mouth.

I'm playing devil's advocate.

I want to keep the discussion going, that's all. There are multiple ways of looking at this subject. I can see your point, SM's as well. My point is that it is really easy to look back and criticize those making these decisions.

This is why I wanted to bring this up. We rightly criticize the Germans for what they did, however, the allies certainly weren't white knights.


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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:55 am

Balsamo wrote:. . . let's face it, as bobbo puts it, war is war.
That bobbo is always thinking. War is war. I am making note of this. At one time I might have completed the sentence "War is ___" with the word "hell." Or come up with something of my own. Now I know better. War is . . . war. Who'd have thought it?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:48 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:But, did bomber command accept that the bombing didn't have the desired results?
"I'd put the question differently: first, was there a more effective strategy available that planners could have known about and used? second, could they have known about the effect of the urban bombing program?"

That, I don't know. I know there was dissension over the use of bombers during Overlord, Harris wanted to continue the mass bombing, Eisenhower wanted the bombers for tactical support.
I think I'm going to take some time over the next couple of days to revisit this in some of the books I have. Gordon Corrigan devotes a whole chapter to this, as well as Michael Burleigh.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:The USAAF questioned Speer very closely before the IMT, wanting to know how much bombing affected German industry, civilian morale, etc.
"I read the Speer stuff differently. One reason Allied interrogators questioned Speer so intently was to figure out how the hell Germany kept things up, which indicates that the Allied command knew at least that the urban bombing program wasn't what its advocates promised. Later, I will go back through Kitchen and some other stuff on this."

I remember that a little differently, I'll need to take a look again.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:So, no, it isn't as obvious as you say.
"But I didn't say it was obvious. In fact, I've written, in reply to Jeff_36, that it isn't clear or an easy case - it wasn't in 1940-1945, it isn't now. There was debate among Allied planners at the time (urban bombing vs targeted strikes on oil and other strategic goods), and there were indications at the time that the urban program wasn't breaking Germany's back."

That wasn't really directed at you, that was more for Xcaliber.
I made the mistake of copying and pasting and not tailoring my reply to you.

"My reply here was, however, to make what I do think is an obvious point: the bombing of Dresden was not a departure from a policy but a product of a policy. It's the general policy I'm trying to get at: deliberately bombing civilians to "de-house" them, to uproot them, to kill numbers of them, and to terrorize many of them. Was this a good policy?"

Well, I would argue that Dresden was still a military target with factories and a railway to move troops, so, in that way it was a legitimate target.


Jeffk 1970 wrote:At this point the concern of the military wasn't the care of German civilians but the men under their command.
"First, I don't know how bombing of civilians shows concern for men under the command of the Allied military. This strikes me as a non sequitur at best or, more likely, a rhetorical flourish. Second, in terms of international law, what you say is not true. Now, you can argue that the Allies should have ignored international standards and norms. But that needs to be an explicit argument, which deals with the ramifications and potential double standards involved, IMO."

"bombing of civilians shows concern for men under the command of the Allied military"

I'm not saying bombing civilians, I'm saying bombing military targets like railways and factories to prevent their use by the enemy.

I would also say that no, this was not a reason to ignore international law.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Continuing to hit the enemy was their job
"Of course. Has anyone argued differently? Jeff_36 has written as though some of us have, but none of us made any argument that the Allies shouldn't have continued to fight and fight hard."

"Somehow, Balsamo and I must be failing to be clear: having an air strategy not tied up in area bombing of cities is not tantamount to backing down, failing to hit the enemy, letting Germany win, or whatever."

No, you are clear. As I've said, my intention on starting this post was to examine the arguments for and against this strategy. My feeling, however, is that we are focusing too much on Dresden.
As for a strategy, bombing cities, as long as those cities have a military value, is valid as long as the primary goal is not to kill civilians. So, in World War II terms, attacking factories, railways, enemy troops meant attacking cities because that is where those things were located. The problem occurred when the lines became blurred and smashing German cities became an end in itself.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:including hampering their ability to move.
"I've written the same thing, about the importance of hitting logistics and maneuverability, and the arguments in the articles Nick linked to also said the same thing. I don't see how questioning area bombing of civilians is taken as backing off on this. Targeting a stadium and civilian housing in a large city is probably not the best way to hamper the military's ability to move and maneuver."

Again, I feel like we are focusing too much on Dresden. Also, on a purely technological standpoint, were the large bombers used by the USAAF and RAF capable of pinpoint bombing?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:So the idea of letting up is a little ridiculous considering the Germans were continuing to fight as hard as they did.
"Again, I wrote earlier specifically against the idea, used by some who debate deniers, that the war was over or virtually over when Dresden was hit. And, again, I am not focusing on Dresden. Of course, the war continued in earnest - the question is whether striking at civilians - area bombing of cities - was a good way to win the war. The alternative isn't relenting, backing down, weeping for Nazis, moral relativism, etc. - it's all about what tricks the Allies had in their bag o' tricks, which ones they should have developed, and what was best to use."

I think I need to take a closer look at the capabilities of the allies in Europe at the time. Everything you say is valid, however, would it have occurred to the allies at that time to switch to different methods?

"I am a bit mystified as to why raising questions about how the war was fought gets equated with defeatist or apologist thinking of some sort."

If you feel that I am doing that I apologize.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:At this point Eisenhower and the others wanted to save the lives of their men and shorten the war. One of those ways was continuing the bombing campaign, whether or not they knew at the time how effective that campaign was.
"Well, I won't give professionals at the highest level this kind of free pass. Harris and others pushed for a particular strategy, one that they thought was preferable to other strategies - they were grown ups, they earned the responsibility for what they advocated. In my further reading I will be looking for examples, some of which were discussed in what Nick Terry linked to, of planners who argued against the urban bombing program and what their arguments were. I have read enough to know that there was debate - one of Biddle's points in her article on Dresden is that by the time of that bombing, the questions were no longer being raised, she ascribes this to brutalization. Of which, frankly, the urban bombing campaign played some small part."

Fair enough.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:One of my points is this:

It's easy to look back 70 years and criticize the decisions made by men under a great deal of stress, not to mention beholden to the citizens of the United States and Britain. They wanted to end the war and minimize the casualties of their men as much as possible.

"I still don't think this point is valid: 1) some people advocated different strategies 70 years ago,"

Again, it's easy to look back now. That is the value of doing it. The men who made those decisions thought differently than you or I do. They did what they thought was best at that time, to win a war and keep their casualties down. This was a huge preoccupation of Churchill and Montgomery, not to bleed the BEF like it did in WW I. Were they right to think that? Well, their concern was Britain, just like Eisenhower's concern was the US and US troops under his command.

"2) 70 years hence there is debate about these ideas. We can legitimately ask what, based on what was known in 1940, what was the best strategy available to Allied planners - and we can also ask a different question: have we learned anything since WWII from what strategies were pursued then. These are different questions in my mind."

Sure, we can ask. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to bring this up.
Apparently the lessons you bring up were not learned, the US in Vietnam thought that bombing was the answer. It wasn't.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I never bother to be pithy.
Mark Twain once introduced a speech he was making by telling the audience that he'd wanted to write a short speech but didn't have time. :shock:
Ok, I'll shut up now.
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Groening:
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:14 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Well, I would argue that Dresden was still a military target with factories and a railway to move troops, so, in that way it was a legitimate target.
For sure, IIRC there were 2-3 mission goals, one of which was on civilians/residential areas. But the targeting was, I think, centered on a sports stadium in residential Dresden. In reading Firestorm I'll take notes on mission goals and targeting. Again, the argument isn't that Dresden wasn't a legit target . . . it's the extent to which in targeting Dresden the mission made a priority of hitting civilians.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I'm not saying bombing civilians, I'm saying bombing military targets like railways and factories to prevent their use by the enemy.
Again, I haven't read anyone argue that bombing military targets like those is questionable. It's area bombing of cities with goals like "de-housing" etc that's being questioned.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I would also say that no, this was not a reason to ignore international law.
I agree.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:we are focusing too much on Dresden.
Agree, and sadly one of the books on Dresden I ordered came before Overy's.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:As for a strategy, bombing cities, as long as those cities have a military value, is valid as long as the primary goal is not to kill civilians.

So, in World War II terms, attacking factories, railways, enemy troops meant attacking cities because that is where those things were located. The problem occurred when the lines became blurred and smashing German cities became an end in itself.
I think there's a secondary question in here - how much collateral damage to people before you cross a line, or is there no line when the overall goal is military, transportation and industrial targets. But, first I think looking at the "city smashing" makes sense. From what I've read, and from Nick's links, "city smashing" was a goal in and of itself, alongside other goals for sure. This is an empirical question, though. We can disagree over efficacy and morality, but to evaluate the Allies first we have to know what the strategy was.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Again, I feel like we are focusing too much on Dresden. Also, on a purely technological standpoint, were the large bombers used by the USAAF and RAF capable of pinpoint bombing?
I wasn't thinking of Dresden but responding to what you wrote about late-war bombing. The question I'd ask is different: did the Allies build air power to support a strategy?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I think I need to take a closer look at the capabilities of the allies in Europe at the time. Everything you say is valid, however, would it have occurred to the allies at that time to switch to different methods?
But didn't they invest in and build out a capability in keeping with a view of how to win the war?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:If you feel that I am doing that I apologize.
No worries. Jeff_36 implied those who disagree with the strategy are Nazi apologists or deniers - and my feelings aren't hurt. LOL, seriously, though, no need to apologize, that's how I read the comment, and Jeff_36's stronger view, and I truly don't understand. I am guessing I misread yours, maybe in the light of Jeff_36's?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:The men who made those decisions thought differently than you or I do. They did what they thought was best at that time, to win a war and keep their casualties down. This was a huge preoccupation of Churchill and Montgomery, not to bleed the BEF like it did in WW I. Were they right to think that? Well, their concern was Britain, just like Eisenhower's concern was the US and US troops under his command.
In part, from what I've read of Overy and Biddle, both make this point, although both stress politics and rejected alternatives, which colors the history a bit differently.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Apparently the lessons you bring up were not learned, the US in Vietnam thought that bombing was the answer. It wasn't.
Exactly.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Ok, I'll shut up now.
Don't! But I will try to . . . I want to read the books I ordered instead of speculating and half-remembering so much.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:23 am

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Well, I would argue that Dresden was still a military target with factories and a railway to move troops, so, in that way it was a legitimate target.
For sure, IIRC there were 2-3 mission goals, one of which was on civilians/residential areas. But the targeting was, I think, centered on a sports stadium in residential Dresden. In reading Firestorm I'll take notes on mission goals and targeting. Again, the argument isn't that Dresden wasn't a legit target . . . it's the extent to which in targeting Dresden the mission made a priority of hitting civilians.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I'm not saying bombing civilians, I'm saying bombing military targets like railways and factories to prevent their use by the enemy.
Again, I haven't read anyone argue that bombing military targets like those is questionable. It's area bombing of cities with goals like "de-housing" etc that's being questioned.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I would also say that no, this was not a reason to ignore international law.
I agree.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:we are focusing too much on Dresden.
Agree, and sadly one of the books on Dresden I ordered came before Overy's.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:As for a strategy, bombing cities, as long as those cities have a military value, is valid as long as the primary goal is not to kill civilians.

So, in World War II terms, attacking factories, railways, enemy troops meant attacking cities because that is where those things were located. The problem occurred when the lines became blurred and smashing German cities became an end in itself.
I think there's a secondary question in here - how much collateral damage to people before you cross a line, or is there no line when the overall goal is military, transportation and industrial targets. But, first I think looking at the "city smashing" makes sense. From what I've read, and from Nick's links, "city smashing" was a goal in and of itself, alongside other goals for sure. This is an empirical question, though. We can disagree over efficacy and morality, but to evaluate the Allies first we have to know what the strategy was.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Again, I feel like we are focusing too much on Dresden. Also, on a purely technological standpoint, were the large bombers used by the USAAF and RAF capable of pinpoint bombing?
I wasn't thinking of Dresden but responding to what you wrote about late-war bombing. The question I'd ask is different: did the Allies build air power to support a strategy?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:I think I need to take a closer look at the capabilities of the allies in Europe at the time. Everything you say is valid, however, would it have occurred to the allies at that time to switch to different methods?
But didn't they invest in and build out a capability in keeping with a view of how to win the war?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:If you feel that I am doing that I apologize.
No worries. Jeff_36 implied those who disagree with the strategy are Nazi apologists or deniers - and my feelings aren't hurt. LOL, seriously, though, no need to apologize, that's how I read the comment, and Jeff_36's stronger view, and I truly don't understand. I am guessing I misread yours, maybe in the light of Jeff_36's?
Jeffk 1970 wrote:The men who made those decisions thought differently than you or I do. They did what they thought was best at that time, to win a war and keep their casualties down. This was a huge preoccupation of Churchill and Montgomery, not to bleed the BEF like it did in WW I. Were they right to think that? Well, their concern was Britain, just like Eisenhower's concern was the US and US troops under his command.
In part, from what I've read of Overy and Biddle, both make this point, although both stress politics and rejected alternatives, which colors the history a bit differently.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Apparently the lessons you bring up were not learned, the US in Vietnam thought that bombing was the answer. It wasn't.
Exactly.
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Ok, I'll shut up now.
Don't! But I will try to . . . I want to read the books I ordered instead of speculating and half-remembering so much.

I see a copy of Overy's book in my future.

I am going to go back and take a look at some of the chapters on the air war in some of the books I already own. I feel like you do......trying to remember things I've read in the past. I feel like there are whole chunks of information I am forgetting or misquoting.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:51 pm

A quick note on the first paper I read in Firestorm, which gives a quick survey of the development of British air strategy for WWII.

(1) The author, Hew Strachan, says unequivocally that British air strategy from 1941-1942 onwards targeted non-combatants for destruction - as a strategic component, not as an unintended but acceptable consequence of air warfare. The aim in part was hitting civilians hard to destroy enemy morale - with the expectation that doing so would shorten the war. More on this in the points that follow.

(2) Strachan traces the roots of this air strategy - giving three key elements - British infatuation with the latest technology of warfare, WWI experience (in a sense urban bombing substituting air power for naval power and the blockade), and British colonial wars in which the local population was dehumanized and subjected to war waged against the whole society (predicated on a host of racist and colonial assumptions and a lack of respect for non-combatants that became ingrained).

(3) In Strachan's view, Britain had weak attachment to the laws of war. It should be obvious that, if Strachan is right, the argument of "necessity" has an empty ring to it - the British were predisposed toward a total war strategy and had engaged in such strategies against colonial subjects in the recent past when arguments about the course of WWII and enemies based in a complex military-industrial society are a bit beside the point.

(4) Even so, in 1939 the British entered the war prepared not to target civilian morale "in its own right," according to Strachan, following norms laid out by the Air Ministry's J.M. Spaight. A decision was taken thus in 1941-1942 to do something more - and that was to target and destroy civilian morale.

(5) There was evidence during the war, in front of planners, that Germany's morale wasn't broken by area bombing of its cities - but judging morale is hard to do during war and wishful thinking prevailed. Air power advocates, according to Strachan, are often victims of their own enthusiasm and evangelizing. Strachan cites a 1942 study that concluded on area bombing that "destruction of enemy morale from the air can be accomplished only by precision bombing." The study said that "haphazard destruction of cities . . . are [sic] costly and wasteful in relation to the tactical results obtained" and that focusing on military targets would have benefited the war effort more. This was in 1942.

(6) To some extent the RAF promoted its bombing program to make the case for its being an independent service with the capability to bring to the war a unique contribution of its own - bombing over enemy territory independent of naval and army operations, thus, the cities.

(7) At the outset, the RAF was not capable of precision bombing - thus it focused strategy on big cities and city centers, industry being dispersed and harder to strike - but by 1944 the tools were available for precision targeting; Arthur Harris, however, stuck to the city strategy he'd developed early in the war.

(8) Incendiaries were a major tool of the city strategy, and in the late 1930s Frank Morison published a study arguing that future use of incendiaries could make them more effective than their use in WWI had been; improved effect, and destruction of morale, could be achieved by dropping incendiaries closer together and more rapidly, with the result of creating a firestorm that would prevent emergency response and destroy large parts of cities: "to terrorise the civilian populations" was one of the aims Morison advocated, along with paralyzing production. In other words, the aim was to trap non-combatants in an inferno which could not be easily responded to on the ground. It was the British, not the Germans, who used this method of war.

(9) Area bombing of cities didn't lead to a short war or achieve its other objectives - it didn't destroy German morale as the blockade and starvation had in WWI, it didn't drive a wedge between Germans and the war effort, it didn't stop production. Immediately postwar, one critic, Gerald Dickens, even argued that the urban bombing strategy had actually put British survival at risk by diverting from the RAF's cooperation with the navy in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942 and 1943.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:18 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:A quick note on the first paper I read in Firestorm, which gives a quick survey of the development of British air strategy for WWII.

(1) The author, Hew Strachan, says unequivocally that British air strategy from 1941-1942 onwards targeted non-combatants for destruction - as a strategic component, not as an unintended but acceptable consequence of air warfare. The aim in part was hitting civilians hard to destroy enemy morale - with the expectation that doing so would shorten the war. More on this in the points that follow.

(2) Strachan traces the roots of this air strategy - giving three key elements - British infatuation with the latest technology of warfare, WWI experience (in a sense urban bombing substituting air power for naval power and the blockade), and British colonial wars in which the local population was dehumanized and subjected to war waged against the whole society (predicated on a host of racist and colonial assumptions and a lack of respect for non-combatants that became ingrained).

(3) In Strachan's view, Britain had weak attachment to the laws of war. It should be obvious that, if Strachan is right, the argument of "necessity" has an empty ring to it - the British were predisposed toward a total war strategy and had engaged in such strategies against colonial subjects in the recent past when arguments about the course of WWII and enemies based in a complex military-industrial society are a bit beside the point.

(4) Even so, in 1939 the British entered the war prepared not to target civilian morale "in its own right," according to Strachan, following norms laid out by the Air Ministry's J.M. Spaight. A decision was taken thus in 1941-1942 to do something more - and that was to target and destroy civilian morale.

(5) There was evidence during the war, in front of planners, that Germany's morale wasn't broken by area bombing of its cities - but judging morale is hard to do during war and wishful thinking prevailed. Air power advocates, according to Strachan, are often victims of their own enthusiasm and evangelizing. Strachan cites a 1942 study that concluded on area bombing that "destruction of enemy morale from the air can be accomplished only by precision bombing." The study said that "haphazard destruction of cities . . . are [sic] costly and wasteful in relation to the tactical results obtained" and that focusing on military targets would have benefited the war effort more. This was in 1942.

(6) To some extent the RAF promoted its bombing program to make the case for its being an independent service with the capability to bring to the war a unique contribution of its own - bombing over enemy territory independent of naval and army operations, thus, the cities.

(7) At the outset, the RAF was not capable of precision bombing - thus it focused strategy on big cities and city centers, industry being dispersed and harder to strike - but by 1944 the tools were available for precision targeting; Arthur Harris, however, stuck to the city strategy he'd developed early in the war.

(8) Incendiaries were a major tool of the city strategy, and in the late 1930s Frank Morison published a study arguing that future use of incendiaries could make them more effective than their use in WWI had been; improved effect, and destruction of morale, could be achieved by dropping incendiaries closer together and more rapidly, with the result of creating a firestorm that would prevent emergency response and destroy large parts of cities: "to terrorise the civilian populations" was one of the aims Morison advocated, along with paralyzing production. In other words, the aim was to trap non-combatants in an inferno which could not be easily responded to on the ground. It was the British, not the Germans, who used this method of war.

(9) Area bombing of cities didn't lead to a short war or achieve its other objectives - it didn't destroy German morale as the blockade and starvation had in WWI, it didn't drive a wedge between Germans and the war effort, it didn't stop production. Immediately postwar, one critic, Gerald Dickens, even argued that the urban bombing strategy had actually put British survival at risk by diverting from the RAF's cooperation with the navy in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942 and 1943.
That's very interesting and very telling.
So, really, by 1944 the British possesed the tools for precision bombing but chose to continue targeting cities.
From what I remember USAAF flew missions during the day to enhance their ability to precision bomb, the RAF only flew at night.
I'll be interested to see what Overy says about USAAF and RAF tactics.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:06 pm

One author, one viewpoint - but, yeah, sobering. Emotionally satisfying grandstanding becomes more or less impossible if you absorb stuff like this. But other authors will make different, and opposing, arguments, I am sure.

So today Overy arrived. The book is almost 900 pp and I am driving a couple 1000s of miles over the next few days. Reading while driving? . . . no, ok, so I will start the book as I can. But I'm diverting from the Dresden book to that one to get proper context '39-'45 before going further with Dresden.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:26 pm

Good reading material for lunch breaks.

It might be this weekend until I can look at the material I have on hand.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Balsamo » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:51 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:One author, one viewpoint - but, yeah, sobering. Emotionally satisfying grandstanding becomes more or less impossible if you absorb stuff like this. But other authors will make different, and opposing, arguments, I am sure.

So today Overy arrived. The book is almost 900 pp and I am driving a couple 1000s of miles over the next few days. Reading while driving? . . . no, ok, so I will start the book as I can. But I'm diverting from the Dresden book to that one to get proper context '39-'45 before going further with Dresden.
So why don't you take the train? it drives for you and gives you the time to read :lol:

As for the point (4) of your previous post:
4) Even so, in 1939 the British entered the war prepared not to target civilian morale "in its own right," according to Strachan, following norms laid out by the Air Ministry's J.M. Spaight. A decision was taken thus in 1941-1942 to do something more - and that was to target and destroy civilian morale.
Actually, IIRC, it was Chamberlain who signed the Roosevelt call, and stick to it. I cannot quote him from memory, but he despised the fundamental idea of Strategic Bombing doctrine.
He will step down on the 10th of May, and replaced by our friend Winston who never felt tightened by such things as morality and international laws. The first Strategic Bombing took place on the 14th of May. So it is wrong to assume that the decision was taken in 1941, but this mistake is widely spread, which allows to designate the adoption of the Strategic Bombing doctine by the British as a reaction to the Blitz, and that is not true.

(
9) Area bombing of cities didn't lead to a short war or achieve its other objectives - it didn't destroy German morale as the blockade and starvation had in WWI, it didn't drive a wedge between Germans and the war effort, it didn't stop production. Immediately postwar, one critic, Gerald Dickens, even argued that the urban bombing strategy had actually put British survival at risk by diverting from the RAF's cooperation with the navy in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942 and 1943.
The Blockade was effective though, the only difference with WW1 is that Germany was by 1940 heavily supplied by the USSR, and after 1941, the Nazi would supply themselves by exploiting the territories it occupied, transposing the effects of the Blockade not on the Germans and the Wehrmacht (although) the Germans were under rations since 1939, so famine did take place, but in countries like Greece and the Netherlands....theoretically, the Blockage was thus efficient but hit the wrong targets.

But at this point it is fair to point out that the Nazi leadership was very anxious about the moral of its population, and was monitoring it very closely. As for its efficiency toward the "will of the people", it was obvious, even by then, that it did not worked, quite the contrary, the Allies - who presented themselves as the "Good ones" were doing more damage to their own image - especially in Nazi occupied territories.

I have a nice collection of newspapers - mostly French - from that periods, and every strikes are described as "terror bombings", the RAF and Churchill being presented as "terrorists", and it is not to be doubted that this propaganda had a real impact, especially in France where the resentment toward Great Britain was already quite high after the 40 campaign. Just like the unjust accusation loudly charged on king Leopold III had a similar effect in Belgium.
The most Antisemitic collaborationist could then propagate the idea the International Jewry was behind this "anti-European" strategies.

Popular mood toward the occupation in the West will shift dramatically later, but not as a result of the bombings of course, but when the Nazis will make their own inhumane mistakes: the persecution and deportation of the Jews (summer 42), of course, but more important their own terror policies in their fight against the Resistance movement, and the execution of hostages.

On the international scene, the Blitz was clearly a grave mistake, and somehow, i am tempted to think that the decision to adopt and conduct Strategic Bombings was to tease Hitler and force him to retaliate, and help to drag the USA into the war, or at least to increase its support.
And this was a success.
Even Before, British propaganda was on the front to present the bombing of Rotterdam as a "war crime", spreading that it killed no less than 30.000 civilians (actually around 800), while of course denying his own operations. The Bombing of Rotterdam as presented had a huge impact on the "free world" (the one who was still not at war).
So in this perspective, this was a success, and it can even appear as a good decision.

But at the same time, up to June 1941, every operations, every aerial attacks, was absolutely pointless - as the well as the blockade - as the Reich was supplied by Stalin.
Up to then, Stalin was the key, and purely in a military perspective in those days, a logical decision would have been to declare war on Stalin and target the Soviets supply lines toward Germany. Purely theoretical as Great Britain had barely the means to keep doing war on Hitler on its own.
The only hope was to drag the USA into the Alliance while preventing Stalin to be tempted of forming a continental block with Hitler.

I personally think that those considerations were the main roots of the decision to adopt the Strategic Bombing doctrine in 1940, tease Hitler with small operations (many of them) until the lunatic lose his nerves and decide to retaliate big - that would be the Blitz - while sending a socialist diplomat to Stalin in order to improve relationship. Of course, some concession had to be made : to forget and forgive the Soviet rape on Poland - the official reason of the war - and to turn a blind eye on the attack on Finland, as well as taking every measures - some criminal like Mers el Kebir - some illegal like mining Norwegian Waters, or landing troops there without the consent of the country - but that was what the situation imposed.

In this perspective, again, it was a success. Germany was forced to occupy Norway, as well as Denmark, further spreading his forces a little bit more.

Churchill - as Hitler before him - chose to play an "ALL IN ONE", and he put the whole British Empire and the potential legal consequences on the table.
He won the bet.

Now, by adopting the Strategic Bombing doctrine, which required massive investments, billions of pounds, you create a dynamic. You don't build a massive forces of heavy bombers, develop more and more powerful bombs...well not to use them. And once a dynamic is launched, it is very difficult to stop it.

To reach this situation, this status quo, that is an unviolated Great Britain resisting with increasing support from the USA, the British had to give up most of the principles, its morality, and had to disregard all signed international treaty as well as the Convention regarding the rules of war. Churchill crossed the rubicon in May 1940, then again on the 3th of July 1940.

I know i insist too much on Mers El Kebir, but it is so representative of the British mood, as well as illustrative on how eyes were closed after the war.
Even before the crime is described, on are given the reason: "To prevent the fleet from being caught by the Nazis", isn't that a good reason?
I am still shocked today on how such a crime is rationalized. The fleet was not asked by Hitler in the Armistice treaty, the fleet had been transferred in Algeria, out of reach of the German.
Isn't that an awful "Moral breach" to strike an unprepared and unsuspecting fleet killing over 1.300 sailors, French whom you were fighting along with a little less than a month before? This is the most obvious and indefensible crime committed by Great Britain, even under positive International laws.
The reason/justification still given was groundless as when confronted with the real perspective to being captured by the Nazi, the remaining french fleet scuttled itself without any hesitation two years later!

That was on the 3rd of July 1940! And this greatly helped to ensure the loyalty of the french Navy to Petain for the rest of the war.

Once you outlaw yourself, well you are ready or to be more precise, you are forcing yourself in the concept of "total war", as only victory is an option. The same kind of logic Hitler had..." Victors are never judged as there are no one to judge them"...
Mers-El-Kebir is Great Britain saying that any international norms - excepts those based on reciprocity - can just go and {!#%@} themselves. Liberated from all constraints, decision like the ones taken in 1942 are much less difficult to take.

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:26 am

Balsamo wrote:. . . why don't you take the train? it drives for you and gives you the time to read :lol:
But this is the US . . . and rail travel, well . . . :)
Balsamo wrote:for the point (4) of your previous post:
4) Even so, in 1939 the British entered the war prepared not to target civilian morale "in its own right," according to Strachan, following norms laid out by the Air Ministry's J.M. Spaight. A decision was taken thus in 1941-1942 to do something more - and that was to target and destroy civilian morale.
Actually, IIRC, it was Chamberlain who signed the Roosevelt call, and stick to it. I cannot quote him from memory, but he despised the fundamental idea of Strategic Bombing doctrine.
Strachan says that the US favored precision bombing; but, yes, Chamberlain - and he was against area bombing, Strachan citing a strong 1938 speech he made on the subject, for example.

I recall from other reading that the US supported area bombing but with a different take on it. I am guessing the Overy's book will spell this out. I started it this afternoon, and, the first case Overy goes into, Bulgaria in 1943, the US supported the British approach.
Balsamo wrote:The first Strategic Bombing took place on the 14th of May. So it is wrong to assume that the decision was taken in 1941, but this mistake is widely spread, which allows to designate the adoption of the Strategic Bombing doctine by the British as a reaction to the Blitz, and that is not true.
Good point - Strachan does use the date 1941, but more as an example. He makes the same point you do, that the British took, and liked taking, the initiative.
Balsamo wrote:The Blockade was effective though,
Yes, Strachan makes the argument that the blockade's effect was down the chain, on the weakest in society, and not so much on war materiel. Thus, non-combatants were most effected, and the political effects we know about.
Balsamo wrote:the Allies - who presented themselves as the "Good ones" were doing more damage to their own image - especially in Nazi occupied territories.
Again, in Overy's first case study, Bulgaria, he shows that the US Joint Chiefs of Staff study of the bombing showed that it caused negative feelings about the US and Britain, damaging their reputations, but that the British chiefs simply rejected this view and practiced some revisionism, insisting that the only targets had been military. Stalin supported to bombing of Sofia but only secretly, probably to avoid tarnishing his unblemished reputation. :roll:
Balsamo wrote:. . . collection of newspapers - mostly French - from that periods, and every strikes are described as "terror bombings", the RAF and Churchill being presented as "terrorists", and it is not to be doubted that this propaganda had a real impact, especially in France where the resentment toward Great Britain was already quite high after the 40 campaign. Just like the unjust accusation loudly charged on king Leopold III had a similar effect in Belgium.
Moral effect, undermining morale, destablizing the country's politics, eroding the will to resist: all these things are about terror. But that is why I made sure to quote Morison ("to terrorise the civilian populations") because it appears - I will keep this in mind as I read - that planners and strategists understood what they were doing.
Balsamo wrote:Popular mood toward the occupation in the West will shift dramatically later, but not as a result of the bombings of course, but when the Nazis will make their own inhumane mistakes: the persecution and deportation of the Jews (summer 42), of course, but more important their own terror policies in their fight against the Resistance movement, and the execution of hostages.
Also many other events - Red Army advance, events in Italy, reversals for the Germans in North Africa, partisan gains, etc. None of it dependent on area bombing of cities. That's not to say that the aerial bombing would be without impact. But we need to be clear about its impact, its costs, including opportunity costs, and the importance of other factors.
Balsamo wrote:Now, by adopting the Strategic Bombing doctrine, which required massive investments, billions of pounds, you create a dynamic. You don't build a massive forces of heavy bombers, develop more and more powerful bombs...well not to use them. And once a dynamic is launched, it is very difficult to stop it.
I think that this is right - and why just focusing on Dresden is misleading.

To reach this situation, this status quo, that is an unviolated Great Britain resisting with increasing support from the USA, the British had to give up most of the principles, its morality, and had to disregard all signed international treaty as well as the Convention regarding the rules of war. Churchill crossed the rubicon in May 1940, then again on the 3th of July 1940.
Balsamo wrote:I know i insist too much on Mers El Kebir, but it is so representative of the British mood, as well as illustrative on how eyes were closed after the war.
Will read for this in specific, given your interpretation . . .
Balsamo wrote:Once you outlaw yourself, well you are ready or to be more precise, you are forcing yourself in the concept of "total war", as only victory is an option. The same kind of logic Hitler had..." Victors are never judged as there are no one to judge them"...
Mers-El-Kebir is Great Britain saying that any international norms - excepts those based on reciprocity - can just go and {!#%@} themselves. Liberated from all constraints, decision like the ones taken in 1942 are much less difficult to take.
Strachan makes the ironic point that Ludendorff's "Total War" - mobilization of the nation and its resource base for the next war - became by the end of WWII the "readiness to breach the principle of non-combatant immunity," and that "Britain was ready, if not readier than most, to use this definition of total war." Which is why Strachan goes into Britain's colonial context, view of military technology, and British naval doctrine and the blockade.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Balsamo » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:05 am

I will read Strachan...

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:07 am

Overy also dates the major shift in British policy to 1941 - in his intro. I will explain more when I get to the detail in his narrative.

Strachan is just the first paper in Firestorm.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeff_36 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:54 am

Me when I hear deniers complain about allied bombing

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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:33 pm

I thought deniers had chosen against posting in this thread . . . ?
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Jeffk 1970 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:39 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I thought deniers had chosen against posting in this thread . . . ?
I'm still waiting for one to show up.
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Re: The Bombing Campaigns of the Allies and the Germans

Post by Statistical Mechanic » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:19 pm

Jeffk - did you say you have or haven't read Overy's book? The first 105pp or so are masterful. - SM
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