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Was the S.B.C. a waste?


MiloMorai

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4. By devastating the German homeland, it brought home to the German people that Nazism was weaker than the Allies (thus discrediting an ideology and party built on a myth of strength and will) and brought ruin to Germany. This made it much easier to democratize at least West Germany and reintegrate it into the the community of civilized nations.

'No enemy bomber can reach the Ruhr. If one does reach the Ruhr, my name is not Goering. You may call me Meier.'

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7552532@N07/5177377261/

 

On one hand, yes, and Göring was promptly ridiculed as Lametta-Meier (Tinsel-Meier) for the combination of his penchant for extravangant uniforms and his failed prediction that no single enemy aircraft would ever fly over Reich territory. On the other hand, it has been argued that the Nazi's Volksgemeinschaft of a people united in solidarity only really emerged in the bunkers where Germans sought refuge from the Allied bombing campaign, the equivalent to the British "keep calm and carry on" during the Blitz.

 

Of course it's a natural reaction to the threat from an external enemy to rally around the flag, though doubts may be allowed about how much net support for the Nazi leadership this generated. When opportunity presented itself, anger seems to have been aimed chiefly at the bomber crews as evidenced in the lynchings of downed crews, though obviously they were a much easier target for the population than the German leadership.

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Power grid has been cited here before. Just like to add that transformator stations need lots of copper which is only salvageable if you can find it again afterwards...

 

If the power station is hit while it's in use, likely the ground faults in the system from blast/bomb damage will slag the transformers/generators/feed gear badly. That copper will be an unholy mess of oxidized green powder.

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On one hand, yes, and Göring was promptly ridiculed as Lametta-Meier (Tinsel-Meier) for the combination of his penchant for extravangant uniforms and his failed prediction that no single enemy aircraft would ever fly over Reich territory. On the other hand, it has been argued that the Nazi's Volksgemeinschaft of a people united in solidarity only really emerged in the bunkers where Germans sought refuge from the Allied bombing campaign, the equivalent to the British "keep calm and carry on" during the Blitz.

 

Otto Carius paints a different picture of what his thoughts were when he went home and had to suffer several overnight and day bombing raids. He seemed to indicate that the morale impact of going home and seeing the homeland taking it on the chin daily from attacks was not very good.

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Power grid has been cited here before. Just like to add that transformator stations need lots of copper which is only salvageable if you can find it again afterwards...

If the power station is hit while it's in use, likely the ground faults in the system from blast/bomb damage will slag the transformers/generators/feed gear badly. That copper will be an unholy mess of oxidized green powder.

 

Well, that would only be icing, er, copper oxide on the cake, wouldn't it?

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The Luftwaffe was predominantly a tactical airforce. Its medium bombers were designed for destroying airfields and small towns. They were NOT capable of travelling strategic distances an carrying strategic payloads until very late in the war, and the lack of strategic damage to locations in Scotland is evidence of this.

 

 

Stuart, Shetland and Orkney were bombed by German twin engined bombers quite early in the war and Belfast suffered significant bombing.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belfast_Blitz

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clydebank_Blitz

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Yes, and lets overlook the fact that by August and November of 1940 we already had Halifax and Stirling and Manchester in service. Prototype of Lancaster early the following year. When did the Luftwaffe get its first 4 engined strategic bomber? 1942, and had to immediately withdraw it because it kept bursting into flames. What the Luftwaffe had was hardly much better than what the RAF had at the start of the war, the problem was that they had to put up with using them for the next 4 years.

 

 

That has nothing to do with the Luftwaffe being a "tactical airforce" (in fact, they prove the opposite). Just as this (from Peter Hinchliffe's "The other battle"):

If the RAF was ill-prepared for a bombing war in terms of aeroplanes, it was even worse prepared in terms ofnavigational and bomb-aiming capability, par­ticularly by night, so much so that one cannot but be surprised at the confidence in the efficacy of the bomber implicit in all the pre-war debate on how it might be used. Except in conditions of clearest daylight and minimal enemy opposition the crews would only rarely be able to find their way to their targets, and even if they did so they could not hope to hit them with any degree of accuracy. Some pilots and observers were better qualified, or gifted, when it came to air naviga­tion, but they were facing what at that time was virtually an insoluble problem. Most cross-country flying that they had done in the course of their training bad been over the British countryside where, if they got lost, as they frequently did, they could always call up for radio bearings and so determine, very approxi­mately, their position, and when their llight was nearing its end they could call up on R/T for a course to steer to base. Even so, it was something of a hit-or­-miss method of finding one's way about, but as long as they did get back to base the exercise was considered to have been cornpleted, and no one really worried whether they had kept closely to their planned route or not. Indeed, so little con­fidence existed in air navigation, particularly by night, that commanders of squadrons rarely sent their aircraft aloft in the hours of darkness unless weather conditions were approaching the ideal. An analysis offlying hours for 1937, for exarnple, shows that Bomber Command flew seventeen times as many hours by day as by night, while in 1939 the ratio was still as high as ten to one.

Navigation, then, was metaphorically a matter of hit or miss. Bomb aiming was literally more miss than hit. If, despite the odds stacked against them, a bornber crew should manage to find their target, there still remained the prob­lem of dropping the bombs on it accurately, even in ideal conditions of visibility,

conditions thai very setdem prevailed. It was the observer's task to direct the pilot during the run-up to the target and to press the bomb-release button at the correct moment. To do this he would lie prone in the nose of the aircraft and aim at the target using a bomb-sight, attempting to align a cross on the sight by eye with the target on the ground, But visual bomb-aiming was subject to gross errors. In pre-war exercises all bomb-dropping training had been carried out in very favourable conditions and mostly by daylight on special target ranges and, of course, without any enemy action to deter the pilots from flying an accurate straight and level course or to give the observer 'itchy fingers' and make him

release his bombs a second or two before the aiming point reached the aiming cross on his sight: and when an aircraft is covering the ground at, say, 200 knots, a second's error in releasing the bombs means a 170-yard error on the ground.

Results in general had been less than satisfactory, Some squadrons, it is true, did attain a high degree of accuracy in bombing competitions, but the conditions were so artificial that the results could not be considered even remotely relevant to any operational situation that might face the Command in time of war.

 

 

..doesn't mean that the RAF did not favored strategic bombing, just that they suck at it for a few years.

 

If the Germans had a failing, it was an inablity to see that war with any of those countries would mean war with Britain.

 

 

That's not true.

 

Look at the evidence. The Luftwaffe had a bombing campaign that achieved none of its objectives in 1940. Splutted into life again between 1941 and 42, failed to put in an appearance during the build up for D Day. Then put in a lacklustre effort in late 1944 and 45. I can only think of 2 major strategic effects the Luftwaffe ever achieved over Britain, destroying the Supermarine Plant in Southampton in 1940 (not the hardest target to find it has to be said) and destroying Coventry. The latter had an important psychological effect, yet in my view if thats the only real achievement they made, its a lousy return over 5 years of air war. Did they achieve anything against our steel works, docks facilities? No. And these were not hard targets to find.

 

Do you realize that, perhaps, had more important thing to do other than bombing Britain after 1941? (hint: USSR)

 

 

You disagree the Luftwaffe was a tactical airforce, and thats fine. Just look at the requirements blitzkrieg laid down for air support, and it can hardly have been much else. The Luftwaffe had a pretty good tactical airforce, and their air defence WAS to be respected. But to consider them a strategic airforce worthy of note is, well, I cant agree. lets put it that way.

 

What requirements? There was not such thing as "blitzkrieg". And yes, as I said, Luftwaffe doctrine did not neglect cooperation with the army, but that doesn't make it a tactical airforce, but a airforce with a balanced doctrine to wage war.

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In the City I live in I could walk you past >10 huge air raid shelters that still exist today within a few hours. (Until very recently I could have shown you the marks left by firebombs in the marble floor of my greatparent's house. This is beside the point, though) So, strategic bombing in the 40ies fashion didn't actually hit many of its intended targets but was a huge drain on German resources, I'm sure.

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The Luftwaffe was not able to block the transport of Soviet factories to the east. That would have had a strategic impact, had they been able to do it.

 

The Soviet Union was so vast that strategic bombing would have been very difficult. The oil industry in the Caucasus was briefly vulnerable, but they had huge tactical demands at the time.

 

Presumably if the Germans had not attacked the Soviet Union they would have waged a strategic campaign in Britain, since they couldn't invade it. Similar to the British position.

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Yeah and that really worked out for them. They failed at strategic attack on a nation that was later used as a springboard for liberation of Europe, then as others pointed out failed when it came to strategic attack on the USSR, and failed to undertake any on its biggest enemy of all, the United States. Its a catalogue of failure.

 

I know, if the Luftwaffe had had a four-engine bomber by 1940, the whole world would be speaking German now...

 

Luftwaffe equipment was far better suited to cooperation with the Army than strategic attack. You ever wonder why the Ju88 was built as a divebomber?

 

 

Because that was a requirement.

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Well the Do19 and Ju89 could have been the basis of a good strategic bomber force and would have also negated the need to adapt the Fw200 Condor as a long range naval aircraft.

 

However the chief proponent of German strategic bombers, Gen Walther Wever, waskilled in 19836 and Kesselring cancelled both programs.

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I suspect strategic bombing on any greater scale would have been quite the waste of German resources anyway. It was exactly a win for Allied resources, but because they had more to use/waste and needed some way of fighting back, it made a certain amount of sense (also at the time it was seen as effective). For the Germans I suspect it made much less sense to focus their industry on four engined bombers with massive crews. Had they come up with a 4 engined, long range design it likely would have only been a net loss for their industrial capacity, not a war winning weapon. If the allied bombing effort failed to achieve much strategically (other than forcing German fighters to engage allied fighters late war) I can't imagine how a smaller German effort would have a disproportionate effect on the allies, especially since the main source of production would always be forever out of reach.

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The Luftwaffe, in technical terms, was a tactical air force. It had equipment to perform the classical tactical air missions -- close air support, interdiction, and air superiority. It did not have equipment or the infrastructure to perform an extended strategic air campaign. It could mount one for a few months, using tactical bombers, and wear itself out. It couldn't keep it up over years in large numbers, like the Western Allies could.

 

WRT the SBC, it was a learning process, as long military campaigns tend to become. It didn't go the way its promoters thought it would in the beginning, nor as they hoped it would as it played out. But that's not the same thing as saying it was a waste. As previously pointed out:

 

It was the front that could be opened against Germany in 1942,

 

It did contribute to D-Day air superiority,

 

Though not intended for this, the resources of the strategic air forces were very helpful in battlefield preparation for D-Day, and

 

In the last year of the war, it was finally able to deliver on some of its promises.

 

It's important to note that the effectivness of the stratgic air forces in the last year of the war was a direct result of their previous learnings. You don't have Big Week, the transportation campaign, and the oile campaign without 1942 and 1943.

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There is a strategic sense to the V-weapons, in that they were intended to drag the war out towards a negotiated settlement, thus buying time for possible development of truly strategic weapons and doctrine (nukes and delivery)--in the Nazi's fevered minds, at least.

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And how would having a better long range maritime air arm assisted in U-boat warfare? The Condor, whilst efficient, was frail, nothing like the ability to dish out and sustain the sort of punishment that the B-17 and B-24 could handle. If German long range strategic aircraft had been available the convoy escorts hunting u-boats would also have had to consider attack from the air.

 

Allied escort carriers may have been able to deal with this, but the effort against u-boats would have been diluted.

 

It isn't as if Germany was incapable, technically, of building large aircraft. The Blohm und Voss BV 222 and BV238 showed what could be done. Perhaps the wing structure of the BV222 on a landplane fuselage would have been impressive and capable. Even the Ju290 showed what was possible,and the JU390 - the aircraft that flew within 12 miles of New York, showed that the ability was there, but the motivation wasn't.

 

There were other examples of course - the Ju 488 comes to mind, an extremely impressive aircraft on paper - but all were too little too late.

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And how would having a better long range maritime air arm assisted in U-boat warfare? The Condor, whilst efficient, was frail, nothing like the ability to dish out and sustain the sort of punishment that the B-17 and B-24 could handle. If German long range strategic aircraft had been available the convoy escorts hunting u-boats would also have had to consider attack from the air.

 

So they get bombed from air. So who cares. AFAIK level bombing was pretty much universally ineffective against ships in all theaters. I can't see a major level bombing effort making a serious contribution to the already staggering merchant losses to U-boats.

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if the Germans knew how to USE a 4 engine bomber in 1940, or at least the ones they had, we would be speaking German now. I mean all due credit to how the RAF behaved in 1940, you cant help but think if the Germans had a credible plan of action that year, we would have been walked over. They ticked the Radar sites, and when that didnt work they ticked the aircraft factories (overlooking dispersal of various forms of production was already underway) then ticked the airfields (and didnt get their intelligence right, so some of those attacked were Coastal Command, not Fighter Command airfields) and when that didnt work attacked London, a city that, barring a firestorm, they hadnt got a hope of destroying. Even if they had it would have affected the political picture not at all. If the Germans had a 4 engined bomber in 1940 they would have used it exactly the same way, badly. You can argue about equipment, but they were still thinking as a tactical airforce at the head of an Army, and in my view thats the main reason why they fell on their ass in 1940 when used without that Army to exploit gains.

 

 

Again, the Luftwaffe was not a tactical airforce. About the speaking German thing..., you are clearly mistaken about the objectives of the air offensive over Britain. While the attacks could be classified as strategic, it was not a classic strategic bombing campaign, the main goal was to gain air superiority over the island by render the RAF ineffective, in order to make an amphibious invasion feasible.

In that regard, bombing was successful at least in that it forced the British fighter arm to fight.

 

Anyway, even with the RAF defeated, is very doubtful that the invasion was at all doable, and no, you wouldn't be speaking German now. A 4-engine bomber wouldn't have change anything.

 

The Lw definitely knew how to use its bomber force (unlike the RAF in 1939), even by night (see Coventry). You are right about one thing though, intelligence about Britain targets was lacking, because the Lw only started planing for a war against the UK before 1939.

OTOH, against Poland or France, it have all the information needed for a strategic bombing campaign. The fact that it was not launched (other than isolated strategic attacks), is due the fact that its doctrine called for concentrate in support of the army, when there was the possibility of a decisive attack by the ground forces.

 

Seriously, if interested in this subject, I recommend this book http://www.amazon.com/dp/0700609628/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

 

Lord knows the RAF in the early war wasnt very impressive, but at least it had an argument that the kit it had, and the distance it travelled, not to mention political restrictions, it had unreasonable handicaps. The Luftwaffe had none of these excuses in 1940 and, just like most strategic bombing campaigns they launched, failed in its objectives. In fact I can only think of one campaign they launched that worked as advertised. Rotterdam.

 

 

Rotterdam was a tactical attack. And about the RAF bombing campaign... what did achieve before 1942?, and later, greatly benefited by the Lw fighting on different fronts (or the same front, but in daylight hours), couldn't win the war by itself.

 

note the early He177 also had dive brakes before they were ordered discontinued in 1942, which points to a rather belated recognition of their uselessness on what are supposed to be strategic assets.

 

Dive breaks, which obviously were a mistake for the He 177, did not define the strategic or tactic goal of the bombing, as precision was also wanted in the long range bombings by different means (sophisticated sights, radar etc).

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Geez.. so many posts, don't have the energy to answer all. So, only this for now, about the Wever-heavy bomber myth: the cancellation of the development of the Ju 89 and Do 19 heavy bombers, had nothing to do with Wever's death. The program was cancelled (because the bombers performance was very disappointing), and specifications for a new heavy bomber laid down (which resulted in the He 177), before Wever's accident.

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Again, the Luftwaffe was not a tactical airforce...

 

Then what should we call it? It never adopted strategic bombing as a doctrine, nor did it build the technical capabilities to engage in extended strategic campaigns. There doesn't appear to be any such thing as an "operational" air force in the literature I've read. So what is the Luftwaffe, in standard terminology, if it isn't tactical?

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Then what should we call it? It never adopted strategic bombing as a doctrine, nor did it build the technical capabilities to engage in extended strategic campaigns. There doesn't appear to be any such thing as an "operational" air force in the literature I've read. So what is the Luftwaffe, in standard terminology, if it isn't tactical?

 

 

It did have a doctrine for strategic bombing, but did not adhere to Douhet's ideas, and did not neglect other areas such as interdiction or direct cooperation with the army:

 

In most other areas, the performances of World War I air forces indicated the potential of air power in other areas. Air defense, interdiction, and strategic bombing all made their appearances in the war and achieved varying degrees of success. But promise and unrealized potential rather than mature achievement characterized the dawning applications of military aviation. At best there were hints as to what air power might achieve, particularly in terms of independent bombing operations, but mature capabilities still lay in the future.
Again it was on strategic bombing that Anglo-American airmen eventually concentrated, almost to the exclusion of all other possibilities, whereas the Germans developed a broader conception of air power and how it might solve their operational problems. How to explain this difference in approach? In the first place, Germany’s continental position forced its airmen to think in terms of defending their territory on the ground as well as in the air. They could not just bomb Paris, Prague, or Warsaw if, at the same time, German ground forces lost the battle of the frontiers and the enemy occupied Silesia or the Rhine land.
Equally important to the German approach was the fact that their airmen carried out an examination of air operations in the last war paralleling and reinforcing the exhaustive analysis of ground operations directed by Seeckt.
Consequently, when the Nazi regime began rearming in 1933, German airmen possessed a careful, thorough examination of the last war’s actual experiences in the air. Thus, German doctrinal statements on air power particularly those in the aerial reconnaissance and air support sections in “Leadership and Battle with Combined Arms” and in the Luftwaffe’s 1935 doctrinal manual Die Luftkriegsführung [Conduct of the Air War] rested on a solid historical foundation that the army shared as well.
This foundation produced a reasonably balanced approach to air power. The principal tasks set out for the Luftwaffe in the 1935 manual were: the attainment and maintenance of air superiority, air support of the army and the navy, attacks on enemy industry and centers of government, and interdiction between front and homeland.

The Germans promoted no one application of air power at the expense of others. Instead, German thinking, grounded firmly on the experiences of 1914-1918, recognized the importance of achieving air superiority, underlined the crucial interdependence between ground and air forces on the modern battlefield, and suggested that emphasis or priorities among air power’s various tasks should depend on local circumstances, which could vary widely from one campaign to another.

 

 

 

MILITARY INNOVATION IN. PEACETIME by. Williamson Murray and Barry Watts

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From the same source:

 

This sort of balance about the uses of air power in future war was not evident in either the Royal Air Force or, after 1926, the U.S. Army Air Corps. The British began cooking the evidence about air operations even before World War I ended. Their of ficial history of the war in the air was more a masterpiece of propaganda to justify an independent air force rather than a realistic appraisal of the cold, harsh realities of the air war during 1914-1918. In fact, the air staff made its dismissal of history explicit as early as 1924. It argued in a memorandum from 1924 that the forces employed in attacking an enemy nation:

 

can either bomb military objectives in populated areas from the beginning of the war, with the
objective of obtaining a decision by
moral[e] effect which such attacks will produce, and by the
serious dislocation of the country, or, alternatively, they can be used in the first instance to attack
enemy aerodromes with a view to gaining some measure of air superiority, and when this has
been gained, can be changed over to the direct attack on the nation. The latter alternative is the
method which the lessons of military history seem to recommend, but the Air Staff are convinced
that the former is the correct one.


As the first and only independent air force in the 1920s, the Royal Air Force (RAF) faced the problem of maintaining its independence in an era when resources were scarce and its sister services were eager to carve up the new challenger. The RAF did evolve some relatively effective capabilities to subdue the empire’s native populations. But while such capabilities indicated that air power could be useful in other roles than strategic bombing, such possibilities received little attention in London. The major—almost exclusive—emphasis in the air staff lay on strategic bombing. In 1923 Sir Hugh Trenchard, chief of the air staff through most of the 1920s, made clear his preferences in discussions over a possible war with France:

I would like to make this point again. I feel that although there would be an outcry [among British civilians in case of French air attacks on Britain], the French in a bombing duel would probably squeal before we did. That was really the final thing. The nation that would stand being bombed longest would win in the end....[T]he policy of hitting the French nation and making them squeal before we did was a vital one —more vital than anything else.

 

Given the RAF’s emphasis on strategic bombing as air power’s sole mission, what appears almost inexplicable throughout the interwar years was the RAF’s lack of focus on the creation of the operational capabilities required to execute strategic bombing. As war approached and funding increased, there is no evidence that the shortfall between capabilities and mission received serious attention. It was not that there was insufficient evidence that problems existed. In May 1938 the assistant chief of the air staff admitted that “it remains true, however, that in the home defense exercise last year, bombing accuracy was very poor indeed. Investigation into this matter indicates
that this was probably due very largely to failure to identify targets rather than fatigue.”

But, in the end, little was done. Bomber Command’s efforts against German oil resources during the final months of 1940 proved so inaccurate that the Germans “were scarcely aware that their oil resources were supposed to have been the object of a systematic British assault, and, in August 1941, an investigation of Bomber Command’s results at night during June and July using photography revealed that of the two-thirds of crews who claimed to have bombed their primary targets, only one-third had come within five miles of the aiming points.

Unlike the Germans, who recognized the problem of finding the target at approximately the same time, the RAF made little effort to develop the technological aids for doing so in adverse weather or at night. Part of the problem was organizational. In 1937 the air staff created the Committee for the Scientific Survey of Air Offense under Henry Tizard. The hope was that the committee would do for Bomber Command what a similar committee was doing for Fighter Command. But the latter body worked directly for the head of Fighter Command, Sir Hugh Dowding, a man of great vision, leadership, and technological sophistication. The new committee on bombing, however, worked for the Air Ministry, which filtered out much of the civilian advice before it reached a command hardly enthralled with the idea of civilian input.

 

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It did have a doctrine for strategic bombing, but did not adhere to Douhet's ideas, and did not neglect other areas such as interdiction or direct cooperation with the army:

 

 

I think it's safe to say that a doctrine without the technical capability is not a real doctrine. The Luftwaffe had a medium range level bombing capability that included in its notional target set what we would now call strategic targets. But all of the German bombing of strategic targets -- from the terror bombings of Warsaw and Rotterdam to the offensive against Great Britain -- was in the pursuit of operational objectives. The aims were to cause a quicker capitulation of an already defeated enemy, or to gain air superiority.

 

The city bombing of the Blitz, on the other hand, was beyond doctrine. It was thrashing about for lack of a better thing to do, without any clear plan or approach. It was, in effect, mounting operations for the saek of mounting operations.

 

So, once again, what was the Luftwaffe if not a primarily tactical air force? What did it do in terms of strategic doctrine and upporting technology to give it strategic weight, when compared ot the RAF and USAAF?

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I think it's safe to say that a doctrine without the technical capability is not a real doctrine

 

 

Technical capability for what? win the war by itself by strategic bombing? No, it did not have it against France or the UK, against some minor powers, maybe. But, neither the RAF or the USAAF had that capability against Germany either...

 

. The Luftwaffe had a medium range level bombing capability that included in its notional target set what we would now call strategic targets. But all of the German bombing of strategic targets -- from the terror bombings of Warsaw and Rotterdam to the offensive against Great Britain -- was in the pursuit of operational objectives. The aims were to cause a quicker capitulation of an already defeated enemy, or to gain air superiority.

 

The city bombing of the Blitz, on the other hand, was beyond doctrine. It was thrashing about for lack of a better thing to do, without any clear plan or approach. It was, in effect, mounting operations for the saek of mounting operations.

 

So, once again, what was the Luftwaffe if not a primarily tactical air force? What did it do in terms of strategic doctrine and upporting technology to give it strategic weight, when compared ot the RAF and USAAF?

 

Rotterdam and Warsaw were tactical bombings. Again, the fact that the Lw choose to prioritize winning air superiority and supporting the army during the Poland and West campaign, only means that they thought that that was the more useful use of air power (can't see how anyone can't argue with that). What did the Allied air forces do during the NA campaign? Focus on strategic bombing on Italy? I don't think so.

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More from Murray/Watts:

 

It is also true that, in late summer and fall 1940, the Germans utilized their bomber forces with reasonable effectiveness in a strategic-bombing role, at least in comparison to the capabilities of the RAF or the USAAF at that time.

R. V. Jones, a crucial figure in British scientific intelligence during World War II, and the man who single-handedly uncovered the secrets of the Germans’ Knickebeinradio -direction system (for bombing targets at night or in poor weather) and its successors, has noted that without British countermeasures: “Not only could there have been many more Coventrys, but [Field Marshal Ernst] Milch’s aim of knocking out our aero-engine factories might have been achieved.”

Still, in the early years of World War II, the knock-out blow from the air feared by many
on both sides failed to materialize.
In this sense, none of the major air forces we have examined—not the Luftwaffe, the RAF, or the USAAF—were adequately prepared, prior to early 1944, to carry out strategic-bombing operations aimed at achieving air superiority over enemy territory without concurrent ground operations to overrun the enemy territory in question. Further, even for the Allies, the destruction of an enemy’s war economy by independent bombing did not prove feasible until late 1944, if not early 1945. Both points suggest that the independent use of non nuclear air power against the heartland of an enemy nation to achieve political ends was far harder to achieve than most airmen realized or imagined during the interwar years, even in their most pessimistic moments.

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