Monday, June 17, 2024

WWII Strategic Bombing

I never understood that the largely ineffective strategic bombing campaign literally drew down a critical 30% of German war production.  just when you think you have covered it all you catch something new.  So yes, it is no wonder that the Germans faltered on the Eastern front and as Zhukov makes clear ,the Russians would have reached their limits far sooner, instead of at the battle for berlin.

This also makes clear that Russia would ultimately have lost without D Day as well because releasing the Western German army into the Eastern Front would certainly  have then rolled up an exhausted 
Russian army.

It was a way more close run thing than we like to think.

Has it been studied, statistically demonstrated and widely accepted, by civilized people, that WWII Air Marshal Harris's multi-year bombardment of German civilian urban homes had little to no impact on German morale and work attendance?

Yes, it has been ad nauseam.

There are books and reports on the question

It is evident the strategic bombing enabled Nazi Party to eradicate any internal dissident and instilled utmost loyalty in the Germans. The goal of the campaign, to force civilians into submission, failed. So did the campaign to reduce military production, which wasn’t badly affected either. 

Many then conclude the bombing campaign was a failure, right?

Well, that would be completely and utterly wrong, obviously.

The campaign was a stunning success and vital for the victory in 1945, if not at all. See, while it is true the bombings were counterproductive in changing the opinion of German citizens, and it is also true the drops in industrial output were marginal, the bombing campaign did force Germany to expend enormous resources in defending against bombers. By 1943 the effect was decisive, the bombing campaign drew most of Luftwaffe away from Eastern Front into Germany, to defend German skies from bombers. Some 75% or artillery shells produced of large caliber (75 mm or greater) was AA shells, mainly to defend German cities from enemy attack.

How well does Red Army advance, if most of Luftwaffe is fighting them still? We don’t need to guess, Zhukov himself estimated they aren’t able to break out of Russia, in the best case scenario the Red Army is bogged down in eastern Belarus and Ukraine, unable to advance as Luftwaffe breaks their lines of communication. How well do they fight, if Germans have twice as many artillery shells? Not quite as effective I’m afraid. WW2 in the east was primarily a war of infantry and artillery and the air campaign effectively took out a good deal of German guns.

This was the true contribution of the air campaign. Allies had superior industrial output and had to fight the Germans on as wide front as possible. The skies were one such front, by tapping it they sent resources they had available in the form of planes to fight, widening the front and forcing Germans to spread their assets wider. Don’t start the air campaign and fight only on land, but now you face a far larger and better equipped German army, because they didn’t spend 30% of their industrial output defending against your bombers. But you’re limited by terrain, so now you need to punch through that line of heavy armor, backed by massive artillery barrages. Better luck in your next life, private.

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