Effectiveness of Allied bombing campaign

I sent a PM to explain why and offered a chat, ok? That works better in my experience. Feel free to take up the offer or not.


I took the time to read your comments 3 times. I am sorry you got so triggered. It was not my intention.

Most of your comments I agree with. I will only quibble at one point right now and let this cool off.

Everyone knows that the USSR had already beaten the German by the end of 1942.

Sorry my quoting isn’t as good as yours but you said this. Who said this in 1942? Where was the visible evidence they were beaten in 1942. It’s easy for us to see it now but you are telling me that Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt knew the war was won and that we had to let up on them? I don’t see it.

Anyway, take care and thank you for your opinions.


We did a what if at Uni and even early Jan 1943 the Germans might have tipped the balance had they Allied themselves with potential Allies such as the Ukranians. Stalin was not exactly popular by nature. Also it was not sure that the Red Army would become more proficient like they did in 1944 when they traded tanks 1:1. To the Allies the Soviet Union was still on the brink of collapse and needed massive amounts of lend lease/foodstuffs.

For all we know the Soviets could have run themselves into massive encirclements in 1943 again because of stupid decisions by Stalin. And another enormous loss meant that all the built up experience is gone. Had we gone back in time and told the Allies that at the end of 1942 the Soviets were garanteed to win? Would they have believed us with the knowledge they had then? More material doesn’t garantee victory, we have seen that with Stalin many times!


First, one thing that is worth saying at the beginning is that the Allied strategic bombing campaign failed if compared to its objectives. Its stated objectives were to wreck German war economy and thus make it impossible to continue the war. Air supremacy was not its final objective but one of the stepping stones to achieving this. It did achieve this (though not thanks to bombing per se, I’ll come to this later) and some reduction in German production, but when compared to the objectives of the bombing, this achievements come woefully short of what it was meant to do. In fact that the bombing campaign failed to do more damage to German economy even after obtaining that air supremacy is one of the damning proofs of the ineffectiveness of bombing against economy.

Large part why the focus is of the result is on air supremacy and the damage done is due to the official USAAF WWII history, which is one of great PR successes in how it managed to shift the focus from the failure to produce the expected collapse to achievement of air supremacy and caused damage. This was of course prepared in time when USAAF was campaigning for its independence and then fighting for resources in post-war budget cuts. Presenting the bombing campaign as success was institutionally critical and it did manage in that very well.

Now, on the achievement of air supremacy. First, it became objective only in early 1944 with the start of the Operation Argument. Until that point, the planning had tried to avoid contact with Luftwaffe, but from that point on, missions were planned that would bring the attacking forces to contact with Luftwaffe. While the air supremacy was indeed achieved during the campaign, it was more thanks to measures taken to protect the bombers. Most importantly, long-range fighter sweeps and suppression of Luftwaffe airfields. Long-range escorts were also part of the success, but the fighters were more effective as sweepers. Very telling are the results of Operation Argument. It had two objectives: to reduce the fighter production by bombing the critical factories for that and to shoot down Luftwaffe coming up to challenge them. The bombing part was clear failure, with minimal impact to German fighter production, but the aggressive counter-force actions by the fighter arm caused heavy losses on Luftwaffe. So, for achieving air supremacy the bombers were largely expensive and manpower-intensive baits.

For achieving the air supremacy, the bombing targets were ineffective. Far more effectiveness would have been achieved by targeting the bombing on airfields, which would have forced the Luftwaffe to rise to defense equally. However, these were “tactical” targets and the belief of “strategic” targeting was strong. This reflects experiences in BoB, where the switch in targeting by Germans from airfields to London eased a lot the situation of RAF. Following Argument, this kind of targeting was successfully carried out in France in preparation for the Normandy landings. Later, the attacks on oil and transport facilities did finally produce the impact originally looked for, but that was quite late in terms of timeline.

As for Overy, he takes a far more negative view on the bombing campaign in The Bombing War (published in 2013) than in Why the Allies Won (1995). He obviously also goes far deeper in the analysis there. As for used resources, its worth noting that while Britain calculated the resources used for stategic bombing at 7 %, for US the ratio was 12 %. His final take is (p. 409) “That the campaign could have conducted differently, at lower cost and with greater efficacy, is not in doubt”.

The bombing campaign did produce results, but at costs that were disproportionate to results. And that had to do mostly with targeting, which was under the illusion of vulnerable economy and populace. Especially bombing civilian targets, but also most industrial targets were usually just waste of sorties - the bombing achieved the best efficacy in targeting military or transport targets or oil facilities, all of which got Luftwaffe up as well. And there lies one of the tragedies of the bombing campaign: not only did the targeting of the bombing campaign did cause massive death and suffering among civilians, it was also far less effective than one that would have concentrated on more military targets.


He probably knew their strength, judging from his books. Probably.

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Well you started the “sexual organ comparison” directed at me. I think that is not appropriate and pointed that out. If you think that is a joke then you are wrong. I can’t really fathom how you can come to the conclusion that is “Bullying 101”. Feel free to go to the police station, you won’t get very far but Bullying is something serious.

What saddens me from the PM is that you refuse to “Confirm my question that Klempener and the other Jews surviving is a good thing?” You just ignore it and accuse me of Bullying (for the above).

I am getting a bit tired of you, here some forum rules:
1 Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit. You ticked that box
I asked you to stop doing that in accordance with the forum rules. To you it might be a normal expression in everyday live but it still fits one and we have also women here etc. I won’t try to delete it but just want you to stop. I know you are new and might not have read those rules which is perfectly fine with me. If you leave these weird comparisons it might give TG a bad name in future and as a supporter and friend of TG I don’t want that to happen.

Again applying the forum rules is IMO not Bullying.

Rule number 2 "And we will not tolerate any:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks"

By the way I see your accusations of “Bullying” as unfounded and thus a public ad persona attack. If it feels like I just makes jokes and try to Bully you I regret I gave you that impression but If you reread this you hopefully see I was serious. Oh and I don’t want you banned from the forum if anyone of the moderators read this, I also won’t flag/escalate it yet in appgroups because I think you are entitled to your opinion and flagging would make things difficult for everyone.

Now lets use this forum rules as a basis to continue, this makes. And maybe delete the post

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Hate to break it, but it kind of already happened with a few of their videos…

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OK but then again lets not make it worse ;-).

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Well it was ok until publicly accused me of Bullying. Flagging it now!

IIRC, he was pointing out that you started it. Where’s the name-calling?

OK As you dump the whole PM. You wrote a lot of fairly reconciliatory stuff and then starting calling me a “Bully” in public (which I interpret as name calling and something illegal) That is like the exact opposite action of the fairly good PM . I hope we could reconcile and we still can if we both want, right?

That’s why I flagged , I want this issue to go away! The last time I pointed out to someone that he was scolding he gracefully rephrase

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You responded to my post, why?

That was meant for him, right?

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I knew those tie videos would get TG in trouble!


I’m going to close this thread now - too much vitriol.