Accession Number : ADA450007
Title : Bombing the European Axis Powers. A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive 1939-1945
Corporate Author : AIR UNIV PRESS MAXWELL AFB AL
Personal Author(s) : Davis, Richard B.
Report Date : APR 2006
Pagination or Media Count : 639
Abstract : The theory of strategic air bombardment states that airpower is best used offensively to penetrate an enemy's home territory and disrupt or destroy the economy and means of war production to force the enemy to surrender. Strategic bombing will succeed either because it has fatally compromised the ability to carry on hostilities or because bombing has broken the will of the people and/or leadership to continue the fight. In World War II only multiengine bomber aircraft had the range, payload, and accuracy to accomplish this task. The strategic bombing theorists posited that destruction of the foe's means of production by aiming bombs almost entirely at manufacturing, service, and distribution facilities would quickly lead to the surrender of its armies at the front when, or even before, they exhausted the supplies remaining in their logistics system. This was the ideal result. If, for any number of reasons, that direction of attack proved impractical or insufficient, then strategic bombing theory suggested that an attack on the enemy's will to resist by applying force against the civilian population (i.e., bombing the enemy's principal population centers) might achieve the same end. In this study the author examines the employment of strategic bombers by and the target selection of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the US Army Air Forces (AAF) in their campaign against Germany in World War II. In doing so he provides readers with a statistical basis of analysis that will enable them to form their own judgment as to the validity of the theory of strategic bombing and the intentions of the Anglo-Americans in their use of it.
Descriptors : *AERIAL WARFARE , MILITARY HISTORY , SITE SELECTION , JUDGEMENT(PSYCHOLOGY) , STRATEGIC BOMBING , CENTRAL EUROPE , SECOND WORLD WAR
Subject Categories : MILITARY OPERATIONS, STRATEGY AND TACTICS
Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE