JUSTIN MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY
Victory over Europe
An Article on the Effectiveness of the Strategic Bombardment of Germany 1943-1945
The aggressive use of strategic and tactical bombardment upon the German nation was as ingenious as it was unavoidable. Nothing else would have forced the Germans to commit their air defenses on Allied terms. If allowed to withhold their power and to strike or defend on their own terms (a la Iraq 1991 to date), the Luftwaffe, closer to the front, would have been able to seize air superiority when and whereever it chose. By causing the enemy to react to our actions, we commanded the place time and face of the battle. By so dictating the terms of the engagement Allied Forces were able, on most occassions, to guarrantee local superiority and thereby tactical success.
The use of strategic and tactical air power on the homelands of the fascists forced them to pit their best men and material against our best, and numerically superior, forces on a daily round the clock basis. This depleted their trained man power, exhausted all available aviation supplies, eliminated scores of their aircraft and kept the bulk of Luftwaffe units in positions where they were useful only for defense and unable to harry or harrass our offensive preparations and operations. Although there was also a loss to Allied forces the size of Allied production and the availability of manpower allowed these losses to be absorbed without a degredation in Allied capabilities. The Nazis did not have the luxury of inexhaustible resources, and so were badly crippled by their expenditures over the Reich.
Furthermore, despite the revisionist historians who spout production increases as proof "it was all for nothing", the bombardment crushed German production and morale. If production increased during the blasting of factories and personnel one can only imagine what sort of output would have been possible if the Germans were able to build new factories rather than replace old ones. Moreover the elimination or even delay of the production of key resources clearly hampered German ability to make war while the dispersement of production necessary to avoid bombardment clearly delayed the arrival of completed material at the front and denied the Germans many of the efficiencies of Mass Production. This delay was further aggravated by the denial of the means of transport such as ships, railways, canals, roadways and bridges by both strategic and tactical bombardment and interdiction.
Finally, I have yet to see any work by a German veteran which did not allude at some point to the crushing blow to his morale upon visiting his homeland on leave to see the havoc wreaked by seemingly unstoppable foes. On each instance I have read of men hit in the gut with the inevitable conclusion that the war could not be won if the enemy could at will devastate the very heartland of Germany. This was not the scattered devestation of the blitz, which instilled anger but not hopelessness in the British, but was rather the wholesale leveling of production facilities and sectors of great cities. The sense of dread and defeatism this bred in the breasts of German fighting men who witnessed it can only have aided the Allied cause. While the Germans fought well at all times, it is a certainty that they would have fought better still led by men who had not already lost all hope of success.
Allied ground forces sufferred terribly fighting an enemy without air support or full production or supplies and without means of readily moving his reinforcements and baggage to or behind the front. Without the air war over Germany the enemy would have had all of these things in spades. I shudder to think the result this would have had on our men, on our chances for success. I, and all free citizens of the world, can only thank the men of the Allied Air Forces that because of their sacrifices those men in France in 1944 and 1945 were in fact faced by a foe, unsupplied, largely immobile and wholly unsupported from the air.
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