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Subject: How do you design an air campaign that works?
Belisarius1234    2/7/2013 3:11:39 PM "Bombing the European Axis Powers" by Ralph Davis What was the RAF not bombing HARD as if Britain's life depended on it in 1940-1943? 1. Northern France 2. Belgium and Holland 3. Western Czechoslovakia 4. Southern Poland 5. Southwestern Germany 6. Austria 7. and Northwest Italy. Did you know that all of those relatively unmolested areas, once conquered, doubled Germany's industrial output? (Especially southern Poland and Czechoslovakia.) But the RAF sure were dumping a lot of bombs on the Ruhr. WHY!?! The German aircraft industry was scattered all over but the key plants were located in east central Germany (Regensberg Schwinefurt being an example) in a tight cluster. That was in range. Why not at least try for a Luftwaffe kill there? Then there was this target list that was absolutely vital to the allies. That would be the U-boat factory network. Can't kill them in their ports, then hit the inland factory sites, and assembly yards why don't you? Didn't happen. Especially as those shipyards were EASY bombing targets. Right out in the open, in 1940-1943 not under shelters, poorly protected from even area bombing or parachute mining. Why not? The USAAF got around to it. The Germans started digging like gophers to move factories underground. Set U-boat production back a year... in 1944, when it was a bit too late. But the Ruhr was beat down to dust. Most of the panzer production (helps the Eastern Front if you knock this out) is in upper Silesia, not the Ruhr. Not even touched until 1944 (USAAF and then too late to be effective.). The Ruhr was mostly raw industrial stock (steel and coal) and power production. That helps if you want to put the western Germans in the dark, make them cold and want to slow down their shipbuilding a little bit, but those tank and airplane factories in eastern Germany suffer ZERO effects from a Ruhr monomania bombing campaign. The Swedes were shipping STEEL to the Germans as well as iron ore. (They might need to be bombed if you can't bribe them to stop that. Two problems, weather and range.) so the excuse that the Ruhr supplied iron for the Panzers doesn't work. How about MINING the Danube and the Rhine and the German ports with parachute mines? Germans barged oil in from Rumania and shipped in goods from across the Baltic. The USAAF got around to it after POINTBLANK, but of course by then it was too late to have the effect it should and could have. I look at those mistakes and I see an air force that was embarked on an air campaign that makes no sense at all. Ten thousand aircraft lost and almost fifty thousand lives for what? I let others draw MORAL judgments, but the practical outcome speaks for itself. B.
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JFKY    Because neither the US nor the UK   2/8/2013 7:17:47 PM
understood the German economy, either in terms of input/output or location...but assumed that de-housing or critical targets (whatever/wherever they might be) would bring the Germans to their knees.
And both badly over-estimated the effect of their ordnance, or badly under-estimated the survivability of the enemy's machine tools and production apparatus. And both badly over-estimated the damage done by their attacks, "Look at those roofs, destroyed.  Production must be zero."  When, in fact, production was returning to near-normal or normal limits very quickly.
And the US Army Air Forces were only RELATIVELY more accurate than their RAF counter-parts, so let's not suggest the US actually undertook "precision" bombing.  They just tended to group their bombs around a factory or factory complex, rather than going for the city centre. 
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Belisarius1234    JFKY.   2/8/2013 9:45:50 PM
Overpressure was never tested on assembly lines. Earthquake bombs might been an interesting experiment to see how disruptive such bombs could be on an assembly line.Probably more effective than the blast-frag bombs used.
I do not argue the merits or accuracy of either service, although the USAAF mine-laying campaign was not only disruptive but accurate and attacked an overlooked opportunity late as the air staff slowly learned their jobs.
And you will note that for killing people in a production facility, 500 pound GP bombs on a shipyard works.  
Not to be unkind to the RAF, but they had a three year lead on the clueless USAAF, and learned nothing. By 1944, the American air-planners with a year under their belts, had a recognizable air-campaign in full swing. Too little and too late, it did impact key nodes and affect German behavior. The U-boat factories dislocation WERE an obvious indicator of this.
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