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Strategic Bombing

Strategic Bombing

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Published by Mr. Graham Long

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Published by: Mr. Graham Long on Nov 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The American Strategic Bombing Survey:  A Presidential Report 
In an effort to soften the German defenses, and therefore make an American invasionof the European front much easier to accomplish, the American Air Force and theRoyal Air Force (British) undertook a series of strategic bombing campaigns againstcritical German targets of industry, finance, and population.Today, your task will be two-fold. First, acting as a member of the American AirCommand, you will choose the most appropriate “targets of opportunity” for tacticalbombing strikes. Second, you will serve on the Strategic Bombing Survey Committee,where you will analyze the effectiveness of your choices on helping to end the war inthe European theater of operations.Your choices of bombing targets should havea direct impact on the war in some capacity.That could include such things as thedestruction of industrial targets, naturalresources, or logistical targets (railroadtracks, roads, electric plants, etc.). It couldalso include targets that affect the morale of the Germany citizenry, such as consumergoods factories (to make their lives lesscomfortable), farms (to try to starve theminto submission), or even the simplebombing of civilian areas like neighborhoodsin order to terrify the Germans intosurrender.
1943- As a member of the American Air Command, you have the responsibility for choosing thestrategic targets on which our bombers will focus during their runs. Your task is as follows:1.Determine whether bombing should be done during daylight or nighttime hours, andprovide a rationale.2.Look at the descriptions of the following possible targets. Then, briefly summarize itsusefulness to the German war effort.3.Next, rank the items from 1-8, “one” being the item that you think is most critical to theGerman war effort (and therefore the best target for bombing), and “eight” being the itemleast critical to the German war effort. Provide a brief rationale for your decision.4.Overall, then, what are the 4 best targets of opportunity?
In your opinion, should bombing be done during daylight or at night? Give your opinion andexplain why.
Name of TargetWhy is it Useful to theGerman War Effort?Rank ofUsefulness(1 to 8)Rationale for Your Rank
Ball-bearing plantsAircraft plantsOilSteelSecondary plants(cars, trucks, etc.)Railways/WaterwaysElectric powerCiviliansOverall, what are the four best targets of opportunity.
Explain why.
1945- With the war in Europe winding down, and the war in the Pacific still raging, it isimportant that we use the lessons from our European bombing campaigns when we bomb the Japanese. Thus, as an expert on German bombing, you have now been chosen by the Presidentto review the Strategic Bombing Survey, a report put together by analysts. The President wantsyou to answer one simple question:
How effective was the bombing campaign on Germany?
Your task is as follows:1.Read the report from the Strategic Bombing Survey.2.As you read, analyze what it says about the effectiveness of bombing for each of thegroups below. Summarize the major points.3.Based on what you have read, rank the targets from 1-8 in the strategic bombing survey,with “one” being “had a major impact on German surrender”, and “eight” being “had littleto no impact on German surrender.”4.Compare your results from the previous activity to the actual results. Why were youcorrect or incorrect?5.Send a report to the military commanders in the Pacific outlining what you have learned.
Name of TargetWas Strategic Bombing Effective on this target?Provide details from the reportRank ofUsefulness(1 to 8)
Ball-bearing plantsAircraft plantsOilSteelSecondary plants(cars, trucks, etc.)Railways/WaterwaysElectric powerCivilians
Compare the rankings from the actual Strategic Bombing Survey to your list. Did you sharesimilar rankings? If so, why? If not, what was your source of error?

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