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Journal of Strategic Studies

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From 'uralbomber' to 'amerikabomber': The Luftwaffe and strategic bombing

R. J. Overy a a Queens' College, Cambridge Online Publication Date: 01 September 1978

To cite this Article Overy, R. J.(1978)'From 'uralbomber' to 'amerikabomber': The Luftwaffe and strategic bombing',Journal of Strategic

Studies,1:2,154 178
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/01402397808436996 URL:


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From 'Uralbomber' to 'Amerikabomber': the Luftwaffe and Strategic Bombing

R. J. Overy*

The historiography of the Second World War has suffered badly from having too little written from original sources about the German war effort. A series of official histories would go a long way towards filling the gap. Nowhere is this need more pressing than in air warfare. British historians have the four-volume Strategic Air Offensive against Germany as an invaluable guide.1 The American air war is well covered in the six volumes of The Army Air Forces in World War II.2 The following article is an attempt to fill some of the gaps in the knowledge of Germany's air war, although the subject is large enough and interesting enough to merit that official history when it comes.

At the end of the Second World War many German soldiers blamed the failure of the German Luftwaffe on the fact that it possessed no satisfactory heavy bomber and had failed to undertake a strategic bombing offensive to rival that of the Allies. Field Marshal Milch wrote after the war that 'Germany had no really adequate aircraft model for use in strategic operations: without any doubt, this is one of the reasons for the failure of the air offensive against Britain and for the Luftwaffe's inability to provide adequate air protection for Germany's submarines at sea'.3 During the war itself both Hitler and Goring repeatedly demanded a heavy bomber capable of undertaking strategic operations that might have been decisive in naturesuch as the trade blockade of Britain or the elimination of the Soviet industrial base beyond the Uralsbut no satisfactory one was to appear.4 It was certainly true that no such bomber was successfully developed and produced in mass. It was also true that the Germans failed to mount a bomber offensive against the western powers on the same scale as that carried out by the RAF and the American 8th Army Air Force. The crude figures for bomb tonnage demonstrate the huge gulf that separated the German effort from that of the Allies. The Germans dropped on Britain a mere 3 per cent of the quantity dropped on Germany. The story of the war in the Atlantic was the same. Once adequate convoy defences had been established the slow converted
*Queens' College, Cambridge.




Year 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total Including 'V'-weapons.

Germany* 36,844 21,858 3,260 2,298 9,151 761 74,172

Allies 14,631 35,509 53,755 226,513 1,188,577 477,051 1,996,036

air-liner, the Focke-Wulf 200 'Kondor' aircraft, proved completely unequal to the demands made of it in the sea war.6 So, too, with the Russian front: hardly any independent bombing operations were carried out in the Russian heartland and against Russian industry. Nor did the Russians carry out any determined strategic air offensive against Germany. The air forces of both sides played a largely support role for ground operations.7 It had never been intended, however, that this should be the case. In Germany, as elsewhere, the same attention had been given to the question of strategic air warfare. Throughout the war Germany remained committed to the idea of building up a strategic bomber force and planned to produce heavy bombers in quantity for that purpose. The fact that they failed in the end to produce and use the bombers should not obscure the fact that the intention to use them clearly existed. Nevertheless the course of strategic thinking on the use of the heavy bomber in Germany was not a smooth one. In the formative years of the Luftwaffe the first chief of staff, Col. Wever, had, together with a section of his staff, decided on the necessity for a multi-engined bomber aircraft. In 1934 plans were produced for the so-called 'Uralbomber'. After the war General Nielsen confirmed that Wever 'was convinced that the important target areas would be Soviet industries and the outermost corners of European Russia and even beyond, and in the area just east of the long Ural mountain chain.'8 Specifications were given to the firms of Dornier and Junkers for work to begin in the summer of 1935 on Langstrecken-Grossbomber and the first prototypes of the Dornier Do 19 and Junkers Ju 89 were flown late in 1936. By this time, however, Wever was dead and had been succeeded by Albert Kesselring, whose main interest was in the development of close co-operation between army and air force. Wever had found much opposition to his idea of building up a strategic striking force of bombers. His successor and much of the Luftwaffe staff favoured a tactical air force using smaller bomber aircraft. On April 29th 1937 the 'Uralbomber' programme was wound up. 9 This decision did not end the development of the four-engined bomber. It had been made partly because the Technical Office of the



German Air Ministry (RLM) had calculated that the bomber of the future would need a considerably better performance than that promised by the Dornier and Junker models. A specification for a 'Bomber A' had been drawn up in 1936 even while the 'Uralbomber' were being prepared. The specification went to Heinkel, whose designer, Gnter, began work in September 1936. The decision to approve the Heinkel project (designated Projekt 1041) was finally made on June 2nd 1937 only shortly after the cancellation of the Do 19 and Ju 89. This aircraft continued to be developed in the years before the outbreak of war with the blessing of some of the engineering officers in the Technical Office and became known as the He 177.10 But despite the continued development of a heavy bomber programme, the death of Wever had coincided with a fundamental shift in thinking of the German air staff and a part of the Technical Office. It was decided that the medium-bomber was all that was necessary to carry out not just the tactical support of the army, but also all the likely strategic tasks that the air force would be set.11 The main reason for this lay in the fact that a dive-bombing medium bomber was expected to achieve a high degree of bombing accuracy in attacks on munitions factories, transport facilities and other special targets. The cult of the dive-bomber was not altogether so short-sighted. In Spain it had been very successful. Moreover, the bulk of the available literature on the future air war failed to predict the actual physical damage that invading bomber forces would be likely to inflict. It was expected that a small number of aircraft with a modest bombload would be able to inflict damage to property and population so great that a decisive victory could be achieved through air-power alone.12 So the General Staff decided that a medium-bomber that could dive would gain more through precision attacks than large formations of larger, horizontallyflying aircraft whose chances of delivering a knockout blow were regarded as inferior.13 At the time that the decision to concentrate on medium-bombers was taken Goring was already dissatisfied with the prospects of the heavy bomber as it had been presented to him. It was a giant consumer of resources for a military effort which could, it was believed, be achieved through the dive-bombing twin-engined aircraft. At the time Udet and the Technical Staff were particularly anxious about the raw material situation as was Kesselring in his brief appointment as Chief of Staff. Udet told Heinkel: 'we do not want these expensive, heavy machines which eat up more in material than a medium, twin-engined dive-bomber costs'. 14 From what was then known about the possibilities of strategic bombing it seemed sensible to choose what could be regarded in terms of industrial effort and military efficiency as the optimum then available. At the time, too, little thought had been given to the broad strategic possibilities stemming from Hitler's diplomacy.



This was a major miscalculation, but not perhaps a very surprising one. To Hitler the medium-bomber programme was suitable either for a series of short continental wars or a major war against Britain or Russia. The Junkers Ju 88 bomber that became the standard new medium-bomber was particularly attractive to the Air Staff and to Hitler because its range was so remarkable. Koppenberg, the general manager of Junkers, claimed that the aircraft would be able to carry a reasonable load of bombs out into the Atlantic beyond the coast of Ireland.15 Count Ciano recorded how Goring had told him in April 1939 that 'this bomber [Ju 88] has such a long range that it could be used to attack not only England herself, but also could branch out toward the West, to bombard the ships approaching England from the Atlantic'.16 Goring, and it would be fair to assume Hitler too, both thought that a large medium-bomber fleet could inflict sufficient damage on civilian morale and war-willingness as well as on the enemy war economy, and that a strategic bomber force was already, for all intents and purposes, an integral part of the Luftwaffe planning. The decision to place everything on the Ju-88 programme, a programme that disrupted the pace of production of all arms in late 1939, was made at the highest level not because Hitler's foreign ambitions were based on the modest demands of Blitzkrieg, but because the leadership mistakenly believed that it already possessed the means to wage a successful strategic operation whatever the scope of Hitler's diplomacy. When the German bombers were released against Britain in 1940 it was in the fulfilment of German 'Douhetism', the attempt to bring the British to the point of capitulation without having to fight a war on land. It seemed, therefore, that the concept of strategic air activity had not been lost sight of either on tactical or on strategic grounds. Quite the reverse; for when war broke out the western Allies scanned the skies waiting for the hail of bombs that the more numerous and deadlier Luftwaffe was expected to bring. In the sense of what people expected of a strategic air war in 1939, Germany was assumed to be as well armed as was necessary to carry out such a programme.

Below the top-level leadership of the Luftwaffe there was considerably more pessimism about the chance of carrying out such an air campaign with any great degree of success. Particularly among those who had any operational experience, but also those in the engineering corps who remained loyal to the Wever philosophy, there was a strong realization that Germany did not possess the means by which to bring a major enemy to its knees through the exercise of air power.17 It was considered by some that Germany did not even possess the means to



carry out a successful combined offensive against her strongest potential enemies, Britain and Russia. Starting in 1936 the Luftwaffe explored through contingency plans the possibility of a war in the air against France and England. Those concerned with France concentrated on the tactical nature of Luftwaffe deployment, mainly in support of ground forces. Attacks on Paris were to be merely retaliatory.18 As late as 1939 General Felmy concluded in a study based on the contingency of a war against Britain that the Luftwaffe's existing forces were unsuitable.19 Erhard Milch, temporarily excluded from the top decisionmaking on aircraft types between 1936 and 1939, realised that the Luftwaffe would not be ready for war until at least 1942 and possibly much later.20 It was Hitler, with his tenuous grasp of the problem of air warfare, his high expectations of the Ju 88, fed by Gring's boasting, and his mistaken appreciation of the state of air preparation, who created the war situation for which the Luftwaffe was particularly ill-equipped. Yet at the time the fears of the junior officers and staff were regarded as groundless. Germany possessed the largest fleet of bombers in Europe with the most modern equipment and more battle experience than any other air force. In some important respects, however, the strategic air operations that the Luftwaffe expected to carry out in the impending war differed very considerably from those of the 'Douhet' school. In 1939 it was assumed that the air operations over enemy territory in attacking munitions industries, communications and vital installations would coincide with and support a knock-out blow aimed by the army. The operations were seen essentially as combined operations. The main task of the air force was to speed up the destruction of enemy forces and to smooth the path of advancing armies by destroying pockets of resistance. Operations into enemy territory were not designed to end the war by themselves. Instead inter-service politics determined that the Luftwaffe play a role subordinate to that of the army. Even in 1940 when Goring promised to force capitulation from Britain by attacks on London, many still saw the Blitz as essentially a preliminary bombardment before the actual landing operation to be carried out by the army and navy. That had certainly been the main strand of Hitler's own thinking.21 The air force was thus forced to play a mainly tactical role. In preparing for strategic operations there were severe limitations imposed by the needs of the other services. The German air force became committed to limited strategic bombing. In Britain the opposite was the case. Although with reluctance, the RAF had been allowed between the wars to work on the idea of completely independent air operations and out of this thinking had developed the strategic air offensive for which preparations were already in hand before 1939. Such an idea was attractive to the British. For one thing it might mean that it would no longer be necessary for British soldiers to fight in Europe.



It also meant that in the event of Britain's complete exclusion militarily from Continental Europe, the means would exist for undertaking an independent military offensive from the air to force the enemy to capitulate either through a knock-out blow or through the erosion of the enemy will-power and economic potential.22 The absence of such a consistent bombing policy in Germany meant two important things. The Luftwaffe suffered from the start in not having enough top-level plans for air operations outside those for immediate tactical support of the army. Secondly no large independent force of bombers could be kept together by bomber commanders for use only on long-range strategic missions behind the enemy lines. Such bombers might be made available but tended to be so only in anticipation of army operations or at the end of army operations, to achieve a speedier conclusion to a campaign. The Luftwaffe thus had a very different orientation from the RAF or the United States air force. Having decided that the medium-bomber was suitable for Germany's air warfare, the commanders also decided that the air operations must be kept within the scope of the overall military planning and not be allowed too much independent life. The powerful position of the army in German military life ensured the air force only a limited strategic role. These were the kind of choices open to all air forces before 1939. The Luftwaffe 'guesses' were much less satisfactory as it turned out than those of General Guderian and the motorized divisions, but they were all 'guesses' nevertheless. Had the European war ended in June 1940 with the British surrender even the guesses that were made would have been hailed as the right ones. What finally turned the Luftwaffe towards the idea of the heavy bomber again was the failure of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz and the individual failure of the Ju 88 medium-bomber. Far from the expected victory in the air in 1940, the German bombers were driven out of the daylight skies, failed to make more than a temporary dent in British war production and made the British population more than ever determined to resist rather than capitulate because of the Blitz.23 Moreover the Ju 88 that was supposed to be able to fly as far as the Atlantic shipping lanes beyond Ireland proved a great disappointment both in general performance and in range and carrying capacity. The campaign in the air in 1940 was the test of the German air planning and the idea of limited strategic bombing with the precision bombing medium-bombers. In fact it proved to be the only time that the Luftwaffe had the opportunity to carry out a fully strategic operation on its own. At first the role of the air force after the fall of France was to help to create the conditions for a landing undertaken by the army on the south English coast, an extension of the tactical role played in the Battle of France itself. But Hitler also gave Goring the opportunity to prove whether the air force was equal to the task of



bringing the British to surrender through air power alone, although other options were kept firmly open.24 This strategic course was one that Hitler had not ignored before war broke out. To the heads of the services in 1939 he had already said: 'The ruthless employment of the Luftwaffe against the heart of the British will-to-resist can and will follow at the given moment'. 25 Thus when Goring turned the bombers against London in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz it was not just out of the desire for reprisals against British raids on Germany, but because it was now hoped that, everything else having failed, Terrorangriffe would bring the British to their senses.26 The attacks were also combined with instructions to attack 'the armaments industry (particularly air armament). Then important harbours. London will be attacked constantly night and day in order to destroy the city'.27 The Blitz was an extension of this strategic aim, and was forced on the Luftwaffe because of the high combat attrition suffered through daylight raids. Thus gradually during the course of the Battle of Britain the German leadership began to move more towards the concept of a full strategic air offensive for the first time. This was not to be a limited strategic operation, but an offensive like that planned and prepared by the British : to bring the war to an end through the exercise of air power. The major problem facing the Luftwaffe was that its preparation and equipment was simply not good enough for the kind of tasks it had been set. The bombloads were inadequate, the aircraft had too short a range, they were not sufficiently well-armed and not enough of them were being produced. Training and planning was still well below the required level, mainly because the new strategic requirements had not been anticipated before the war. Moreover the Germans quickly realised that, despite the exaggerated reports of the bomber crews, targets were more often than not missed altogether and even when hit could not be destroyed decisively.28 Hitler certainly came to believe as a result of the German experience that the munitions industry . . . cannot be interfered with effectively by air raids. We learned that lesson during our raids on English armament centres in the autumn of 1940 . . . Usually the prescribed targets are not hit; often the fliers unload their bombs on fields camouflaged as plants; and in both countries the armaments industry is so decentralised that the armament potential cannot really be interfered with.29 Although Hitler directed the air force to begin again its attacks on Britain after the war in the east had been brought to a speedy conclusion, little preparation was actually undertaken for such an offensive. There was clearly a general feeling that on the basis of the failure in the winter of 1940-41 there was little point in trying to undertake a bombing offensive against Britain. Moreover the successful conquest of the Balkans and the early successes in Russia returned the Luftwaffe to



the idea that a limited strategic role combined with tactical support for the advancing armies made very much greater military sense.30 Thus the medium-bomber and the ideas that supported it continued to have an important place even after 1940. For one thing Jeschonnek was still Chief of Staff and Udet still head of the Technical Office and both were known to favour the medium-bomber approach. It also had the advantage of already being in production and if the medium-bomber had failed against Britain it was used with great effect in the first months of the Russian campaign. Nevertheless there existed a number of Luftwaffe leaders who recognized the drawback of this aircraft and its use. Petersen, who headed the air force testing stations, blamed the early failures of the air war on the choice of the medium-bomber and in late 1942 expressed the hope that 'The days of the medium-bomber... are numbered'. 31 In the same year the General of Bombers wrote to Milch of the mistake made from the beginning in choosing a compromise aircraft like the Ju 88, clearly incapable of carrying out the very necessary bombing campaign against England.32 There always had been opponents to the medium-bomber programme. By 1942 most of the leadership came to recognize the need to replace it on strategic operations with something more suitable. Thus in the middle of the war the Germans began to rethink air strategy. More precisely they tried to find the technical means for carrying out the kind of strategic bombing campaign they had explored in the war against Britain in 1940. The search could hardly be regarded as a very consistent or vigorous one. It was severely limited by the demands being made on all sides by the war situation itself. Yet even if the technical means remained beyond realisation, the Luftwaffe leadership and Hitler moved slowly but surely towards several clear lines of strategic policy on the bombing issue. The first of these was straightforward enough; to carry out a major independent bombing offensive against Britain in retaliation for that now being fought against German cities. The campaign was to be strictly strategic in nature. The expectation was that its successful operation might bring the British to the point of negotiating terms with the Germans. Hitler in particular favoured such a programme. 'The English', he told Goebbels, 'will be surprised when this undertaking is launched on a big scale. There is no other way of bringing the English to their senses. They belong to a class of human beings with whom you can talk only after you have first knocked out their teeth'. 33 Goring, obviously affected by Hitler's determination to retaliate, took up the same theme. Moreover Goring, capitalising on an earlier discovery made during 1940, encouraged the development of incendiary bombs instead of high explosive. Discussing the war against Britain in May 1942 he told his audience 'If a machine drops one or two large bombs and these don't hit the target precisely, then the whole attack has failed : were many incendiaries to be carried



then the greater spread of bombs would create more damage . . .\ 3 4 The theme of incendiary bombing was one to which he often returned, hoping that the promised new bombs would come from the research establishments in time to be used against Britain.35 Together with the incendiaries the Luftwaffe needed the heavy bomber. Hitler told Heinkel in May 1943 that he wanted 40 or 50 such aircraft flying non-stop shuttle attacks on London day and night. 'Such continuous attacks' he said, 'would bring life there to a standstill'.36 Goring, too, recognized that it was the heavy bomber that would make possible the attack on Britain, attacking small towns with incendiaries carried in 50 aircraft, attacking large cities with 200-300 aircraft carrying the same cargo.37 Gring's view was still coloured by the misunderstanding of the numbers involved. The destruction of Lbeck, Rostock and Cologne had been effected with up to 1,000 aircraft returning in two or three waves. Goring optimistically talked in late 1943 of the much smaller heavy-bomber raids that he had in mind: 'Go and make the first attack on London with 150 aircraft, and only with 150, and then just read the English press'. 38 This kind of misjudgement was shown too in the kind of operations that Hitler demanded. His Terrorangriffe, a direct response to the first area attacks of the RAF, were to be carried out against centres of culture rather than against munitions, which the leading Nazis still considered to be more or less immune from attack. Goebbels recommended that such centres should be 'attacked two or three times in succession and levelled to the ground; then the English probably will no longer find pleasure in trying to frighten us by their terror attacks'. 39 These attacks, which became known as 'Baedeker attacks' were in fact carried out not by the heavy bombers but by medium-bombers scraped together from units all over Europe for the purpose.40 Had the heavy bombers been ready they might indeed have been a serious threat. As it was the terror and retaliation attacks failed to have any appreciable effect on the British will to fight or ability to fight. The same was true of the 'Little Blitz' ordered in the winter of 1943-44.41 The failure in 1942 to get the heavy bomber out in quantity and the growing crisis in Russia throughout 1943 postponed the carrying out of the strategic bombing of Britain indefinitely. 'The zero hour' complained Goebbels, 'is being postponed again and again. That's the terror of terrors. If we could only strike back at the English soon! But, look where you will, no such possibility is to be seen'.42 Nevertheless Hitler approved on 1 December 1943 orders 'to prepare and carry out the long-range warfare against England with all the special weapons involved therein'.43 In May 1944 he completed an order for the Armed Forces for the 'employment of long-range weapons against England'.44 The weapons were to consist of a mixture of V-weapons and bombers for a concentrated attack on London as the



main target. Although the V-weapon assault took place, the invasion of Europe put a permanent stop to any new bomber offensive and the small number of heavy and medium-bombers sent against Britain during the winter of 1943/44 achieved practically nothing. By this time the Allies were dropping as many bombs on Germany in four days as Germany was to drop in a whole year. Hitler's vision of sustaining a bomber offensive against the British vanished through lack of equipment, though he, for one, never halted his search for the right weapons. In January 1945 he was still asking Speer to produce 'a high-speed heavy bomber with wide range and a large bombload'. 45 More success was expected from the second strand of strategic bombing policy, the war at sea. The idea of such an operation had crystallised in 1939 but was only developed fully in 1941 with the growing success of the U-boats and the Focke-Wulf 'Kondor' aircraft.48 The idea was primarily to attack all the major shipping lanes out of range of British coastal defence aircraft and to blockade the British into surrender. This was a policy of major strategic significance and was one of the main reasons why the development of the heavybomber was speeded up by Milch and Jeschonnek in 1941. Milch regarded the bomber as a most 'important aircraft, suitable for ocean attacks'. 47 Hitler too favoured as a vital strategic task the attack on British trade, and Goring at a famous conference in September 1942 demanded yet again an aircraft 'that really can fly far out to sea, there to attack the convoys where they have not got great security'.48 But the most enthusiastic campaigner for the strategy of air and sea blockade was Raeder, head of the German Navy. Aware of the limitations of his U-boats he called in February 1941 for the strategic involvement of the Luftwaffe. 'The Air Force' he told Hitler, 'must attempt to hit Great Britain where it hurts most, by attacking her imports . . . Systematically planned attacks must be made on supply lines, docks, ships and harbours . . . lasting damage must be inflicted on naval bases, especially shipyards'. Raeder regarded such a policy as being 'capable of exerting a decisive influence', a fact that had not escaped Hitler who stressed 'the correctness of the view always held by the Navy, namely, that only that naval and air activity which is concentrated on cutting off supplies will help to bring about the defeat of Great Britain'. The programme was held up by the shortage of bombers, the poor level of preparation and inter-service rivalry, particularly the reluctance of the Luftwaffe to allow its units to be directed by the Navy. After 1943 the main weight of strategic thinking went into ideas of area bombing of the British mainland, though the attacks on convoys remained a part of the general strategic aim.49 The final strategic idea that grew out of the middle period of the war was the need for both terror and war economic attacks on Russia and the United States. Both of these potential targets had been recog-



nized before 1939 but only became important after 1941 when Germany declared war on both. In fact to the Luftwaffe General Staff the idea of attacks on Russia seemed more important and likely to have a greater effect on the current situation than any attacks on Britain, which were for some time only expected to begin again after the war with Russia was completed. Hitler had expected that such a policy would be necessary from at least 1940. In Directive no. 21 (Barbarossa) he ordered the Luftwaffe to direct attacks on the Russian arms industry 'only after the conclusion of mobile warfare, and they will be concentrated first on the Urals area'. 50 The plan never materialised because of the need for tactical support for the army along the eastern front, but as an idea it was one to which the Luftwaffe leadership was to return. It had the advantage that an attack on Russian production, with its large factories and industrial concentrations might halt the flow of arms, and turn the tide in favour of the Germans. 51 In late 1942 Hitler once again raised the question. He wanted heavy bombers for attacks 'in horizontal flight, by night against long distance targets which lie so far from our front that they could not be reached with other aircraft types'. 52 This idea had already been formulated by Jeschonnek some months before when he had planned to use the He 177 for 'far-ranging tasks of destruction'53 but had had little effect. Not until late 1942 did the first group of He 177's move to the Russian front at Zaporozh'ye when most of them were lost or damaged in the Stalingrad battle and the survivors withdrawn back to Germany. The failure did not discourage Hitler. 'For three years this machine has been promised to me' he told industrialists in May 1943. 'For three years I've been waiting for a longdistance bomber. I can't bomb the convoys in the North Sea, nor can I bomb the Urals . . .\ 5 4 Jeschonnek's successor, General Krten tried to carry out the policy in late 1943 by withdrawing the IV Air Corps from the eastern front 'in order that it might be prepared for strategic operations against Soviet Russian industrial targets'. 55 The suggestion was approved but turned out to be inoperable by 1944. Once again it was a failure of supply. Intention far outstripped German's ability to provide adequate weapons. The projected attacks on the United States arose, as with those against Britain and the Urals, out of the fact that Germany had no other direct way of bringing the war to the enemy homelands. Attacks against America would of necessity be rather limited in scope and the initial intention was temporarily to disrupt American home defences, not to launch a major offensive. The same was true of the idea to attack the Panama Canal. Considerable propaganda would be generated by such actions but their economic or military effect would be only temporary.56 Atomic weapons would clearly have been necessary if anything greater were to be achieved in strategic terms. Nevertheless the American projects helped to illustrate the fact that the Luftwaffe had moved a long



way during the Second World War towards accepting and operating a strategic air war like that of the Allies. The British and Americans too had worked towards such a strategy with much heart-searching and uncertainty but they had both developed a heavy bomber before 1939 and a strategic view of its use which had committed them at a much earlier date to the expectation that an aerial offensive would be decisive.5' Although the Germans developed a comprehensive air strategy to include Britain, Russia and America they had failed to prepare adequately for such a contingency. In particular they had failed to provide the technical means for its achievement.

Although Germany developed a new strategic bombing policy during the war, the possibility of fulfilling it became far less promising. It was difficult to switch in midstream from a set of production priorities based on the medium-bomber to one based on the largely untried heavy bombers not yet in full production. As it turned out there was only a small output of heavy bombers throughout the war and part of the explanation for this must lie with the fact that the change in attitudes to the bomber came far too late to affect the immediate course of the war and of war production. Erhard Milch had discovered, on taking over from Udet, that German aircraft production was in a confused and unco-ordinated state and for the time being was forced to stick with the models already in production in order to get anywhere near the targets set for the combined operations against Russia in 1942.58 To have to cut back on this production in favour of large and expensive heavy bombers would perhaps have been even more disastrous than the earlier decision to place all the emphasis on the smaller bomber. By 1942/43 it was also necessary to provide for the massive expansion of fighter aircraft to combat the bomber offensive that threatened to destroy Germany's chances of producing anything. The same was true of personnel. It would be necessary to retrain pilots for the tasks of a heavy bomber offensive as well as make available the ground crews and air bases for making such an offensive possible. By the middle of the war the pressure on manpower made such a switch increasingly difficult to carry out. Nevertheless the heavy bomber now became an integral part of the long-term planning despite the problems that such a decision necessarily brought with it. The difficulty of switching production strategies in the middle of the war was made worse by a further series of miscalculations and misjudgements not unlike those made before 1939. The first problem was to decide how many bombers should be produced. Goring characteristically demanded far too few while giving the impression that he was setting impossible targets. The Germans had consistently



underpinned most aircraft types and continued to do so with the heavy bomber. Instead of planning for enough aircraft to keep large fleets of bombers in being to fulfil the several roles assigned to it by Hitler and the Luftwaffe staff, it was planned to produce less than one-third of what the British were producing. Of course it was difficult for the Germans to know exactly what numbers would be required, what the expected rate of loss would be and how large a reserve to build up. Nevertheless the gulf between what the Germans expected to produce and what the Allies were actually producing was very considerable. Nor was this due to lack of capacity. Speer was to prove in 1944 that good organisation and improvised methods of production could enormously increase the output of aircraft. The first plan to incorporate a significant number of heavy bombers, the so-called 'Gring-Programm', only planned a production of 323 aircraft in 1942 and 903 in 1943. No plan gave a monthly production figure higher than 165. The British on the other hand had plansalbeit unfulfilledto produce a total of 6,682 heavy bombers in 1943 rising to a monthly peak of 625. Moreover actual British production amounted in 1943 to 4,615, whereas German

1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 Plan 10 38 Plan 11 63 Plan 16 25 92 Plan 18/1 75 Planl9B 453 Plan'Elch' 387 Plan'Goring' 392 983 Plan 21U 395 975 Plan 22 946 1,512 Plan 222 847 1,651<6) Plan 224/1 972 900" Plan 225/1 1,200 1,200 Actual Production'0' A 36 58 250 491 573 nil nil B 38 58 251 491 518 nil nil (a) includes the types Heinkel He 177, Focke-Wulf Fw 200, Messerschmitt Me 264. (i>> to September only. (c) Figures for A from W. Baumbach Broken Swastika (London, 1960) pp. 212-3: figures for B from C. Webster, N. Frankland The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany (London, 1961) Vol. IV, p. 496. The figures for the early part of the war are mainly for Fw 200 aircraft which were also used for a long-range reconnaissance role. According to Baumbach there were 263 Fw 200's produced and 1,146 He 177's, the bulk of the latter being produced in 1943 and 1944. Source: BA/RL3 141, Plan 19B: RL3 148, Plan Goring: RL3 152, Plan 21 U: RL3 156, Plan 22: R13 157, Plan Elch: RL3 158, Plan 10, Plan 11 : RL3 159, Plan 16: RL3 162, Plan 18/1 : RL3 167, Plan 222: RL3 177, Plan 224/1 : RL3 182, Plan 225/1.










Germany max. planned 25 92 983 1,651 300 453 actual output 38 491 58 251 518 nil Britain 6,682 max. planned 219 6,850 1,464 3,573 1,438 4,615 actual output 41 498 1,976 5,507 1,073 United States 60 321 9,615 16,341 actual output 2,619 3,198 (a) Figures for America are for actual production only and are for four-engined aircraft, not all of which were heavy bombers. The German figures do not include the four-engined jet bombers planned as these could not be regarded as 'heavy' bombers. <6) Jan.-March only. Source: For Germany as Table 1. For Britain; Webster and Frankland, IV, 497, M. M. Postan British War Production (London, 1952) pp. 472-85, Statistical Digest of the War (London, 1951) p. 152: for America, Webster and Frankland, IV, 497, Appendix 49, Table xxiv.

production of the heavy bomber amounted to a mere 415 in the same year. The story was the same in 1944. The British built 5,507; the Germans, having planned to build only 1,600, actually produced only 518 (See Table 1 for details of German planning). The contrast with the performance of the United States was the same. Huge plans were laid by the Allies in the expectation that an impossibly high target would encourage maximum effort (see Table 2 for details of German and Allied production). Modest plans in Germany reflected both a failure to understand the kind of numbers involved in a bombing war and the deep divisions that had existed since the middle 1930's on the necessity for heavy bombers at all. The second miscalculation was a more technical one. It involved the kind of performance expected of the aircraft once they were operational. Here again there existed a wide difference between the performance of the British and American heavy bombers and those expected and achieved in Germany. Allied heavy bombers tended to be larger, better powered, with wider range and larger bomb load. The American B-17 (first begun as early as 1934) series C weighed 46,650 lbs gross, had a range of 2,400 miles carrying 4,000 lbs of bombs and over shorter distances some versions could carry up to 20,800 lbs of bombs.59 The British Avro Lancaster bomber weighed 68,000 lbs gross and had a range of up to 1,660 miles carrying 14,000 lbs of bombs. Moreover this particular aircraft could carry the Grand Slam bomb weighing 22,000 lbs.60 By comparison the standard Luftwaffe medium-bomber, the Ju 88 (series A-l) could carry a maximum bomb load of only 3,960 lbs with a normal range of only 620 miles. The He 177 heavy



bomber weighed 66,000 lbs gross, and with a full load of only 6,000 lbs had an operational range of only 745 miles. It did not even have the advantage of speed, being only slightly faster than the B-17 and Lancaster and considerably slower than the B-29 Superfortress that became operational in 1944. The initial specification to Heinkel had called for higher speeds and better ranges than were actually achieved, but the greatest problem was the bomb-load. In all these areas the actual He-177 performance came well below that expected by the designer and the RLM but even the expected performance was well below that achieved in the United States. Going hoped to make up for these deficiencies by producing a better bomb, but not even this could disguise the fact that both sides expected something different from their aircraft. The Americans planned from 1941 for the production of a bomber with a maximum bomb load of 72,000 lbs, and a load of 10,000 lbs with a range of 5,000 miles and a gross weight of 278,000 lbs. The result, the Convair B-36 became available as an intercontinental bomber after the war. The German replacement for the He 177, the Heinkel He 277, had a range of 3,700 miles maximum with a maximum bomb-load of 8-10,000 lbs. Another long-range bomber project was even less satisfactory. The He 274 four-engined bomber developed in the second part of the war had a 'normal' range of only 1,770 miles with a bomb-load of 8,000 lbs. 61 Thus, throughout the war the Germans failed to plan and produce the kind of bomber force that could carry a large enough bomb-load over a far enough range to make the effort bear any real success. Perhaps the greatest technical miscalculation lay with the actual choice of aircraft itself and the way it was developed. The Heinkel He 177 heavy bomber proved to be a disaster. Two things made this particular choice more unfortunate than the selection of other types. First of all it had been chosen at a time when Goring had 'discovered' the principle of limitation of types {Typenbeschrnkung). Instead of encouraging the development of a number of competing heavy aircraft to keep new designs in the pipeline, the He 177 was chosen as the only heavy bomber and other projects were shelved.62 Moreover the decisions taken in 1940 to restrict development of future projects in the expectation of quick victory meant that there was no long-term project likely to replace the He 177 once its performance became obsolete.63 Secondly, having put all the eggs in one basket the General Staff went on to make it very difficult to hatch them. The aircraft was given a very low priority; Heinkel himself was given little encouragement to produce it even at the regular speed, and worse still the dive-bomber capability, that had plagued the air planning of the pre-war years, was applied to the He 177.64 It was this decision that produced a whole series of technical difficulties with the aircraft which were never effectively solved throughout the war. It required that the aircraft have two engines



or two pairs of engines because a four-engined aircraft was not thought to be capable of diving. It required too that the aircraft have strengthening in the wings and fuselage that added to its weight (and reduced its range). It also meant that the design of the aircraft had to prove reliable under flying conditions that placed very considerable stresses on both crew and machine. As it turned out these problems were intractable. The He 177 was not, despite its defenders, a particularly good aircraft. The coupled engines were disastrous. After years of research and testing Daimler-Benz failed to solve the problem of producing a power unit which would not either break or catch fire in the air. The reason was quite simple. The design dictated by the coupling produced an engine that was both too heavy as a unit and too difficult to protect against the risk of fire. In fact at the Rechlin testing station an investigating team discovered 56 possible causes of fire.65 By 1942 correspondence at the Heinkel works on alterations and testing of the He 177 filled 56 files.66 Under such conditions it was difficult to get the aircraft into service. Accidents were frequent and test pilots lost their lives so often that the aircraft was nicknamed the Luftwaffenfeurzeug, the 'air force lighter'. But despite these handicaps the RLM insisted not only on continuing tests at all, but on keeping the dive-bombing He 177 as the only available heavy-bomber design. The aircraft even became operational, although one air force officer refused to take the responsibility for sending his crews out in it.67 On one typical operation in the 'little Blitz' in January 1944 some 14 He 177 aircraft were supposed to attack London. One burst a tyre before take-off, eight more overheated and returned almost immediately to base, four reached London of which one was shot down, and the leader of the group lost his way and, finding himself over Norwich, returned to Germany after dropping his bombs in the Zuyder Zee. The same lack of success attended the operations at sea. When, in an effort to regain some lost initiative in the Atlantic battle, the He 177's stationed at Bordeaux-Mrignac were released to attack convoys, the second operation cost 50 per cent of the attacking heavy bombers (including the group commander) and left the whole group with just seven serviceable aircraft.68 The aircraft was neither fast enough nor manoeuvrable enough to justify its use in small numbers against enemy fighters or anti-aircraft fire, and the aircraft itself was still so dangerous that what the enemy failed to destroy was done by the aircraft itself. It was only in 1942, already too late to affect the next few years of war, that Goring discovered that the coupled engine and dive-bomber requirement had been largely responsible for the failure of the He 177. Both he and Hitler ordered not only that the dive-bombing requirement should be abandoned but that the aircraft be converted to four engines if more success could be achieved that way.69 It took time for these new requirements to percolate through the planning stages since a lot of



money had been devoted already to the He 177 project and the RLM was, even in 1942, not completely convinced of the aircraft's unsuitability.70 Nevertheless the exposure of its drawbacks in late 1942 produced some positive results. A whole new range of heavy-bomber projects were started, the He 177 (redesignated He 277) was converted to four engines (although not finally until 3 July 1944) and the idea of producing a large jet-bomber was explored for the first time. What Hitler did not have, however, was the ability to accelerate the process of development and testing. There was in fact little chance on current performance of getting an aircraft of the size, specifications and complexity required into operation before 1946 or 1947. The He 277 faced problems at every stageHeinkel's design bureau was held up because of a move to Vienna where it was hastily installed in a beer cellar. Although Goring demanded in May 1944 that 200 a month should be produced as soon as possible there were still years of new development before mass production would be possible.71 Thus because of the initial concentration on an aircraft that was technically too complicated to perfect and whose performance never matched up to the initial requirements, the Luftwaffe was left in 1942 with a new air strategy but no aircraft capable of fulfilling it. Even the new projects suffered from all kinds of problems. The most promisingthe merikabomber of Messerschmitthad in fact been completed in prototype by late 1942 but the RLM decided in favour of a Junkers design that would be less wasteful of resources.72 The second Me 264 protype was destroyed by Allied bombers and the third was uncompleted before the final ban on the aircraft at the beginning of 1944. The Focke-Wulf proposals (the Fw 300 and Ta 400) never effectively left the drawing board. The Junkers converted transport plane, the Ju 290B, was only started late in 1943 and was scrapped in late 1944 only a few months after the first prototype had flown. The Ju 390 in a bomber version was never produced and the Ju 488, chosen in preference to the other projects in early 1944 because it used mediumbomber components, was destroyed by French saboteurs on its way from Toulouse to Dessau. In the end the RLM opted for a fast new medium-bomber, the Arado Ar 234C, which used four turbo-jet engines, but had a range of only 900 miles with a bomb-load of 4,400 lbs. By mid-1944 plans for the aircraft in 1945 had risen to an output of 2,514, increasing to 500 per month in 1946.73 This decision was based on the optimistic assumption that an aircraft could reach full massproduction in the space of a few months when all aircraft types in the war had taken years to get into production. Only a few of the aircraft were actually produced. The whole catalogue of projects initiated after 1942 produced the reverse of the situation in 1939-41. Now instead of the limitation of types there was a superfluity. It was clear that the RLM neither knew



what industry was capable of producing, which model to choose, nor what kind of strategy its production should be related to. The early choice of the He 177 was thus a double blow. It meant there would be no heavy bombers when they were needed in 1940-42when Milch believed their use might have been 'decisive'and it meant a scrambled and unsatisfactory search for an alternative in the middle of a war against enemies already armed with large and increasingly destructive bomber fleets. On the technical side as well as on the strategic side the series of guesses made before 1939 turned out to be the wrong ones. The result was that the difficulty of switching strategy in 1941 was exacerbated by confusion in technical planning. IV The technical and tactical reasons behind the failure of the German bombing strategy were in some sense symptomatic of a wider failure. To be sure there were a number of economic and technical limitations but these were never to prove decisive. The whole history of German strategic bombing demonstrates a great deal of personal failure on the planning and organisational side, poor technical appreciation and the difficulty of getting the German aircraft firms to work well either together or with the RLM. Two factors dogged German aircraft planning and production. The first was the problem of getting suitable aero-engines; the second was the supply of raw materials. There seems little doubt that a more energetic mobilization of economic resources could have provided Germany with a much more substantial stock of armaments.74 In 1942 the Luftwaffe took less aluminium than it had used in 1941 and yet was able to produce some 3,780 more aircraft.75 Moreover the argument used by Goring and Udet in 1937 to stop the Uralbomber, namely that raw materials were in short supply, took no account of the fact that a well-designed heavy bomber might indeed take up to two and a half times the amount of resources of a medium bomber, but could carry a larger load further than its equivalent in 'medium-bombers'. The Lancaster for example was able to carry four or five times as much bomb-load as the Ju 88, and almost twice as far. Moreover the unloaded weight of the Lancaster was 36,000 lbs, whereas that of the Ju 88 started at 17,000 lbs (Ju 88A-1) and rose to 21,000 lbs (Ju 88 A-4). The Flying Fortress B 170 weighed only 27,000 lbs when unloaded. In terms of efficiency, therefore, the Luftwaffe would have done better to have concentrated on the heavy bomber from the start. For the same industrial effort it would have been possible to carry many more bombs over a significantly wider range than the medium-bombers. The concentration on resources limitation reflected, too, the negative approach to planning adopted in assessing the overall output require-



ments. Instead of presenting the problem as one that had to be solved at all costs, Udet and Goring simply fell back on the raw materials shortage as an excuse for inaction. Even during the war itself, after the Ju 88 had been shown to be unequal to the tasks in the war against Britain, the RLM was arguing against the heavy aircraft on the basis of weight and production totals rather than in terms of military efficiency.76 This might have made sense if the medium-bomber had really proved to be the key to air power or if there had been a real shortage of raw materials. Since neither of these things was the case, the heavy bomber could have been a major part of Germany's armoury during the war. The one major thing that did hold up all aircraft production was the poor state of aero-engine research. Despite large research programmes and much government money, the German engine industry lacked the skills, experience and knowledge of its British and American rivals to the extent that aero-engine performance often held up the introduction of new models, particularly of multiple-engined aircraft. The reasons for this discrepancy are rather obscure. One reason was the prohibition on large engine development under the Versailles Treaty. Germany had also been slower in general in expanding motor transportation than most other industrialised powers.77 Aero-engine development also suffered as other areas did from the gap which existed between research in the institutes and universities and its application in industry.78 Under the Nazis this often became an exaggerated gap thanks to the persecution of individual researchers, the poor planning of research programmes and the isolated pieces of misjudgementsuch as the failure to develop the jet-engine early or fast enoughthat stemmed in part from the kind of administration and personalities favoured by the Nazi regime.79 Whatever the reason, the German aero-engine manufacturers were regularly blamed by the airframe producers for their inability to produce the right engine at the right time. With the DB 606 coupled engine for the He 177 there was the excuse that the requirement was a particularly complicated one but after a period of seven years this fact should have been clear enough to bring an end to the development and to have encouraged the development of an alternative. Both the resources question and the problem of aero-engine development might have been overcome if different decisions had been made and a better judgement formed. Yet the planning of aircraft production was bedevilled with poor organisation, poor planning, poor technical appreciation and 'production' politics. It was this fact that explained the failure to predict the way bombers should be used and the failure to produce the heavy bomber during the war when it was wanted. The poverty of thinking began right at the top. Goring had little grasp of the technical aspects of air planning and left that side to his engineering officers in the Ministry. On one occasion when Goring was supposed



to be visiting Heinkel in Vienna to discuss the latest development of the replacement urgently needed for the He 177, he went instead to spend the day at the well-known Viennese jewelry shop of Christiane Voith.80 This kind of administration made it difficult for Gring's juniors to plan sensibly and systematically and often left a gap in decision-making that went unfilled. Udet, who headed the technical side of the Luftwaffe from 1936 to 1941, was temperamentally unsuited to his position and largely out of touch with technical matters. He was a stunt pilot and bon viveur but was hardly equal intellectually to the kind of demands made upon him by his position in technical planning.81 He once remarked to Heinkel: 'I don't understand anything about production. I understand even less about big aeroplanes'.82 One thing Udet understood and that was the importance in his plans of dive-bombing. He it was who had been responsible in the first place for drawing Gring's attention to its advantages. To the idea of dive-bombing he stuck rigidly and this view, the product of Udet's own narrowness of vision, coincided with the views held by some of the General Staff who favoured an air force that gave mainly tactical support to the army. In the end so much of the decision-making became a question of politics. Goring and Udet favoured the small bomber, therefore a section of the General Staff favoured it also. When Jeschonnek was made Chief of Air Staff in 1938 he too became a staunch medium and dive-bomber supporter. There remained a divisionsometimes a bitter onebetween the advocates of both the heavy and medium-bomber, a division that was to be seen against a background of hostility between engineers and the military, between State Secretary Milch and the General Staff, between parvenus and regulars. It was no accident that much support for the heavy bomber was to be found among the engineers and that this of itself was enough to reduce its chances of acceptance among some of the air staff officers and air commanders. Many of them were originally army officers and found it difficult to escape from the view that the Luftwaffe was primarily a tactical support force for the army, a view that went well with the Stuka and the Ju 88. Only when Hitler came to favour the heavy bomber from 1942 onwards did the Air Staff, without much enthusiasm, come to support it too. It was much too risky to disagree openly with the Fhrer as Milch was to discover. Given this high level of personal and inter-departmental rivalry, it is not perhaps surprising that the heavy bomber programme and the strategy that supported it developed in a piecemeal, inconsistent and haphazard way. What made matters worse was the absence of any co-ordinating machinery to bring the various political camps together where full and free discussion might have produced a satisfactory compromise. There was no satisfactory liaison between Air Staff and the High Command (OKW) and hence Hitler, whose spasmodic inter-



vention in air matters was always decisive, was poorly informed of air affairs and was less certain in his approach to air strategy in the framework of his wider ambitions.83 So fundamental was this communications gap that when Hitler was told by Heinkel in May 1943 that the divebombing requirement had held up development of a heavy bomber he retorted: 'But that's madness! I've heard nothing of this until today. Is it possible that there could be so many idiots?'. 84 Yet this requirement had been laid down six years before. There was, too, a far from happy relationship between the aircraft planners and the aircraft industry. The heavy bomber programme became a function of inter-firm rivalry as it had become one of interstaff politics. For much of the time firms involved in developing a heavy bomber had to work in secret to avoid the RLM proscription on development. For the one firmHeinkelallowed to work on a heavy bomber after 1938 there was the running battle with the state-owned Junkers firm whose managing director, Heinrich Koppenberg, was able to bring pressure on Udet to push the medium-bomber programme forward at the expense of everything else.85 When production of the He 177 was cancelled at the factories scheduled to begin production in mid-1940, Koppenberg exultantly called out while drunk: 'I've already killed the Do 217 and now I have killed the He 177!'86 When the Amerikabomber was to be chosen, it was again the Junkers model that was selected even though Messerschmitt complained that the necessary aircraft was ready at his factory, waiting for permission to begin production.87 At the time Messerschmitt was particularly unpopular with the Air Ministry and this almost certainly counted against him in competition for new aircraft contracts. This kind of rivalry between firms, encouraged by favouritism in the ministry, added as it was to poor administration and service politics, helped to confound what plans the Germans had laid for a heavy bomber and for its use in a strategic bombing offensive.

It remains to ask: what could strategic bombing have achieved for the Germans during the war had they been able to carry it out? The effectiveness of the Allied air offensive against Germany is still the centre of a major debate. If an effort of this scale should have had doubtful results, what impact could a German offensive of smaller scope have had on the course of the war? There were three possible ways in which the German air offensive could have had 'decisive' effect. The first was in the war at sea. The successful development of a long-range bomber force early enough in the war would have added enormously to the burdens facing the British in keeping the shipping lanes open. A mere handful of Focke-Wulf 'Kondors'the 'Scourge of the Atlantic'had



been responsible for sinking 150,000 tons of shipping a month in the first half of 1941. Shipping losses through air action totalled 580,000 tons in 1940 and over one million tons in 1941, just under half the total sinkings for the North Atlantic theatre.88 The second possibility was through the bombing of the British mainland. Had this been carried out on a large scale with heavy bombers in late 1940 or 1941 its effect might have been very considerable. For one thing the Germans knew of the effectiveness of the fire-bomb and could have attacked British cities with the same destructiveness as the Allies, but at a much earlier date and before Britain could have been certain of American military assistance.89 Even at a later date a more determined bomber offensive against British cities and industry would have eased the full force of the bombing on Germany in 1943 and 1944, and might perhaps have persuaded the British to halt the escalating scale of retaliation. Finally both the Uralbomber and the Amerikabomberforerunners of the intercontinental bombermight have had an important effect in limiting Russian industrial output which was not dispersed and would have provided a relatively easy target. Such attacks might have decisively affected the Russian ability to continue the war on the Eastern front, though it is perhaps unlikely that this could have been achieved by bombing alone. It seems fair to conclude that the strategic benefits that Germany would have gained from carrying out such an air offensive might well have exceeded those finally gained by the Allies, particularly as Britain was not able to get her own bombing offensive in operation until 1942. What was so extraordinary about the German case was the fact that despite the existence of such strategic ambitions there was such a great gap between intention and practice. This was partly because of strategic miscalculations of which Germany had her fair share, but it was partly, too, a product of the Nazis own inability to translate intention readily into reality. This was true in military affairs as it was in other spheres, but it was especially true for the Luftwaffe which the Nazis regarded as their own service, free from the traditions of the Prussian past. Every country had the opportunity to make wrong 'guesses' in warfare. The Nazis simply magnified their chances by the very nature of the personalities and administration that they employed. In a sense the strategic air war was lost before it started.

NOTES 1. C. Webster, N. Frankland, The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany, 4 vols. London, 1961 : there is also D. Richards, H. Saunders The Royal Air Force 1939-1945, 3 vols. London, 1953. 2. W. F. Craven, J. L. Cate The Army Air Forces in World War II 7 vols. Chicago, 1948-58. 3. A. Nielsen The German Air Force General Staff New York, 1959, p. 152.



4. D. Irving The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe London, 1972, p. 170: A. Hillgruber Hitlers Strategie Frankfurt a M, 1965, p. 174: K. Klee Dokumente zum Unternehmen Seelwe Gttingen, 1959, p. 298: W. Baumbach Broken Swastika London, 1960, p. 107. 5. Lord Tedder Air Power in War London, 1948, diagram 5. 6. W. Green Warplanes of the Third Reich London, 1970, pp. 223-7: C. Bekker The Luftwaffe War Diaries, London, 1966, p. 261. 7. R. Kilmarx A History of Soviet Air Power London, 1962, pp. 152-3, 193, 8. Nielsen op. cit., p. 6, 155: G. Frster Totaler Krieg und Blitzkrieg Berlin, 1967, p. 150. 9. A. Kesselring Memoirs London, 1953, ch. v: Green op. cit. p. 128: R. Suchenwirth Command and Leadership in the German Air Force New York, 1969, pp. 33-5. 10. E. Heinkel He 1000 London, 1954, pp. 216-7. The He 177 first appeared in German Air Ministry plans in Plan 10, January 1939. See Bundesarchiv (BA) RL3/158. 11. Heinkel op. cit. p. 215, 217-8: Suchenwirth op. cit. p. 35: Frster op. cit. pp. 153-4. 12. G. Douhet The Command of the Air London, 1943 ed. pp. 299-316. This book greatly exaggerated both the quantity of bombs that aircraft could carry and the destructiveness of such bombloads. Douhet was translated into German in 1935. 13. P. C. Smith The Stuka at War London, 1971, pp. 12-13: Nielsen op. cit. p. 156: Bekker op. cit. pp. 478-9 Appendix II, 'Statement issued on March 17th 1954 by Field Marshal Kesselring on the subject of Luftwaffe policy and the question of a German four-engined bomber'. 14. Heinkel op. cit. p. 215. 15. Irving op. cit. p. 65. 16. Suchenwirth op. cit. p. 77. 17. For example General Paul Deichmann who complained bitterly to Milch and Gring at a conference in 1937 about the unsuitability of the medium-bomber programme: see Nielsen op. cit. pp. 156-7. 18. K-H. Vlker Dokumente und Dokumentarfotos zur Geschichte der deutschen Luftwaffe Stuttgart, 1968, pp. 445-9. 19. Ibid. pp. 460-66: D. Dempster, D. Wood The Narrow Margin London, 1961, pp. 224-5. 20. International Military Tribunal Trial of the Major War Criminals Nuremberg, 1947, vol. IX. pp. 45-60, Milch interrogation. 21. H. Trevor-Roper ed. Hitler's War Directives London, 1964, pp. 74-80: Klee op. cit. pp. 298-372, documents 8-28. 22. J. Slessor The Central Blue London, 1956, pp. 203-7: A. Harris Bomber Offensive London, 1947, pp. 31-2. 23. C. Fitzgibbon The Blitz London, 1957: A. Calder The People's War London, 1969, ch. iv: Irving op. cit. pp. 107-8. 24. War Directives pp. 74-9, Directive 16: Klee op. cit. p. 263, 298 (Hitler claimed the air attacks 'could work decisively for the war') : W. Warlimont Inside Hitler's Headquarters London, 1964, pp. 107-9. 25. Webster and Frankland op. cit. I, pp. 36-7 (note). 26. Hillgruber op. cit. pp. 173-4: Klee op. cit. p. 263, 298: K. Klee Das Unternehmen 'Seelwe' Gttingen, 1958, p. 175. 27. F. Halder Kriegstagebuch 3 vols, Stuttgart, 1962-4, II, p. 216, entry for 6.12.1940. 28. War Directives pp. 102-4, Directive 23: A. Galland The First and the Last London, 1955, pp. 53-4: A. Price Luftwaffe London, 1969, pp. 61-4. 29. L. Lochner ed. The Goebbels Diaries London, 1948, p. 139 entry for 4.27.1942. 30. H. Piocher The German Air Force versus Russia 1941 New York, 1965.



31. Milch Documents (MD) vol LI, 353-5 (from the microfilm collection in the Imperial War Museum). 32. MD LIII, 756. 33. Goebbels Diaries p. 139: A. Speer Inside the Third Reich London, 1970, p. 283. 34. MD LXII, 5208. 35. MD LXII, 5226, 5859-61. On this occasion Gring spoke of fire as being the only way of effecting 'a colossal, complete and final destruction'. 36. Heinkel. op. cit. p. 233. 37. MD LXIII, 5862-3. 38. MD LXIII, 6216. 39. Goebbels Diaries p. 139. 40. W. Boelcke ed. The Secret Conferences of Dr. Goebbels London, 1970, pp. 233-4. The name was coined by Batron von Stumm, Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Press Department and was highly unpopular with Goebbels who claimed it was 'totally wrong to boast of the destruction of things of cultural value'. See too B. Collier The Defence of the United Kingdom London, 1957, pp. 303-11. 41. J. Killen The Luftwaffe London, 1967, pp. 238-9: Green op. cit. p. 345. The 'Little Blitz', known as Operation Steinbock, employed some 550 bombers gathered together from other fronts. Of these only 35 were heavy bombers. 42. Goebbels Diaries, p. 436. 43. War Directives p. 239. 44. Ibid. pp. 239-40. 45. W. Boelcke ed. Deutschlands Rstung im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Hitlers Konferenzen mit Albert Speer 1942-45 Frankfurt a M, 1969, p. 468. 46. S. Roskill The War at Sea 4 vols, London, 1954-61, I, p. 350, 362 615: II. p. 485. 47. MD XV, 2145-6. 48. MD LXII, 5297. 49. F. H. Hinsley Hitler's Strategy Cambridge, 1951, pp. 167-8. Hitler told Raeder that Gring would 'greatly resent it' if the Navy were given control over air operations in the Atlantic. See too Bekker op. cit. p. 273 : Roskill op. cit. I, p. 362. 50. War Directives, p. 97, Directive 21. 51. Speer op. cit. pp. 281-3. Speer had actually set up a special committee of industrialists on June 23rd 1943 to discuss possible technological targets in Russia. Working on their findings Speer spent a year trying to persuade Hitler and the Luftwaffe chiefs of staff to undertake pinpoint attacks on electric power stations. 52. MD LI, 479. 53. MD LXII, 5204. 54. Heinkel op. cit. p. 232. 55. Nielsen, op. cit. p. 174. 56. Baumbach op. cit. pp. 108-11. 57. T. A. Wilson The First Summit: Roosevelt and Churchill at Placentia Bay 1941 London, 1970, pp. 134-6. Churchill believed 'the bombers alone provide the means of victory'. C. Spaatz 'Strategic Air PowerFulfilment of a Concept 'Foreign Affairs no. 24, 1945/46. 58. BA/RL3 6, letter from Milch to Jeschonnek. 59. F. Swanborough United States Military Aircraft since 1919 London, 1963, pp. 74-83. 60. O. Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-1957 London, 1957, pp. 56-9. 61. Green op. cit. p. 339, 342, 358-60, 454-5: Swanborough op. cit. pp. 84-90, 143: P. Lewis The British Bomber since 1914 London, 1967, pp. 340-1. 62. National Archives (NA) Washington D.C., Microcopy T 177, Roll 14, frames 3698585-7.



63. Heinkel op. cit. p. 222: MD LXV, 7281. 64. G. Thomas Geschichte der deutschen Wehr-und Rstungswirtschaft 19181943/5 (ed. W. Birkenfeld, Boppard a Rhein, 1966) p. 420: Heinkel op. cit. p. 220. 65. Green, op. cit. p. 343. 66. Heinkel op. cit. p. 230. 67. Irving op. cit. p. 172. 68. Green op. cit. pp. 345-6. 69. MD LXII, 5235. 70. BA/RL3 16, He 177 Handakten, report from Petersen to Gring, 19.8.42. 71. Heinkel op. cit. pp. 233-4: BA/RL3 16, 48-50, 70-76. 72. Green op. cit. pp. 640-41: A. van Ishoven Messerschmitt London, 1975, p. 115, 172. 73. Green op. cit. pp. 55-6, 509-10, 519-21, 640. Hitler ordered the immediate production of the jet-bomber in September 1944: see Boelcke, Deutschlands Rstung p. 411. 74. This argument has been well-sustained in B. H. Klein Germany's Economic Preparations for War Harvard, 1959 and A. S. Milward The German Econom at War London, 1965. See too the discussion of comparative industrial mobilization in R. J. Overy 'Die Mobilisierung der britischen Wirtschaft whrend des Zweiten Weltkrieges' in H-E. Volkmann, F. Forstmeier eds. Kriegswirtschaft und Rstung Dsseldorf, 1977. 75. R. Wagenfhr Die deutsche Industrie im Kriege Berlin, 1963, p. 76; United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Report no. 20, Light Metal Industry of Germany Part I: Aluminium p. 17a. 76. BA/RL3 97, chart dated 20.10.1941 comparing aircraft weights: chart dated 'winter 1942/3' on relative aircraft size. 77. See R. J. Overy 'Cars, Roads and Economic Recovery in Germany 1932-38' Economic History Review 2nd Ser. XXVIII, 1975, pp. 466-8. 78. L. Simon German Research in World War II New York, 1947. 79. G. Hartcup The Challenge of War. Scientific and Engineering Contributions to World War Two London, 1970, pp. 29-30. A. Beyerchen Scientists under Hitler London, 1977. 80. Heinkel, op. cit. p. 234. 81. H. Herlin Udet: a Man's Life London, 1960. 82. Heinkel op. cit. p. 185. 83. T. Elmhirst 'The German Air Force and its Failure' Journal of the Royal United Services Institution XCI (1946) p. 504. 84. Heinkel op. cit. p. 233. 85. Suchenwirth Command and Leadership ..., pp. 76-80. 86. Heinkel op. cit. p. 219. 87. Speer Collection, Imperial War Museum, FD 4921/45 Folder 2, Me 264. 88. Roskill op. cit. I, p. 500, 613. 89. Webster and Frankland op. cit. I, pp. 252-3. In the early stages of the war German aircraft carried a larger proportion of incendiaries (an estimated 30 % of bombload) than British bombers (an average of 15%).