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View Diary: D-Day, RAF Keevil (76 comments)

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  •  Len Deighton wrote that he was inspired (7+ / 0-)

    to write his novel "Bomber" when he read about Lancaster crews cheering when they were briefed that Stirlings would be part of their raiding force. The Lanc crews knew that the lower-flying Stirlings would attract more of the attention of the German defenses.

    OTOH, the crew of a badly damaged Stirling (or Halifax) had a much better chance of escape than the crew of a damaged Lanc.

    -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

    by Wreck Smurfy on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:43:33 PM PST

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    •  The Stirling was ruined... (7+ / 0-)

      ....and was easy meet for the fighters and flak at 15,000 ft.

      I liked the Halifax - very much - and there will be diaries on the Lancaster and the Halifax, in the future.

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:00:09 PM PST

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      •  As much as I believe that the area bombing (5+ / 0-)

        policy was utterly misguided, I am still very interested in the hardware, and the men who flew it. Looking forward to those diaries.

        -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

        by Wreck Smurfy on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:20:18 PM PST

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        •  I drove to see the re-constructed Halifax.... (5+ / 0-)

          ...at Yorkshire Air Museum, this year, and the RAF Museum's Lancaster and their Halifax 'wreck', as well as the Panton's Lancaster B.VII.

          It goes without saying that I have LOTS of Mosquito photographs!

          'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

          by shortfinals on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:27:41 PM PST

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        •  Possible Even Entire Strategic Bombing Misguided (7+ / 0-)

          The ultimate analysis of the strategic bombing campaign in Europe by the USAAF might even suggest that the entire effort was a bust.  All of strategic airpower's advocates (on both sides I might add) had difficulty identifying just which targets might collapse a modern economy.  The American effort against the Reich's synthetic fuel industry was about the only campaign which achieved anything like success in Europe.  In the Pacific, one could perhaps argue that the strategic mining campaign against the Japanese was more important than the raids against Japanese cities.  At least, that was true until weapons were developed which could make a strategic campaign against an opponent truly devastating.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:53:46 PM PST

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          •  The oil campaign would have worked....and did,.. (5+ / 0-)

            at the end, but the RAF had other, misguided, priorities

            'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

            by shortfinals on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:14:34 PM PST

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          •  Herr Speer was able to fix up stuff pretty quickly (4+ / 0-)

            as I understand it, The Todt boys were very efficient (after all they were German). Did the attacks on the ball bering plants at Schweinfurt give them any pause in your opinion.

          •  Yes and no... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shortfinals, Otteray Scribe, ER Doc

            One of the needs of the allied ground forces, especially for D-DAY was total air superiority. This was achieved, of course, through destroying planes, slowing the production of planes, and killing trained pilots. A war of attrition, in other words. Strategic bombing may not have dramatically reduced the production of aircraft, airframe and other aircraft related manufacturing, but as a tool to lure the Luftwaffe into combat with American fighters, strategic bombing excelled.

            We lost many, many fighters and bombers, true--the air corps had the highest casualty ratios of all the service arms save submarines--but we could replace them. The Germans could not do so as easily. And even the small disruptions of production had an impact when combined with the loss of aircraft from attacking bomber streams and their fighter cover. Also, the loss of experienced pilots in actions against the bombers was critical.

            My point is, as a means of destroying  production, strategic bombing did not live up to its promise; but as a means of destroying the Luftwaffe, and achieving air superiority by D-Day, it was very effective.

            "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

            by Wheever on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 09:54:23 PM PST

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            •  There were probably more effective ways (4+ / 0-)

              of destroying German fighters than by trading 10-man 4-engine bombers for them.

              Yeah, it worked, but that wasn't what the generals were trying to accomplish and it was bloody expensive.

              The bomber generals were sure that strategic bombing was going to bring Germany to its knees any day now and no invasion would even be necessary.

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:15:08 PM PST

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              •  Close to home for you, I know, MK. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shortfinals, Simplify

                But it was total war. But yes, the bomber mafia really did think that bombs alone were enough.

                One thing we have to keep in mind is that in 1940, aerial bombardment and strategic bombing were entirely new concepts, to the military mind. I read a story where, after the first bombing of the docklands in London at the beginning of the Battle of Britain, the American ambassador was taken on a tour so he could see not only the damage, but what a bomb looked like.

                Think about that for a second. Now, when we think "bomb," we see the iconic finned object that we all know so well, but in 1940, the word "bomb" meant the round thing with a fuse coming out of it, so beloved of cartoons. That's crazy to think about. Bombing was a whole new technology to enter the military consciousness. Most people really hadn't heard of Billy Mitchell. So it would be unsurprising that they would think it would be a magic weapon.

                The operation I was thinking of specifically last night was "Point Blank," which I, er,  blanked on at 1am.  PrahaPartizan was kind enough to remind me below.

                "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

                by Wheever on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:51:35 PM PST

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                •  Also, the seminal work by .. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Wheever, Simplify

                  ....Giulio Douhet, 'The Command of the Air' postulated that the bomber would always get through, and a speech to that effect was given by the then British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin.

                  Britain had its own, inflexible 'bomber barons', who, even when shown the statistics that a Mosquito could carry a 4,000lb bomb to Berlin at close to 400 mph, with a crew of just two, and a loss rate in night-time sorties of 0.39%, (106 lost from 26,936 sorties!) REFUSED to change policy, and kept sacrificing 7 man crews in Halifaxes, Lancasters, and the unfortunate Stirlings!

                  The Mossie was 60% wood, had TWO Merlins and TWO crew, and a 4,000lb blockbuster made a heck of hole in anything it came across. RAF Bomber Command losses and the whole, huge '4-engined mafia' structure used up enormous quantities of the very best manpower Britain could ill afford to lose, and THAT is why Montgomery's armies shrank in Normandy, 'Bomber' Harris had already killed his replacements!

                  'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

                  by shortfinals on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:53:03 PM PST

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            •  Operation Point Blank (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wheever, shortfinals, Simplify

              I believe this is the campaign to which you refer, when the USAAC in early 1944 decided to offer up the bomber force as a target to force the Luftwaffe to come and fight against the escort fighters the Allies had deployed.  I cannot understand just how the high command decided to append that code name to the campaign.  I'm sure many "jokes" abounded at the time on the American flyers' side about just whose execution "point blank" the campaign referred to.

              "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

              by PrahaPartizan on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:42:37 AM PST

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              •  That's it. Couldn't recall the name last night. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shortfinals

                Spaatz and Quasada ran that show. It was brutal, yes, but in the end effective.

                "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

                by Wheever on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:35:18 PM PST

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