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WWII Strategic Bombing Campaign in Europe -- Did It Pay Off?

Started by tbone0106, July 15, 2012, 06:28:49 AM

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Quote from: mdgiles on September 02, 2012, 03:02:51 AM
Then that's a first class intelligence failure. The enemy leader has an a major headquarters, And you have no idea it's there? Shouldn't air reconnaissance have shown suspicious activity? I mean some one must have wonder what was being built with the equipment flowing into the area. Shouldn't we have had at least a few people on the ground, perhaps working through the Polish government in exile.If I was the Hank's character and I was handed a mission like that, I'd have taken my men out a couple of clicks, checked with any troops I found, and then come back and said we didn't find him. Take my men out and get them killed over Bullshit like that. Hell, I'm surprised his commanding officer didn't take him aside and give him those exact orders. I think the plot had a lot to do with the Hollyweird belief that military men will follow any old stupid order.
Actually it was the German fighter planes that were the biggest problem. Once they brought in the long range Mustangs, bomber losses plunged. Interestingly enough, many of the German flak shells were manufactured by forced labor, and they managed to sabotage more than a few of them - especially the fuses. So the often went off at the wrong altitude - luckily for the bombers.

Perhaps it was an intelligence failure. Certainly, the Wolfsschanze was well-protected and expertly camouflaged to avoid detection from the air, something Hitler feared greatly. In any case, air reconnaissance has its limitations, undoubtedly more then than now. And even with certain knowledge of the location of specific valuable targets, the technology of the day proved faulty when it came to "precision bombing," a phrase that in those times was a contradiction in terms.

And yes, German fighters posed a bigger threat early on than did the flak guns, though both took their toll. But it's also fair to say that the effect of the Luftwaffe's fighters dropped off markedly after 1943 in the face of the Mustang's opposition, while their 88's kept punching holes in the air, and in Allied bombers, right to the end of the war.