The Bombers and the Bombed
Allied Air War over Europe, 1940-1945
Richard Overy, Penguin, 2014 Beav. 940.544
Anti-population and anti-factory bombing did not slow war production until late 1944. Anti-transportation and anti-fuel-supply bombing had great effect ... after that began.
Inaccurate bombing killed half a million civilians, including many French and Dutch and Belgians in the vicinity of war factories.
- p132 May 16, 1943 Ruhr dams: Overy quotes Harris extensively, 1942 raids lost 2/3 water, but the dams were restored 7 months later and the "long-term damage to the industrial water supply was less than had been hoped" Only 8 out of 13 Lancasters returned and 56 out of 113 aircrew were lost. 1294 drowned.
- but ... how did the destruction, labor diversion, productivity reduction, etc. compare to other bombing missions, per loss of aircrew and civilian life? A half year of lost productivity in the middle of a war seems like a lot.
- p133 May/June 1943 Barmen/Wuppertal raid by 719/630 bombers, 66 aircraft lost, 80%/94% of cities burned, 3,400/1,800 killed. So this is better?
- p213 1945 Yalta, bomb line to protect Soviet advance, Dresden bombing was allowed. Feb 13 1945, 796 Lancasters, 75,000 homes destroyed, 25,000 dead.
- p418 Governments in exile in London protest civilian casualties. High altitude bombing inaccurate, killed more civilians than factories.
Overall message: Aerial bombing is inaccurate and less effective than claimed. Duh.