Thursday, April 16, 2015


They were going downtown to kill.

Strategic bombardment. I don't think I could do it. Wiping out cities. No No.

I had an image here of a pretty girl but that just skews the point. Every single man in every single plane had a girl or two to go home to but they did this, day after day.

When you look at the flak and consider it was launched by people desperate to keep the bombs from falling on their loved ones...


Captain Steve said...

Casualty rates for 8th AF aircrew were the highest in the war--including combat infantry.

Strategic bombardment isn't--outside nukes that is. Those assets would have been far more useful to the war effort employed in maritime patrol and Tactical air roles. Billy Mitchell, Douhet and Trenchard have much to answer for IMO.

HMS Defiant said...

When Webb went apeshit opposing the Air Force Monument I was stunned. I think his father was Army Air Force and flew in the war. I listened on navy red as the captain of the SBR radioed for assistance after running over a mine. He ended all of his calls with, "no higher honor."

Buck posted that the loss rate for the 20th Air Force was 100%. That whole Burma China India thing is lost to most Americans but we lost so many.

I hope that I have never disparaged those men and I hope I never do. They were mustered and given a mission by the Commander in Chief. They did it to the best of their ability. By and large, I would love to buy them a beer.

Twice I sent Tomahawks into town. I didn't push the fire button. I was the staff planner and just one of the most open. I moved the ships but it was the ones behind the green door that chose the building.

I look at that picture and go, yeah, I did that. I don't like it.

I suppose it's regret.

virgil xenophon said...

Yes, the losses were horrible 8th AF & RAF took 50, 000 losses of heavies alone. But consider this, although the strategic bombing surveys postwar showed strategic bombing to have fairly ineffective as compared to desired aims, the NAZIs devoted ONE THIRD (1/3rd!) of their ENTIRE WAR PRODUCTION to stopping those raids-aircraft, fuel, manpower, guns--soup-tp-nuts. Think how many tanks & trucks could have been produced, manned, armed and employed in N. Afrika and on the Eastern Front if not for that. Could have changed the outcome of the war..

Captain Steve said...

Yes, familiar with that argument, and it is not without merit, however (you knew that was coming, right?) if the allies had devoted say, a third of their "Strategic bombardment" force to Maritime Patrol in 1942-43--how many merchant seamen and their ships would have been saved? How much better would Russia--not to say Great Britain--been supplied? How much earlier would we have defeated the U Boats in the Battle of the Atlantic?
On a cost-effective basis (effective=winning the war) I do not think there is much debate. Furthermore, the ideological fanaticism with which the RAF and USAAC/F resisted allocation of LRAP assets to Maritime Patrol remains one of the most embarrassingly stupid decision sets of the entire war.

HMS Defiant said...

Yes, achieved at the price of fire raids and Dresden. I was born in Nurnberg a long time ago. My father had a battery of artillery in the occupation force. still. I get a kick out of it when he tells me that the 'stairwell commander' in our barracks "apartment" building was one David Hackworth.

The human cost of strategic bombardment was enormous. I spent many years laboring in buildings in San Diego that produced the bombers in their serried ranks. I think when I got there it was called Air Force Plant 19. Then it produced the TEL for the GLCM. My last office was above the United Launch Alliance facility which made gas cans for missiles.

it was a different era.

I tried to capture an iconic pic from Torrey Pines but we weren't up to the camera angle stuff. On the outside wall of the museum there by the Children's Pool is the museum and on the wall it says, "BRAVE MEN RUN IN MY FAMILY."

No Mistake. Those were some very brave men.

It was a different age; both of them and now this one.

HMS Defiant said...

I think that was 10th Air Force. I didn't check. They got the bombers, eventually.

There should always be an England.

Navy Department 27-MAY-47

This is the text of a document from 1947 'stenciled' by the Navy Department Office of Public Information. This was provided by the United States Naval Institute
Ships Section
Office of Public Information
Navy Department


There are many ships in the U.S., Navy with excellent war records~ some have brilliant records but few can tell a story as fabulous as the USS ENGLAND in her anti-submarine warfare against the Japanese. This destroyer escort sank six Jap submarines in the last two weeks of May 1944 for a record that no other vessel could hope to approach. Even those who saw ~he ENGLAND in action could hardly believe what they were seeing but the incredible facts still stand to be wondered at.

Captain Steve said...

Yes. Ernie King famously said "There will always be an England in the U.S. Navy". We had one, too, up until the retirement of the CG by that name.

Needless to say, the current administration appears to be in no hurry to name a new "England".

HMS Defiant said...

At the Main Brace, the cruiser CO had a seat with his name on it. He used to join as at the Yee Old Oxe, back in the days when we had single enders, double enders, frigates, destroyers and many others.

Captain Steve said...

Cool that.

Ex Bootneck said...

The Nazi 'blitz' over Great Britain started in early september 1942, and lasted almost 38 weeks. It resulted in 43,000 civilians dead - 46,000 severely injured - 140,000 wounded, and over 1,000,000 homes/buildings destroyed. (Official figures maintained within the Imperial War Museum.) I'm not one for saying; "They started it" - but they did, and they reaped the whirlwind that followed, which in part was designed to stop the bombing of GB, as well as destroy key components of the Nazi's infrastructure.

If you search 'Strensall, York, UK' via Google Earth - you will find the countryside just north of the village littered with hard impact areas, as well as water filled craters. The result of Nazi bombers ditching their ordnance early instead of over York, which was due to the interception of Spitfires and Hurricanes of the RAF (several pilots being American volunteers.) Such areas exist around the major cities of Great Britain.

Those that did deliver over Europe had an awful lot on their conscience afterwards. However; they were the more fortunate ones… We still honour the graves of the fallen that remain here on British soil who did not return to the US, who gave their all for an extremely grateful nation. We would willingly give our all in return, which has been proved of late.

HMS Defiant said...