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"Does strategic bombing work?" Topic

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ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa13 Dec 2022 2:20 p.m. PST

Spoiler alert

Probably not.

YouTube link

Striker13 Dec 2022 5:49 p.m. PST

Very interesting. I don't think the Russians have much experience with strategic bombing, more like harassment/indiscriminate shelling like early in the 90's. I also wonder, now that electricity is more important for everyday life, how a higher tech dependent populace would react, say the US? The Japanese were able to spread out their weapon work to cottage industries but if your weapons are more tech heavy and consolidated into a few companies what would that effect be?

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2022 6:36 p.m. PST

Strategic bombing vs indiscriminate bombing in the 20th century is still debated, I think. The US in Europe was mainly strategic, to the extent that the tech of the era could be accurate. The Norden bombsight, specifically. The Ploesti oil facilities and the synthetic oil factories at Odertal and Blechammer were destroyed by strategic daylight bombing and helped to ensure the Germans were short of fuel in the Ardennes and elsewhere. This required planning and coordinating organized campaigns which the Russians do not show much sign of doing, much less sustaining.

Thatblodgettkid13 Dec 2022 8:08 p.m. PST

Maybe not in the way that Giulio Duhet thought it would back in the inter-war period (and Douhet was the inspiration for most Strategic-bombing enthusiasts in World War II and after), but I dare say it has it's place

Thresher0113 Dec 2022 8:39 p.m. PST

Streategic bombing works, if you attack the enemy's manufacturing plants, transportation networks, oil and other fuel depots, electrical grid, etc., etc.

During WWII, much of Germany's ability to fuel their war machine was crippled due to attacks on their oil supplies, and transportation networks. A lot of aircraft and tanks, as well as other vehicles were not able to be used due to this, especially during the last 12 months of the war.

Bombing cities did nothing to get the Germans to surrender.

Germany excelled in continuing to manufacture aircraft and V-Weapons, since they used slave labor, and much of this was moved into underground caves, which were virtually invulnerable to air attack.

raylev313 Dec 2022 9:58 p.m. PST

You have to define what you mean by "work."

If you mean, can it when a war on its own, it never has and probably never will.

But it can, at least, force a diversion of resources. Think of all the manpower, steel, weapons, etc. that Germany had to divert to air defense (of all kinds) instead of putting those resources into their ground forces.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2022 10:06 p.m. PST

if you mean strategic bombing of strategic resources,

However, bombing population centers (other than
transportation hubs) which are not strategic resources
doesn't work, except possibly to enrage the targeted

There are a couple of works on the treatment of US and
UK aircrew at the hands of German civilians and probably
there are some about the treatment of Luftwaffe aircrew
at the hands of UK civilians.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2022 10:08 p.m. PST

"Bombing" today in Ukraine is a stand off affair based on missile range. Is this correct?

In WW2, going after, say a heavily defended target like the Blechammer complex, the aircraft locked onto the bombing run as a group, while the Germans set up "boxes" of exploding flack. There were no evasive moves, they flew right through it.The crews rode along with fingers crossed as the Norden did the work. A helpless few minutes until bombs away over the target and the turn to the rally point. A complex and daunting operation, many missions in a sophiticated campaign to destroy fighting capacity.

The Russians fight like the have no vision of how to win. They are sporadic, lack a cohesive strategy, bad at logistics. . The civilian targets they hit only harden Ukranian resolve as their families are in danger. The drones are crude and not hard to stop, but numerous and a few always get through. The Russians have hurt the power grids, but their own grounds forces are freezing too. A mess.

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2022 5:45 p.m. PST

"The Bomber Mafia" is an interesting examination of the WW2 US strategic bombing campaigns from techological inception to execution (focused on LeMay and Hassell). I recommend it for a take on its success in the 40s.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP14 Dec 2022 6:21 p.m. PST

Good call, LostPict, I second.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2022 6:00 p.m. PST

Plus today strategic bombing is much higher tech and accurate. E.g. B-52s can even be called in at a tactical level. They can carry a number cruise, etc. type missiles etc., IIRC. And each missile can be targeted to separate locations, etc.

I think massive bomber formations flying over a city, etc. is long over IMO. Bombers, e.g. B-52s, B-1s, B-2s and now B-21s, etc. can be used as flying weapons platforms. Not like the massive formations of WWII. Or even Vietnam. Again, tech makes a big difference than in the 40s, etc.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2022 3:22 a.m. PST

"Plus today strategic bombing is much higher tech and accurate. E.g. B-52s can even be called in at a tactical level"

Thats not strategic bombing. Its strategic bombers trying to remain relevant

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2022 11:06 a.m. PST

Whatever you call it … it seems to work. Having air and naval assets[if they are in range?] to hit enemy targets wherever. That seems relevant to me ? We have all types of cruise, etc. type missiles, etc., both air & naval based, etc. Why not have all of those in your inventory ? We have the airframes, why not upgrade them & use them if need be.

From an old fart Grunt's POV, anytime you can get support beyond from what you are carrying is a good thing. May mean many enemies will be removed as a threat to the ground forces, etc. As long as I or my higher HQs can call in those assets if need be. That works for me.

Zephyr119 Dec 2022 10:33 p.m. PST

Strategic bombing would be even more effective these days, as the industrial capabilities of many nations are diminished (i.e. fewer targets), and with modern precision munitions, well, good luck in trying to rebuild an arms industry in time to defend yourself…

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2022 10:23 a.m. PST

"Smart" munitions has change warfare. Being more accurate and reduces CD.

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