Talk:Strategic bombing during World War II

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First strategic bombing of Germany by the RAF[edit]

With the edit, at 00:56, 29 December 2013,I corrected the date for the first strategic bombing of Germany by the RAF from 12 to the 15, noting it was after the Rotterdam Blitz and included a source with the change. The date change was altered today, by an editor making their very first edit (if I were not assuming good faith I might assume that this was a sockpuppet edit), back to 12 May. with the comment "The first RAF raid on Germany was on the night of 11-12th May 1940"

The raids on Germany west of the Rhine prior to night of 15/16 May 1940 were tactical theatre interdiction raids. Here is a source the explains them in more detail:

Note its entry for the night of 15/16 May 1940:

15/16 May - 39 Wellingtons, 36 Hampdens and 24 Whitleys (99 aircraft in total) despatched to 16 targets in the vital Ruhr industrial area of Germany. 81 aircraft report bombing their primary or secondary objectives. 1 Wellington lost. 6 Wellingtons and 6 Whitleys also raided targets in Belgium without loss. These are the first Bomber Command raids to the east of the Rhine and mark the beginning of Bomber Command's Strategic Offensive.

This is in line with the Taylor source cited in the article that explains it was on the 15th that the British Cabinet gave the go-ahead for strategic bombing of Germany and the issuing of a new RAF directive. -- PBS (talk) 18:59, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

The fact is that the RAF first bombed Germany (Cologne and the Ruhr Valley) on the night of the 11-12th May 1940. (ChuckOvereasy (talk) 20:11, 30 December 2013 (UTC))
The above editor is a sockpuppet of banned editor HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 17:07, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
(a) As far as I can tell Cologne and the Ruhr Valley was not bombed that night the RAF diary states: "11/12 May - 19 Hampdens and 18 Whitleys bomb road and rail targets in München-Gladbach - the first raid on a German town. 2 Hampdens and 1 Whitley lost; 4 people killed." What is your reliable source that the RAF bombed "Cologne and the Ruhr Valley"?
It certainly was not the first bombing attack on German territory by the RAF as that was conducted against the island of Sylt on 17 March 1940.[1][2] But that is not the point as the RAF was targeting flying boats at one of their bases and as such it was a tactical mission. This is NOT an article about bombing it is an article about strategic bombing and the RAF's strategic bombing campaign against Germany did not start until night 15/16 May attacks before that were in support of the British Army and Royal Navy and were considered to be tactical attacks mostly interdiction. -- PBS (talk) 11:14, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Maginot Line[edit]


I deleted this: "and schools. (rev) Laqueur, Walter; Baumel, Judith Tydor (2001). The Holocaust encyclopedia. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08432-0. [page needed]{ (/ref) }" since the source posted doesn't say anything about schools.


According to this, Russia engaged in strategic bombing of Germany and Finland during the war. Thus, Russia needs to be mentioned as a belligerent in the infobox and have a paragraph on it in the text. Cla68 (talk) 23:26, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

the source (p 158) says the Russian strategic bombing was ineffective & trivial -- comprising about 2/10 of 1% of the Allied bombing. That's a good reason to leave it out of the summary box, which is aimed at providing the readers with the IMPORTANT results in a nutshell. Rjensen (talk) 01:28, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

City lists[edit]

There are two city lists. The European one has 25 cities the Japanese one around 75. I messed around with the positioning of the current Japanese list but it is too large even if it is put on the left with all the pictures on the right. I suggest that it is cut down to the 25 cities with the highs percentage of damage. If in the future the article expands then perhaps some more can be re-added but at the moment it is forcing some very amateurish looking formatting on the page.

If someone else knows of another suitable solution which does not involve reducing the numbers (drop down boxes are not acceptable) then please suggest or implement a solution. -- PBS (talk) 20:45, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

I have removed an image which is duplicated later, and two others which were crashing down from an earlier section to minimize the issue. For all but the widest resolutions, this seems to work fairly well. I'm not sure that cutting it to the 25 cities with the largest destruction is the best idea, since some of them may have been small. Also, does a larger number indicate a more widespread destruction of cities than in Germany? (Hohum @) 16:16, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks to Bomber Harris and his blue books (real RAF examples, of the "tight bomb pattern" that Colonel Cathcart is looking for in Catch 22), the destruction in Germany was percentage wise pretty uniform, but of course the destruction in scale differs depending on the size of the city. Bomber Harris Harris numbers in his book Bomber Offensive (page 261 in my paperback edition ISBN 1-84415-210-3):

The representatives of our Operational Research Section in Germany [after the war] were able to revise the measurement of the extent of devastation in German cities which we had obtained during the war from air photographs; these were taken under operational conditions and did not always give complete cover of the areas concerned. Seventy German cities were attacked by Bomber Command. Twenty-three of these had more than sixty per cent of their built up areas destroyed and 46 about half of their built-up areas destroyed. Thirty-one cities had more than five hundred acres, and many more of them vastly more than 500; thus Hamburg had 6200 acres, Berlin 6427—this includes about 1000 acres of destruction by American attacks—Dusseldorf, 2003, and Colonge 1944. Between one and two thousand acres were devastated in Dresden, Bremen, Duisburg, Essen, Frankfurt-am-Main, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Mannheim-Ludwigshafen, and Stuttgart. As an indication of what this means it may be mentioned that London had about 600, Plymouth about 400, and Coventry just over 100 acres destroyed by enemy aircraft during the war.

— Bomber Harris

So as can be seen Bomber Command under Harris systematically achieved most if not al of his desired target of destroying all German cities with a pre-war population of more than 100,000 people (there were 58 of them -- (including cities in the east like Königsberg 20% of industry and 41% of the housing stock), I am not sure that the USAAF attacks over Japan over a shorter time period were as systematic. -- PBS (talk) 18:20, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Unsourced additions[edit]

  • IP I presume that you are using more than one IP address from the same range. If not then state that you are a different editor. I take it from your patten of edits that you are not a new editor. If that is not true then please state so.
92.11.x is a sockpuppet of banned editor HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 17:09, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Edit history

As an experienced editor I would expect you to be familiar with the following but in case you are not: See WP:BRD and see WP:PROVEIT "Attribute all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged to a reliable, published source using an inline citation" -- It is up to you to provide sources for your additions -- PBS (talk) 10:12, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

No citations are needed, it just says Churhill ordered the change in strategy and that residential areas were bombed on 11th May. ( (talk) 17:22, 13 February 2014 (UTC))
The above editor is a sockpuppet of banned editor HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 17:09, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
It is not up to you to decide if citation are needed. You have to provide sources for all the changes that you made per WP:PROVEIT.
  1. source for "The attacks by the RAF on German cities began with the attack on Wilhelmshaven on 5 September 1939." because the RAF diary says that it was an attack on the ships within the port (RAF Bomber Command Campaign Diary 1939)
  2. source for "On 11 May 1940, the day after be became Prime Minister, Churchill ordered the bombing of residential areas in Mönchengladbach". The prime minster could not order the armed services to do anything (he was not a dictator). He could ask the air ministry to issue a directive to the RAF, but that is a War Cabinet issue so as the wording is clearly wrong you will have to provide a source that indicates that he did what you state he did.
  3. "From 11-13 May 1940, the Germans registered a total of 51 British air attacks on non-military targets" What the German authorities registered is from a primary source and not relevant. If you want to include this then you need a qualified historian to judge how likely it was that the contemporary German assessments were accurate and that the British attacks were on non-military targets rather than collateral damage due to inaccurate bombing (see the Butt Report).
  4. "The first carpet bombing of a German city was in the night from 15 to 16 May 1940 in Duisburg." you source for this claim because the directive issued was for attacks on specific targets (such as smelters that were self illuminating) and there are two reliable sources in the article to back it up. At that stage in the War the British Were incapable of "carpet bombing" a German city even if they wanted to (see the Butt Report). Also this addition is in the wrong place in the article see the paragraph in the section "British response" in which it is reported that " On the night of 15/16 May, 96 bombers crossed the Rhine and attacked targets in Gelsenkirchen. 78 had been assigned oil targets, but only 24 claimed to have accomplished their objective" That sentence caries three citations. So were is your citation for an attack on Duisburg?
It is for these reasons that all your additions which add surprising information that contradicts what is in the article needs to have citations to reliable sources (WP:PROVEIT).
-- PBS (talk) 18:26, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I have found a source for these additions. The information comes from Hitler on the Blitz in London published by David Garcia Antoñanzas. Antoñanzas has collected together a number of sources and republished them. In this case his source is anonymous email forwarder (,propagandaleiter( -- Therefore not a Wikipedia reliable source. It may turn out that the the source of the information can be traced to a reliable source, but given the known inaccuracies in it I doubt it. The sentences "The attacks by the Royal Air Force (RAF) on German cities began with the attack on Wilhelmshaven on 5 September 1939" and "The first carpet bombing of a German city was in the night from 15 to 16 May 1940 in Duisburg." are take verbatim from the sources and are therefore a copyright violation without quotes or inline attribution. -- PBS (talk) 13:46, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
This IP editor from 92.x is persistent WP:LTA sockpuppeteer User:HarveyCarter. His additions should be deleted on sight. Binksternet (talk) 14:59, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Should we have a city countermeasures section?[edit]

The following first stag at a topic that I feel was seriously lacking in this article, is being censored.

This is it.

~~Perhaps. I would avoid getting into cold war preparations, even if some WW2 activities continue beyond 1945. The U.S. wasn't on the receiving end of strategic bombing (unless you count Japanese bomber balloons). The section might get a warmer reception if it opens with the preparations performed by countries that were attacked. Check the rest of the article to see if there are bits and pieces that can be moved to this new section. Information on industrial countermeasures could also beef your proposed section. The civilian part of things isn't my area of expertise so I can't be of much help to you. I am watching this page, so I can help with edits.~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jtgelt (talkcontribs) 21:54, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Civilian countermeasures[edit]

During the 1940s and 1950s, neighborhoods such as Detroit, MI would practice blackout air raid drills. During this time, the city's Civil Defense workers would immediately activate the neighborhood air raid siren, and families would be required to do the following in order: 1. Shut off all appliances, such as stoves, ovens, furnaces; 2. Shut off valves for water and natural gas or propane, as well as disconnect electricity; 3. Close blackout curtains (plain black curtains that would block light from coming in or going out). This step was changed after the atomic age began, where white curtains began to be preferred as they reflect the thermal radiation of the bomb to a greater degree(see anti-flash white), black curtains were used in WWII to prevent any airborne enemies from seeing light from windows; 4. Get to a public shelter, such as a bomb shelter, or the household basement, and stay there until the local police or block warden dismissed the blackout.[1][2]

In Germany, blockhouses were built in cities, such as Trier, these Hochbunker/ "high-rise" bunkers were a peculiarly German construction, with no equivalents of hochbunkers in the cities of the Allied countries.[3]

Detroit is not important--the goal was only to maintain morale not protect against bombers (look at the map). Even better look, at Richard Overy's new book on the Bombers and the Bombed which has very full coverage on European civil defense. Rjensen (talk) 22:26, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I know detroit was not very important, however I was simply providing a reader with the type of countermeasures that were practised in a nation of the war. If your cited book has a summary of the typical steps taken, as I detailed above, then great we should include that ref instead, what page is that on? Secondly, blackouts weren't done for mere morale boosting reasons, it's inconceivable that being in pitch darkness boosted morale one iota, the countermeasures really did work. Lastly, just for confirmation: you do agree with a short "countermeasures" section being in the article? (talk) 23:40, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Overy has several hundred pages on how the people on the ground reacted. the Germany civil defence was superb. other countries like Italy pathetic. browse it at Richard Overy (2014). The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe 1940-1945. Penguin Group US.  Rjensen (talk) 23:48, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Civilian responses to strategic bombing should be sourced from books written by mainstream historians talking about measures taken in Berlin, London, Tokyo, etc. A notional section about "Civilian countermeasures" should discuss civilian volunteerism, ground observer programs, firefighting programs, the establishment of bomb shelters, blackout programs, and the clearing of firebreaks in cities in which buildings were torn down and both businesses and residents were displaced. There is absolutely no reason to talk about exercises taken in Chicago, nor is there reason to mention German blockhouses which were not civilian. Binksternet (talk) 00:02, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I would, moreover, beware of mentioning actions in Detroit (or anywhere in the U.S.), since those will, in the main, be reactions to Soviet bombing in the '50s, not the subject of this page.
Outside that, however, I'd agree with Bink. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 20:57, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The Second World War German Hochbunkers (blockhouses) were build for several reasons and one of them was as civilian air-raid shelters. This is an article on Strategic bombing during World War II cold war defensive measures are better placed in other articles, indeed while a summary sentence or two can provide hooks in this article for links into other articles, details of civil defence measures such as the different types of air-raid shelters are better placed in more specialised articles. -- PBS (talk) 03:05, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes thank you PBS, they were sometimes built for civilians, I understand the confusion though as unbeknownst to me, my earlier link was to the military-centric blockhouse article which is without any mention to civilian uses. The civilian Hochbunker at Trier was indeed the buildings I was referring to, I'm glad at least 1 person here is knowledgeable of these things to be able to catch that. I also completely agree with you that a long winded section that covers firebreaks etc. is not really warranted, that's why I added the see also tags, in an attempt to keep it short. The perhaps odd Detroit pick was simply because I was looking for a description of the generic civilian countermeasures, typical in all combatant countries, to give readers an idea of what most cities at war planned for. Furthermore the Detroit references and countermeasures deal with 1944, so they're not really Cold War related as suggested, I simply added that bit about Blackout curtains being replaced with white ones as the Blackout curtains at Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually made the likelihood of fire higher than it would have otherwise been/they became counter-productive once WWII entered the nuclear war age. If anyone has a better alternative to Detroit being the generic case, then great, even better!
The only addition I would argue for the above short section is probably a sentence about civilian evacuations of cities, as arguably that had the greatest effect at reducing Strat bomb casualties.
A nice concise countermeasures section is all I think this article is seriously missing. (talk) 08:08, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

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