Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive
The Plan for Completion of [the] Combined Bomber Offensive was a strategic bombing recommendation made by HQ USSTAF for the Allies of World War II to target Axis petroleum/oil/lubrication (POL) targets prior to the Normandy Landings.
The plan was commissioned by a February 12, 1944 memorandum from F. L. Anderson (Deputy Commander, Operations) to include the following "By command of Lieutenant General SPAATZ":
- a. Summary of the Status of the CBO
- b. Study of Possible Target systems and Operational Policies.
- c. Study of the Possibilities of Heavy Bomber Participation in Direct Support of OVERLORD.
- d. Plans Supplementing the Combined Bomber Offensive Plan:
Spaatz (commander of the USAAF Eight Air Force) presented the plan to General Henry H. Arnold (Chief of the USAAF) on March 5, 1944. The plan stated that the operations to bring the German fighter force into a battle of attrition (operation Pointblank) instead of targeting industry "can best be achieved by attacks on objectives which are so vital to the German War Machine that they must defend them with everything they have, or face the rapid reduction of their military forces to impotence."
After the British Ministry of Economic Warfare and the U.S. Petroleum Attache endorsed the plan on March 6; Dwight D. Eisenhower decided on March 25, 1945,[verification needed] that the six months for priority bombing of oil facilities to have an effect on Operation Overlord was too long and instead, railway targets became the highest priority. This was carried out under the Transportation Plan:184–189
Results of the plan adoption
Large-scale bombing of oil targets was permitted after May 12, 1944; oil targets became the highest bombing priority on September 4, 1944; and the bombing of oil targets was the decisive bombardment strategy in the European Theatre of World War II.
- HQ. U.S.S.T.A.F. (5 March 1944), Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive Copy I, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library: SMITH, WALTER BEDELL: Collection of World War II Documents, 1941-1945; Box No.: 48: HQ, U.S.S.T.A.F,
MOST SECRET … DECLASSIFIED … 4/4/74
- Spaatz, Carl (5 March 1944), ::SUBJECT: Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive ::TO: General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, Headquarters, ETOUSA., Headquarters United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe APO 633: Office of the Commanding General,
SECRET … DECLASSIFIED … 4/24/74 … 3. Request your concurrence in the Plan. … 3Incls:
- Williamson, Charles C.; Hughes, Richard D.; Cabell, C. P.; Nazarro, J. J.; Bender, F. P.; Crigglesworth, W. J. (5 March 1944), Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive, pp. 5 pages + Appendices A–G & Supplement
- "Appendix A: Fighter and Ball Bearing Production", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (2 pages)
- "Appendix B: Petroleum", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (2 pages + fold-out map)
- "Appendix C: Rubber and Tires", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (1 page)
- -----, "Appendix D: ...major bomber assembly plants...", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (1 page)
- -----, "Appendix E: Transport", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (1 page)
- -----, "Appendix F: Present Condition of Point Blank Systems", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (4 pages)
- -----, "Appendix G: Computation of Report", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (5 pages)
- -----, "Supplement: Reexamination of Previously Recommended Target Systems", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive,
[industries] which the C.A.S. and Casablanca directives have specifically mentioned(2 pages + Parts 1-10)
- -----, "Part 1: Prospect for Ending War by Air Attack Against German Morale", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive,
Day raids by American heavy bombers against [morale] have little merit as a means of exploiting air supremacy over Germany. Neither fear, war-weariness, nor the prospect of impoverishment is likely to be sufficient to enable impotent political and social groups to overthrow the efficient, terroristic Nazi social controls and bring about RANKIN. … The will of the Nazi party to resist Allied military pressure springs from strong, simple urges. It is generally agreed, and is doubtless clear to the party's leading members, that their chances for survival after RANKIN are slight.(2 pages)
- -----, "Part 2: Target Potentialities of Axis European Transport -- March 1944", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive,
The fact that direct military traffic is not expected to constitute more than one-fifth of total rail traffic even during the period of intensive fighting and high reinforcement rate which will follow the invasion of Western Europe means that a 30% cut in traffic [that could be made] will have no effect on OVERLORD(3 pages)
- -----, "Part 3: Target Potentialities of Submarines -- March 1944", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (2 pages)
- -----, "Part 9: Target Potentialities of Bomber Aircraft -- March 1944", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (4 pages)
- -----, "Part 10: Target Potentialities of Oil -- March 1944", Plan for Completion of Combined Bomber Offensive (7 pages, including Tables 1-4)
- "Letter to Marshal Portal": tbd (not in Box 48)
- "Planning Directive, dtd 12 Feb 44": Anderson, F. L. (Deputy Commander, Operations (12 February 1944), SUBJECT: Planning Directive
- Turner, Mark (6 March 1944), Ltr from Ministry of Economic Warfare, dated 6 Mar 44 to General [E. P.] Curtis, Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square W. 1.: Ministry of Economic Warfare,
…agree fully with the … the German oil position which has been presented. …the operational conclusions [if] destruction of the synthetic plants and refineries [is achieved] represent a most conservative expression of the results.
- Turner, Smith D. (Petroleum Attache) (March 6, 1944), Ltr from Mission for Economic Affairs, dtd 6 Mar 44, American Embassy, Mission for Economic Affairs, 1 Grosvenor Square, London, W. 1.: The Foreign Service of the United States of America,
Dear General [E. P.] Curtis