Talk:Strategic bombing during World War II

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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.

Nuclear Bombing[edit]

I changed the words "a wing of B-29 bombers" to reflect the actual number used. Whoever wrote that doesn't know what a wing of bombers is. Hildenja (talk) 15:44, 5 April 2016 (UTC)


"Before World War II began, advances in aviation made groups of bombers capable of devastating cities. The new aircraft flew high enough that anti-aircraft guns were largely impotent, and approximately as fast as the fighters that were in use at the time and would seek to intercept them. "

I'm not sure this uncited content is accurate. Before WW2, the combined bomber forces of all air forces in the world would barely have been capable of 'devastating' a city. Maximum efforts early in WW2 resulted in fairly limited damage. It seems to me it was only in the second half of the war that bombers were big enough, numerous enough and effective enough to devastate a city. Of course the word 'devastate' is doing a lot of work here.

Also, I imagine a lot of WW2 aircrew would have been very pleased to learn that their aircraft were largely immune to flak and were as fast as enemy fighters.

Should we perhaps re-word this paragraph to tone it down a bit? DMorpheus2 (talk) 18:39, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

it needs to be reworked. Watch the dates tho-- the light AA guns used in 1939 did little damage. The bombing of Warsaw & Rotterdam in 1939-40 did meet expectations. Rjensen (talk) 18:55, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

The original claim specifically was that the flak of 1939 lacked the range to hit high flying bombers. Some early-war guns: German 88 (range 32,000 ft), British 3.7 inch (30,000 ft), soviet 85mm (34,000 ft). Wasn't 20-30,000 ft the typical heavy bomber altitude? I honestly do not know for sure but that sounds about in the ballpark.
The word 'devastate' is of course so vague as to be meaningless. Rotterdam took about 800-1,000 killed. I would not think that resulted in crippling losses to any industry nor would it destroy morale. Hiroshima, nagoya or Tokyo are of course at the other extreme....but they were all destroyed in 1945, by an air force that had massively better capabilities than anyone had in 1939.
Maybe we should figure out what we really mean here. My guess is that pre-war leaders *feared* that bombers had a lot more power than they really did, and that early-war bombing efforts had for the most part (not all but most) poor results. That changed rapidly so that by 1945, but no earlier, an air force really could win a war single-handedly, just as they'd been claiming in the 1930s. DMorpheus2 (talk) 19:16, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
I took a stab at a quick fix but I suggest more work is needed to make cited statements about pre-war beliefs and the real capabilities of air forces in 1939. DMorpheus2 (talk) 19:19, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
The "advances" referred to here must be aircraft such as the B-17 Flying Fortress, which flew very high and fast. However, there were not many of them made. The concepts were proven, but the numbers were not there yet. Binksternet (talk) 19:22, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm pinging Jim Jim.henderson as he made the initial edit, for any insights he may have on this. My 2p at wording:
  • Before World War II began, the perception of strategic bombing in the public mind tended to over-estimate offensive bomber capabilities and to underestimate the power of defensive weapons, such as the new generation of monoplane fighters being rapidly introduced by the leading powers, heavy anti-aircraft artillery and the rapid development of Radar, which was completely unknown to the public. Bombers tended to be most efficient used en masse during daylight raids, and when air superiority had already been gained. I think we can source that sufficiently. Irondome (talk) 19:34, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

Binksternet, right, aircraft such as the B-17 existed but only a few dozen were in service. Planes such as the B-24, Lancaster or B-29 didn't yet exist. The Red Air force's heavy bomber units were a joke and the Germans had lots of mediums but no heavies. I don't know what the French had.....
So I don't think any air force in the world in 1939 could really devastate a city for any useful definition of the word 'devastate'. As late as late 1943, the USAAF had trouble crippling single large installations such as Ploesti, and hadn't touched Japan yet. The concept *existed* but was not proven till 1944-45.
I am sure my small edit can be improved dramatically; I just wanted to get something minimally accurate in there to start. DMorpheus2 (talk) 19:38, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Drat; I hate it when my haste puts me up against more precise minds than mine. Irondome looks best among the suggestions made thus far. Fortunately, real world commitments in the next couple days will prevent me from getting into much more trouble by interfering with what seems like progress towards making the proper distinctions. Umm, Chamberlain's remark was in 1932, when the public had no clue of rapid technical developments that the PM perhaps ought to have been able to evaluate. Or not. Jim.henderson (talk) 19:48, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
Interceptor_aircraft#History may enlighten. Jim.henderson (talk) 00:11, 20 August 2016 (UTC)