Talk:The bomber will always get through
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- I think the quote that is in there today suits the article well enough. Binksternet (talk) 18:52, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Baldwin proven wrong
This article is dishonest. The statement that "the bomber will always get through" was made in the context of unescorted daylight bombers that would supposedly do so much damage that they'd win the war all by themselves. When actually used, air defenses made the losses too high to continue with, and the damage they did wasn't anywhere near enough to win the war by itself.
Similarly, citing the RAF's losses throughout the war conceals the very high losses that occurred at various times, even though the RAF was engaged in night bombing. In fact, the bombers did not always get through in the attack on Germany, until the loss of pilots to U.S. escorting fighters combined with a severe shortage of aviation gas to put very inexperienced Luftwaffe fighter pilots into the air. When one compares Baldwin's claims to operational reality, it would be far more accurate to say that Baldwin was proven wrong. Saintonge235 (talk) 18:03, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
- To bring this idea into the article you would need to cite a WP:Reliable source, ideally a military historian's book. Binksternet (talk) 18:52, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
- Agree with Binksternet, the Proven in combat section is lacking in sources but presumably the main point is covered by Richard Humble, "War In The Air 1939–1945", Salamander 1975 – I don't have access to that, and don't know how good a source it is. The remainder of the section is unsourced, so in accordance with WP:V can be deleted if disputed. At the very least it should be possible to find sources pointing out that the dictum in its original formulation was disproved when the Luftwaffe failed to overcome the RAF in the Battle of Britain Oh, and don't suggest that other editors are dishonest, that's against WP:NPA – the article at present shows one viewpoint, due weight should be given to other views as shown in reliable sources. . dave souza, talk 19:05, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
- The point that Baldwin was making was that you can't stop all of the bombers, all of the time. So some bombers will get through such that they cause some damage to the target. In other words, 100% effective defence is not (and probably never will be) possible. And if the target is a large metropolitan centre, such as London - then the biggest city in the world - then civilians are going to get killed. It may be as well to point out that at the time he was speaking, German bombers and Zeppelins had been bombing London and killing civilians (whether deliberately or not) only ten years or so previously. It may be as well also to point out that being a civilian killed by a stray bomb is little different to being one killed by deliberately targeted ones - you still end up dead.
- .. and with the introduction of nuclear weapons the point that Baldwin was making is even more true. Anything less than 100%-effective defence means that you still lose thousands/millions dead.
- The opposite view was held by Hermann Göring who apparently did believe that 100%-effective air defence was possible, "No enemy aircraft will fly over Reich territory", although whether he actually believed it himself or was just trying to reassure the German population, I don't know. The fallacy of his argument can be seen by looking at any photos of places such as Cologne, Hamburg, or Dresden, taken in 1944-45.
- The fear of widespread aerial bombing of British cities in the 1920s-1930s, along with the great losses on the Western Front in the previous war, was what did the most to garner support for appeasement in Britain as the British were terrified that the next war would end up with places such as London and Birmingham being annihilated and hundreds of thousands of their civilian populations killed. Of course, the subsequent war took a different turn, and it ended up with the British doing just that to the German cities, although the Luftwaffe had had its own go at Britain during The Blitz.
- The moral of this story is be very careful about going to war as you never know how things will turn out. Very few governments start an aggressive war thinking they are going to lose. And once started, wars have a habit of getting out of anyone's control.
Bomber Command loss rates over Germany
The article states, or at least implies, that Bomber Command`s average loss rate for sorties over Germany was 2%. Certainly for most of the war it was far higher than that, particularly up to late 1944. By the time 1945 was reached it had dropped but by that time Germany was on its knees anyway so quoting an average figure (for the whole war) is misleading. What source says that the average BC loss rate over Germany was only 2% ? --JustinSmith (talk) 12:53, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
"The Italian general Giulio Douhet, author of The Command of the Air, was a seminal theorist of this school of thought".
I am not sure why Giulio Douhet creeps into so many articles. In this case it would be better to stick with the RAF thoughts on the matter. The justification of the existence of the RAF was as a strategic air arm both for deterrent and to a lesser extent for defence. Otherwise like Germany and the US, Britain could have gone back to the RAF being the Royal Flying Corps (army) and the Navel Air Arm if all air power was going to do was tactical support the other two services.
So between the wars the RAF argued against its enemies (the British Army and the Royal Navy) that a strategic bomber force was needed as a deterrent. They had their own briefing papers on this and did not rely on Giulio Douhet to present their case. The people advocating this line in Britain are usually referred to as the Trenchard School after Hugh Trenchard the commander of the RAF for much of the inter-war period.
It is much more likely that Stanley Baldwin was influenced in his views by those in the RAF than by Giulio Douhet.
This article contains an easy to read American centric summary of the impact of Giulio Douhet, Hugh Trenchard and William "Billy" Mitchell.
"Trenchard was fascinated by the power of the bomber. He developed a theory of aerial bombardment similar to those of Douhet and Mitchell but independent of them".(Mark Connelly (2001) Reaching for the Stars: A New History of Bomber Command in World War II, p. 8) -- PBS (talk) 17:42, 23 July 2014 (UTC)